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  • Ambitious Video Security System

    After installing my last computer and having it stolen from my vehicle, I have recently purchased a new one. This time, however, before I install it I will focus on beefing up the security of my system.

    The best security of course is first not appearing flashy (hard to do THAT with my car) and second deterrence (making it look like too much trouble.)

    So, after that brief monolgue, here is the proposed system:
    http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

  • #2
    Reducing the appearance of the prize:

    First of all my car is black, tinted windows, leather interior with lots of chrome on the outside. Although it is only a Hyundai Sonata, many mistake it for a much more expensive car. It attracts a lot of attention. Consider that I had my system FULLY installed for less than two days before it was nicked. Somebody had been keeping an eye on it or on me installing it.

    To minimize the flashiness of the install, I am planning on a dummy face for the double DIN system using an old factory radio I have lying around. I will be removing the face, gluing all the buttons and knobs in place and making some type of bracket to snap it in place over the computer. I am also experimenting with a type of 'garage door' blank faceplate that will flip down over the computer when the vehicle is turned off. I purchased a junk facia and dash bracket for my vehicle to facilitate the development.

    I will also NOT be installing this near my home (I will do it at a friends or an empty parking lot somewhere away from my home.)

    Anyway, I live around a lot of desperate crackheads and one of them will inevitably chance it no matter how much I try to deter them.

    Which leads to the second part.
    http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Deterrence:

      First of all, I have a Hornet/Valet 563T from DEI with remote start, keyless, and alarm. There are more channels that can be tapped into for more accesories. One is already used by the trunk release. I had this professionally installed, which I regret because they did not give me the install manual that would have given me the pinouts for the alarm. I have been looking everywhere online and have so far not found them. Any help?

      Anyway, in the professional install, they included the default small red flashing LED. They mounted this very low, so it cannot be seen from the outside. I purchased an alarm scanner which is a bit more visible and want to place that in a more easily seen location. My apprehension with this is that if I somehow forget to arm my system, this will be a great visual indicator to that fact for all to see. More on that later.

      As further deterrence, I am looking at custom vinyl stickers to put in the windows warning of the security system.

      But none of this is what you came here to read. On to the video security system ---
      http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Sweet idea, but why 3 separate posts?

        Also, if the thieves really want it they'll do whatever they can within their abilities to steal from you. If not, they'll vandalize. The more difficult you make it, the more damages your vehicle will receive.

        Flashing LED won't work. They'll ignore it.

        Heck, I'm bold enough to leave my car parked without an aftermarket security system. The worst my car has received other than door dings was getting egged.

        Comment


        • #5
          Video Security system:

          I sketched out a system for video surveillance and have started purchasing the components.

          Here's the general concept:

          4 Cameras
          1 Dash camera. Night vision, wide angle. Focus on drivers seat area.
          1 Camera facing forward, mounted on rearview mirror. High resolution.
          1 Camera facing the rear, mounted on 3rd brake light. High resolution.
          1 Mini Dome camera with pan or pan/tilt. Wide angle. Night vision.

          4 Ch color quad processor with remote (IR and RS232C)

          2.5" HDD MP4 recorder/player modified so that control can be handled externally.

          2.4GHz wireless video sender with IR remote extender.

          Custom controller based on AVR microcontroller.

          I will go into further detail about these parts below.

          (Note I am trying to seperate these pieces into digestable snippets instead of one long post. Notice the subject titles if you want to skip something. Of course if this format really bothers you, nobody is forcing you to read! )
          http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Cameras

            I chose the cameras to cover what is happening IN and AROUND the vehicle. When my vehicle was broken into last, the police arrived just as the thieves were getting out of there. The officer said he saw a vehicle leave, but did not get a plate since he had not talked to any witnesses yet. The exterior cameras are meant to capture the plate numbers. Of course, another purpose of the system is to provide conveniences for me such as front and rearview night vision, as well as incident recording.

            So far, I have only purchased the dash camera. It is a normal view backup keyhole style camera with 105 degree FOV and nightvision. It is also very shallow so I shouldn't need a lot of room to mount it. It can be installed flush and the angle adjusted.

            Cost: $50


            Everyone knows what a camer is, so I won't spend much time here.
            http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Quad

              I need one that could be controlled externally to work, so I found a mini color quad with interfaces for IR remote and RS232C. I can use it as a switcher to just fullscreen a camera, a sequencer to switch between each camera at predefined intervals, or as a quad displaying several cameras at once.

