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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings, all.

I have a fairly specific need for some in-home security cameras and I'm hoping someone might know of a product that would be a good fit. I have some strict requirements, and am not likely to "give" on any of these. So, if you have an item you like but it doesn't meet my requirements, I will not be able to consider it.

A couple of years ago, I purchased four Stem Izon cameras because they were fairly inexpensive. They supported WiFi, had a magnetic base that allowed for almost limitless positioning, could be accessed remotely with an app, and supported the ability to record content based on motion or sound detection.

They were so-so cameras overall, but they fit my needs pretty much perfectly. Unfortunately, Stem Innovations is shutting down. They didn't produce a quality product, put zero effort into improving what they had, and have run out of money and investors. While the cameras still function today, and will continue to function generically (no video capture anymore) for another two weeks, they will be doorstops after the end of the month.

I am looking for a camera that:

A) Supports WiFi connectivity
B) Is reasonably small an unobtrusive in terms of size
C) Operates off of 110 power (no battery operation required or desired)
D) Can record a short clip of video when it detects motion (and can be turned off)
E) Can be had for a very reasonable price (I'm probably willing to spend up to about $50 per camera, MAX)
F) Is accessible remotely through an app or similar, and I would absolutely prefer that it NOT be directly accessible via an IP address unless there is security that can be added to it

While I would absolutely prefer to NOT have the videos stored in the cloud, I will take what I can get here.

Pretty much everything I have looked at is at least $90 and set up to do WAY more than I need. I don't need PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom), IP connectivity, battery operation, integration with home automation, waterproof / outdoor capable, etc. This is for being able to do things like detect when the dogs are in a room where maybe they shouldn't be and record a clip of what they're doing. Additionally, being able to access the cameras remotely to see what the dogs are actively doing at any particular point in time would be a needed feature.

I don't need 4K video quality, I'm not trying to shoot content from a mile away, and would need only the most modest of ability to shoot in low/no light (no lights on in the room).
 

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Keep in mind that you are limiting yourself based on your budget. But, I totally understand that!!

Stan/Coaltrain has one of these WyzeCam: 1080p HD Smart Home Camera With Free AWS Cloud I think they fit most of your criteria. They are on my "things I want to buy" list as well. I'm planning on buying 3 or 4.
 

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C) Operates off of 110 power (no battery operation required or desired)

What if someone cuts your power or you lose power for some reason? Wouldn't you want a battery backup?
 

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Your $50 limit is simply not reasonable or realistic. You will not find anything that meets all your requirements, and isn't a complete piece of junk, for $50. Sorry, but that is just reality.

This is the most basic indoor wifi "drop cam" style camera I'd ever recommend anyone use (NSC-244W-C 4MP Indoor IR Wifi Cube Camera 2.8mm - Nelly's Security). I have two in my house (among other types inside and out. There is no proprietary cloud or API. Just a camera you access locally or remotely with an SD card for recording. Does all the functions you want. Meets all your requirements. And it's $150.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Keep in mind that you are limiting yourself based on your budget. But, I totally understand that!!

Stan/Coaltrain has one of these WyzeCam: 1080p HD Smart Home Camera With Free AWS Cloud I think they fit most of your criteria. They are on my "things I want to buy" list as well. I'm planning on buying 3 or 4.
Interesting. I might pick one up to play just because it's so cheap! Thanks for the link...

C) Operates off of 110 power (no battery operation required or desired)

What if someone cuts your power or you lose power for some reason? Wouldn't you want a battery backup?
No. A power cut has much larger implications and having a camera that's still working with no path to upload the content and such is just as useless as no camera.

Your $50 limit is simply not reasonable or realistic. You will not find anything that meets all your requirements, and isn't a complete piece of junk, for $50. Sorry, but that is just reality.

This is the most basic indoor wifi "drop cam" style camera I'd ever recommend anyone use (NSC-244W-C 4MP Indoor IR Wifi Cube Camera 2.8mm - Nelly's Security). I have two in my house (among other types inside and out. There is no proprietary cloud or API. Just a camera you access locally or remotely with an SD card for recording. Does all the functions you want. Meets all your requirements. And it's $150.
Except that it's met perfectly by the link provided in the first response.

