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Cheap Wifi Cameras


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#1 siguie

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 01:07 AM

As many of you have noticed I'm a geek and like toys PLUS I'm really REALLY cheap :yes: So I basically hunt down the best deals I can find and assume I can get whatever it is to work one way or another. That said many people prefer paying more in order to be able to just plug things in and have them work. This isn't for those types :no:

So I just pre-ordered a  Xiaomi MIjia Dafang Smart Home 120 Degree 1080p HD for $30 ... equivalent cameras on Amazon or at Best Buy sell in the $120 to $180 range and generally do not get great reviews 'cuz this is new top of the line specs at budget   friendly   acceptable prices and people get upset when they pay that much and it doesn't plug 'n play like the instructions would indicate.

In any event I thought I'd go over my reasoning of why I chose to put $30 down on this thing which "could" turn out to be chinese carpola. This reasoning can apply to just about any "cheap" {no not inexpensive} wifi camera and the camera above is just my current real life example.
  • First of all it's ONLY 1080p which is nice high resolution and no wasted code for changing resolution or possibly faking 1080p by "upscaling" which just makes things blurry.
  • It's ONLY 15 FPS. Higher like 30 or 60 is great for video not so much for security systems when you have to take storage space into consideration as well as write or transmit speeds. Also 15 FPS is reasonable for the hardware, many of these things push the hardware too far and try to compensate with the software which reduces image quality and can result in the camera hanging.
  • 120° wide angle, I prefer 110° but 120° is still good ... you can see a wider area and are just starting to see bending at the edges of images nothing like a 180° fish eye. In other words you wont get horrible distortion on the edges which "could" be misinterpreted as some kind of paranormal thang when it's not.
  • Audio alerts. Handy if your fire alarm goes off and you want to watch your place burn down OR perchance checking on the person ringing your door bell or catching your ghost dropping stuff in other rooms.
  • Runs on 5V 2A which means I can run it on either batteries or a siguie brand Supercapacitor Power Systems. BUT most tablet chargers should be able to power it {2.1A is standard for tablets 1A for smart phones}.
  • Motion Detection. Ok this is the one that sold me ... this thing has standard motion detection BUT also has "level 1 artificial intelligence" which sounds AWESOME but means absolutely nothing eXcept it will try and follow whatever is moving. Normally I'm not a fan of PTZ cameras but how cool would it be to get a ghost video with a moving ghost ... that and if you put it in your window people walking up to the door will see the camera zooming in and think you are home watching them.
Anywho the features above and the $30 price tag is why I pulled the trigger.

However, I also know the company XiaoMi is part of Mi Global a large smartphone manufacturer that's trying to break into the camera business. They are making a name for themselves by putting high end sensors in simple straight forward designs. I have their Yi m1 DSLR and their Action Cam is better than the Hero equivalent and far cheaper {Srsly Hero cams are way overpriced}. So I'm betting this is gonna be good :yes:


If $30 is too much of a gamble I also saw a 960P {not 1080p but better than 720p) wifi camera with AWS {Amazon Web Services} Support for $17 and all of these things include free shipping :yes: 960P Camera.

It seems like a reasonable system but I don't know anything about the company. The main advantage is IF you already have AWS you wont need to think about storage devices and if it works $17 for 920P is really pretty good :yes:



Here's the thing to keep in mind every year at about this time new cameras and new computers come out so last years model will sell for roughly half of "normal" which means 1080p wifi cameras are about $120 now so next year you can pick them up for about $60 and the year after that $30.


K so all that said IF you want to use wifi cameras in an investigation you are going to need a camera, a power source and either a direct computer connection {aka web cam} or a router for wifi-ing. You do Not need an ISP if you are doing an ad hoc wifi network aka WANET... basically everything is connected to your router but you cannot access the cyberverse. IF you ar using AWS this is gonna be a problem.

On the other hand if you are going to use a wifi camera at home to catch ghosts, thieves or misbehaving kids and animals then pretty much anything will work :yes:

Ideally you always want to get the highest resolution possible, night vision is great :yes: but if your room is small you will need to be able to adjust the IR arrays intensity AND keep in mind IR blasters will reflect heavily off of even very clean windows so you can't just point them out a window at night. If you need outside night viewing you should get a weather rated wifi camera or just put an IR illuminator outside ... I do both and they work well :yes:


I don't mean to ramble BUT I did want to show people that you really can get/make good systems for very little money. IF you have never setup a wifi camera before and you are a tech mugle I recommend getting an older 480p from a well established brand. They are overpriced carp BUT they will probably plug 'n play and you can atleast get an idea of how things work.

If you are even slightly tech savvy pick something in your willing to gamble price range and give it a try :yes:
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#2 KlaineyGStudy

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 04:03 AM

Is this like a "security camera"? If so you sure you're not psychic!

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#3 siguie

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 10:10 AM

Yes security camera, baby monitor, spy cam, dash can, etc.  they all use the same hardware with slight tweaks to the enclosures and power systems, the rest is just marketing.

By the way most of the components are just low end smartphone pieces cobbled together which is another reason why a smartphone manufacturer is a good bet on this kind of thing AND why I keep telling people to use their old smartphone for this stuff :yes:

Srsly do you need yet another example of my AMAZING powers :bunny:
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#4 KlaineyGStudy

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:45 PM

How did your camera turnout? As I told you, my daughter moved back home with her little dogs they are runners and our fence can't keep them in so they are inside most of the time. :verymad: I was able to make my smartphone into a security camera but it gets hot so not keen on using it.

