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IP home security surveillance camera

Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by Thumper, Aug 10, 2008.

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  1. Thumper

    Thumper Guest

    I would like to set up a camera (or two) to record the (1) front door
    and (2) back door of my suburban house. Here is what I have learned so
    far. I hope this helps people trying to get a sense of how this all

    I have have a question at the end about saving video / image files to
    the Internet.

    a. Indoor or outdoor

    Outdoor camera require a protective shell, which can cost $100 to $400
    dollars. Also, they are more involved to set up as you have to drill
    holes to get power and/or network LAN wires to the camera.

    I'm not sure if I want an outdoor cam or if it will be easier to place
    one at the window and have it peer outside. I guess an outdoor camera
    might scare away burglars, so you want them to see it outside. On the
    other hand, your friends might be freaked out by the outdoor cameras
    and think you're in the mob.

    The guy who owns this camera installed it inside his home at the
    window. It looks pretty clear to me (in the daytime): (By the way, he uses
    the Axis 207W network camera.)

    b. Audio

    Some camera have audio. Some don't. I don't see the need, unless you
    want to have some kind of intercom system at your front door.

    c. Nightvision and motion detection
    Again, some cameras have the ability to record in low light (low lux),
    which is a useful feature if one assumes many burglaries happen at
    night. Some cameras can see further into the distance at night than

    Motion detection is usually a function of the computer software you
    install with whatever camera you buy. You can define an area in the
    view of the camera and if there is movement, the computer can record
    or save a still photo. See section "e" for more info.

    d. Connecting to computer

    There are a few choices.

    i. You can connect the camera to the computer using an Ethernet (LAN)
    wire. In some cases, you can also get the electrical power to the
    camera in this way (Power Over Ethernet, or PoE). This is probably the
    best way to do it if you constructing your new home and can place
    wires wherever you want.

    ii. If you already have electrical power near the camera but no
    Ethernet wire, it's likely better to just get a wireless Ethernet
    camera (WiFi) and wirelessly connect it to your 802.11g wireless
    network router.

    iii. The easiest method for existing homes, however, appears to be
    HomePlug Technology. Basically, you connect your camera to your
    computer via your home's A-C power wiring. A USB adapter is plugged in
    near and connected to your PC and your camera. Somehow, the video
    signal moves through your wiring. Amazing. (Although I guess the video
    signal moving through the air is amazing too, when you think about
    it.) Logitech has a subsidiary called WiLife that sells stylish
    cameras that connect to your computer like this.

    e. Recording
    Here is the key part. Some cameras like the Logitech WiLife simply
    record to your computer hard drive. Which is okay as long as the
    burglars don't steal your computer.

    1. I'd like to know if there exists a software that would record still
    images (frames) to my hard drive AND upload the images to my web
    server (where I have 1 GB of space). That way, even if the burglars
    take my computer, their image already be safely saved on my web
    server, hundreds of miles away.

    2. Related question: Can one mix and match software for any of the
    major cameras (WiLife, Dlink, Lynksys, Axis, etc.).
  2. Bob La Londe

    Bob La Londe Guest

    There are some purpose built DVRs that have the ability to automatically
    send files to a remote site via FTP. This is very useful in large
    corporate WAN were bandwidth is managed, and backups can be done
    periodically during slow traffic periods.
    Yes, no, maybe... Not easily.
  3. wireless WiFi and solar/battery on lowlight CCD camera.. (no led's please)
    that should do you..
  4. Matt Ion

    Matt Ion Guest

    You'll have to drill holes in almost any instance - with a regular
    camera, you need power and video; even with a wireless camera, you still
    need to get power to it, unless you want to run it on batteries (and
    then you need space for a fair-sized battery if you want any sort of
    decent run time, keeping in mind that the wireless component will likely
    be the largest draw).

    You can minimize wire runs using a camera that supports PoE
    (power-over-ethernet, IEEE 802.3af), although that then also requires
    either a network switch/router with PoE, or a PoE "injector" module. See for more info.

    If you're not dead-set on an IP camera and/or don't need the higher
    resolution they're capable of, you can also use a standard camera with
    video baluns to transmit the video signal over a regular pair of wires.
    We've done several using basic station wire (four 22ga. conductors,
    cable will fit through a 1/4" hole), and they work great. In a pinch,
    I've even just run the video over the station wire without baluns - it's
    pretty limited to the length you can run before you start getting noise
    and signal loss, but it does work.
    Instead of a standard camera in a big boxy enclosure, consider a
    dome-type camera. They tend to be a lot harder to steal, look a lot
    cleaner, and are typically more damage-resistant (Lexan domes, and
    such). These are typically all-inclusive units, as most box-type
    cameras would require an excessively large dome.
    The current view (as of 20:30 on the camera's time) is borderline
    useless, because the evening sun is lighting up every smudge and
    particle of dust on the glass and washing everything out. At night, the
    inside lights will cause reflections on the glass and also severely
    diminish the image. An exterior enclosure is a far preferable way to go.
    There are systems made specifically for that - they look like standard
    door-buzzer intercoms but have cameras built in.

