My car has been broken into 4 times in the past 6 months. The first time the thief managed to steal my car and all of my camping gear. My car was returned the same day by the police. All of the other times a window was broken out to gain entry and the thief has rummaged through my tapes and glove box. The thieves around here apparently don’t like Slint, Tortoise or The Flaming Lips. Other than the first break-in, nothing has been stolen. The windows that I have been replacing are not cheap.

I decided to move to a new neighborhood, but whilst I am still here I must do something to protect my car. I have been leaving my windows down and locking the trunk latch, but that lets humidity and rain in. Yesterday I thought about purchasing an alarm, but I see them as a huge nuisance and they are really just noise pollution machines. Today I decided to try a little experiment. I am going to build the illusion of an alarm system.

With the help from a very friendly Radio Shack Employee and an Electronics book left over from my high school days, I have created a blinking red light for about 6 bucks. All you need is a soldering gun, some solder, some small wire and a steady hand. Also a “protected by viper” sticker in your window helps.

So starting tonight, I will lock my doors, roll up my windows and turn my little blinking red light on each time I get out of my car. If this works, you probably won’t hear anything more in this node, if it does not work and I get broken into again I will promptly let you know about it.

Use the schematic and parts list below. Make sure the power wire is long enough to reach an "always on" power source such as your in-dash clock, which you can easily connect to via your fuse box. You also want the wires from the board to the LED to be long enough to mount the light.

+3 to           |              |      |                  +V out
+15V        R1  _              |      |      
            1k  \              |      |   
                -             __________
                |            | 4     8  |
                0____________|7         |
                |            |          |
            R2  _            |          |
           10k  \            |          |
                -            |          |
                |            |          |
                |            |   IC1    |
           VR1  _            |         3|__________
           220k \ |-         |   555    |         _ R3
                -  |         |          |         / 1k
                0__0_________|6         |         -
                |            |          |         |
                0____________|2         |         |
                |            |__1_____5_|         Y LED1
               _|_+C1           |     |           T
                T 10uF          |    _|_+ c2      |
                |               |     T 100nF     |
0V              |               |     |           |           0V

R1 - 1k/.25W Carbon Resistor
R2 - 10k/.25W Carbon Resistor
R3 - 1k/.25W Carbon Resistor
VR1 - 220k Carbon Preset Potentiometer
C1 - 10uF/25V Electrolytic Capacitor
C2 - 100nF/50V Ceramic Capacitor
IC1 - NE555 timer chips
LED1 - 5mm High Brightness Red Led

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