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Author Topic: w00t! Video monitoring of the Perkiset Lair via iPhone  (Read 4672 times)
perkiset
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« on: December 09, 2008, 05:16:35 PM »

After the breakin attempts of a couple weeks ago, we went into overdrive trying to sturdy up the place. Big nasty comprehensive alarm system, new iron entry way (very decorative and all) and last but not least, some internet-ready cameras.

Well, camera. I've started with just one Panasonic BB-HCM531A, Pan/Tilt indoor/outdoor POE ready camera. I didn't want to wire a power cord to it as well, so I purchased a POE injector as well and it worked like a charm.

Tiny hiccup: although "Mac Ready!" the install/config software is only available for the PC, so after starting parallels and inserting the install disc I got to work.

And boy was it tough. I first clicked "Search for Cameras" and, by golly, it found one. Then I had to enter a user name and password. Then I got shuttled off to a web page where I'm controlling the camera. It was that tough.

I killed Parallels and brought it up in Safari and it was pretty snappy to set up. Set some preset pan/tilt positions and could name them... it's smooth and easy. Took one of my personal domains and made a new sub domain for it (the address is non-routable, so it doesn't matter) and then looked it up in Safari. Bingo!

Last but not least... fired up the iPhone... went to the domain and kerpow! Controlling the camera via iphone. Of course the video is not as smooth as my wired desktop because the WiFi on the phone is not as quick, but *plenty* adequate.

My next step is to configure my iPhone with a road-warrior VPN setup to get into my house network from outside so that I can still look at the camera, because I am not posting it publicly (currently). I *may* port forward it later when I feel good and secure about it, but ATM I am not ready to go that direction.

I have another piece of software on order that will allow me record-on-movement capability and will aggregate an unlimited number of cameras into a single display panel - even different vendors and methods (like real CCT and such). I've purchased the 8-camera license because that's as far as I'll probably go here at home.

I'm pretty damn impressed and can recommend it - at least on first blush. I'll post more as I get more familiar with it and it gets a little outside Arizona under it's belt.
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2008, 05:32:06 PM »

let the hacking begin!

lets see.... tracert, portscan...

holy shit $600!!!

Im gonna come by and steal the damn camera... lol

I've actually been looking for a cheap solution, that I could stream to an offsite, or at least the casita to keep a few days worth.
there was potential with using webcams on the NAS hubs that I had, but the stupid linux modules wouldn't play. maybe now that I have a little more linux un-rusting, I might take another stab at it.
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perkiset
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2008, 05:44:53 PM »

LOL @ portscan/tracert... that's why I'm gonna keep it on the private net and have to VPN in to get it, I'm thinking... I'd REALLY REALLY hate to convert my newly hardened home to a cam-whore portal.

@ $600 ... yepper, it was a bit expensive. I'm going to put fixed focus/positions outside which are way cheaper, and perhaps one more expensive one like this in my backyard. The pan/tilt/outside adds are what bumped it up. But frankly, after playing with a couple cheaper ones and not getting the app to work on my iPhone makes this a deal. I may add infrared to the backyard which will bump me another Benjamin or so.
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2008, 11:58:53 PM »

I have a similar (lower-quality) surveillance system at my abode. I've also setup wireless trail cams to snag pictures of some of the wildlife on my property. Thinking about upgrading them soon. Have you done any other forms of internet-ready home automation?
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perkiset
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2008, 07:47:02 AM »

internet ready, no ... but my new alarm system has an X10 interface so I'm considering going that direction a bit ... adding some X10 stuff about the house and then controlling it either manually via the alarm or programmatically via my rig. Random or sequenced on/off lighting could look like someone is here when we're not and all.
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2008, 09:37:29 AM »

this is awesome:
http://www.waterhobo.com/

what's amazing is it wasn't that long ago that this kind of stuff was science fiction and now you hack this stuff together.

try a search for "x10" or "surveillance camera" on instructables.com and you will lose your whole day. hell, just browsing that site you can lose your whole day.
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perkiset
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2008, 10:03:39 AM »

FRIGGIN' GREAT Arms... Big smiles over here.

