I want a Hollywood style laser beam sensor to play with. The problem is that I have a pile of Motorola Homesight cameras and sensor, but none of them have lasers! This project documents my trials, failures, and successes in building a laser sensor out of spare parts I wasn't going to use while getting the Motorola Homesight software to recognize the homemade sensor. The Motorola Homesight consumer home security products are a rebranded version of the Xanboo products. They are virtually identical.
I will be gutting the camera and using the plastic housing to mount the laser. Since I'll be destroying the camera, I decided to use one of the "wired" cameras. The wireless cameras are still quite useful to me, so I've put them off limits for my projects...for now. The water sensor will be used as a contact/no contact interface into the Homesight system. I used a water sensor rather than a door or temperature sensor because I won't really lose anything if I fry it during my experimentation. I still find the door and temperature sensors useful. The challenge is to build a small circuit that can open or close the sensor's contacts based on presence/absence of the laser light and squeeze that circuit into the battery compartment of the water...er...I mean, laser sensor.
I should mention that I will be using a laser ripped out of a really cheap laser level that I found on clearance for ~$0.50. Cheap. You get what you pay for when dealing with lasers. In this case, that's a good thing. If you hook up a really powerful laser to this, you'll burn through your sensor, your house, your neighbors house, potentially setting fire to your sensor, your house, your neighbor's house. Heck, you might get lucky enough to blind your intruder or slice his legs off at the knee, or burn the hair off the neighbor's cat, etc. The risks outweigh the rewards though, so just go with your typical laser pointer style laser. K?
Step 1: Gutting the Camera, mounting the laser
Not sure that I need to go into how to take the plastics apart on the camera. It's pretty straight forward. The camera case does have a lot of potential that I won't be taking advantage of right away.
The lens hole is perfect for mounting a laser harvested from a laser pointer, laser level, or laser whatever. There are many cheap sources of red lasers, so I won't go into that, but that lens hole is where the laser is going to shoot from.
The white section below the lens hole is an infrared transparent lens for the camera's passive infrared motion sensor. I ripped it out before I realized how useful this could be in the future. (Thinking invisible infrared lasers...eye safety could be an issue though...)
So, anyway, take out the camera, being sure to not damage the plastic case. Then, hot glue the laser in place. Solder some longer leads onto the laser, wrap the solder joints in electrical tape or heatshrink tubing, and then feed the wires through the hole provided and down the neck of the camera case.
Incidentally, the camera circuit board itself is pretty neat. The connector makes one think that its a s-video connection, but its not. The pins on the connector are for the composite video, analog mono audio, and the motion sensor trigger (oh, and power and ground too). Very useful, so I've bagged it, tagged it, and thrown it into the closet for some other project, later on, in the future, at some point...honest...would you believe that my wife is rolling her eyes at me right now?
Okay, back on track. How to power the laser? Read on.