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Security system ideas wanted

Discussion in 'Misc Electronics' started by TBA, Nov 15, 2004.

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  1. TBA

    TBA Guest

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me some ideas. I have a few floating in my
    head, but the problem I'm having is, person who approached me with this
    question doesn't want to have to invest big bucks for a short time. Let me

    Problem: A person is getting into someone's mail box and going through the
    mail. We feel it would be too costly and/or disruptive to have anyone watch.
    So, I was asked about a security camera set up.

    My idea(s): I'm thinking a system activated by a micro switch when the mail
    box is opened, which would be by only 3 people. The mailman, perpetrator and
    owner. That way, no "constant" taping or viewing would be required. I'm
    running several set ups in my mind, but am really wanting to go with the
    switch in the mail box. I may change my mind depending on equipment finally
    picked to use.

    What to use?: It is only wanted until the perpetrator is caught Probably no
    more than a couple weeks - maybe up to a month. A VCR may be used... I
    believer the party may already have one. But the camera would probably have
    to be bought. Such a waste for a short period of time. OR, is there a place
    via mail - that rents equipment? OR any "known" dealers nation wide which
    are known to rent equipment of such nature?

    Any ideas for this sort of set up? IF this were for long term/permanent use,
    there would be no problem. It is just the idea of all the cash outlay for
    such a very short period of time.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. CWatters

    CWatters Guest

    It's easier than that. It's possible to get wireless web cams for your PC.
    Hook one of these up and run recording S/W on your PC. Recording S/W with
    motion detection is available - So it starts recording when it detects
    motion in the picture and continues to record for a preset time. Usually the
    sensitivity is adjustable so that a small amount of motion doesn't trigger

    At least two types of wireless camera systems exist:

    1) Systems that use wireless for a point to point link but don't form part
    of a network (eg they come with a base station that connects to your PC by
    USB or capture card). This type can interfere with wireless LANs on the same
    frequency. (Example not a

    2) Systems that look like a LAN device and integrate with a standard
    wireless LANs. For this you need a wireless router or similar wireless hub.
    (Example not a recommendation)

    The Linksys above appears to operate from a 5V mains adaptor - so it should
    be easy to rig up a battery supply if the mail box is some distance away
    from a mains supply.

  3. Don Taylor

    Don Taylor Guest

    There are cheap web-cam's with software that grabs pictures every
    n seconds and compares each new picture with the last. If there
    is no change between the pictures they discard the new picture.
    That can give terrific compression if you have a scene where there
    aren't leaves fluttering in the wind, etc.
  4. TBA

    TBA Guest

    Ideas offered thus far sound good. It goes with the presumption that the
    mail box owner has a computer at home. If he does, I'm not aware of. I'd
    have to ask to be sure. Some people use them at work because they "have" to.
    When they go home, they want no parts of them. This person may fall into
    that category! He's not much for computers - from the way he talks.

    Thanks for the info thus far. I appreciate it.

  5. CWatters

    CWatters Guest

    x10 types can also be connected to a VCR.

    Many wireless cams also have a built in microphone or phono input for audio.
    Perhaps you could use the sound channel to transmit the door open signal
    using an audio tone? Use it to trigger the VCR by hacking a cheap remote?.
  6. TBA

    TBA Guest

    Thanks, I'll start doing some checking.


  7. Don Taylor

    Don Taylor Guest

    So go to the Salvation Army thrift store, buy a dead vcr,
    take the case and duct tape it over the top of the pc case,
    tell him it is a vcr, he'll never know the difference :)

    From your description YOU are on the hook to provide all the equipment
    and do the whole job anyway.

    Another option is to get a cheap old 8 or 16 mm movie camera that
    has the little button to take one frame and wait for the next button
    press. Decades ago I had one of those to use for time-lapse
    photography. At a few seconds per frame one roll of film is enough
    for a long time.
  8. TBA

    TBA Guest

    I'm not real sure of the distance between the Camera and VCR yet myself.
    Depends on where we end up mounting it.
    Can do it in a garage nook not far from the mail box OR leave the VCR in the
    main part of the house. The camera perhaps in a tree facing the mailbox or
    in a crevice under the garage roof, facing the mail box.

    It's beginning to look like x10 equipment may be the way to go, but for such
    a short time, the expense is a bit more than was "desired". BUT, we'll have
    to do what we have to do! Cheaper than paying someone to watch the place.
    As to the VCRs, if he doesn't have any on hand and I'd find that hard to
    believe, I have about 4 or 5 here laying around.

    Thanks for all the tips guys! I do appreciate it.

  9. CWatters

    CWatters Guest

    Some places will rent you a video camera.

    Perhaps you could just set up a vcr and rented video camera if that garage
    you mentioned is close enough.
  10. TBA

    TBA Guest

    Thanks, hopefully - that will be able to be done. The guy sketched out his
    home and I was there once, but about 5 years ago! My memory isn't "that"
    good. I had no reason to "remember" it. If the actions take place as I am
    told, then it should only take a couple weeks to a month - max to complete
    the task. Then once the culprits are caught on tape, present it for further
    action. Had this been a "fixed" system, I wouldn't have been inquiring, as
    then cost wouldn't have been much of an issue for long term. Just seemed
    such a waste for big bucks to do a very short term job.

    Thanks again,

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