Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Wyze Cam Pan 1080p Pan/Tilt/Zoom Camera

Wyze Cam Pan 1080p Pan/Tilt/Zoom Wi-Fi Indoor Smart Home Camera with Night Vision and 2-Way Audio

Setup was easy.

The password would be filled in above but see below.

No the QR code will not work even on my network since the password was blanked.

However when I went to check the video a week later for some samples to post and it had quit recording after a day. The camera was still tracking movement just not recording to the cloud. I had not put an SD in yet so there was nothing to check there. So I deleted the camera from the app, reset the cam and did a readd. But it would not connect. I wasted hours trying stuff. Finally I tried setting up a wide open Access Point (AP) and noticed the password was still filled in. I removed it and it connected. Repowered and it still reconnected so I wiped it all and readded to the secured guest network and it still works. While I was at it I stuck a 32 GB SD in it.

So far it looks like it is running just under 1 Mbps bandwidth.

So far the main drawbacks are:
  • Only records to SD or the cloud
  • Only saves triggered video. No 24/7
  • You can only view video from the phone app (no web viewing).
  • No easy way to change WiFi password.
  • Some suspicious network activity has been reported so only use on a guest or other isolated network.
  • The above also probably means you should think twice about putting the app on and phone or tablet that has sensitive info on it.

  • Free 7 days of cloud recording.
  • Ridiculously cheap at just $38 including shipping.
  • Seems to do an OK  job of tracking (by doing pan and tilt) and marking moving object in the video. (See videos below.) Note people have reported being creeped out by this and have to admit it does feel a bit weird and makes the camera seem a bit alive. I was actually surprised how little video was saved vs the amount of time the cam appears to be panning to look at things.
  • Can save / send video to a huge number of services
  • Alexa support just added.

I posted some sample videos on YouTube with the motion and sound detection at the default values and motion detection masked to around the dog door. Unfortunately I can not really show you the mask because when you go back in to modify the mask it only shows till the video kicks in and then defaults back to the whole screen.

Basically it is top to bottom from the wall socket to the edge of the window.

Main things to note here are how random the video is. It was triggered by noise way more than motion.

Lastly connecting the cam is slow and fails fair amount. Being an encrypted guest network might be a factor in that though as mentioned above I would definitely suggest isolating from your network like that.

Since the cam does not record 24/7, if this was my only cam in there I would be thinking of taking off the mask and cranking the sensitivity. Though that would probably make finding video of actual motion harder to find. As is I already have 2 cameras recording 24/7 in there so to me it is mainly another motion detector and hopefully gets a close up of who is using the door should I need to know. If they made an outdoor version of this I'd definitely have a spot for it and would probably recommend at double the price. Would think about a couple for the barn if I could monitor on a local PC since most of my cams are to let me see what is going on (as in what has the dogs upset) with as little distraction / time wasted as possible. Having to open an app, connect to a cam and find a notification just does not do that. To notify you with a video if something is moving where there should be no motion it is not bad. Especially for the price.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Kind of gross but also makes the point of 24/7 recording, coverage and adequate resolution.

This AM I found someone had gotten sick in the hallway. (Thankfully I have vinyl flooring or tile everywhere but the bedrooms.) From the sheer volume and some of the bits that looked like dog food I assumed it was one of the dogs. I went to the video to see which but of course the only camera  pointed that way (an Amcrest IP3M-956W in the kennel) was too far away to make out the mess on the floor. So I scanned back to my last trip down the hall but still could not see anyone going through during that time. There was a small spot visible on another cam (an Amcrest IP3M-941W in dining room) but scanning that video showed it was made by one of the cats. Back tracking the cat I saw he came from the hallway even though I had not seen him on the kennel cam. Armed with an exact time I went back and ran the hallway video slowly and could see a shadow from the small blind spot between cams that had to be the cat getting sick into the hallway. So it appears the cat ate some of the dry dog food and it made him sick. At least that is my assumption right now as he seems fine but I know to keep an eye on him for a while.

Which leads me back to the points I keep trying to make to people.

  • A lot of what of what you want to see after the fact would be missed if all you have is triggered recordings. The only bit above that triggered a motion event was the cat getting in the dining room which was small and short.
  • You need enough coverage to be able to track a subject. It is amazing how often seems to happen in blind spots. This is why I have 38 cams and want more.
  • And you need to be able to make out detail in the video. Sometimes only being able to see a body is there is good enough if you are just back tracking but if you need to see a face or when something was disturbed / left you need detail. 

Granted you never will have all the coverage you wish you had after an event but often a few extra dollars and a bit of extra planning will yield a much better end result so you do not end up feeling like you wasted your time and money.