              This quad will also let me title each camera and overlay time. It will need to be modified to remove the buzzer as it has a video loss alarm. Since I will be powering on the cameras as I require them, that thing would be going off constantly.

              I haven't received this yet, so I can't say too much about it.
              Cost: about $65
              http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

              Comment


              • #8
                2.5" HDD Digital Video recorder

                This takes a laptop HDD and looks like an external USB HDD enclosure. It is the big brother to the Divx player only mentioned in the reviews on these forums. The difference of course is that it can record. In Xvid with adjustable resolution and compression.

                It comes with an IR remote, the one I purchased does not come with a HDD. So I purchased a 40GB seagate drive.

                The recorder will need to be modified to externalize the controls so that I can control it with my custom microcontroller board. For remote use of this as well as the quad from inside my house, I will use the IR extender feature of the wireless video sender.

                The DVR has a passthrough video out, which will give me the output of the quad and the DVR menus on one video stream. This output will be passed to the wireless video sender and the car monitor so that I can adjust settings externally and remotely.

                The obvious question will be why I don't just use the car computer to do all this? Well, the answer is just as obvious. If the ****ers manage to get away with the computer, they will have the evidence. Another equally good answer is that it would take the computer too long to wake up and start recording as well as being alot noisier and a beacon to the computers location.

                Cost: $105 for the DVR, $40 for the 40GB HDD
                http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  2.4GHz Wireless video sender w/ remote extender

                  Well, this is simple. Sends video and stereo audio as well as allowing me to use an IR remote control to control the source(s). I may need to beef the range up a bit, but other than that I probably won't modify it much. At most, I may add the ability to switch channels with the controller. Can't guess why I would need to do that, though.

                  I plan to have a mic in the dash. This will be one audio channel. I may use the second audio channel for one of several things:

                  Alarm sound, which will be always be monitored indoors. Meant to wake me up if something is happening. I could also use a tone which I can decode on the indoor side to automate some task. Finally, it might just end up an external mic on the outside of the car.

                  Cost: $37
                  http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Custom Controller

                    Finally, the REALLY interesting part!

                    This is the part that is still early in the planning phases. I want as much of the hardware to be there intially as I can plan for, and the firmware will be upgradeable easily.

                    The entire system will be located in one box, mounted inside the engine bay or other less easily accessable location. The idea is for only the necessary components to be powered up as needed based on events and conditions.

                    The custom controller will be based on an AVR ATMega32 microcontroller as it is the one I most familiar with and has all the features I envision that I will need. It also comes in a 40 pin DIP package for easy prototyping.

                    The custom controller will control the power and functions of all the parts of the system. It will be the only part to be constantly powered. When the vehicle is not running (thus operating off the battery only), the AVR will go into deep sleep to reduce the power to the very minimum. I will use interrupts to wake it up based on certain events or if requested remotely.

                    The controller will monitor the status of vehicle such as doors opening, key in ignition, engine running, and alarm states such as armed/disarmed and triggered. I will also want it to monitor switches placed in the radio facia and sides of the radio to determine if it is being removed.

                    I am toying with the idea of some offensive security measures such as a xenon strobe placed near the center facia (to keep the person blinded and hamper thier ability to steal) and a 'personal' alarm. 120dB siren meant to carry on your person. This will be within the vehicle and hopefully will be very loud and uncomfortable. The controller will have programmable relay outputs to control these and other instruments as I think of them and add them.

                    I would like the system to be able to determine if I was a dumbass and forgot to arm my main alarm. It doesn't happen often, but it has happened. Unfortunately, the only time that I KNOW I did was the day my computer was stolen. Anyway, I would like the system to take certain conditions of the car and determine I have left the car unarmed and will arm the system for me.

                    Finally, there will some type of bypass system so that I can disable the system when needed.
                    http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Conclusion, ideas, and request for ideas:

                      The system is meant to be standalone when away from my house and remote controlled when parked out front.

                      Some ideas:

                      1. I am looking at going with the boost mobile phone for internet in the car. It would be neat to somehow interface this with my system to call me, the police, or both on 3-way (of course, calling me first.) Perhaps also providing a description and the location of the car (I am less worried about someone stealing the CAR, but it would 1000% times worse than just stealing my system if it happened.)

                      2. The dome camera in the car ceiling is probably overkill. It most came about because I had the fourth video channel and wanted to use it. Though it would come in handy if the thief entered through the passenger side, or as it was in my case before, there is more than one thief in the vehicle.