I am looking for something very specific because I do not WANT a security camera that will be used indoors - I want a simple, basic, "security camera". It's a different class of product.

Additionally, it doesn't meet all of my requirements because it's 3X the price limit I stated. This isn't helpful information for this thread, but I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
 

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Except that it's met perfectly by the link provided in the first response.
You said you prefer it not use cloud services. That uses cloud services. And I'm sorry to tell you, there will be absolutely nothing perfect about a $20 camera. That is garbage, and you will get what you pay for. One of your requirements should be "product isn't junk". Unless you actually don't mind buying junk?

I am looking for something very specific because I do not WANT a security camera that will be used indoors - I want a simple, basic, "security camera". It's a different class of product.
Do you want to try this again?? You don't want a security camera, you want a security camera because it's different??

This isn't helpful information for this thread, but I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
If i was asking for something, and what I was asking for was completely wrong or unrealistic, I would sure hope someone would say so. I consider that helpful information. If you would prefer not to be given real world advice based on experience, I'm happy to cease and desist at this time. Hopefully the $20 toy camera works out...
 

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Been there, done that and got the t-shirt. Tried the el-cheapo route. You want one? In the closet in the original box. Just will not do enough. I told the county sheriff at a Next Door meeting this past week that if I have a burgler, I will be able to give him a good picture of the burgler. I finally bit the bullet and bought a Nest camera. Back then, I had to take the indoor camera and buy separately a housing for it to be able to use it outdoors. Now you can get them in outdoor capability out of the box. If you want to have the capability of saving what is on the camera, you will either need to go with a cloud account, or buy a system with it's own DVR recording capability (more $). It costs me $50 a year for the cloud storage and for that, I get 5 days of continual storage. I get a notice on my pc email and on my phone if it spots any activity or I can set it only to notify me if it spots an actual person. I did drop the pc email notification as I was satisfied with the notification in the app on my phone. Since I did not want to get notices when a bird flew by, I set it to only notify me if it sees a person. I was 30 miles away Saturday when Fedex Home delivered a package I was looking for and received a notification on my phone. Checked it out and saw the delivery.

There are a number of ways you can use these things. My neighbor has a critical indoor heating situation in the winter that he monitors using one of his 3 cameras. I am allowed to access his cameras along with mine.

Dave
 

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I use an app so I can reuse old phones.
WardenCam. Works well enough for me.

Meanwhile is a 30' Grady White.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You said you prefer it not use cloud services. That uses cloud services. And I'm sorry to tell you, there will be absolutely nothing perfect about a $20 camera. That is garbage, and you will get what you pay for. One of your requirements should be "product isn't junk". Unless you actually don't mind buying junk?


Do you want to try this again?? You don't want a security camera, you want a security camera because it's different??


If i was asking for something, and what I was asking for was completely wrong or unrealistic, I would sure hope someone would say so. I consider that helpful information. If you would prefer not to be given real world advice based on experience, I'm happy to cease and desist at this time. Hopefully the $20 toy camera works out...
When my requirements warrant a higher end solution, I would be happy to give your input a lot more consideration. For now, my requirements (which I have been honest with myself about, and fully understand) do not match up with them.
 

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Interesting. I might pick one up to play just because it's so cheap! Thanks for the link...
Actually, thank Coaltrain. He's the one that came across that camera before I did. :good2:

I also have a Nest (early version - originally called a "DropCam") and also a DLink camera.

I really like the Nest. Overall it's been pretty reliable and doesn't seem to drop its wi-fi connection now that I've replaced my cable modem that was apparently giving me problems for longer than I realized. The Nest will send a tone to the phone when it detects something and I can pull up the app to see what's going on. I have it sitting in a window facing the driveway area. It gives me pretty good piece of mind when I'm out of town or even just at a client during the day. I don't like the approximately $10/month cloud fee though. I think that storage is cheap enough now that their prices should be coming down. We'll see. Yes, I know there are other cloud storage places that will do it for less.

