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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

after the recent theft of my outboard together with a number of other boats' engines from the marina hardstanding (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/[email protected]@dy-thugs.html) I started to look into alarm systems for boats. I did not find much apart from some rather expensive gear. So I thought I might just come up with my own system. These are my thoughts so far:

Most domestic alarm systems (both wireless or wired) available here run on 12V DC. I could run it from the battery (which is solar panel charged) with a fused voltage regulator in between. All systems that I have come across here have their own battery backup inside.

I found a reasonably priced system that allows me to contact both wired and wireless sensors. As wireless sensors need extra batteries (which can fail) and I don't know if they might interfere with any boat electronics I would prefer securing the hatches/engine etc. with wired Reed switches.It should not be difficult to wire the outboard in a way that the alarm would trigger if the engine charge cable would be cut through or taken off together with the outboard from the boat. I don't want to use motion sensors inside the cabin, as I think they might well give false alarms even when on hard. There are wired smoke detectors available that I could also use. The system has a built in GSM dialler that would alert me if an alarm has been triggered. I would connect an alarm siren as well (but I would only use it when berthed if I am really sure that the system is not causing any false alarms :) ). The alarm system can be set and disarmed both by remote switch or mobile. All that for around £100 + my work and the costs of the pay as you go sim card. I am not sure about the reliability of the system in a marine environment/air humidity, though. Any thoughts ? Has anybody here done anything similar ?
 

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Learning a bit every day
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is basically the type of system that I've been looking at ... from reviews of similar Chinese imports (most of that stuff is unfortunately coming from there now) biggest issues are the power supply which doesn't seem to comply with UK standards and is poorly constructed (not relevant as I won't plug into mains) and the life time of the wireless sensors' batteries. In the wake of what happened at the marina I have already installed a similar (though for the UK market built system and hence costing x 4) built system here in our place. It took an afternoon and it works a treat (and it is still funny when my wife forgets to disarm the system before she comes home - as the box rings me on my mobile :) ).

Wireless Wired Home Alarm GSM SMS Intruder System For Garage Storage House | eBay

I've looked at car alarms. Again, many do seem to work with motion sensors. Also, they would not allow me to set up different alarm zones which can be switched on and off separetely pending if the boat was unoccupied or not . Geo fencing and permanent GSM tracking is a great idea if I was worried that my whole boat would be taken. I really just want to stop break-ins and theft of outboard or solar panel.
 

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Phenolthalien is one of the ingredients used in a wine making test kit. It is thus available in wine making shops .It is also the active ingredient in Ex- Lax ( a fraction of a percent ) It is tasteless , oudourless and invisible .It also mixes well with alcohol. Any thief finding a bottle of wine aboard couldn't resist taking a swig, or many. If a spiked bottle of wine was stolen, the victim of the theft could probably get some pleasure out of imagining the outcome.
I'm just speaking hypothetically, of course.
 

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People around here often install battery-powered motion-detector alarms. They certainly work inside cabins. Setting one up in the cockpit might be problematical, with waves making the tiller move and setting it off, but it could be something you could work out by aiming it (or more than one) to cover different sectors. False alarms are obviously to be avoided, or you'll have people casting off your lines.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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If you go with the car alarm.. I would consider adding a 120db piezo "Pain generator" when it goes off, only a deaf man would be able to stay inside the cabin
 

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I know this only works in the good old USA, but IF I have legitimate fear for my life or property I have the following alarm systems:

Beretta 92A1- 0-25 yds
Bushmaster M4 Custom- 25-300 yards
Remington 700- 300+ yards

Sufficed to say I have never had an issue with any of my property
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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while that only works in a few areas (not even all of the US) it also only works while you are -at- your property. It does not stop people from messing with it while you are gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the replies. Brent, great idea about the chemical warfare/laced drink, but I wouldn't like to spoil a good wine (or any nice drink actually) - prefer having a glass myself at sunset on the boat :) ! Guns ... nah ... but I thought about connecting the railings to a cattle fence generator when Rockhopper is stored on hard. I will start playing around with a GSM home alarm and adapt it to the boat. I particularly like the ability to be able to connect smoke alarms (they also have gas sensors) and that it gives you specific text messages for any event that might occur including power failure. Will post some updates here as I proceed. Off to the electronics shop ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That is a good point, Multihullgirl. I do hope that the on site security/harbourmaster would actually investigate. Speaking to the police after my engine (together with several others) was nicked, this happened within a time frame of probably 30 minutes where nobody was looking at the CCTV. I am wondering if somebody did get deliberately distracted ... Also, the system that I am planning, will ring me on my mobile and home number should there be an alarm. A quick phone call to the marina afterwards should clear things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Patient, what I've got on the drawing board so far will cause an alarm if the engine is taken off the transom or the charge cables from the solar panel or engine are cut. I am busy soldering, gluing and screwing ... will post some pictures later tonight :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Ok, so here is the control box:



It does feel a bit flimsy, but the electronics inside are quite exciting. It talks, when it requests and acknowledges. It sends text messages to up to two mobiles and will give a spoken message two max. six different numbers. It will give you a detailed info on the type of the alarm or sensor that triggered it. It will also inform you if if there was a power disruption when it will be running on its own internal battery backup. Its a a bit more difficult to set up compared to the system we have at home as you have to go into a programming mode, then enter a the command that normally is a string or combination of numbers. But it certainly is far more powerful. If it will last as long, particularly inside a boat, well, time will tell. The wireless sensors are flimsy but the door sensor also runs on 12V ! I might use one around the companionway hatch, the rest will be wired.

I've made a box containing the power supply/voltage regulator. It also allows me to switch off the safety circuits for the outboard and solar panel should I decide to take them off the boat:



This is basically a weatherproof (IP64) enclosure, normally used for AC wiring in the garden that I got for £22 in the diy store. It will go inside the lazarette.



Prepared two sets of marine plugs for the outboard and solar panel:



And now off to the boat with the nine year old powder monkey to carry on the installation there and the refit :) .
 

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Wait, in the lower picture 'marine plugs for OB and solar panel'

So as you say, someone is cutting the charge cables, so why wouldn't they cut these? What happens if they do?

I'm trying to understand why not just install a heavy cable/bike lock type of chain or cable whatever to lock these things to the boat?
 
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