                      3. I am still up in the air what to do with the second audio channel on the wireless sender. I really like the idea of using it to relay the alarm, decoding that tone, etc.. Or I could actually use it as a modem and send data modulated to audio and then demodulated on the receiver side. This could make everything much more intelligent.

                      4. Continuing with above. I initially plan to just use the IR remote features of the devices as is and just locate them so that the IR extender in the video sender can control them. However, I could just as easily send serial data over this for more advanced control. With this and the audio channel, I would have a bidirectional serial connection with the system.

                      5. The in-car computer I have has a CD burner. I am planning to connect the USB from the DVR up to a switch that I can activate to copy the videos off the DVR. If the computer is still in the car (hopefully) I can then just burn a CD of the video for the police. I could also use the internet phone thing to act (temporarily) as server to get the video. The USB would of course also allow me to perform file management on the DVR without having to remove it. And finally, it could (and will) be used as a backup HDD. The reason it needs to be on a switch, though is because USB mode turns off the DVR function.

                      6. Given the above, I may work out a way to make the DVR removeable (hard) or at least the drive (easy) and having that face the easiest to get to location of the difficult to get to location. At least then I would not need to remove the whole system and open it all up to get to the DVR.

                      7. I may also feed the video from the cameras (either all four or just the final stream) into the car computer for some unforseen reason or project. A 4 channel USB video capture device is around $65. Cheap enough for 'just because I can.'

                      In the end, I have insurance for my system, car, and any vandalism that may occur. So be it. They may get my system anyway, but there is no reason for me to make it easy for them. Also, it is my hope that this system will help them get caught if they do somehow succeed.

                      It isn't the money. This system will probably cost me nearly as much as the computer system itself. It is the principle. It is the inconvenience of dealing with the police, the inconvenience of coming out to my car in the morning to discover what happened, and the ****ed of factor that somebody stole my hard earned money and they got away with it. I am an electrical engineer, therefore I make pretty decent money (nothing to brag about) and would find building something like this to be fun and rewarding. It is also just the geek factor.

                      Since this is so early in the design phase, given the components I have, and the controller I plan, I am interested in some ideas for the functionality of the system either on the remote side or the vehicle side. I am mostly looking for things I should monitor, offense devices I can activate, modes, and convenience features I could use it for when it is not acting as a security system. If I can manage to keep the entire system self contained, the possibilities should be limitless. Since it will be located in a place very difficult to get to, full control will be a neccessity.

                      Thanks for reading.
                      http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Questions:
                        Did you already have the car alarm when your system was stolen or did you get that after?

                        Why go thru all of this?

                        What do you plan on doing when you hear your alarm go off in the middle of the night?

                        Wouldn't it be cheaper to just bolt down/weld the **** out of your carpc to make it virtually impossible for them to remove from the vehicle without heavy tools?

                        Wouldn't a better option be to not spend/put more money into the car just so it can get jacked again?

                        Better yet, is there somewhere else you can park your car that is more secure?

                        Thoughts:
                        I think your best bet is to not tell ANYONE of your carpc install. I told a bunch of my friends about mine years ago when i worked at a Sears. I drove a crappy car that no one would suspect at the time, and WOW my **** was jacked.

                        No one knew about it but my friends, my car was the only one broken into, and it was obvious that someone was tipped off....

                        I think it would be easier/cheaper to buy one of those car alarms that pages you when there's a problem and buy a hand gun to go with it.

                        If you live in that bad of an area, you may just want to consider a different alternative. Perhaps a removable laptop that you can just pop out of the car and bring in at night

                        Most people can tell you have a nice system even when you're hiding it with a fake faceplate. All they have to do is see you driving down the street at night. Your screen shines bright and can be seen at night thru the tinted windows. They follow you to your home, cha ching.

                        Issues:
                        What happens if/when they steal your car?

                        Have you thought about your alarm scanner attracting more attention? Some car burglars are more attracted to the cars with scanners. I'm guessing they think "Hmmm, now why what is inside this Hyundai that makes them want to keep me out?"

                        As already pointed out, I think they'll just break your windows, have trouble getting your stuff and leave. You'll still be inconvenienced by the broken windows which probably isn't covered by the deductible. Not to mention having to get the new window re-tinted


                        Now don't get me wrong, I always root for projects like this, but I still have yet to see anyone actually follow thru with anything like this. If you can carry out what you say, I think you will have a formidable defense for sure. I'm sure you've already checked out the other security threads with similar ideas. I think the strobes and possibly some sort of smoke inside would be sweet. Good luck and keep us posted!
                        www.mobile-effects.com

                        Free file hosting, picture gallery hosting for installs, PM me.

