Building a Home Security System with BeagleBone: A Review

Building a Home Security System with BeagleBone, by Bill Pretty, is an excellent collection of DIY projects. He unmasks common home security techniques in a clear and concise manner for hobbyists. There are several fun and practical projects that make you feel a bit like a super-spy as you build up a system of motion, infrared, and acoustic sensors.


In this book, you will learn how various sensors can protect doors, windows, and other entry-ways and even how to protect against attacks like wire-cutting. There are plenty of pictures in various stages of the project as well as schematic and Fritzing diagrams. The system described is complete and modular. There are three Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) designs which are fully presented and can be extended to accommodate additional sensors in the network.

The JavaScript library for the projects are available on the publisher’s website and it is designed to work with the Cloud9 IDE on an Angstrom Distribution. The examples were developed on a BeagleBone White, but the author states that care was taken to be BeagleBone Black compatible.

I especially liked the suggestion of remote monitoring and control to the security system. With a few external packages, Bill shows how to configure remote access to the system and provides examples on basic system hardening. In addition to his recommendations, you will want to add SSL to your BeagleBone server to protect the confidentiality of your traffic if you use a web-based interface.

This book is not meant to replace a nuclear missile security system and Bill is very upfront and honest about the capabilities of the design. If you are looking for a moderate to advanced series of projects that will put your BeagleBone to good use, this is a great book. Although, be warned, once you start tinkering with security systems, your paranoia levels start to rise!

The book is available by Packt Publishing.

5 thoughts on “Building a Home Security System with BeagleBone: A Review

  1. This sounds exciting for the DIY home security market, but also a little intimidating. By your estimate, what is the approximate “handyman” experience level required to build one of these systems?

    1. So, that’s a good question. The book did show how to install the wires and some basic home “contracting” methods. I’m a total n00b when it comes to home repair and the installation didn’t look extremely complicated but I’d also probably be ok (an not very secure or safe!) with exposed wiring hanging out.

      However, if you really want to wire up your house and have it look professional, you might want to practice some basic home improvements first.

  2. Thanks Josh and Alex;
    Let me just say that there is a lot of information that I had to leave out, due to the size constraints of the book. So I tried to “hit the high points” with the space allowed. All I can
    say to you both is that if you decide to build this project you will spend more time fishing wire threw walls that you will soldering or compiling code 🙂

    Best of luck!

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