You're right, although some of it's been around for a long time (I remember wanting to cobble together the Heath Kit robot in the mid 80s) it's only recently going really mainstream.

instructables looks cool... I personally enjoy the Make magazine - their online presence is here: http://makezine.com/

... definitely livening my old hacker proclivities Wink
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2008, 12:06:11 PM »

make magazine looks awesome. i wonder if i can find them in my local magazine shop.
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perkiset
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2008, 12:45:16 PM »

@ Make: I buy it at the local book store when I have time to go through it... really great projects.

Update, regarding the software:

The Mac software that I purchased is both plus and minus. Pluses are that I have pretty granular control over the camera, capture video on motion, motion sensitivity and such. In fact, I now have it set up so that I am not viewing the camera unless there's a motion event. When there's motion of over <the threshold I set> the camera window pops up instantly where I last left it on my monitors. It does play well with both Spaces and multiple monitors. I also have the option of having either a single for for <today> and recording on motion or continuous or all manner of configuration. I have it set to "a movie per event" and it's working wonderfully.

Down: there is no provision in the software for pan tilt *presets* that I've loaded to the camera. In the web-based view of the camera itself, I can set a whole bunch of preset positions for the camera and simply click "2" to go to that particular position preset. Also there is no (that I can find anyway) to talk to the brightness, backlight and other features of the camera. So I used Safari's "clip" mechanism to snap the control portion of the camera from it's website into a widget that is displayed all the time, but not the video. So now, on the far right side of one of my "utility" monitors, there are all the controls for the camera - but the video feed is not visible until there's a motion event.

My end goal is a system that event-pops me when necessary, as opposed to a continuous CCT sort of arrangement. For example, someone comes to my front door, that camera pops up. Movement in the back yard, that camera pops up. Middle son brings girlfriend into his bedroom... Wink

So: Little tiny hiccups, but thus far I'd give my experience a 4-4.5 out of 5, although the slight down grade is just because it's not "all in one." I'll probably purchase a couple more cameras in the next week or so and go into phase 2.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2008, 12:47:06 PM by perkiset » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2008, 01:37:45 PM »

>adding some X10 stuff

If that's the X10 that communicates via line voltage wiring, I suggest you proceed slowly Perk.  I've had X10 since it first came out (late 80's ??) and had to give it up due to fairly consistent but random/intermittent failures.  If your house is large, and particularly if you have multiple panelboards for power distribution (mine uses 2 200amp 40-circuit panelboards for a 400 amp service) the signal may likely be too weak.
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perkiset
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2008, 01:46:00 PM »

hmmm... I forgot about that issue in the glow of my new toys. Had that problem trying some X10 thangs at my mom's house in southern Cal about 20 years ago... I'll have to do some research and see if it is any stronger. I would have thought that they'd have filtering/interpretation down a bit better by now.
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2008, 02:26:38 PM »

I'd thought they'd have enhanced that, too, and recently planned to fire up X10 for a project. But when I researched available signal bridges and amplifiers I could find anything really new that addressed large wiring systems.  The real deal-killer in my case was multiple main panelboards (and subfeed panels in the utility rooms) but I suspect even large, single main systems might have problems, particularly in the case of a security system where even intermittent failures would make you feel vulnerable.
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perkiset
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2008, 02:57:07 PM »

Hm. I may just start with inconsequential lighting and a motion-activated camera to see if it does what it's supposed to on command. I have 2 panels, but all the important stuff is one the main.

Thanks much for the heads up RC ... hope all is well over on your end. Tell your lovely wife that PinkHat & I said hello, will you please?
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2008, 03:13:49 PM »

>I have 2 panels, but all the important stuff is one the main.

On this last project I tested that as well; even moved everything onto the same circuit of a subfeed panel.  I was certain that would take care of the occassional failures. For some reason it really didn't seem to have that much of a positive effect. All I can figure is that the signal is somehow dilluted by the sheer mass of the overall wiring system.

Sooo... I ripped out all the X10 and hard-wired a nice control panel with one of the new-ish LCD time clocks as the engine, Leviton 6124H. Works great (though not really what you need for your home control purposes).

>PinkHat & I said hello

Will do.
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2008, 06:53:19 AM »

Very nice!

Do you have some sort of apc/ backup so it all happens if they short out your circuits or there is a brown out?
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