Looking for a device that plays music when it turns on (automatically)
April 16, 2013 10:58 PM   Subscribe

Wanted: a device that places continuous sounds (music, random noise, mp3s) when it is plugged in. Most devices these days require you to plug it in to the wall AND push a button to turn it on. Goal: I want to make my place less attractive to daytime burglars. I live in a small apartment in a complex where everyone (literally) is at work during the day, and there are daytime burglars who use bump keys. I've already thought through door alarms, etc - but I'm looking for something passive and low effort by me. My idea is to buy a timer with random on/off, and connect a device to it that plays household-like noises. But everything I can think of requires you to turn it on manually (probably for energy saving.) I'm not looking for a PC based solution - want an appliance like device. Like radios from the old days - but ideally with music I can preprogram. Any ideas?
posted by StrictlyVague to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
maybe too simple but... buddha machine? plays nice, random loops. very low-effort.
posted by raihan_ at 11:06 PM on April 16, 2013

Why not a cheap wall timer plus an old FM radio that's just on/off and set to on?
posted by zippy at 11:16 PM on April 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

Just get a switched radio and a wall timer. Nothing better for this than talk radio.
posted by rhizome at 11:17 PM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe something like this plug in wall timer? You can program it to go off whenever you want and I think if you just randomly button mash the programming, it'll go off randomly. Just plug in the radio or whatever you want into the timer and it'll switch on and off for you
posted by astapasta24 at 11:18 PM on April 16, 2013

A $20 MP3 player and a $15 pair of speakers? Just generate a playlist that's padded with random intervals of silence, and set it on repeat.
posted by teraflop at 11:25 PM on April 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

Submitter is looking for an mp3 player that turns on automatically when it is plugged in, without requiring an ON button to be pressed. Most of them do. That's the real question here. They've already got the timer part worked out.

Radios won't work, because subby wants a personally designed program of sounds.

Do I understand correctly? Because that's what I'm googling for.
posted by themanwho at 11:30 PM on April 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Cassette player maybe? How many hours of sound do you want? Some cassette players will play on a loop.

Would an iPod alarm clock be out of the question?
posted by themanwho at 11:40 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It seems like it would be simpler to have an MP3 player always on, and connected to speakers that get turned on and off.
posted by Phssthpok at 12:02 AM on April 17, 2013 [12 favorites]

I came here to say cassette player, but actually Phssthpok's suggestion is smarter and simpler. Cheap mains-powered computer speakers, always-on looping MP3 player, connect speakers to timer plug, job done.
posted by pont at 12:24 AM on April 17, 2013

Not an answer to your question, but you should probably just get some locks that are resistant to bump keys. At my company we used Schlage Primus. We also bought a set of bump keys, a bunch of lockpicks, and assorted other lockpicking tools and set the employees attacking the locks (we're an engineering firm). After a week of on-and-off practice we had a couple very proficient bumpers, but nobody was able to mess with the primus locks. Your average lockpicker isn't going to get through them.
posted by ryanrs at 1:25 AM on April 17, 2013 [5 favorites]

Apartment dwellers may or may not be able to change their own locks, depending.

Truth to tell, though, I would bet anything your burglar is also your neighbor, in the situation you describe. They'll probably have a good sense of who is and isn't a daytime inhabitant of the complex; after all, you're their bread and butter. For the same reason, be cautious about your social media usage and privacy settings.

You may be best off considering a dog and using other anti-theft measures such as datadots and engraving, or things like a webcam recording to the cloud, perhaps rigged with a motion alarm. There's an upfront investment in time and money, but these things pay off down the road.

Though if you stick to your plan, you may want to mix in / switch out something like this home occupancy sounds CD.
posted by dhartung at 2:48 AM on April 17, 2013 [4 favorites]

How about rental insurance? You know, just in case.
posted by Kale Slayer at 4:42 AM on April 17, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Why can't you create a long playlist on an MP3 player, run it through speakers and have the speakers turned on or off on the timer?
posted by MuffinMan at 8:56 AM on April 17, 2013

Public radio is my choice. If the radio is on upstairs, and NPR news is on, it sounds quite conversational. Plus, dead easy. If you have a laptop or tablet, you may be able to control it from work, even talking through the speakers.

Yeah, take better security measures. If the landlord doesn't want the locks changed, ask if they'll be responsible for your losses if their lock is subjected to a bump key. Security is part of what a tenant should be able to expect in their home. Engrave and otherwise label your stuff, check into renter's insurance, get a webcam and record to a web location, and get your neighbors together to work on security. My retired neighbors keep the neighborhood safe.
posted by theora55 at 11:18 AM on April 17, 2013

Sleep For [Android] allows you to set a bazillion (rough estimate) alarms that can play any music/audio on the device. If you have an old smart phone, you could hook it up to the speakers and have alarms going off playing whatever you want, whenever you want. Oh, and you can specify the days of the week to be active.
posted by trinity8-director at 12:53 PM on April 17, 2013

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