Can I use an old computer as a security monitor?

I am building a security system and I have an old Dell running windows 98 and with an Intel Pentium 3 processor and I was wondering if there was any way to configure it to send emails, text messages, etc. when the security system was tripped? The system will have an output port for each sector that will go high when there is an alarm in that sector. I was wondering if there was any way of writing some king of program to have the security system connected to the computer in such a way that each output on the security system would be connected to an input on the computer and when a specififc sector was tripped, it the computer would register that pin, and send a corresponding message for the sector? ( for example: the living room security output is connected to input one on the computer, the kitchen, input two, etc. when there is an alarm in the living room, input one goes high (or low, that could also be used) and the computer registers that input one has changed and sends a living room alarm message)? Thanks!

frollard8 years ago
read up on interfacing with the parallel port - it can with simple circuitry 'read' several ports Then its just down to scripting the computer - You'll need to learn at least 'a' simple programming language to make it all tick - take your pick. Anything with 'basic' in the name is usually a good starting point.
Yakumo6 years ago
I know its a old question but maybe someone will read it anyway:
Don't use Windows 98 on a system that has to run all the time, the internal clock will overrun after 18 days as far as i remember. in other words it wil just crash on a regular basis and there is nothing you can do about it. Linux would be a alternative, because its free and there are lots of tutorials for it. Another idea would be an Arduino with ethernet shield (also easy to learn and even here are lots of tutorials) not that cheap compared to a old pc but if you run it 24/7 you will save money in the long run because its way more energy efficient.
Parallel port is the way to go if you don't need more then eight or so sectors. Probably also the way to go for beginner diy if you need more then eight sectors, but then it gets complicated.

What there is to send email by script depends on what is set up in terms of outgoing email in the first place, but there are quite a few command line type things that can send them that would be fairly easy to trigger with a script. Text (i.e. SMS) can usually be sent via email (at least in the US and many other places) which is way the easiest way and often nearly the only way. Where to send the mail to fire a text off depends on the cell provider, google sms via email and you should come up with most of the majors. Your provider may also point it out on the web.