Recommendations for smartphone viewable security system?

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭
Others here have similar priorities to me. Seems like a good place to begin the hunt. 

I want to be able to view several security cameras from my smartphone. Both indoor cameras and outdoor cameras. Four cameras would be nice. More would be better. I could live with two. 

12 volt is OK but 120 volt means less maintenance for me. 

Budget: So far it looks like it could be done for less that $500. 

Experience: I've tried a lot cameras. They work for awhile then ""something happens". 
First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I plan on using pi zero wifi with camera module:

    https://www.adafruit.com/product/3414

    ~$50ea, but not really a plug&play solution.  For that, I'd likely use wired POE cameras.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭
    Many challenges for those seeking coverage of acreage. The cameras generally need to be within ~ 50' of router if wireless. Some functionality is lost without AC power to cameras. My system crashed with 20 minutes of installing - pretty ominous. So I'm trying it with a single camera and my smartphone is beeping every minute in spite of nothing at all. No new footage - just phantom alerts.  Flying bugs will activate the motion sensors. As will tree branches, squirrels, and, apparently, luminosity of the sun. 

    I'm trying the Arlo Pro 2 which is both expensive and very commonly used. At this time I expect to return it. I want to know what is happening at the front gate and that is pretty tough with almost a fisheye lens (see's in 130 degree field of view) that needs to be somewhat close to the router. 

    Security cameras have both come a long way yet have a long way to go.  I'm looking at a system on Amazon with a 4.9 star rating though only 25 ratings to date. The scary thing is reviewers keep saying that customer service spent hours with them and were able to "get things running". So how long will that company continue to do that? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PRJ3VLK/ref=ox_sc_mini_detail?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2L77EE7U53NWQ

    Arlo is a major company. Yet I feel that installation was a pain in the butt. Not to mention a false alarm seemingly every minute - that with only camera installed. I yanked the other two trouble makers. Going to maybe give it a week or so. 

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    One alternative would be using LoRa instead of wi-fi.  Slower, lower frequency, but longer range.

    This is a DIY module for rPi, but I imagine there are commercial versions out there.
    https://www.adafruit.com/product/4074

    With a Pi, you could use other triggers (ir beam break, magnetic contacts, etc.).
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You wrote that you did not want to hook your power system up to the internet? How is using a camera any different?
     Most all of the camera systems are cloud based.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019 #6
    You wrote that you did not want to hook your power system up to the internet? How is using a camera any different?
     Most all of the camera systems are cloud based.
    Don't want hackers accessing my grid. Plus I don't need to have my grid on the internet to make it functional. I've harbored a previous interest in politics so I attract both state hackers and private hackers. The state hackers also have unlimited tools and "keys" at their disposal. I would strongly discourage anybody with  spine and/or outspoken viewpoints from having their power system on the internet. Always someone, perhaps many, that are offended by, well, any viewpoint. Only the "grayman" survives 100% surveillance of thoughts. 

    Cloud based? Necessary to prevent thieves from simply stealing the DVR hard drive with the data. Also for quick security alerts I would think. 

    Using security cameras is even worse than I thought though. For nighttime  functionality, one needs to leave on both their router, their smartphone, and the security systems ethernet enabled "control box". So the user is virtually swimming in WiFi type signals from three sources - all night long. Many people seem to have night time sensitivity to those wavelengths. 

    The power consumed by 24/7 router power and "control box" and cameras doesn't seem too bad - based on a sample of exactly one night. 

    This security system would seem to be a failed system for me and there are a lot of reasons for that. The lag - a minute or two is just ridiculous - for one thing. Many other problems have presented. This system would be pretty good for a city house with great internet functionality. Though it lacks time stamps which help the police though the police are often disinterested in crimes of less than $500,000 or more. A detective told me that by the way. One more reason to have 1080p cameras - helps with face recognotion - might be someone you know. 

    I need one camera with 100' nighttime infrared capabilities to focus on the front gate and sound an alarm when something larger than a 70 pound dog hangs around. That is difficult because cameras judge size partially based on proximity to camera. An adjacent moth can trigger an ADT motion sensor, for example, that is supposed to ignore objects less than 70 pounds. A fly triggered a camera yesterday - the buzz was pretty loud due to proximity to the camera. 

    Guard dogs can be useful until a neighbor corrupts them with a lot of steaks. Then they think strangers will be steak bearing. I may be inclined to view a steak bearing neighbor as a very possible crime in progress.  I've replaced almost a dozen tires and windows that were vandalized. Losers are weird - the worst one got evicted by the county thankfully. My neighbors best friend - until he got evicted. Neighbors - they can be tough to live with both rural and urban. 