The dLink is OK. No storage fees which I like. Even though it's an indoor camera, I've had it mounted under the eave on my detached garage for a couple of years now. It's had no problems being in the weather. It seems to send a constant stream of emails to me that I don't even pay attention to any more though. The app is a little more cumbersome than the Nest app. I will watch it live when I'm on the road, but trying to get into the SD storage remotely is a PITA. I have the microphone enabled on it (I don't on the Nest since it's inside and I really don't want to record our conversations to the cloud). It's main function to me is to allow me to "hear" what's going on outside while I'm working (home basement office). If the UPS guy is coming, I can hear his truck over the dLink before the Nest sends me an alert.

I also use both of them when I'm working as a way to monitor the dog when I let him out during the day.

I'm not sure there's a "perfect solution" out there.
 

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Actually, thank Coaltrain. He's the one that came across that camera before I did. :good2:

I also have a Nest (early version - originally called a "DropCam") and also a DLink camera.

I really like the Nest. Overall it's been pretty reliable and doesn't seem to drop its wi-fi connection now that I've replaced my cable modem that was apparently giving me problems for longer than I realized. The Nest will send a tone to the phone when it detects something and I can pull up the app to see what's going on. I have it sitting in a window facing the driveway area. It gives me pretty good piece of mind when I'm out of town or even just at a client during the day. I don't like the approximately $10/month cloud fee though. I think that storage is cheap enough now that their prices should be coming down. We'll see. Yes, I know there are other cloud storage places that will do it for less.

The dLink is OK. No storage fees which I like. Even though it's an indoor camera, I've had it mounted under the eave on my detached garage for a couple of years now. It's had no problems being in the weather. It seems to send a constant stream of emails to me that I don't even pay attention to any more though. The app is a little more cumbersome than the Nest app. I will watch it live when I'm on the road, but trying to get into the SD storage remotely is a PITA. I have the microphone enabled on it (I don't on the Nest since it's inside and I really don't want to record our conversations to the cloud). It's main function to me is to allow me to "hear" what's going on outside while I'm working (home basement office). If the UPS guy is coming, I can hear his truck over the dLink before the Nest sends me an alert.

I also use both of them when I'm working as a way to monitor the dog when I let him out during the day.

I'm not sure there's a "perfect solution" out there.
As of earlier this year, Nest offers a new plan at half the original price. $50 per year. I went with that as the 5 day storage was enough for me.

Dave

Sent from my Samsung Note using Tapatalk
 

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Following for information.
Im actually in the market for a true security camera system, but my limitations are quite a bit different, and not relevant here. I would, however, be interested in something like you have described for other, similar situations.

I guess Ill say too that, having been in similar situations of asking advice based on specific requirements or parameters, and having the thread get way off track because everyone thought they knew better than me what I needed, that I understand the limitations and appreciate the advice given on those specifics.

I had never heard of that cheap camera before, so I went and watched a video review and found a couple articles on it.
Yep, its a cheap camera, but it works, and apparently works pretty darn well for two to three times its price. There is plenty of info about it if anyone would care to look.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Following for information.
Im actually in the market for a true security camera system, but my limitations are quite a bit different, and not relevant here. I would, however, be interested in something like you have described for other, similar situations.

I guess Ill say too that, having been in similar situations of asking advice based on specific requirements or parameters, and having the thread get way off track because everyone thought they knew better than me what I needed, that I understand the limitations and appreciate the advice given on those specifics.

I had never heard of that cheap camera before, so I went and watched a video review and found a couple articles on it.
Yep, its a cheap camera, but it works, and apparently works pretty darn well for two to three times its price. There is plenty of info about it if anyone would care to look.
I found a seller on Amazon selling them at about the same as the manufacturer site with zero shipping. It will take a few days to get to me, but the price is definitely right for me to buy two of them and tinker.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I know that it has been a little while since the last post, and I wanted to follow up.

The original order that I placed was from a bogus seller. Amazon refunded the money for me pretty easily enough.

I ended up catching a deal on the cameras in early December and bought three of them for about $20 each. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with A) the image quality, B) the night vision visibility, and C) being able to configure both motion AND sound detection as reasons to grab short video clips.

