Hardware options for arming and disarming alarm

Im looking for suggestions on how to manually arm/disarm an alarm that is more convenient then wall mounting a tablet and entering a code on it. This is for people who will not always have a smartphone on them or dont like using it.

A super simple way would be a 433 MHz RF keychain button, but, well, thats not exactly very secure, anyone could pick up the code and reuse it later.

I could hack something together with an esp32 and RC522 rfid module, but Id struggle to make that look appealing and Id prefer something more off the shelve, especially since this will not be installed in my own house.

Is there anything “off the shelve” that can easily integrate with HA? Ideally some cheap chinese alarm system that I would only use for the access control panel, or something else?

Have you thought about just doing a secret combo of sorts to disarm or arm?

E.g. switch on a light, whilst toggling a power socket?

Toggling the light and power socket would require some remote, like a smartphone, which Im trying to avoid. its for older couple and it would probably be the default way they arm/disarm

I guess a sequence of button presses on a 4 button rf keychain remote would achieve the same, but that adds very little, since anyone snooping RF events would quickly figure it out, its barely more secure than just a single button press.

Its not a bad idea for “emergencies” though, I may actually do something like that myself in case I forgot my phone or its battery is dead.

I meant something that was physical, if you don’t have anything like that then I suppose that’s out. E.g. for me I have smart light switches, and wemo wall sockets, so they all have a physical button, and because HA monitors their state, I could use that as a trigger.

Ah, yes, no,no physical smart switches there unfortunately. And even if there would be some one day, I dont think they would like having to flash morse code with their light switches every time they enter or leave.

A bluetooth beacon is about as simple and unobtrusive as it gets. An RFID fob and reader is probably better in terms of security, and there are a number of threads on this here already, many using off the shelf hardware.

Not sure I know what a bluetooth beacon is or how it would help here?

Like a Tile tracker, or similar. It’s a little keyfob sized thing that broadcasts its identity.

You would use that with something that could react to the presence and automatically disarm the alarm - like Home Assistant :wink:

I have one of these installed in my door frame:

It connects to a GPIO on a Pi running a GPIO to MQTT bridge. You could use an ESP board.

I purchased some smaller rfid keychain tags for cents of ebay as the ones included are a bit chunky. Very easy to add them using the included master key.

I wanted to program my work swipe card as well but it must be on a different frequency as no matter how many times I tried the thing would not learn the card.

It’s not hyper secure as it is only a contact closure, though access to all the wiring is protected by alarm PIR sensors. Except for the door frame, which you would have to drill though in just the right place.

Thats not going to work for their purposes. You cant have that arm the alarm automatically when they are in the garden outside bluetooth range and one of their children enters the house and triggers the alarm. I can use their phones as trackers to disarm, but I really need a “manual” option to arm and disarm.

You have to swipe the keyfobs to arm/disarm. It’s range is about 1.5-2" though wood, 3-4" in air.

Yeah, thats one option, I had been looking at something similar:

Its not like the price is an issue, but it needs 12v for the reader, then 5v for the esp, I have to “hide” the boards somewhere, its gonna be a lot of wires and stuff that can, and probably will break while Im not around.

Something like that would work for me at home, but its not something I feel confident installing at someone else’s house. But if there is no other option, Ill just go dig up my soldering iron :slight_smile:

Sorry, my response was to tinkerer with his bluetooth beacons, but I messed up the quote. The RFID fobs themselves are fine of course.

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How about a Z-wave (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33001107176.html) or a Zigbee (https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io/devices/SWO-KEF1PA.html) key fob?

Zigbee2MQTT works really great as a substitute for Zigbee gateways.

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Those fobs look perfect actually. I havent yet used any zigbee or zwave yet, at my home its all wifi and RF for now, but in their place, zigbee is definitely an option; but I was hoping there was an easier way to get them to “talk mqtt” or otherwise integrate in HA than Zigbee2MQTT. I guess it not as simple as plugging a zigbee dongle in the raspberry?

You could checkout Conbee for an of the shelf product. There are some other nice products here:

I’ve used a Xbee with ZHA for a while but switched to Zigbee2MQTT as there were products not detected by ZHA.

I found that flashing an USB stick for Zigbee2MQTT is quite easy.

On this forum, those words have different meaning from most places lol.
Ill check it out, thanks for the pointers.