The Dakota Alert system has been around for sometime now and I’ve owned 2 since I started prepping in 2010.
In normal times they serve as a great gate alert for those who have long driveways up to their property but in SHTF, the potential for monitoring access into your AO is unparalleled in simplicity and range when the grid is down.
From the website:
The MURS Alert™ transmitter is a passive infrared sensor that can be mounted on a tree or a post to monitor activity at remote locations. When the MURS Alert™ detects people, vehicles, or large animals, it will send an alert signal… The alert signal will be in spoken English, twice repeating the phrase “Alert Zone One,” “Alert Zone Two,” “Alert Zone Three,” or Alert Zone Four.” The four alert messages are easily selected at the transmitter so that up to four different zones can be monitored simultaneously.
The MURS Alert™ transmitter has five channels and 38 sub-channels to choose from. This will help to eliminate interference from other users. The MURS Alert™ operates on 6 AA alkaline batteries. The battery life should be about one year under most conditions.
The MURS Alert™ transmitter will have a range of up to several miles* back to the hand-held or base station transceivers. This extended range will help monitor areas that have been very difficult to monitor in the past.
They really are a nice piece of gear, but I take issue with the claim of up to a year on 6 AA batteries!
In my experience they are battery hogs, getting 3 months worth on a set of Alkaline batteries and 1 month on rechargeable with significantly less in the Winter months.
Running them on Alkalines is a very expensive route so the alternative has been using 6AA 2000mAh Eneloops and changing them constantly.
Today that changed with the simple mod I’m showing here. With this mod I can run the sensor on any DC voltage between 7.2vdc – 13.8vdc (probably 24vdc also if I had such a source) and increase the run time by using larger battery banks.
For my default setup, I’ve chosen a (3) 16850 bike light battery holder (2S1P) off of eBay as my power source, but can also use my FT-817 Battpack or plug into any 12vdc source if needed.
Currently I’m testing the battery run time on the (2S1P) setup but soon will be running it off my chicken coop solar setup on 12vdc for monitoring the driveway entrance, making battery change-outs a thing of the past.
The key to making it multi-voltage capable is a $2.00 DC-DC 3A Buck Converter Adjustable Step-Down Power Supply Module LM2596S and a few Anderson connectors and wire. The Anderson Connectors make moving from a fixed position and between various battery sources as easy as plug and play.
As the images below show the before voltages off the various sources range from 7.2v – 13.8v and the output of the LM2596S maintains a safe 7.2vdc for the Dakota Alert.
A little Krylon and you have hidden motion detection, even in the open like the front yard, it blends in well.
Above it is a trail cam that makes a good partner if you want to know what set your alarm off.
That’s my “hi-tech” monitoring system, next up will be how I made my “low-tech” system below…