Proper Use of Trip Wires for Home Security

Posted by   Steve Thibeault
02/19/2015
0
Trip Wires

Despite what you may have seen in the movies, trip wires aren’t actually for tripping intruders. Well, let me rephrase that. Trip wires can be used to trip intruders, but that’s often not the primary goal of using them. Here we’ll discuss trip wires for home security.

Instead, the wires are meant to "trip" an alarm of some kind. For example, the wire may be strung across a hallway and attached to the pin of an alarm. When the wire is tripped, it pulls the pin and activates a siren and flashing LED light.

You can construct a very simple alarm with this principle in mind by using a small piece of cardboard and a spring clothespin. Wire up the jaws of the clothespin so that when the jaws come together, they complete the alarm’s electric circuit. Attach the clothespin to the wall adjacent to a hallway or doorway.

Trip Wires for Home Security

Trip Wires for Home Security

Place the piece of cardboard between the jaws of the clothespin, preventing the circuit from being completed. Run the trip wire from cardboard and across the hallway or doorway. If the wire is tripped, it will pull the cardboard from the clothespin, completing the circuit and activating the alarm.

You can use a similar setup to alarm actual objects, too. Attach the trip wire to the cardboard and just attach the other end to the object. When the object is pulled from its location, it will pull out the cardboard.

Another variation on this theme is used outside for perimeter security. Let’s say you have an outbuilding and you want to ensure people don’t cut behind it to sneak up on your house. Pile some brush at the ends of the likely path the intruder would take. Attach your trip wires to these piles of brush in such a way that when the brush is moved out of the way, the wires will activate your alarms.

The material used for a trip wire should blend into the surroundings as best as possible. For example, don’t use a black wire over white carpeting. It should also be fairly strong. If the wire is tripped, you don’t want it to just snap and thus not activate your alarm.

If you plan on using trip wires for home security, you might want to pick up a package or two of small eyebolts at the hardware store. I’ve found these work great when stringing the wire.

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