                        Internet's first Front End Skin browser, featured installs, downloads, links, informative articles - all free to registered users.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DIGItonium View Post
                          Sweet idea, but why 3 separate posts?

                          Also, if the thieves really want it they'll do whatever they can within their abilities to steal from you. If not, they'll vandalize. The more difficult you make it, the more damages your vehicle will receive.

                          Flashing LED won't work. They'll ignore it.

                          Heck, I'm bold enough to leave my car parked without an aftermarket security system. The worst my car has received other than door dings was getting egged.
                          I did several posts because it was going to be so long. And because people may be interested in one part but not another. This allows them to read the parts that they want and skip the rest. Of course, I wasn't expecting a reply before I finished!

                          Different folks, different strokes, but what is the point of making it easy for them?

                          Other than the car computer getting stolen, the worst that has happened is that someone threw a half eaten candy bar on my moon roof under the scoop. It was positioned, I can only assume, so that when I opened my moon roof, the bar would fall into my car. Ha ha... Well, that didn't happen, but it did melt and was a pain to remove without damaging my paint. It did succeed in annoying me if that was part of the intent.

                          Anyways, I answered the rest of your questions in the succeeding posts, so I won't do it again here. Thanks for the feedback!

                          Scott McDonnell
                          http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            why not devise a installation way that means you can only pull it out with taking out the dash...like welding brackets to everything and having them needing to take out the WHOLE DASH and wiring harness out to unbolt it?

                            I welded the screen housing to my firewall
                            For Bootscreens click Here

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Questions:
                              Did you already have the car alarm when your system was stolen or did you get that after?
                              I had the alarm before. I had forgotten to arm the car. Unfortunately, this meant the doors were also unlocked. Talk about making it too easy! I was a dumbass and admitted it then. But, I was distracted with my nephew and carrying in groceries. This is the main reason I would like the system to determine if I had forgotten to arm it.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Why go thru all of this?
                              Eh? Why not? First, this is fun. It is more about that then anything else.



                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              What do you plan on doing when you hear your alarm go off in the middle of the night?
                              Good question. While I would like the answer to be that I would run outside with only my boxers and a .44, it really wouldn't be worth THAT. I would call the police. The system will record the incident all on its own. When the police arrive, I will give them the video, all serial numbers, etc.. I had planned a video system (simpler) before the theft and mentioned it to the police when they were taking my report. He said he would have loved that since he couldn't chase the car because he hadn't caught them in the act and hadn't talked to any witnesses. He said he wanted to, and he was sure it was them, but he couldn't. With the video, I hope to get plates and descriptions (the cameras will all be color.)

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Wouldn't it be cheaper to just bolt down/weld the **** out of your carpc to make it virtually impossible for them to remove from the vehicle without heavy tools?
                              Yes. It would be cheaper. And they would probably bust the **** out of my car before they gave up or the police started coming (they had a lookout last time.) And finally, if the carpc couldn't be removed without heavy tools, it would also mean it would extremely difficult for me to remove to work on it.

                              However, part of the security will be a bracket system that will be easy to remove, but not very obvious how. By that time, though, the whole system will be triggered and recording, flashing, and battering thier eardrums.

                              As I mentioned, I picked up a junk center dash bracket and facia to plan the carpc install better. This will help me tremendously when coming up with that security bracket, trigger switches, 'garage door', and offense devices.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Wouldn't a better option be to not spend/put more money into the car just so it can get jacked again?
                              What? And let the terrorists win? No way! I want all these things in my car because I want them there. I will not let someone terrorize me into not having what I want. Screw that! I have insurance on everything as a backup, but I want to get the SOBs busted.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Better yet, is there somewhere else you can park your car that is more secure?
                              That would be the best option, but no, not right now. On the street in front of my house is the best I have at the moment. We are planning to build a new, bigger garage hopefully sometime this year, but there are 4 vehicles (as well as ATVs, scooters, dirt bikes, street bikes) already here. Best we can do is 2 stall.