    UPS and FedEx climb all over my fence getting packages into the large package box. Seems that literally everything presents a lot of pros and cons.

    Now my county has presented as corrupt. They packaged four of my 2014 matured tax liens and sold to one buyer. Considering a lawyer for that. My realtor doesn't think the county would turn on me - I'm not sure of that. Now I will do tax liens with another county - they pay 12%. Very good in this economy.   
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭

    "Depends on your priorities. There are pros and cons to wired vs wireless for example. Wide angle lenses vs. 50mm vs zoom. DVR vs cloud. Motion activated vs 24/7 everything. 1080p vs 720p - 1080p has twice the data and your internet may not accomodate that much data proficiently.

    Security systems have both come a long way yet have a long way to go. It is rare to find a well established security system with strong ratings - over 4.2 stars at Amazon for example. Some small companies have high ratings then you find they often spend hours helping new customers get set up. How long will that last? Will they stay in business?

    Plus electronics fail over time. I spent a week-end installing a wired six camera system. A couple years later - only one camera still worked. DVRs can be stolen. Power can be cut to cloud systems. There are literally pros and cons to everything in security systems.

    Motion activated gives a ton of false alarms related to squirrels, bugs, dogs, wind moving tree limbs etc., weather luminosity and electrical gremlins.

    People bash ADT but it works and has battery back-up and the police really do respond. Criminals like to avoid battery back up and police. The costs certainly add up though. Motion sensors with any system? They can be problematic for a few reasons.

    Right now I tend to view it all as a toss up for many consumers. There are many solid, affordable steps that most can take to reduce property crime. Having footage isn't necessarily going to solve a crime. Especially if it is not date stamped and at 1080p - for facial recognition - if lucky.

    Good luck. Installing many security systems can be a real pain in the butt. Even with the largest players."

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭✭✭
    "depends on priorities"  For me it was not the security of people breaking in as my 2 neighbors in 2 miles are the watchdog. We all know when someone leaves for more than 4 hours. I know I am lucky that way. No fake semi auto's here either.

    I was more concerned with my power system that runs cooling sunrise to sunset. I have the cam positioned so I can zoom in and read XW power out, zoom in to see the grundfos at idle, zoom and see the solar water heater is not leaking. I keep a light on but if it burns out the IR function will work fine. It will trigger an alert if my neighbor who has a key walks in the area after my whiskey I suspect ;)

    The hard part was finding a camera that would work with point 8 MBS upload speed from my rural ISP. I tried 4 and finnaly used the YI cam. It has been working fine for 4 months now. Nice peace of mind on 3 trips this summer for $30.

    I can look at the power system vitals also but both Outback and Schneider can be placed in a safe state to protect from hacking and could even be completely shut off from the outside. I need this as I monitor both Outback and Schneider clients.

    The access code below is random generated and has to be entered in 10 minutes. It also times out automatically and can be cancelled.

    FYI there is a game cam at the gate that neighbor 1 monitors. For wifi a game cam is going to probably have the longest range. He thinks so when he tested them a few years back.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭
    Have you considered a powerful fan to push/pull cool night air in? My Denver home has a lot of attic insulation. With Colorado's cool night air, I can push in enough cool night air to start off the morning with a cool house. With the right set-up, a cool morning can get some homes through the day. Last months total energy bill - $30. Some of that is base payment, some for NG to run hot water heater. 

    Just an idea. I don't know your climate or house particulars. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yep had that in the old days before wildfire smoke became a regular occurrence. No I do not want to move smoke through my house and the mini-split solved all cooling problems in 2007. We open window when we are awake. Too many times of 3am smoke drills. It has been 12 years of zero problems with temperature.

    Cut my firewood to a third with the reverse heat function.

    Watching a home near Nassau right now with the equivalent of an EF3 for 12 hours. Bodies floating by. Crossing my fingers for them.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    How low can outside temp be for reverse cycle to work reasonably well?

    Since adding insulation, A/C isn't needed here much in summer.  Shoulder season heat might make it more worthwhile though.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have not looked because it is not that cold here......Zero F ?  I thought you went to the big city in winter?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes, mostly in the city (or south) in winter.  Reverse cycle definitely wouldn't work in winter temps here.

    I'm thinking of spring/fall seasons, when temps are cool enough to need some heat (eg. highs in low 40s °f, lows in low 30s).  If you can get decent heat down to 0°f, it might work well for this.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019 #14
    Look at Fujitsu. I looked a year ago and their best 9,000 btu was 4 times as efficient as resistance heat and below 0F. maybe LG will add reverse cycle to their window inverter units next year? Just looked at my LG and it is -13F.

