Looking for a "smart" driveway alarm

Hello All,

I’m a fairly noob HA user, got a few devices and automations up and running.

My main desire is to have a “smart” driveway alarm. Thus having notifications and automatons set up for if a person or car comes up my driveway. My neighbor has a Guardline brand alarm that works great, but only notifies the device that came with it (I’m assuming over radio waves) and doesn’t have any integrationgs capabilities.

When someone comes up my driveway, I’d like for a lights to come on and possibly get a notification on my phone. Seems simple, but IP cameras have distance issues, their motion detection is not up to the task, and there seems to be “dumb” devices that do the trick.

Any suggestions?


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Any more details? How wide the area you want to monitor is? What is the distance from sensor to trigger the notification?
Personally I use couple of Sharp IR distance sensors paired with Fibaro Smart Implant in voltage level sensing mode. These sensors are available in different specification (sensing area shape and measured distance), so maybe you could select something doing the trick for you.

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If just need notification when someone moving up driveway, maybe place one of the PIRs, used for garage object section on the doors, pointing to cover desired area of driveway and connect that into Arduino to mqtt, esp8266 to mqtt or RasPi running HA.

imagine driveway as rectangle with point A,B,C,D. A-B and C-D being long side and B-C being entry point to drive. If beam points at angle across driveway from midpoint (A-B)-C you will capture anything entering drive crossing that beam.
You may also use two beam to better capture movement from persons or animals not entering by traditional means but still traveling up driveway

Thanks for the suggestions. The driveway is about 15 feet across, and ideally I’d like the sensor about 50 feet or more away from the house, just the point where wifi starts to give up. I’ll check out your suggestions. I’m still in the learning mode.

Don’t use a PIR outside unless you want an alarm every time a cloud crosses the sun.

A break-beam sensor across the driveway might be more suitable. e.g. https://www.jaycar.com.au/weatherproof-commercial-grade-infrared-beam/p/LA5179

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Some years and a couple of houses ago, I had a driveway sensor that worked really well. It was in a tube, maybe a foot or 18" long that you buried beside (or under) your drive way. It would detect chunks of metal as they moved by. It had a cable coming out the end that you could bury, and then connected to a control box in your house that had dry relay contacts. In my case, I wired it up to a doorbell. You could imagine a number of ways to expose this as a “binary_sensor” entity in home assistant, maybe via ESPHome and an ESP8266.

Just doing a quick search reveals products like this: https://www.absoluteautomation.com/wired-driveway-alarm.html and there are also “wireless” versions at somewhat higher costs but probably don’t have relay contacts, just a receiver and some audible alarm.

I found that the product that I had (looking very similar to these) worked really well for me, and you only need to figure out how to run the wire… You could bury it next to your driveway and have it work well. I was able to install mine during the home’s construction and have it buried in the middle of a 2-car wide driveway before it was paved. Fortunately, it never needed to be replaced :slight_smile: Though the “sensor” is really just a coil of wire and less likely to fail than the wire getting struck by a shovel or something. If you can figure out how to run the wire, I’d recommend this kind of product.

Or if you’re adventurous, this https://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Mule-Wireless-Driveway-FM231/dp/B003765W0W/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=magnetic+driveway+alarm&qid=1572654804&sr=8-4 seems pretty inexpensive and if you can figure out how to hack an ESP8266 to watch the LED on that remote receiver come on, you’d be all set! Hardly a turn-key solution, but looks interesting as an advanced DIY project.

I think if you’re trying to sense car/vehicles, this type of “magnetic” sensor will be much more reliable than any sort of PIR or other motion sensor that kids/dogs/deer might set off.

Did you miss the “or person” bit?

Some of us have integrated the Guardline outdoor motion sensors with HA:

I just setup a Guardline sensor as well. The sensor seems pretty rock solid (so far no false alarms like other PIRs I’ve tried). I wired the relay contacts to an Insteon door sensor and it works great.

As mentioned above, the unit has only one set of contacts but supports up to 4 zones, so that’s kinda too bad. I guess hacking in something to monitor the zone LEDs would work, but Guardline, if your listening, I think the home automation community would be all over these if there was an easier way to monitor all zones!

@mirekmal do you have a write up on how you setup your Sharp IR Distance Sensor w/ voltage meter? Mostly curious about the wiring!

Thank you!

I use Frigate. Works pretty much flawlessly.

I posted some instructions here:
Garage Door Sensors - Hardware - Home Assistant Community (home-assistant.io)