It’s a trap: How to make your very own tripwire alarm (and why you need one in the first place)
02/29/2020 / By Darnel Fernandez / Comments
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It’s a trap: How to make your very own tripwire alarm (and why you need one in the first place)

Whether it’s your actual home or your bug-out location, most people would definitely want the place they sleep in to be as safe as possible. However, if your shelter lacks any sort of home security, it will be an easy target for potential intruders. Home invasions can happen when you least expect them, especially during a SHTF situation. In fact, a recent survey found that more than two-thirds of Americans— including 72 percent of women — do not totally feel safe in their own homes. Some people look to state-of-the-art security systems as a means to defend themselves, but these are often extremely pricey and are not without their limitations.  Instead, you can use traditional tripwire alarms to keep your home safe. (H/t to

Simple but effective

Tripwire alarms are among the simplest but most effective ways of setting up a home security system. The “tripwire” itself is a very thin wire or line stretched across a pathway. This tripwire is then connected to an alarm system that triggers automatically when someone passes through the rigged pathway. Nowadays, there are also modern iterations of tripwire alarms that don’t even use wires which could be useful in certain situations. (Related: The best home defense tactics that protect your home from intruders.)

Below you can find a few of the most common tripwire alarms used today:

  • Direct tripwire alarm. The simplest and cheapest type of alarm to set up. This uses the standard rigged tripwire connected to either a loud keychain alarm or an attack alarm. While it may not be the most sophisticated, it can still get the job done. However, since the alarm is directly connected to the actual tripwire, you would need to be quite close to the trap for you to be alerted.
  • Radio-frequency tripwire alarm. This type of alarm uses a radio transmitter to activate the alarm using radio waves. Similarly to the direct variant, a wire is stretched across a walkway, causing any intruder to trip it as they cross. However, instead of a close-range alarm going off, it sends signals to activate the alarm remotely.
  • Laser tripwire alarm. Also known as an infrared tripwire alarm, it uses invisible beams instead of a physical wire.

Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages so it would be wise to choose one that feels right for you and your home security budget.

How to build your own tripwire alarms

In emergency situations, you might not be able to go out of your way to get yourself a readily-build tripwire alarm system. In these situations, it’s best to know how to make your own tripwire alarms to create a more secure residence or bug-out shelter.

DIY Direct tripwire alarm

With this being the most economical option of the three, you only need very few items to get this type of alarm to work. This makes it a fantastic option if you want to place multiple alarms around your property without spending a lot of money. To build one of these, you would need a roll of thin wiring and a very loud attack alarm or keychain alarm.  The louder the alarm, the better the results.

If you’re outdoors, you can start by attaching the attack alarm directly on a tree trunk or a pole. For in-home defense, set one up on the door frame. Afterward, tie one end of the wiring to the pin of the alarm and the other end to an opposing tree or the other side of the doorway. The wire should be taut enough to keep off the ground but not enough to set off the alarm prematurely.

DIY Radio-frequency tripwire alarms

Building a radio-frequency tripwire alarm is relatively cheap and easy. For this, you will need these items:

  • Wire
  • Fishing line
  • Metal screws
  • Wireless doorbell
  • Clothespin

To integrate the wireless doorbell into an alarm system, you would need to modify it. Remove the doorbell’s housing and locate the main switch. Solder a piece of wire to the terminals found at each side of the switch. This process allows you to add an external switch that will activate the transmitter when the wire is pulled. You can use a set of wooden clothespins and a few metal screws. Wrap the wire tightly around the screws so when they touch, it completes the circuit and activates the transmitter.

Afterward, you need to set up the actual tripwire. Any form of wire will do, but a fishing line would work best because of its durability. Connect the transmitter and switch to one end of the fishing line then insert the wire between the two screws of the clothespin.

Learn more about keeping your homestead safe from intruders at

Sources include:

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