    I just heard one of our pubic officials say we need to build up our Timber industry so we can buy construction wood from California instead of Canada. He said the indians knew how to manage the forest.

     I would not worry Estragon, there are too many here who cringe at those thoughts.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭
    Look at Fujitsu. I looked a year ago and their best 9,000 btu was 4 times as efficient as resistance heat and below 0F. maybe LG will add reverse cycle to their window inverter units next year? Just looked at my LG and it is -13F.

    I just heard one of our pubic officials say we need to build up our Timber industry so we can buy construction wood from California instead of Canada. He said the indians knew how to manage the forest.

     I would not worry Estragon, there are too many here who cringe at those thoughts.

    By far the best national forest I have  spent time in was one that had been professionally managed for timbering. It was a like a gigantic park - though some prefer things to be "natural". LIke comparing uncleared lots to professionally managed lots - I think the managed lots look better and are certainly much easier to navigate. 

    If I had the chronic wildfire problems of California, I would consider options other than "natural". There are few things that frighten me. Fire is one of them. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭
    I am returning the Arlo Pro 2. Wide angle does not accomplish my objectives and there is far too much space for wireless cameras to be viable without supplementation. Plus the cameras are quite expensive so buying a bunch is prohibitive. 

    Going to try eight wired cameras this time around. Just seeing plentiful cameras will make some steer away. Got some ideas that should work. 

    Side note -  Years ago I installed a dummy camera within eyesight of my neighbor (whom I have often complained about). Two things happened quickly: 
    1) A hatchet was used to penetrate the steel siding very close to the camera.
    2) The concrete was stratched up while still wet. 
    He clearly knew it was a dummy camera.

    He can't get my newest and best guard dog to come to the fence for steaks though. He accidentally told me that.

    Latest drama with the gate that I seek to film? One dog stuck its head out last night and lost its collar while pulling its head back in. Seems it had a real confrontation at the gate. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Indians I know, know we don't manage forests.  Forests manage us.  When we do stupid things to them, they fight back.

    Running a Fujitsu mini-split at 4x efficiency of resistive heating in ~ 0C is interesting.

    Back to the security thing, would it make any sense to consider non-camera sensors (glass-break, IR beam-break, magnetic contact break etc)?  
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,712 admin
    Hmmm... Looking here, it appears that below 17F (-8C) and going sub 0F is quite doable with modern mini-split heat pumps. Still over COP of 4 at -8C for most of the units below:

    https://www.sunshinerenewables.ca/how-does-the-outdoor-temperature-affect-the-performance-of-my-heat-pump/

    12000 Heat Pump Comparison
    I am really impressed!

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,308 ✭✭✭✭
    Estragon said:
    Indians I know, know we don't manage forests.  Forests manage us.  When we do stupid things to them, they fight back.

    Running a Fujitsu mini-split at 4x efficiency of resistive heating in ~ 0C is interesting.

    Back to the security thing, would it make any sense to consider non-camera sensors (glass-break, IR beam-break, magnetic contact break etc)?  
    Those are burglar alarm devices rather than security cameras. I have those devices via ADT though motion detectors have been problematic with 2-3 dogs. When close together they appear over 75 pounds and that triggers alarms. 

    "When we do stupid things to them, they fight back."  Indian philosophy? 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Common sense philosophy.  Build suburbs in the forest, run power lines through and don't maintain cut lines, plant monocultures, etc and bad stuff happens.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭✭✭
    One of our locals from the high Sierra mountains in the Sierra National forest is teaching Cal Fire how to do forestry again. The land is up at Shaver lake and for 20 years they have been logging and torching prescribed burns. They don't follow the rules of the Endangered Species act and yet the spotted owl and several other endangered species are thriving there.

    His book Torching Conventional Forestry and the Artful Application of Science is mind numbing on how poorly we have run lumber in this state.

    Full of "common sense" The Indians would torch Yosemite Valley every fall when they would leave to hunt at the lower and warmer elevations. 

    Bill, the mini heat pump impressed me in 2007 and still does with these newer models. Would love to see them in the window price range for the masses.


    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • ApicaApica Registered Users Posts: 32 ✭✭
    Take a look at Hikvision's product line for CCTV products, they are very good.
    1500W Samlex 24V Inverter . 2370 Watts Total Intenergy Panels . Flexmax 80A  . 8 Trace 6V 255AH Batteries Wired Series/Parallel for 24V . Trimetric 2030 . Midnite E-Panel. Tycon Tpdin Remote Monitor.
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