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Paradox Magellan MG50XX series hack to talk with PC via DB9 (RS232)

Posted on 2014-11-05
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Last Modified: 2015-01-03
Hi there,

I have a Magellan MG50XX series model board witch used to be linked with an alarm central in the past. Now, I don't pay anymore for that service and the IP expansion is pretty expensive (Around 200$).

What I would like to do, is that the alarm system talks directly to a PC and then with a program that listens to it, could call external scripts such as powershell to send emails or do whatever I want.

Is there a way to make such things? I am an experienced IT and programmation guy but have very limited knowledge of electronic. Lets say I could pass from the phone cable to RS232 (DB9) and listen to the port for events or alarm trigger.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!
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Question by:Emmanuel Nadeau
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by:gheist
gheist earned 333 total points
ID: 40426116
According to SPEC it has serial port DB9 onboard, so any USB serial converter will do.
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Author Comment

by:Emmanuel Nadeau
ID: 40426790
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by:gheist
ID: 40427130
Half way between center and bottom right I see a connector labeled "SERIAL"
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Author Comment

by:Emmanuel Nadeau
ID: 40427139
I think that it is only for maintenance tasks, such as firmware and such. Will defenitly give it a try, but I am pretty sure it's not broadcasting alarm events nor triggers. Thank you sir and will keep you updated.
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by:gheist
ID: 40427255
There is no solder point anywhere else, so this must be the only interface.
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Stampel earned 167 total points
ID: 40428632
Looks like someone already did the job for you.
You make ask here : http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=136115&page=2

"Basic functions that currentley working:
Arm
Disarm
Detect zone open/close"
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Author Comment

by:Emmanuel Nadeau
ID: 40428884
Yeah but it takes a PRT3 module witch is 250$ so even more costy than the IP150 module :(
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by:gheist
gheist earned 333 total points
ID: 40429105
Command interface may be same once you get serial port right... (You know there are 5V and 3v serial ports that are burned with default 12V connection - just a word of warning.
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Author Comment

by:Emmanuel Nadeau
ID: 40429154
How do I do the cable?
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40429188
First measure output voltage
If you need voltage converter -- buy it, if not - rip an internal serial cable from old computer and connect via any usb serial adapter.
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Author Comment

by:Emmanuel Nadeau
ID: 40429220
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40429983
First measure voltage on serial header.
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Expert Comment

by:simvin76
ID: 40529511
I have the Paradox Magellan MG 5050 and I have found the following.

Right next to the LEDs on the board there is a serial port. On it are four pins, counting from top to bottom these are:
1: +12V
2: Ground
3: Communication
4: Communication

This is a standard TTL-serial interface and you can use a USB->serial converter like this one: adafruit TTL. Be sure to use one for 5V and not 3,3V.
If you use the one above change the pins on the cable to the following order (top to bottom)

1. Communication: Yellow (RX)
2. Communication: Orange (TX)
3. Ground: Black

Plug it in. The port communicates at 9600 bps.

If you use linux the device probably turns up as /dev/ttyUSB0.
To listen to the port:
sudo screen /dev/ttyUSB0 9600

Open in new window


Try opening/closing doors and arming / dearming. Your screen should fill up with junk.
You could try this program to log the traffic: jpnevulator

This is as far as I has gotten myself.
This is what I will do next:
- Using the jpnevulator I will record the messages for opening and closing of every zone
- Record the messages for arming
- How are the messages built? There is some kind of protocol. Are the messages different if the system is armed or not?
- Build some kind of program that catches the messages and acts on them.

BONUS:
If you also are going to use a Raspberry Pi to catch the messages you can let the alarm power the pi. In the middle of the lower part of the board there are several outputs. Two of these are marked AUX, this gives 12V. Buy a extender cord for a 12V car socket. Cut the cord and connect the cable to the AUX. You can then use a standard 12V car socket -> USB outlet to plug in the power cable to the Raspberry Pi.
The manual say you can put 700 mA on the AUX port and it is enough to power the rpi. And the best part: The alarm system has a battery to power it, so you get automatic UPS!

The above information was what I was looking for when joining Experts Exchange, and since I have written it myself, I didn't find it here. I will terminate my account, and post this information with pictures on my website (google will probably find it).
If you want to get in touch with me, email me: tre@artikel19.se.


Best regards
Simon
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