Saturday, September 08, 2018

Security Cam Fun

I overdid it yesterday, Friday, by running around and doing too much, including some work in the heat that caused me to quickly run out of energy. I woke up this morning with a massive case of fibro, which fortunately eased rapidly into sheer exhaustion. So I didn't go on a walk today, which means I didn't get a Cameraphone Zen.

But that's ok, because I've got photos of/from my new security camera!

I was hoping to get it set up by Halloween so I could record the massive crowds we get. Well, I have it set up already! It's running and recording as I write.

I bought a SV3C HD 960P WiFi Wireless Security Camera, based on the reviews and the very low cost at Amazon. The camera arrived Thursday (as I mentioned when I wrote about Inkwell sauntering out the front door).

Set up wasn't exactly simple. It's definitely a do-it-yourself kind of camera that requires a bit of tech skill in a couple of areas to get it to work.

The first issue: It won't record or send images to FTP without a micro-SD card installed, but installing the card takes much more effort than is reasonable for a product meant for consumers. You have to take off the cowling (one tiny screw), remove the lens cover, remove a protective film, remove the entire camera from its housing (four tiny screws) and then you can reach the slot. And while the video on the manufacturer's website showing how to do this is ok, it doesn't show how to get those tiny screws BACK IN. I ended up using tweezers and some profanity as I failed multiple times. It took maybe three minutes to get the thing apart, but about ten to get it back together.

The second issue was more about networks. I didn't realize my router was using the 5 Ghz channel - and this camera doesn't work on that channel. So I had to figure out how to shut that off in my router, which was annoying. But hey, it worked. Eventually.

Setting up each of the features of the camera took some time as well. However, I thrive on that sort of problem and really enjoyed myself a bunch with the software aspects.

No, the biggest problem was punching a hole in our garage wall big enough to fit the power cord through. I had to go buy the drill bit, because we didn't have one quite big enough. Then I figured out I have serious difficulty holding my hands above my head to drill a hole while standing on a stepping stool in 90F weather. Fortunately, Eric helped me out, and by Friday evening I had the hole drilled and the camera itself mounted. Huzzah!

The hole is drilled, and the wire fits through!

The camera is safely in place! Huzzah!

Annoyingly, after mounting the camera, there are still some extra wires sticking out of the camera that need to be hidden. Especially since one of them is the reset button and another is obviously the power cord. So I needed to get a junction box to hide the wires in. However, all the junction boxes I found didn't have openings big enough for the ethernet connector to go through. Lucky for me, I found a little box that was just big enough.

That looks a little better.

With the wires all connected and the camera running, I had some fun setting the alarm sensitivity so I didn't get constant alerts from insects flying in front of the camera all night. I got a lot of alerts the first night, including a few that were apparently due to a lightning storm that passed through town. I also caught some interesting video of what appears to be a bat hunting down insects on our porch.

I'm pretty sure it's a bat.

The camera has excellent video, both during the day and at night. Here's a couple of screen shots to show you what I mean:

Day view from the security camera.

Night view from the security camera.

My current plan for Hallowe'en is to turn off the alarms and set up a website which will show snapshots of the walkway during the evening. I haven't yet decided if I want to make the URL public or something just among Facebook friends... I'll also save any good videos from the night to put on Facebook in the morning. It should be amusing at least, to see crowds of people on the walk up to the door.

Hopefully I'll be back to walking again tomorrow. I've got Pokemon to catch.