Electronic Design

Integrated Alarm Goes Wireless

It's like a dozen different alarm systems in the palm of your hand. Simple convergence—long thought an oxymoron—has been achieved in the HomeHeartbeat home awareness system. This kit from Eaton Electrical immediately notifies homeowners via a wireless key fob or their cell phones when problems occur.

The kit consists of a basestation, a control, and a group of sensors (see the figure). Users plug the basestation into a phone line and power outlet. Next, they place the sensors in strategic locations around the home and then slide the Home Key along the basestation to activate the system. The Home Key's display takes users sensor by sensor, customizing their functions.

Several types of sensors are available and included in the kit. The water sensor detects leaks. Combine it with the water valve shutoff accessory, and HomeHeartbeat can prevent floods. The open/closed sensor keeps an eye on the status of windows and doors. With the power sensor, users never have to worry whether they left on the iron or other dangerous appliances. The benefits of the smoke and carbon-monoxide module are obvious as well.

The basestation, sensors, and Home Key communicate via the ZigBee wireless networking standard up to a range of 90 ft. According to the company, ZigBee was a good fit for the system, which doesn't need much bandwidth but requires long battery life, built-in network security, and scalability.

Extenders are available to boost the network's range an additional 60 to 90 ft. The system's "Call Me" function can send alert e-mails or text messages directly to SMS-enabled cell phones. The kit's ac-powered sensors are always on. Additional sensors will include motion detectors, gas detectors, and thermometers.

Eaton Electrical Inc.

TAGS: Components
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