Portable alarm system for travel and road trips

Portable Alarm System With Motion Sensor For Travel & Road Trips

Peace of mind for your vehicle, trailer, etc.. for travel and road trips staying overnight in a hotel. A portable alarm system with a motion sensor (or several) to alert you in a hotel room, just in case. A portable alarm system with enough range. Battery operated.

An alarm base unit receiver for alerts from portable alarm sensors placed in a vehicle, truck bed, box truck, cab, camper, trailer, etc.. One that will alert in your room, and will identify which sensor was triggered.

I use a two-pronged approach. I will describe and link to both of them in this article. A base unit receiver with its associated portable motion sensors (HOSMART system), and a portable stand-alone motion activated voice player (Sierra Teck).

One system alerts me at the base unit receiver (but does not alert at the motion sensor), while the other stand-alone unit will audibly alert right at the sensor when triggered (but there’s no base receiver unit). This gives me the flexibility to decide if I want an audible alarm at the sensor location, or not..

Okay, lets talk about a portable alarm system with enough transmit distance to reach your base receiver, even if not parked right outside your motel window. The company claims 1/2 mile (ideal conditions). However for this purpose, the max distance I’ve used in a hotel was about 400 feet from the vehicle and trailer (no problem!).

I’ve been using this exact DIY portable alarm system for years when we have traveled with the truck, pulling our 5th-wheel camper. It’s actually designed as a driveway alarm, but the do-it-yourself reference is about using this instead as a portable alarm system for travel and road trips. Let me tell you about it.

Portable Alarm System With Motion Sensors (long range)

It’s pretty simple. There’s a base unit alarm (receiver), and up to four alarm sensors (motion activated transmitters) that you can place anywhere. Before I get into it, here’s what I’m talking about..

HOSMART storefront on amzn:

BASE UNIT with 1 SENSOR
with 2 SENSORS
w/ 3 SENSORS
w/ 4 SENSORS

I keep my portable alarm system in a Ziploc as part of my ‘go bag’, ready for travel and road trips:

Portable alarm for road trips

HOSMART Alarm – Motion Sensor

Each alarm motion sensor has two accessible switches in the battery compartment. One is used for selecting the channel number (1-4), and the other to select motion sensor sensitivity (Low, Mid, High).

Refer to the manufacturer detailed instructions for setup and installation. But I’ll show you the motion sensor switches (sensitivity and channel selection).

All of my HOSMART motion sensors are the older style with the 18650 internal rechargeable battery (charged through a micro USB port). It stays charged a long time. I might recharge it once a year, maybe twice. The great thing is the base unit has a “Motion Sensor Low Battery” indicator, so you know when it’s time.

The newer style (I don’t have this one) has a battery compartment that takes four AA batteries. The switches are also inside the battery compartment.

TIP! Use Energizer Lithium AA batteries for excellent cold weather performance and longevity.

[ Read: Lithium AA Battery Is Often The Best Choice ]

[ Read: Lithium AA Batteries vs Alkaline ]

TIP! When using this portable alarm system with motion detectors for travel purposes, I set the motion sensitivity to LOW. This is about 15 feet. That’s plenty for this purpose (in a vehicle, truck cab, bed, box, trailer, etc..), and will minimize the chance for a false alarm trigger. The HI setting will work out to about 30 feet. Note that this is not the transmit distance to the base receiver, which is a LOT further!

HOSMART motion sensor switch settings

Motion Sensor Locations

Inside The Vehicle

My Channel #1 motion sensor goes on the truck dashboard facing in. It’s a nice visual deterrence too. You could literally set it just about anywhere inside, even on the console or seat. If someone gets in there, it’s going to trigger.

Truck Bed

The Channel #2 motion sensor goes in the truck bed. There’s usually ‘stuff’ in there when we’re traveling. Plastic bins filled with gear or whatever. When the truck bed cover is in place, I’ll drop the tailgate and set a motion sensor in there, facing out. Close the tailgate, lock it, and call it good for the night..

When towing the 5th-wheel, the cover will only partially close. But I will still place a motion sensor somewhere in the truck bed among the bins at the end of a travel day, just in case someone starts moving things around down in there.

Camper, Trailer, Box Truck

I will set a motion sensor somewhere inside, facing the door. I do all this at the end of the travel day because otherwise it would just get knocked over during travel. These are not permanently mounted.

Motion sensor lights up red when triggered:

HOSMART motion sensor

Motion Sensor Tips

If I set a motion sensor on the dash in my vehicle, will people walking by set it off or trigger it? No, not if the windows are closed. The infrared heat signature is blocked by glass.

Will I get any false alarms? I cannot say for certain. My experience has been fine. Being a sort of radio geek, I measured the HOSMART motion sensor transmit frequency to be 433.93 Mhz. Looking at the FCC tables, it’s within a frequency allocation used for “radiolocation”. So, it’s regulated.

What if the alarm alerts during the middle of the night? An alarm certainly would be unsettling during the night. I’ve not had this happen. Usually my vehicle and trailer are parked somewhere within sight of my room, if possible. So if there were to be an alarm, I could look outside to see (also a flashlight in hand). Don’t be foolish. Instead, be careful. The last part of this article will reveal an audible alarm that you might also use for deterrence, right at the motion sensor location.

tape placed over motion sensor to disable it

Between use, tape over the motion sensor to disable sensing (painters tape, etc.). This may help preserve the battery a tad by prohibiting the activation LED from lighting up during transport jiggles and such.

Number each motion sensor (1,2,3,4) to enable association between where you put it, and the base receiver unit channel numbers (for when it’s activated/triggered).

HOSMART Alarm – Base Unit Receiver

HOSMART receiver for portable motion sensor alarm system

The receiver is powered by a micro-USB and/or four AA batteries. I believe my unit came with a cable. You’ll have to supply your own AC/USB charger. I love the Anker brand, available on amzn:

Anker 12 Watt USB Charger
USB-A to Micro USB 6′ Cable

LED lights for channels 1 – 4. Each has its own unique sound when activated. There are ten audio level settings by using the ‘-‘ and ‘+’ buttons. It does get loud. I keep mine set at level 4, which is enough to wake me up if need be.

They claim 1/2 mile range. But that’s a perfect scenario. For the purposes of traveling, you will always be within easy range for this portable alarm system and motion sensors. I have tested this in a hotel with the signal going through lots and lots of walls (I was on the other end of the hotel) and it worked. Your mileage may vary, but that has been my experience.

Motion Activated Voice Player

motion activated voice player

Sierra Teck
(amzn)

I love this thing! It has a built-in motion sensor, a speaker, microphone, and on/off/volume switch.

You can record anything into the microphone, which will be played back when the motion sensor is triggered.

“The police have been notified. Leave the area immediately”. Or whatever.. It will certainly startle any would-be burglar who will likely take off.

Plus, just think of all the other fun uses for such a device (wink)..

I hope this gives you some ideas. This portable alarm system with motion sensors can be used for any number of purposes. Like I said, it’s designed as a driveway alarm, but obviously could be used for anything, including while traveling.

[ Read: The Best Magnetic Driveway Alarm With No False Alarms ]