IP home security surveillance camera

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 works.

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):

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(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 others.

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.

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Reply to
Bob La Londe

wireless WiFi and solar/battery on lowlight CCD camera.. (no led's please) that should do you..

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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

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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.

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.

Reply to
Matt Ion

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 blind.

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 solution.

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 glass.

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.

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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!

Reply to
Crash Gordon

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 mentioned.

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 models.

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

I ran across ZoneMinder

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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

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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 bandwidth.

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

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and sold by several vendors with different enclosures, but nearly identical features, such as Zonet
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and others.


Reply to
Tom Metro
  1. I'd like to know if there exists a software that would record still


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If money doesn't matter try these.

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Reply to
Just Looking

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