Smartcam HD Pro: Is it Reliable?

Hi All

I purchased a Netgear Arlo Q to integrate with my existing Smartthings setup yesterday and have been left very disappointed. It wouldn’t connect to my WiFi (it turns out because my SSID contains non-alphanumeric characters), it still won’t perform a firmware update… and the microphone doesn’t work. It has been a world away from my effortless smartthings implementation.

So I’m looking to return it and swap for the Smartcam HD Pro.

I know Samsung’s offering doesn’t attract top reviews and isn’t the best camera out there. But all I want is to be able to check my house remotely from time to time (and for it to automatically ‘arm’ along with Smartthings).

I know there have been various thread on the topic already ont his forum… but how is the reliability of this camera? I can’t find any recent comments about it on this forum (since Samsung recently improved the camera’s integration with Smartthings). Can anyone give me a good reason not to buy one?

I’m not particularly interested in mucking around using 3rd party approaches to integrating Wink or Nestcam. I appreciate they may work well now, but I’d worry about things changing in the future. At least I know with an officially supported camera… I stand a bit of a chance of knowing it will suit me as a long term option.

Thanks!
Nick

EDIT: I’ve just read here HERE that the Smartcam HD Pro does not support ‘Motion Sensor Capabilities in Smartthings’ (the Arlo Q does). Does this mean I wouldn’t be able to configure Smartthings to notify if the Smartcam detects motion (like the motion sensor and my Arlo Q does)? Thanks again.

Hi @nick3young,

I’ve had one of those since the beginning, and I like it. Very reliable for me. The SmartCam mobile app also works well when I don’t use SmartThings. I like having local playback via the memory card you can add to it. The only things I don’t like about this camera is the price and it’s wired for power.

I do have a couple acceptable places for these, so I don’t mind the power cord, but everywhere else I use Blink (and hope that some day integration will return).

Thanks for the response @johnconstantelo. Is it true that Smartthings does not support motion detection for the HD Pro? Can you not get Smart Home Monitor to notify you if the camera detects motion?

And if so, does Smartthings support the motion zones that you would setup inside the Smartcam mobile app? (I’m trying to avoid the cat!)

Yep, very true unfortunately. This camera will not show up as a motion sensor in ST, which is a bummer.

That should also answer your second question…

I guess I should have added that to my list of what I don’t like, but I guess because I have so many other devices that I completely forgot about that. I use other motion sensors and devices in conjunction with SHM and the HD Pro.

@nick3young
Hi Nick,
I saw your post over on the Arlo Community forum but did not respond as you specifically asked for someone from Netgear to respond. As you should know most of us on these forums are regular users that have their systems working well and are trying to help others with problems. There is one man over there by the name of James_C that is somehow affiliated with Arlo but he may not answer posts on the weekends.

Now for the answer I would have given you over there. I believe you may have purchased a defective camera, but sometimes if you just wait a couple of days the firmware will update itself, even if it does not allow you to do so manually. Since the camera appears to mainly be working, I would give it a couple of days before returning it.
I do not know if you have submitted a ticket to Arlo Support or not, but why don’t you try that also.
I also googled your question to see if I could find any problems/solutions that were UK specific, but found none.
There is a good chance that if you return and exchange it, the new one would work flawlessly.

Cheers,

Brian

Thanks again for the responses.

Ah… that really is a bummer with the Smartcam Pro not supporting motion within Smartthings. And a little odd too that a camera from a different manufacturer does!

I will follow your advice @hbr - leave it a couple of days and then if, no chance, I’ll swap it.

I’ll report back with my results.

Thanks again

I found very few options for using a web cam as a motion detector. This was a major part of choosing Arlo HD pro and it has been working very well - on its own and as integrated with smart things.

I am surprised by how easy this was to install - has its own WiFi network so doesn’t tie up the main router and with the new cameras I can use battery or mains.

Maybe these would meet your needs?

The Arlo HD Pro system does certainly look interesting @Linvale. I could get the non HD version for only £50 more than my Arlo Q which I’ve considered.

But a big flaw for me would be that they don’t support motion zones do they? The reason I would like to use a camera as a motion detector is so I can set up motion zones to try and avoid my cat!

