Sunday, August 8, 2010

Low Tech Security: How To

Some of you are aware that I'm involved in electronic security. No, I don't install burglar alarms. Sometimes I wish my job was something more along those lines, but alas, too late to change career paths now!

I met a very nice lady (HI SHELLY!) in The American Preppers Chatroom (link in right side bar) who lives in a rural location, but not far enough from a large city for her comfort. She expressed concern regarding physical security and being alerted to intruders as they crossed onto her property.

She doesn't have tons of money to spend on things like geophones, or TAKEX sensors to patrol the perimeter of her homestead. Although geophones have come down tremendously in price, @$38.00 here per piece, they still require power and there in lay the crux of the issue. Shelly is very concerned about a "grid down" situation. Stories of how vulnerable the American power grid is to hacking appear nearly every week. In addition to which, talk about the repeat of a Carrington-style event have also made the rounds. The Carrington Event was a massive solar flare that set telegraph sets on fire just from the additional induced currents. See more here.

She wanted me to give her some ideas on how to set up things that would work unattended, without power, could be built at home, from readily available materials, and be assembled and deployed quickly and easily.

So, here's the first in a few gadgets I've come up with for her. Hopefully you find the idea useful as well.

You've all seen these rather innocuous and useless things.

The package of 12 was purchased at a local party supply store for less than $3.00

Innocent enough.

Pop the cardboard cover off the bottom.

Remove the confetti rolls exposing a second cardboard plug. Remove that plug as well. A slim piece of wire such as a paper clip makes removing the plugs easy.

Ah, yes. Now things are getting interesting. (insert evil laughter here)

About a teaspoon full of powder. You could use more if you wanted to. The purpose of powder is to generate smoke to signal which device has been tripped. You could add additional charcoal powder to the mixture to increase the density of the smoke generated.

Reinstall one of the plugs to keep the powder in the container.

Oh yes! A better mouse trap, you bet!

Trip wire attached. You can use wire, string or fishing line, but attach it at this point to make the device the most sensitive.

A small bracket made from aluminum. The hole and slot are a type of basic safety. Install the charge by passing the string through the slot after the trap is set. This will hopefully limit any unfortunate incidents if the trap is triggered early.

I taped the bracket in place with electrical tape just to show how little mechanical force is needed to hold the bracket in place as well as how little force is needed to trigger the popper. For a more permanent device, I would use several machine screws and nuts to attach the bracket.

Oh yes, these devices are quite "green" and can be reused simply by replacing the popper.

Tie a loop in the string.

Use a bit of wire to tie the string to the cross bar. Or you could just tie the string to the cross bar if it will leave you enough slack to reach the safety bracket. I found it easier to use the bit of wire.

How the string slips through the slot on the safety bracket to arm the device.

The device completed and set up.

Sorry about the poor quality of the video. I was trying to hold the camera and trip the device at the same time.

Use your imagination. I'm sure you can come up with some novel uses for this type of low tech device. You could place this inside your home under windows without the additional black powder. The pop is quite loud by itself. If using it outside, weather proofing it would be desirable. You could place it inside a box to disguise it.

Might be fun just to use as a gag on one of your unsuspecting friends!


Anonymous said...

Catman- Thank You so much. This is ingenious. If I bumped into this, I would think twice proceeding forward. Low tech, effective, sight and sound to hear intruders, just what I am looking for.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness and taking my concerns seriously and taking the time to come up with alternatives to helping secure a perimeter. If the SHTF, this would become the new alarm system.

chinasyndrome said...

Devilishly clever!Ya got me thinking now.


Catman said...

Glad you guys found it interesting!