Picture of eLab Hackerspace GSM Access Control System
access control system 1.JPG
access control system 2.JPG
In this Instructable we'll show you hot to make a GSM Access Control System for your hackerspace/garage/house/bedroom/dormroom/laboratory just like the one we built for eLab Hackerspace. We only used some scavenged parts but they can be replaced with similar parts with minor changes.

Here's a video showing it working:

This system allows you to control who can access the space where it is used by keeping a list of authorised members phone numbers and also keeps an online log of entrances on Google Spreadsheets, so that you can check it out whenever you want and from wherever you are :)
It also allows you to choose which music should be played when a certain member enters the space! :)

Our main idea was to make a system that would allow anyone to open the hackerspace door using any cell phone just by ringing a phone number :)

For this instructable you will need the following parts:
- Siemens C55 cell phone / GSM modem / other cell phone with support for AT commands
- Data cable for cell phone or GSM modem
- Old computer / Raspberry Pi / BeagleBone Black / other single board computer
- PIC16F88 microcontroller / Arduino / other microcontroller
- ATX power supply / other 12V/5V power supply
- cables
- connectors
- DC geared motor
- screws
- MDF board / Acrylic Board
- Solder
- Hot Glue
- Discrete electronic components (resistors, capacitors, LEDs.... )
- Audio speakers

And the following tools:
- Side cutters
- Pliers
- Screwdriver
- Soldering Iron
- Hot Glue gun

This instructable has 7 main steps:
1 - Door opening mechanism
2 - Preparing the parts to be assembled
3 - Siemens C55 working as a GSM modem
4 - RS232, TTL and LVTTL serial communications board
5 - PIC16F88 board
6 - PIC16F88 programming
7 - Python application to send data to Google spreadsheets

This instructable has all the necessary information to make a similar system. However, if you are interested in more details and seeing better quality pictures check the original post on: http://www.thebitbangtheory.com/2013/11/elab-hackerspace-gsm-access-control-system/
lcaswell1 year ago
any ideas on boosting signal power on a phone that uses gsm signals
eLab (author)  lcaswell1 year ago

Hmm.. we can only remember two options. The first one is to find the antenna traces on the phones' PCB, cut them and solder some wires for an external antenna with a higher gain for the GSM frequency that the phone should operate on (some older phones even have a connector to plug an external antenna). In case the phone uses a chip antenna you may just desolder it and solder the nem one. For better performance the new antenna's impedance should match the impedance of the phone's antenna. The second option would be similar, but instead of just replacing the antenna you might try to find a GSM signal booster like these ones: http://bit.ly/1dpwjBi and connect it to the antenna output of the phone. However, we never tried such things :)

Great work guys, cool hack :)
eLab (author)  aldricnegrier1 year ago

Thanks a lot aldricnegrier! :)

looks like a 486 system to me . but i could be rong tho.
eLab (author)  astral_mage1 year ago
Hi! It's an old computer, but not that old :) It is a Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 1.50GHz with only 256MB of RAM :) An interesting thing about the computer is that the CPU heatsink mounting piece was broken and now the CPU heatsink is kept in place with zip ties :)
have u tried double sided thermal tape. or copper plumber expoxy. it does have some conductivity as well.
eLab (author)  astral_mage1 year ago
No, we didn't try that. We just applied thermal paste and tried using the zip ties. Since it worked perfectly, we followed the worldwide known rule: "it it's working, let it be!" :P
dbess1 year ago
OK. so this keeps track of how many people go in and out?
eLab (author)  dbess1 year ago
Hi! This system opens the door and registers who gets in and when someone gets in and publishes it to a Google Spreadsheet which is then published on a webpage so that we can see who is at eLab Hackerspace at any moment :)
isma141 year ago
Awesome! Keep the good work ;)
eLab (author)  isma141 year ago
Thank you for your comment isma14 :)
pablomar331 year ago
Amazing! good work! very smart! (voces são todos brasileiros por acaso;;) abc bro!!
eLab (author)  pablomar331 year ago
Thanks for your comment! :) (falamos a mesma língua mas não somos brasileiros, somos vários portugueses e um espanhol :) Abraço! )
deqwer1 year ago
since the software is based in linux can it also work in raspberry pi?
eLab (author)  deqwer1 year ago
Hi deqwer! Yes, the software is 100% compatible with the raspberry pi. You just need to have python installed and install the other packages that we mention on the instructables :) We have plans to replace the old computer with a Raspberry Pi as soon as we get some money to buy one :)
gregory771 year ago
wow thats clever :)
eLab (author)  gregory771 year ago
Thanks! gregory77 :)
bdo carmo1 year ago
I want it in my house door! :D
eLab (author)  bdo carmo1 year ago
You can make it by following the tutorial :) If you have any questions just ask us :)
fmartins871 year ago
Really cool project and very well explained. Thanks. Keep going with the good work.
eLab (author)  fmartins871 year ago
Thank you very much fmartins87! :)
pedrorito1 year ago
very cool!
eLab (author)  pedrorito1 year ago
Thanks a lot pedrorito!
gpereira41 year ago
Good Work!
eLab (author)  gpereira41 year ago
Very good explanation, very detailed.
One of the best projects i ever seen in instructables.
I'll do it in my garage for sure :)
eLab (author)  _The_Doctor_1 year ago
Thanks! If you need any further help replicating the system, just let us know :)
abelguinha1 year ago
Great stuff. Keep up the good work. :)
eLab (author)  abelguinha1 year ago
Thanks abelguinha! :)
Great project, excelent detailed explanation.
eLab (author)  sergiovasconcelos1 year ago
Thanks! We're glad you liked it! :)
msaleiro1 year ago
Wow! Awesome stuff!
eLab (author)  msaleiro1 year ago
Thank you for your appreciation! :)
joaoduarte1 year ago
Pretty cool project! Very well explained :P
eLab (author)  joaoduarte1 year ago
Thanks joaoduarte! :)
that is so cool!
eLab (author)  assemblyrequired1 year ago
Thanks for liking our project! :)