Motion zones are available if you mains power it (from USB). Note this is the latest version the “Arlo HD Pro” - not the “Pro” or the HD" (yes I’m as confused as you by the naming.)

Yeah I discovered that. But then… as good as they seem, the Arlo HD Pro isn’t half expensive is it?! For £200 for one camera and the base, I would be tempted… but these are over £300. Thanks for the recommendation though - it did give me food for thought.

I have one connected via ethernet and it is quite reliable.

If motion is critical, a motion sensor next to the camera would do the trick.

I ended up swapping my Arlo Q. Interestingly, the Arlo Q Plus was the same price on Amazon so I just got that instead. And everyone was right… the firmware updated fine on the new one.

The only slight mishap was, at first, the firmware wouldn’t update because it said the battery was low!! (even though it doesn’t use a battery). But a reboot fixed that and it updated the firmware on startup.

Thanks for the tips everyone.

@nick3young
I was wondering how everything went with you and I am pleased that not only did you get your problems sorted out but got a better camera for the price of the old one.
Good luck to you and stop by once in awhile, not only on this forum but also on the Arlo Community forum and give us your contributions, ideas and feedback.
Cheers,

Brian

1 Like

I certainly will be doing @hbr! Thanks again.

I thought I would copy what I posted in another smartcam thread regarding getting smartcams to act as a motion sensor for SHM. It uses IFTTT so a slight delay but it is working for my needs so far. I considered Arlo Pro 2 but for $800 and 4 cameras the smartcam seems like a better deal. got 5 for $300 refurbished on amazon.

Jason


I just ordered 5 of these cameras and was disappointed that there isn’t integration on motion to SHM. I am just getting started with SHM so not sure how I am going to use the motion with all the cats in my house but may put a couple cameras in covered locations outside.

In order to get this to work here is what I did.
created a gmail account for the camera (will need to do this for each camera)
created an ifttt account for the camera
created an applet to turn on a switch when email sent on motion

now for the switch. I created a custom ‘simulated motion sensor’ that is also a ‘switch’ when the switch is turned on in turns on motion then immediately turns off the switch and motion. Thus creating a ‘pulse’ of motion.

Since I don’t have full SHM set up yet I used a custom rule to give me a push notification on motion through SHM. I verified that when a clip is stored on the camera due to motion all the dots get connected and the notification fired a few seconds l later.

I think this is usable for my purposes. Here is the device handler for the motion/switch. I would enjoy some feedback if this is useful for others or not.

Jason
/**

Copyright 2014 SmartThings
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except
in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at:
http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed
on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License
for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.
*/
metadata {
// Automatically generated. Make future change here.
definition (name: “SmartCam Motion Sensor”, namespace: “smartthings/testing”, author: “Jason”) {
capability "Motion Sensor"
capability "Switch"
capability "Relay Switch"
command "active"
command "inactive"
command "onPhysical"
command “offPhysical”
}

simulator {
status “active”: "motion:active"
status “inactive”: “motion:inactive”
}

tiles {
standardTile(“motion”, “device.motion”, width: 2, height: 2) {
state(“inactive”, label:‘no motion’, icon:“st.motion.motion.inactive”, backgroundColor:"#ffffff", action: “active”)
state(“active”, label:‘motion’, icon:“st.motion.motion.active”, backgroundColor:"#53a7c0", action: “inactive”)
}
standardTile(“on”, “device.switch”, decoration: “flat”) {
state “default”, label: ‘test motion’, action: “onPhysical”, backgroundColor: “#ffffff
}

main "motion"
details (["motion","on"])

}
}

def parse(String description) {
def pair = description.split(":")
createEvent(name: pair[0].trim(), value: pair[1].trim())
}

def active() {
log.trace "active()"
sendEvent(name: “motion”, value: “active”)
}

def inactive() {
log.trace "inactive()"
sendEvent(name: “motion”, value: “inactive”)
}

def on() {
log.trace "$version on()"
sendEvent(name: “motion”, value: “active”)
off()
}

def off() {
log.trace "$version off()"
sendEvent(name: “motion”, value: “inactive”)
}

def onPhysical() {
log.trace "$version onPhysical()"
sendEvent(name: “motion”, value: “active”)
offPhysical()
}

def offPhysical() {
log.trace "$version offPhysical()"
sendEvent(name: “motion”, value: “inactive”)
}