Home Surveillance Equipment Question

This is a discussion on Home Surveillance Equipment Question within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Hi all, I turn to the great collected expertise of the DC.com crowd... My g/f has a small condo, and has some issues about the, ...

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Thread: Home Surveillance Equipment Question

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Question Home Surveillance Equipment Question

    Hi all,

    I turn to the great collected expertise of the DC.com crowd...

    My g/f has a small condo, and has some issues about the, shall we say, lax attitude the building staff has about accessing the residential units. I have done a little searching, but am not really finding any decent products to help her out so I would like some input.

    The goal would be an 802.11 compatible camera that can do motion detection and send stills via e-mail, without needing to be hooked up to a separate computer. There are some products in the $100--$200 range I've run across, but the ones I am finding have very...mixed reviews, to say the least.

    Anybody know of or, better yet, use a product that would fit the bill here?

    Thanks!
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

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    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
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    I am looking for the same thing. Haven't found anything to my satisfaction. Costco has some higher end surveillance systems, but even those don't do exactly what you (and I) want.

    Costco - Electronics - Security & Monitoring

    I talked to a few people and the general consensus is do NOT buy wireless. Go with a wired solution. More trouble to set up, but much better quality and it doesn't interfere with other electronic equipment.

    I will be watching this thread to see if anyone comes up with a good product.
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    Member Array citizen510's Avatar
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    Look at x10.com.
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    Member Array nlax2011's Avatar
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    Definitely not on the cheaper side.... but Panasonic has some good IP cameras
    Network Cameras from Panasonic

    If it has to be wireless then you may to spend a little bit of $$ to get a decent camera with good software built-in. From what I've seen/heard you can find cheap generic wireless "security" web cams at any electronic store, but usually the quality is greatly lacking (true for most cheap cameras I've seen) and/or the software isn't that great, either the software that's used to view them, or the built-in web server feature that you can access from anywhere.

    If all you want to do is have a simple setup with a camera pointing at the front door or something then give one of those wireless cameras you find at a local electronics stores a shot.

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    This might make me sound stupid but have you considered a hunting style stealth cam. They are motion activated pc downloadable, and the newest ones will e-mail your photos to your computer and create a hard copy on the cameras memory card. Some of them are programable to record video, and they work in the dark if you get an infrared model.
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    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlax2011 View Post
    Definitely not on the cheaper side.... but Panasonic has some good IP cameras
    Network Cameras from Panasonic
    nlax, thanks for the link. I looked at several of the Panasonic cameras, and their reviews, and I think that may be precisely what we are looking for!

    exactlymypoint, if you didn't look at these yet, they may help you, too. The software lets you set up multiple cameras on the same monitoring site, so a multi-camera surveillance system seems very doable with this.
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    I don't know if this would work for you, but I have a stand-alone camera and recording combo. It's pretty small, self-contained, motion detector, and will take up to about 1000+ dig photos, and will overwrite if necesary. It posts the time/date of each photo and you just plug it to your tv and just loop through all the pictures for viewing. If you want to save it, just run them through a VCR and put them on tape.

    I set it up sometimes to keep an eye on a caregiver.


    Personal Digital Video Capture Camera Motion Activated Recording $239.99
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    Member Array phaed's Avatar
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    i have a 5 camera setup using Linksys IP cams. they are viewable from anywhere with an internet connection, which i have tested. they have motion activated recording, and are reported to email notifications as well, though i haven't tested the email part.

    i have a mixture of 54's and 200's. they work well in daylight, but have no night capability to speak of. the wireless security was buggy at first, but the latest bios flashes fixed it. however, the wireless connections suck. they'll eventually hang over a few days, requiring a hard reboot (unplug and replug in the cam power). you have the option of running cat 5/6 though, which works great.
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    Member Array nlax2011's Avatar
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    Yeah, wired is definitely more reliable, and all you need to be able to do is get a Cat5 cable to the camera location, but that's just sometimes not possible. Wireless has gotten better but it's not foolproof. Only reason I don't have to reboot my routers on a daily basis is I'm running 3rd party router firmware and have them automatically set to restart themselves each day. Don't think I've ever used a wireless piece of equipment that would just always work.

    I haven't played with the panasonic line, only heard good things from friends.

    In systems I've done we've used decent quality hard wired cameras (usually color w/ IR leds that come on at night) that get wired up to a digital recorder (DVR) that's hooked onto the local computer network. So the recorder can be set to constantly record, or only record when it senses motion, etc.... most have options that it'll send an email when it detects something, and most have a webserver builtin where you can view it from anywhere. Do a search for security camera DVR and you'll find a bunch. We used Speco units I think, aimed more towards businesses/commercial applications but they're good units with a lot of features.

    If you think you might be adding on later or want to start building a decent monitoring system consider a DVR and then add cameras to it as you need. If can run the wire then there are a lot of DVR options out there, and you can use pretty much any camera you want or mix and match different brands.

    If you need wireless and want to do a recording type of setup then as far as I've seen you'll probably have to stick with one manufacturer and use their system. Like you saw panasonic has full systems with a recorder unit that can take in the feeds from their wireless cameras. If you don't need the recording capability then something like the linksys standalone cameras could work, most of those types have the ability to shoot off an email with a picture.

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    Senior Member Array dunndw's Avatar
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    +1 on the Panasonic cameras. I have one watching the front of the house. If you want to see it in action Click here
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunndw View Post
    +1 on the Panasonic cameras. I have one watching the front of the house. If you want to see it in action Click here

    Thanks for posting that, it is interesting. I did look at it and happened to see someone across the street back out and leave (white 4 door car). I have a four cam system at my house (not panasonic) with a dedicated computer hard drive that stores about 2 weeks worth of data on it's HD and capable of burning a DVD. It is also supposed to have the capability of looking at the cams remotely or via email, in the past I've hired a computer guru to help me set that portion up, but we're stumped in making the remote viewing or email work. It may be a software issue, the company wants me to return the HD unit for them to test.
    In a month or so we'll be going out of town a few days, and I think I might just buy one of the panasonic petcams and see if I can get it to work, so I can check the pets while we're away.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Senior Member Array dunndw's Avatar
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    The panasonics are easy to setup. They have a web portal that is free for people who purchase their cameras.That way I don't have to poke any holes in my firewall.
    My setup will record to my local PC if I want it to...triggered by either timer or motion.
    "If I was an extremist, our founding fathers would all be extremists," he said. "Without them, we wouldn't have our independence. We'd be a disarmed British system of feudal subjectivity."

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