    Another thing you can do, if you want to get the door areas
    specifically, are pinhole cameras built to look like a standard door
    peep-hole. Frankly, I've never used one, but I have to believe they
    exist :)
    You could also just hook up a motion-sensor floodlight to turn on and
    illuminate the area when someone walks into its zone. This has the
    added benefits of providing some safety for people you DO want at your
    door, and of scaring off most bad guys who rely on the cover of night to
    do their skulking around. If they insist on continuing, well then
    they'll be well-lit!
    If I was wiring up a new construction, I'd just pull Cat-5e everywhere
    (or Cat-6 if I was feeling particularly flush). You can run network
    over it, phone, power, alarm, and with the appropriate baluns,
    composite, S-, component, and VGA video. Obviously you won't be running
    ALL of them over ONE wire... but using all Cat-5e/6 instead of running a
    mix-and-match of, say, network, coax, two-pair, bell, etc., gives you a
    lot more future flexibility, and the ability to double-up in some cases:
    for example, you could run one wire to your front door, an run your
    alarm door switch on it, along with power, video and audio for a "video
    enterphone". (And yes, there are reasons not to do this, which I'm sure
    folks here will be happy to jump in with... just noting that it IS
    possible and using it as an example.)
    Works well, as long as you remember WiFi's limitations in distance and
    transmitting through building materials.
    I've not used these specifically, but many years ago, I used a friend's
    14.4k modem setup that operated this way.
    There are several. Some IP cameras even have this functionality
    built-in. The IQeye series of cameras from IQinvision
    (http://www.iqeye,com), for example, can upload images directly to a
    specified FTP server, as well as email them to a specified address. No
    DVR, no special software required. It doesn't even require a local
    computer - just plug the camera into an internet connection. And they
    do make armored dome cameras, as well as larger armored domes designed
    to fit their "box" cameras.

    These are professional-level cameras, mind you, and IQ's are 1.3MP and
    up - much higher quality (see a full-size 1.3MP shot here:, but of
    course, also higher cost. There are many other "professional" grade
    makers, of course, such as Panasonic, Bosch, GE, National, Capture, and
    so on; the IQs are the ones I use, so I'm familiar with them.
    That depends. The software provided by a specific manufacturer with
    their camera, usually not. Third-party software tends to have support
    for multiple different brands and models of cameras. Most cameras also
    have a web-based control interface, though, so software is not required
    for configuring them. The IQeye's remote-sending options, for example,
    are all configured through its web interface.
  5. Jim

    Jim Guest

    Here's some thoughts on your post:

    So with cameras used as an alarm system do you think that you just
    might wind up with some real neat videos of complete strangers
    trashing your house? What's the point? You're hoping that your going
    to get burglarized by someone you know? How would your camera system
    deter anyone from simply covering their faces while they robbed you

    You can disguise out door cameras by putting them in decorations such
    as hanging baskets, or bird houses.
    Video is "better" if they don't know it's there. It's not a sole

    Cameras mounted indoors looking out of windows that are not mounted
    with the lens flush up against the glass will at sometime during the
    day or night (due to headlights or streetlights etc) give reflections
    that will obliterate the the view. With an infra red camera, it will
    definitely reflect all the time, at night, if not up flush with the

    Indoor cameras can store some rather personal moments as you tend to
    forget they are there.

    I hope you are considering installing an alarm system rather than
    depending solely on this camera system.

    IP cameras are very expensive.
  6. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    you forget to mention that if you're lucky you may have some pretty pix of
    the guys that stole your stuff...maybe including the cameras and dvr...but
    what then? Call CSI to investigate? Hah!

    **Crash Gordon**
  7. Tom Metro

    Tom Metro Guest

    I'd opt for an indoor camera if you can achieve the desired view from
    behind a window. I'd put the lens right up to the glass and/or enclose
    the camera in an opaque box to address the reflection issue others

    For your application of monitoring a door, perhaps not. If you're
    monitoring an interior of a building remotely, having audio will let you
    check that there aren't any unexpected sounds occurring, like glass
    breaking, a smoke alarm going off, etc.

    Some of the inexpensive IP cameras now have built-in motion detection
    that apparently works pretty good.

    As another poster mentioned, some IP cameras have the ability to upload
    stills or video clips via FTP. I've seen this on several fairly low-end

    There are also camera monitoring services available, which can provide
    remote viewing and archiving of your video.

    I ran across ZoneMinder ( for Linux. It can
    handle cameras from multiple vendors. They claim any camera that can
    provide an MJPEG stream or JPEG still will work. They have drivers to
    control the pan/tilt on a bunch of different models. Given some
    additional hardware and software, it can also handle analog cameras.

    I happen to have been researching low-cost IP cameras this past weekend,
    and the TRENDnet family of cameras
    ( seem to be among the
    best reviewed. They range from $70 to $300 depending on the combination
    of features: wired/wireless, night illumination, audio, pan/tilt. Most
    offer MPEG4 streaming in addition to MJPEG, which takes up less network

    The TRENDnet cameras all run Linux and have a mostly identical software
    feature set, that includes stuff like the ability to record video to a
    Windows or Linux file server, FTP upload, snapshots via email, dynamic
    DNS support, UPnP, and built-in motion detection. A few models have USB
    ports and will record stills to a flash drive.

    These cameras appear to be manufactured by a Taiwanese company
    ( and sold by several vendors with different
    enclosures, but nearly identical features, such as Zonet
    (, Gadspot (, and others.

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