I have been looking for a camera to monitor inside my vacation home. My requirements are that the system must operate when the internet gets raggy or the power goes out. I really don’t like opening any holes into my network, so anything that relies on connecting from the wild and wooley internet into my somewhat secure network is out of the question. Integration with Smartthings is “a nice to have.” I use a Y-cam outside, and it works as well as anything does outside. It really requires the internet to function correctly, so it does not meet my criteria for inside. It does have a free cloud service. I have used an older D-Link cam, and it often locked up and needed to be re-booted. As I read various reviews on the newer D-Link cameras, it appears that random lockups are still a D-Link issue, so I ruled it out. I really don’t care for the “robot looking” form factor either. The Samsung camera requires the internet, but they do have a cloud service for a price. There is no onboard storage. Lastly I tried a Foscam F19853EP camera. I spent almost a week trying to get the thing to do what it was supposed to do. I also purchased third party Smartthings device/apps. In the end you had to be about a foot from the camera to get it to trigger from motion, so I sent it back. Here are a few of the drawbacks that I found.
- The camera cannot send pictures or videos inside an email.
- When integrated in Smartthings the pic was sent to Smartthings, but Smartthings would throw it away.
- There are three different things you can do with a snapshot or a video. You can only do 1 thing with either of the media types. ie: snapshot to internal SD card, and video to cloud. Not both. When integrated with ST it did not seem to write to any of the destinations.
- SMTP was hard to get working.
- The User Guide was verbouse without giving much information.
- To get to firmware updates, they make you sign up for marketing garbage, then there was no info on my camera model, so I did not know if it was up to date or not.
I have to say that Foscam.us web site with all their awful chat windows and their scare tactics about counterfeit cameras really turned me off. When I went to sign up for the Foscam Forum, the security question they asked was what city was Foscam US located in. You can’t find it on the internet, or on their web site, so I could never get on the forum. Lots of people ask questions on the forum, but there are few answers, and none from Foscam.
It is also scary to see all the postings about Hikevision and the knock-offs that don’t support software upgrades, so I stayed away from them.
Lastly I did find a true security camera that had an informative manual written in American English. Like the Foscam F19853, the VIVOtek FD8167 is a dome camera which I prefer. It is wired so it gets away from the wireless interference (most all require power, so a lan cable is no worse that stringing a power cable). The only con was the price ($250 on Amazon), but you truly get what you pay for. Now for some of the pros:
- The camera supports dry contact connections, so through a MIMILite you have ZWave compatibility.
- You can setup any number of event rules, and they all run concurrently. They look at an event in three parts: Schedule - when do I monitor for the event. Trigger - What do I look at (10 different triggers including PIR, Motion through the lens, and external trigger [MIMOLite]). Action - Send emails with photos or videos, write photos or videos to FTP and/or internal SD. You can also setup to write to internal SD if the internet is down.
- Custom scripts are also available, but I don’t think I will need them.
If you are serious about home security, this is a great camera.
I did modify the MIMO Garage Door handler to be a more generic handler. I can post if you want it.