                              I have been looking at a locking car cover, though.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Thoughts:
                              I think your best bet is to not tell ANYONE of your carpc install. I told a bunch of my friends about mine years ago when i worked at a Sears. I drove a crappy car that no one would suspect at the time, and WOW my **** was jacked.
                              No one knew about it but my friends, my car was the only one broken into, and it was obvious that someone was tipped off....[/QUOTE]

                              Definitely. I think in my case, though, it was because I was doing the install outside my house, right where my car is always parked. I probably looked right into the face of the person that jacked me the next day. In fact, I know I did, but I can't prove it because I have no video.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              I think it would be easier/cheaper to buy one of those car alarms that pages you when there's a problem and buy a hand gun to go with it.
                              Supposedly, the 563T is a two-way system, but I didn't get a two-way remote. Maybe I need to buy one? But, while the gun is great in fantasy, think about the reality of that.

                              First, there were two people IN my car. And two people in a 'getaway car' watching out for police. My neighbors were out on thier front porch while these thugs were stealing my system. They called the police for me (remember alarm was not armed.) If I would've came out with a gun and approached the two in the car, who knows if the other two in the getaway car were not armed. I wouldn't know the situation walking into it, and wouldn't have been able to keep my eye on both.

                              Besides, if it came down to shooting someone, I would likely go to prison for murder. And if they were a gang (highly likely) what makes you think they wouldn't come back shooting up my home or firebombing it and loosing my entire family. It's obvious where I live when I come running out with a gun. A $1500 carpc is definitely NOT worth it. I have insurance and it is only a car/pc. It can be replaced.

                              If you have convinced yourself that this is what you would do, I am strongly advising you to reconsider. Real life is not like the movies or music videos. I would only brandish my gun when I fully intend to use it and a life is threatened.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              If you live in that bad of an area, you may just want to consider a different alternative. Perhaps a removable laptop that you can just pop out of the car and bring in at night
                              Yeah. Good alternative, but it looks ghetto. My car is very luxurious looking. I do not want to add anything ghetto to it. If it came down to that, I would just skip the PC altogether. But, again, I am not going to let some punks terrorize me into not having the system I want.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Most people can tell you have a nice system even when you're hiding it with a fake faceplate. All they have to do is see you driving down the street at night. Your screen shines bright and can be seen at night thru the tinted windows. They follow you to your home, cha ching.
                              Well, then, so be it. No system is perfect, but at least it would help. When all else fails, a claim to my insurance company will take care of everything.

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Issues:
                              What happens if/when they steal your car?

                              Have you thought about your alarm scanner attracting more attention? Some car burglars are more attracted to the cars with scanners. I'm guessing they think "Hmmm, now why what is inside this Hyundai that makes them want to keep me out?"

                              As already pointed out, I think they'll just break your windows, have trouble getting your stuff and leave. You'll still be inconvenienced by the broken windows which probably isn't covered by the deductible. Not to mention having to get the new window re-tinted
                              Yeah. I thought of that. I mentioned somewhere in one of the posts. I am on the fence about this. One benefit is that I could see from my house whether the car is armed or not (as in I forgot.)

                              Windows (and the tint) are covered by my insurance. Fully for vandalism. Deductable is $200. But, yeah, it would be a huge inconvenience. I took comfort in that my car was not at all busted up with the previous theft.

                              If I can make them take longer to do all this, and get the trigger sooner, there is a (small) chance the police might get there in time to catch them in the act. That is an additional area of the system I am working on (stalling them.)

                              Originally posted by SnyperBob View Post
                              Now don't get me wrong, I always root for projects like this, but I still have yet to see anyone actually follow thru with anything like this. If you can carry out what you say, I think you will have a formidable defense for sure. I'm sure you've already checked out the other security threads with similar ideas. I think the strobes and possibly some sort of smoke inside would be sweet. Good luck and keep us posted!
                              Nah. I didn't figure that you were arguing against it. Just kicking ideas around.
                              And I have probably already went further than most in that I have already purchased the DVR, quad, wireless video sender, 7" LCD (for inside), one camera, and several of the components I will need for my contoller (including latching relays.)

                              The controller will be the big issue. But I have a fair amount of experience with the AVR series of micros and I am an electrical engineer in my day job. I also design and build custom interactive exhibits for a museum exhibit company. I have a full electronics lab here at home where I can do everything from prototyping to final build (including plastic molding and custom metal work.)

                              The only real things that could hold me back are interest and time. If I loose interest, it may delay the build. If I can't find enough time it may delay the build.

                              I am sweetening the pot, though, by refusing to allow myself to install the carpc until I have the security system in place. Kind of a carrot dangling in front of me.

                              Anyways, any ideas on how to make the whole thing more useful 'in-flight' (meaning while driving and not being a security system?)

                              Thanks for the feedback!!
                              Scott McDonnell
                              http://sonatapc.blogspot.com

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