General Purpose Alarm Device (GPAD)

Invention Coach:

Lawrence Kincheloe

Public Inventor(s):

Lee Forrest Erickson


The General Purpose Alarm Device (GPAD) is a programmable alarm panel/device that makes loud noises, flashes a bright light, and gives an 80 character message when something goes wrong. It is open source hardware and software which is meant to be programmed by hobbyists from another microcontroller. If your make or project needs an alarm, don’t build your own—use GPAD or build on top of our design!

Checkout the repo:

Please contact or see our repo above for more technical information.


This work is a collaboration with the Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC).

The GPAD is based on the Arduino UNO, and can be controlled either through the serial port or via an SPI interface with an RJ12 data cable. It modularizes the common functionality of providing a loud, flashing alarm, which is needed on many projects. The repo gives examples of the simple API used to set the alarm state, including the text message. It is powered by a 12 volt power plug (a “wall wart”).

The GPAD does not detect the conditions that need to be alarmed. It is a peripheral to a controlling host device which will assert status through the GPAD to an end user.



Skills Needed

Arduino programming, documenetation, audio subsystem design

Quarterly Goals

  1. Test the enclosure
  2. Develop good test software
  3. Make the software useful