How to set up a home security system without Cloud services or monthly fees

Hello Neighbors

Recently, I’ve been looking at setting up home security systems that require no contracts.

I ended up using 2 systems:
A DIY home security system (using z-wave compatible devices with HomeGenie) – pretty much an Internet of Things system that does not require a cloud service. Also, it does not require that your devices be exposed to the Internet.

  • you can get the texts notifications for free, however if your computer turns off for whatever reason, nothing will work (which is why I decided to also get a more reliable system)
  • HomeGenie also shows images from your IP Cameras (if you have a URL for it. Usually it’s something like: http://[ipAddr]/snapshot.cgi)
  • you can set it up so that it is only accessible in your internal home network – You can use TeamViewer (free for personal use) to remotely control your HomeGenie computer from the Internet.
  • Another advantage to using TeamViewer to access your computer on your home network is that you don’t have to expose your IP cameras to the Internet.
  • [todo: figure out how to make a heartbeat system to tell whether the computer is on].
  • [todo: figure out how to use a cell phone to send SMS instead of having the computer email it (in case of power failure)].

In case of a power outage, I also got Simplisafe – which is more well known.

  • Will work even if the power is out because it uses cell towers to send notifications to the monitoring center, but you’ll have to pay for that.
    which have optional plans of:

    • $15 (call your phone, police dispatch)
    • $25 (remote monitoring on cell phone)
    • $0 – you still get the siren sound.
  • DIY Zwave Simplisafe
    Arm/disarm system Web page/phone – can do so remotely Keypad w/PIN / keychain (no PIN)
    Sensors Many vendors (check if they support Zwave) Simplisafe sensors only
    Connectivity Requires Internet to be up. Computer needs to be powered on. Uses cell towers.
    Notifications Free Email notification Must pay for monthly interactive plan for email notifications/remote control.

    The video

    After watching the video, be sure to check out the addendums at the bottom of the shownotes. One thing I forgot to mention is that you have to set up an email account to send the email from. Also, I remember that installing the drivers for the z-wave controller on Win10 wasn’t straightforward. If you run into an issue, let me know and I’ll post a video showing how to install the driver.

    The hardware

    I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d use the affiliate links (just need to click one of them – you can add more items to cart directly from

    Z-Wave Controllers

  • Z-Wave stick S2 (used in this video)
  • The new version of the stick – supports Z-Wave Plus devices
  • Note: Other Z-Wave controllers cost 90-150

    Motion/Door/Tilt Sensors

  • [Amazon search: “Ecolink Z-Wave”]
  • I used Ecolink, but you can use other z-wave compatible sensors as well.

    Other Z-Wave Gadgets

  • Siren
  • Energy Switch
  • Low powered computers

  • [Amazon search: “raspberry pi”]
  • [Amazon search: “stick computers”]
  • These ones have good reviews:
    Quantum Access w/LAN ($140)
    AWOW Intel Atom Z3735f ($100)


    Addendum [Email setup]

    Click the Configure > Go down to the Messaging and Social section > Expand “E-Mail Account”
    From here, you’ll have to Google the smtp settings for your service provider.
    Here are the SMTP servers for the common providers:

      Gmail –
      Yahoo! –
      Hotmail –

    SMTP username – Put your full email address
    For SMTP Port: Use 587 or 465

    Addendum [Notes on Security]

    Set a password for your HomeGenie dashboard

      Go to Configure > Maintenance > Expand “HTTP Settings” > Click the ‘Set’ button on the right

    I don’t recommend buying zwave locks in case the protocol is hacked. Here is a YouTube link of a security researcher unlocking a z-wave lock without knowing the key combo.
    On your wireless router, make sure you are using WPA-2 and have a secure password.
    Use 2FA on your TeamViewer account.

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