Picture of Laser Tripwire Alarm

No security system is complete without lasers. So in this project I am going to show you how to build a laser tripwire alarm from a laser point, a couple of mirrors, and a few dollars of electrical parts. With this you can cover an entire house with an array of light beams. If any one of them is crossed it sets off your alarm. It can be a standalone alarm or it can be integrated into a larger DIY security system. 
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Step 1: Safety Note: Working with Lasers

Picture of Safety Note: Working with Lasers
Cheap laser pointers that you find in most stores are generally restricted to 5mW or less. These are generally considered safe. However, it is still possible to damage your eyes if you are not careful. When working with lasers, it is a good idea to wear the appropriate eye protection.  Avoid looking directly at the laser diode. 

Also never point lasers at aircraft. 

Step 2: Parts

Picture of Parts
Here are the parts that you will need for this project:

Laser Pointer
Printed Circuit Board
555 Timer IC
IC Socket (optional)
3-12 Volt Buzzer
CdS Photoresistor
2 resistors
3 AA Batteries
3 AA Battery holders
Jumper Wires
Heat Shrink Tubing
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Drakelin22 days ago

I'm new to the world of electronics and circuits, would a SPST switch instead of a SPDTswitch cause this circuit to not function properly? like say not reset when turned off?

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  Drakelin22 days ago

Yes a SPST switch would not work. You could design a circuit that would use a SPST. But this circuit needs a SPDT.

is there a specific circuit board needed?

As long as you follow the circuit diagram, it doesn't matter what kind of board it is on.
VictoriaF21 month ago

Awesome tutorial! I was just wondering how I would go about attaching a 1 second long buzzer/chime to the circuit; of course everything would change. Do you have suggestions on how I can start it?

There are a lot of ways that you can wire a 555 timer circuit together. You might want to check out this project to see if it is more like what you want.

Also look at the wikipedia page for more 555 timer circuit configurations.

JohnS612 months ago

The second I turn on my board, it beeps without even interrupting the laser beam. Help please.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  JohnS612 months ago
If the light is shining on the photoresistor when you turn it on, the you probably need to use a different value of R2
ashish083 months ago

how can i find the value of R1

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  ashish083 months ago

Just use a 1kohm resistor

ashish083 months ago

if i change value of R2=2.4k,which value of R1 should i use

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  ashish083 months ago

R1 can be anything that is 1kohm or greater.

ashish083 months ago

when laser pointed on LDR value is 2.4Kohm and in darkness the value is 7.5Kohm what should be the correct value for R2

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  ashish083 months ago
Try about 2.4K for the R2
ashish083 months ago

hello.. buzzing sound is coming when the laser is pointed on LDR r even when the switch is reset..what may be the problem plz can you help me

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  ashish083 months ago

try a different value for R2. If it is not balanced with photoresistor it may be constantly triggering the alarm

rahul19967 months ago
thanks alot broo

can u show me your circuit diagram.. plz...

Yo bro, can you by any chance make a video showing how to assemble the circuit?
thank you

Shashwat 5563 months ago
Thanks a lot bro
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author) 3 months ago

The circuit is connected according to the circuit diagram. If you need help reading a circuit diagram you can check out this instructable for a guide:

If you use the same circuit board or breadboard, you can also just put all the parts in the same location as you see in the picture and it should work.

Shashwat 5563 months ago
Can you please show how you joint all the parts I.e. how you made the circuit plz reply as fast as you can
brityock5 months ago
What are the values of the resistors photo cell and 555 timer ic
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  brityock5 months ago
R1 can be anything kohm or higher
R2 should be approximately the same resistance as the photoresistor in the desired lighting.
The timer IC is a standard 555 timer IC
Amukim6 months ago

plz help me it keeps on ringing even i turn on d laser

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  Amukim6 months ago

The way the circuit is designed, the alarm will stay on until the laser is shining on the sensor and the reset switch it flipped. So make sure that the laser is on the sensor. Then flip the reset switch.

but wen m shining d laser it keeps on buzzing........

Amukim6 months ago

when m putiing nothing its still lighting up plz help me

akshay.d218 months ago

Hi Jason,

Please can you help me trouble shoot my problem ? i saw this amazing project on as well,

My Photoresistor is showing different resistance in different rooms ( Obviously ! ) But how do you make it compatible for different intensities of light as well as different atmospheric conditions. i.e Cloudy or sunny weather.

Thanks for sharing this amazing project. :)



DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  akshay.d218 months ago

The best thing to do is replace the series resistor with variable resistor (potentiometer). That will let you make adjustments for different environments.

Thanks for replying ! :)
Please could you answer my last queries :(

So should i use a POT in place of R1 or R2 ?

What should be the other resistor value ? and if you want the beep to last longer what should you do ?



JonasV17 months ago

mine works the opposite way, any idea why?

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  JonasV17 months ago
opposite how?

the buzzer turns off when de laser doesnt hit the LDR and turns on when the laser hits the LDR

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  JonasV17 months ago

Check to make sure that your photoresistor is wired up correctly. It should connected to pin 6 and GND (pin 1). If the photoresistor and the fixed series resistor where switch, it could cause this problem.

AbhroM7 months ago

do this favor as fast as u can

AbhroM7 months ago

Can u show me the wireings? Please

How viable of an option would it be to replace laser/CdS with infrared emitter/detector? I assume it would be similar in all aspects, but shorter potential working distance?

That would definitely work. But the shorter range would prevent you from using mirrors to create a sensor grid.
cstierle9 months ago

I am sorry if this has already been answered but I didn't see it. Is there a way to have the alarm reset automatically when the laser is re-pointed at the photoresister?

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