I also like that the cameras can be configured to detect specific sounds like a smoke alarm even if sound detection isn't being used to trigger videos. There is also the ability to transmit audio back through the camera, so it would work very much like the Ring doorbell and similar products.

For what I want it for, it has been fitting the bill quite nicely. I have the cameras plugged into UPS devices, so even with a power loss, they will still capture and transmit (all of my key equipment for Internet access is also on UPS devices). I'm actually liking them enough that I want to add a couple more cameras for more coverage through the house, but I'm waiting for some sort of sale again right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Can you link to what you ended up buying?

Also, any good UPS recommendations?
Sorry... I bought the WyzeCam cameras shown here: Amazon.com : Wyze Cam 1080p HD Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera with Night Vision, 2-Way Audio, Works with Alexa : Camera Photo

For UPS devices, I have always had very good luck with APC and CyberPower products. I always buy ones that provide "filtered power", though. I have a couple of the smaller APC devices that you can get from Best Buy (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/apc-back-ups-650va-battery-back-up-system-black/4984103.p?skuId=4984103) but only if they are on sale or much lower priced from Amazon and I got the price match. I believe that I paid about $60 for each of the ones I bought. These are very "small", though, and would power something like a small camera like this for a reasonable chunk of time. The more you plug in, the less time it will run for...
 

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As I originally pointed out a few months ago, you get what you pay for. In this case, you got an inexpensive chinese spy camera. However, I guess you didn't actually list "Does not send all my audio and video to the Chinese government" as a criteria. So as long as you don't mind that you've installed a chinese spy camera in your house, cool. This security issue applies to basically all the cheap knockoff china cameras you find on Amazon, eBay, etc. I realize you only want to hear from people who agree with you on this, but it's important for you and your family to understand what you've put in the house for safety's sake. It's not a joke or trying to bash a product. This is a serious safety and security matter.

I'm not trying to be a smart ass (that comes naturally to me without trying). I legitimately want you and others reading this to understand what a horrible thing these are. No matter how you try to justify it, you can't get what you want for the unrealistic price you want without sacrificing something important. In this case, you've sacrificed security and privacy.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As I originally pointed out a few months ago, you get what you pay for. In this case, you got an inexpensive chinese spy camera. However, I guess you didn't actually list "Does not send all my audio and video to the Chinese government" as a criteria. So as long as you don't mind that you've installed a chinese spy camera in your house, cool. This security issue applies to basically all the cheap knockoff china cameras you find on Amazon, eBay, etc. I realize you only want to hear from people who agree with you on this, but it's important for you and your family to understand what you've put in the house for safety's sake. It's not a joke or trying to bash a product. This is a serious safety and security matter.

I'm not trying to be a smart ass (that comes naturally to me without trying). I legitimately want you and others reading this to understand what a horrible thing these are. No matter how you try to justify it, you can't get what you want for the unrealistic price you want without sacrificing something important. In this case, you've sacrificed security and privacy.
I'm going to be direct and to the point.

While you are entitled to your OPINION, please either cite the facts to back up your claims or back off.
 

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I'm not stating opinions. I'm stating facts.

In the amazon link you provided, the very first reviews listed on that page are all from people who analyzed the network traffic coming from the cameras. All reporting the same thing: UDP payloads going to China and other countries, not just to AWS as advertised. Did you not scroll down to the reviews before purchasing the camera because it is huge and obvious right there? Further, you can look at the reddit page for Wyze cameras and the Wyze company's own forums which all have many people reporting the same thing after analyzing network traffic. The camera will even change it's own MAC address to acquire a new unrestricted DHCP address if it needs to. This is also where where Wyze representatives officially confirm their devices are sending data to a multitude of different countries because it was less expensive than building their own secure servers. They've been saying they plan to change that for over a year and have no done so. Oh, and they also continue to record and stream this data even when you turn the camera off through the app!

This kind of thing is why it's critically important to do your homework on products like this. And it's important to not ignore information you don't like because the price is better. A well made device from a reputable manufacturer with testing and reviews indicating it isn't a gaping security hole does not cost $25. Because it's not possible to develop, produce, and operate the product and associated services for that price without sacrifice. That sacrifice is your family's personal privacy.
 
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