Plans for entry fob system?

Hi, folks,

I know there has been some mumbling about our current fob system, but I’m not sure there has been any convergence. So, I’d like to throw some things out there:

Our current system looks like homebrew connected to serial ports. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think that expanding it is going to be a lot of work simply to figure it out again unless the person who built it is still around.

So, the question is: what direction do we want to go given how much we want to spend?

  1. If we want to replace stuff with a system that is sort of “turnkey”, I have used systems from Uhppote before:

The system is this:

They’re … okay. It’s an old Motorola Coldfire board driving some relays with standard Weigand RFID reading. It’s mostly rebadged cheap stuff from China. It works. That’s about all that can be said for it. The software is clunky and requires Windows somewhere.

The upside is that they have lots of accessories like strike locks that can lock without power but still allow exit:

  1. We can go with an adhoc system that would be more like what we have. Unfortunately, it seems like most of the ESP8266 home automation projects have dried up. Personally, I suspect that you can attach a PocketBeagle or RPi Zero W to a solid-state relay module and it would be a lot easier to deal with than the ESP8266 since you would then be running full Linux. This would also let us expand the security areas far more easily since everything would just be a node on the network (either wireless or on straight ethernet) rather than requiring point-to-point hard wiring of the relay control pins. You also wouldn’t be particularly limited in number of channels.

The downside, of course, is that this requires programming unless there is an open source project that already pulls these bits together. It isn’t hard, but it’s tedious and bespoke unless you have a Django/Ruby-on-Rails/etc. person floating around. Oddly, the hardware is the easy part–I can build the relay boards you need probably in a weekend. The software takes WAAAAAY longer.

Of course, it’s a really good public project if you want to spend the time documenting it and sharing it with other hackerspaces. You also get the joy of being an open source project maintainer.

  1. Anything anybody else want to suggest?


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FWIW, the system we have now is Cerberus-Prox, which is one of those public projects shared with other hackerspaces :slight_smile:

I’ve been working with @kingkeyan to spec a new access control system. We haven’t synced up in the past few days (sorry) but the option the board is excited about is OpenPath. I’ve talked to their sales folks and they’re willing to just sell us hardware. It’d let us use smartphones for authentication (no more forgetting your fob) and hook up access control to Neon (no more manual auth database updates). We’d still be able to use old-school LF cards/fobs too.

The local alternative would be from LTS. The up-front hardware cost is in the same ballpark, but it doesn’t play very nicely with foreign systems so we’re concerned that we’ll wind up painted into a weird corner again by homebrewing a bunch of interop software that would be impossible for somebody else to figure out in a few years when we have the usual volunteer turnover. Something like OpenPath has a published/supported API with tech support if somebody needs to go in and tinker with stuff later.

Either way, we’re looking to replace the maglocks with electric strikes that’ll stay locked when the power goes out.

It’s not a top top priority project, but it’s moderately urgent. This month we’re already doing a couple grand of HVAC repairs and might have to refurbish/regas a laser, so we’ll probably do a new door controller closer to the end of April, pending people’s availability to do the work.

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FWIW, the system we have now is Cerberus-Prox, which is one of those public projects shared with other hackerspaces

Yeah, it’s unfortunately 10 years dead and we’re the top hit for it on a lot of search engines. :frowning:

This seems to be the only thing close and it’s from a Brisbane hackerspace:

However, it’s probably more useful for inspiration than otherwise.

As I’m not willing to babysit the system, I completely defer to anybody who wants to implement this now that I know people are looking at it.


#1 of of your proposal is essentially what I can offer as in hardware.
Anything from my supplier has the benefit of having a 3 year warranty, having a full tech team on hand for troubleshooting, and being a bit more expensive lol

As the old saying goes, “you’ve seen one commercial access control system, you’ve seen them all!” For all intents and purposes, the only real difference might be that LTS has a red menu and Upphote has a blue menu

^ what @Jon said. This problem has been thoroughly researched (the research actually began last summer) and as soon as finances and availabilities allow, we will be moving forward with the option that is most future proof. Abandoned, local only systems that require a high-level of technical prowess and no tech support or documentation simply don’t cut it on the future proof scale.