But this camera looks good :) :picking your brain now!:  What have you done to your camera, hint, hint, motion detection alert through tasker? :New:

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#5 siguie

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 12:24 AM

Oh it's a Pre order it wont even arrive at their warehouse until next week then 2 to 3 more before I get it. Think of it like backing a kisckstarter campaign, there's a long wait but you are first inline when it's available and you get a discount for backing them :yes:

Doog job on the Tasker Security camera :yes: Try lowering the frame rat to something like 9 frames per second or even 6. Your probably in the 24 to 30 FPS range. cutting the FPS in half will reduce the power consumption by roughly 75% so going even lower should cool things off nicely :yes: In general security cameras run at lower frame rate to conserve resources anyways.

Oh and if this is an old pHone why not root it you could delete the carpware, and set the cpu to run slooower.

As for motion sensor alert through Tasker, yeah it's not that hard ... especially if you can use proximity sensing :yes:


Just so you know I don't read every single blurb about video cameras ... just the ones that  interest me ... so here's something I'm thinking about link ... it's also from Banggood BUT it's a mini with a 1/3 inch CMOS which is much better than the 1/4in, it's only 960p but that's plenty good enough :yes: What I like about it is it has 2 way voice and built in IR LEDs that can illuminate 10m. PLUS you can turn them on/off which you need for window night viewing.

Anywho it does have motion sensing and if you look at the Network Protocols:  TCP/IP, UDP, DNS/DDNS, SMTP, UPNP, DHCP, P2P, etc ...  The SMTP is most commonly used for email motion sensing alerts and if nothing else DHCP and P2P means you can probably write your own client side viewer :yes: or you know just use your phone or computer like with VLC :yes:

If you are not comfortable with these things yet ... being a noob geek 'n all I always recommend the dcs-930l camera from dlink :yes: It's low end {640x480} complete :carp: BUT it does motion sensing and sends email alerts and the two biggest reasons I suggest this model to people is 1) Dlinks network makes it pretty trivial to view video over the internet with either your computer or phone :yes:  and 2) it's so old now you can pretty much get an NOS package for $20 or less shipped :yes:
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#6 siguie

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 01:22 PM

For those interested in cheap wifi cameras the Wyze V3 is available for Pre-Order :yes:

It's $20 +shipping just like the V2 but this one is weatherproof AND sports a starlight sensor :evil:

Basically it can use 25 times less light to produce a colour image. It also has infrared but if you have just a tiny bit of light like stars or moon and BOOM colour image. It's the same kind of sensor that those driving assist night vision cameras use to show you the road when there's virtually no light.

Anywho I ordered 2 a month ago and they should be shipping soon. I cannot even buy a starlight module for under $30 so this is a good deal and should make a great ghost or security cam.

FYI: They are still selling the V2 so be sure you select V3 'cuz they are the same price and for $20 the V2 is good but you can make better with a Pi Zero W, a camera module and MotionEye OS. For the price I cannot beat the v3 :no:

There's also an Outdoor camera that uses rechargeable batteries and a central hub. I got one as a supporter AND it's nice :yes: but NOT what most people will want but the V3 basically is what most want :yes:

Srsly if you are someone interested in a 1080p security camera and you want continuous record and motion or sound notifications BUT don't want to invest in a stoopid camera system with NVR {Net Video Recorder} THIS is what you want :yes:

Basically $20 +shipping and you want a 32GB sd card $8 or taken from somewhere else. The thing is powered by a usb cable and a 5V power brick which is included. Other than that keep in mind that IR lights don't work from inside and assuming you have a phone/tablet and an interweb faster than 3MB/S you are set :yes:

Oh and for full disclosure the V3 gives you everything eXcept RTSP support ... that's the protocol you want if you want to watch video in a browser. Wyze is for people who use phones and tablets OR Amazon TV.

There is a v2 RTSP hack if anyone is interested :bunny:
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#7 siguie

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 07:27 PM



A good basic overview of the v3.
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#8 KlaineyGStudy

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 03:13 AM

That is a nice camera thanks for sharing the pre order link and the video.

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#9 siguie

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 06:35 PM

The Wyze Cam Pan v2 is out not to be confused with the v1 or "Wyze Cam v2" ... the only real difference with the Pan v2 is it now has the starlight sensor which makes super low light situations look like normal daylight :good:

It's a Pan system which means it can rotate 360° an tilt up and down like 30° or so ... it also has a 120° lens so you can see more in the videos/pictures but the edges have a bit of fish eye to them.

One other thing they've fixed vs version 1 is the motion following ... it'll scare the carp out of someone but it might be good for Halloween :yes:

In any event I've used it for a little over a week, I pre-ordered and do beta testing but for $40 you get a dang fine camera :good: 1080p, motion and or sound push notifications 2 week cloud storage for life {I add a 32GB SD card for continuous videoing} you can also use the Wyze app remotely and it of course does timelapse if that's your thang,

I've checked and neither the camera nor the app sends any info back to China. For those who don't know that's a real thing that most of the made in China cheap carp does as do most  though likely ALL the China apps do :evil:  Srsly don't use apps unless you understand what they do even if it's from the US and in google play or at that apple place.

As for the Pan Cam it really works well and I highly recommend it for inside use :yes: Cam v2 for outside {No pan}. There's also 2 way voice with pretty much all cams now so there are lots of ways to use these thangs. I don't recommend the Pan Cam 2 for baby nurseries since the motion is a little noisy  but for ghost hunting it would be AWESOME :bunny:

Oh and RTSP is not yet available but should be eventually ... this is what makes videos watchable in a computer browser so for now you need to use a phone or tablet.
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