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How can I build a smoke detector that sends me a text message? Answered

I'm a little OCD about lights being off, the stove being off, etc.  I've seen ads for products in the UK for smoke detectors that can send a SMS message to up to 4 phone numbers.  Anyone know of a way that I can hack a current smoke detector to do the same thing?  


I think the best way might be the use of a prepaid SIM card like they use in cell phones, by passing a home computer or WiFi network all together. If you have cell phone signal where you live.

1. If you get a text as soon as the detector goes off and call the fire department right away then it is actually better this way because you know for sure someone is on the way. You can also call other people, maybe a neighbor next door and they could beat the fire department there and maybe let out your dog or something important.

2. You don't need to know programming to do this, you can buy pre-made boards to do almost anything. I'm not sure how it would be done right off but even if you had to program something that can be outsourced for not much.

I like the ideal of this and not paying ADT or someone a monthly fee. Did you ever figure out how to do it or did these two talk you out of it? I would like to design one of these too and I have some background in electronics. If you haven't finished it already we could bounce some ideals around?

Rick has a good point...to add to #1

...I work for 911/ems fire dispatch. Alarm monitoring companies are the only reliable option. If you auto-dialed an emergency number with a recording yes, we would respond - but many areas have bylaws against it - and theres no guarantee it will go through. Most emergency services won't accept SMS. (too little information/risk).

If you want a response when your smoke detector goes off, pay a real company to do it. Imagine being a fire department who needs LOTS of TIME SENSITIVE information and you get a phone call from someone who just got a text message. Now, when you call emergency, you get LOCAL emergency. If you aren't near your home, there will/can be a substantial delay getting the information to the correct responders, if they don't share common dispatch.

As for the actual question at hand;
You need to split it up -
you need the ability to detect smoke/fire
and the ability to send an sms.

Phones make great messengers for sending sms, and you can get web services that you can relay messages via smtp/pop email. It's fairly easy to interface with that software - search for 'arduino sms' and you'll find a bajillion projects.

As for hooking the two together, you have lots of options, all involving serial communications - either to a computer directly, or bluetooth, or direct to the phone. If on the phone you'll usually need an app on it to translate your instructions to an sms. The downside to the phone service is it's usually gotta be a paid sms phone in order to send messages...paying sucks. The problem with a web relay is ...its not in your control - if it fails or changes addresses...you're still screwed.

1. If your away from home when the alarm goes off then it's better to send the message to the fire Dept. Otherwise by the time you get back all you will find is a smouldering ruin.

2. Alarms are only of use for people who are in the house so they can evacuate in time to save life they are not reminders to turn things off.

3. To do this you would need to embark on some microprocessing - Are you skilled in programming or prepared to learn?