Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Rollback Harmony firmware if your Harmony stops responding to your home automation.

Seems Harmony Hub FW 4.15.206 has a bug in it that cause the the hub to no longer respond to API requests. The simplest way to fit this it to roll back the firmware. Here are the steps that work from a  reddit post.

  1. Launch MyHarmony app on PC.
  2. Press Alt+F9 to open the advanced tools menu
  3. Scroll the window to find your Harmony model.
  4. Select "Factory Reset" for the appropriate model. This does not do anything immediately.
  5. Steps 1-4 will be displayed for completing a Factory Reset. We are only doing Step 1. "Restore" here means "Rollback".
  6. Connect your Harmony hub to the PC via micro-USB.
  7. Within a few minutes, it will be detected by MyHarmony and display Remote Model, Firmware Version, and Hardware revision. The Restore button will be enabled.
  8. Click "Restore" and wait. (Now is the first time that it actually describes that it's a rollback!)
  9. When it completes, you should be on Firmware Version 4.15.193. Disconnect the hub from the PC and return it to its original location.

You might want to block WAN traffic to and from your Harmony hubs till an update it posted.


Next morning my main remote was not talking to the matching hub. Tried to sync it but it seems that required unblocking the hub from the internet.

Monday, December 3, 2018

A quick note about POE claims and compatibility

On the camera side the specs can get a bit confused sometimes. For instance I bought some Reolinks I thought were POE from the listing but it seems the WiFi models do not support POE while the exact same models without WiFi do. You need to sort out which POE type it wants. Generally this going to be 802.3af or 802.3at but Unifi for instance has some stuff that only support 24 volt passive. And some others have they own ways of doing things so read carefully. And of course if the camera does not support POE directly but is powered by 12 volts you can always use the Huacam HCP05 Passive PoE Injector/Splitter with 5.5 x 2.1 mm Connectors. With good cables I've managed up to 200 feet with them.

You need to make sure the POE injector and the camera are the same type. The PoE Detector for IEEE 802.3 or Passive PoE - Quickly identify Power over Ethernet; Display Indicates Passive or 802.3af/at; 24v, 48v, or 56v; and Mode B Reverse Polarity is a nice cheap tester to see what is coming out of your switch. Note it sees 12 volt passive as 24 volt. Though I'm thinking something a bit more might be a good idea.

For instance I found this switch on sale. The PoE Detector for IEEE 802.3 or Passive PoE - Quickly identify Power over Ethernet; Display Indicates Passive or 802.3af/at; 24v, 48v, or 56v; and Mode B Reverse Polarity shows it is putting out 802.3at while my trusty WS-PoE-Tester - Inline Tester For Power Over Ethernet | Display 20 to 56 Volts, 0-5 Amps And Display Actively Used Power 802.3af/at and Passive PoE at 10/100/1000 Data Rates says it is outputting nothing without a matching POE camera on the other end. They have a newer version called Inline Power over Ethernet Voltage and Current Tester (PoE-Tester-Gen2) which does both. Though I'm also looking at the Triplett / Byte Brothers POE1000IL Inline POE Analyzer which seems to do a bit more.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Option C: ethernet over power lines

Been awhile since I tried one of these (and was very disappointed back then) but given the fun keeping cams down at the creek has been I thought I'd try it again. I bought one of the TP-Link AV1300 / AC1350 Gigabit Powerline Wi-Fi Adapter Kit | HomePlug AV2 Technology w/Beamforming | Plug, Pair, and Play (TL-WPA8630 KIT V2) because it had 3 ports plus WiFi AP built in. I should mention this is in a heavily wooded area outside my fenced in area. The cams are also close to the creek and I've had a couple cams near the creek stolen and wires cut. I was getting OK reliability  with a serious outdoor AP. A Unifi Outdoor+ with Ubiquiti Airmax Omni AMO-2G10 10Dbi 2.4 GHz Rocket Kit which could cover an acre without all the trees. I also tried putting an Unifi Outdoor+ down in the trees but since it was mounted in a tree the connection was flaky plus I was not happy with the idea vandals could get to a cable wired directly into my network and could fry some hardware. With the power line option they might destroy equipment outside the fence but not inside. So far it is working great which is kind of surprising on a couple levels. First from my previous disappointing experience. Then there is the whole AC noise issue that made me move from X10 to Z-wave a few years back. And I did not make it easy. The connections goes from the switch, to the inside adapter, to a 75 foot extension cord with neon power indicators in it (it was in place already), to and outside plug, through a Z-wave power switch, down a line about 55 feet to a breaker box, down another line to and outdoor outlet about 60 feet from the breaker and then lastly another 50 foot extension cord to a waterproof box where the receiver and POE injectors are. Despite that AP being in a box on the ground the WiFi seems to work pretty good too. This comes in real handy for adjusting the cams out there where getting between the tablet and the AP can be enough to lose a large percent of frames if not the connection.

Note I had bought a couple CelerCable CAT7 Slim Flat Ethernet Patch Cable with Snagless RJ45 Connectors, 50 Feet - Black with the though they might be harder to see laying flat against the trucks of the trees but be warned these cables got hot running 12 volt POE through them. Using the Huacam HCP05 Passive PoE Injector/Splitters of course. The resistance in the cable was so bad the Amcrest IP4M-1026B would drop offline when the IR LEDs kicked on. I ended up routing the power through the old power cables till I receive replacement cables.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Added filterable sheet to camera compare

On my Camera spec compare sheet I added a transposed version of the HD cams sheet called HD filterable. It is not as readable as the other given it is over 200 columns by almost 30 rows but it had the advantage of being able to filter the camera models by all the features you are interested in. Just go to the HD filterable sheet and create a temporary filter

Then click on the down arrow of each column you want to filter.
For instance here I selected Brand, Color and Viewing Angle such as
To get a view like this

Monday, November 5, 2018

What is the best camera for X?

I see that question posted a lot. Often just "What is the best camera?".


It really depends on what you are monitoring and the features you need to do that. Things to take into account:

  • Need audio recorded?
  • Do you need to be able to talk back?
  • Distance to main target area?
  • What level of recognition are you looking to get? Motion, face or plate at 3 feet or 200?
  • Wide, average or narrow view angle?
  • Is a wired ethernet possible there?
  • Is power available there?
  • Is night vision required and if so to what distance?
  • How weather / theft proof is needed?
  • Is zoom wanted? If so auto or manual?
  • Is pan / tilt wanted, if so should it track objects automatically?
  • Are you going to use a DVR? If so do you have one or are you looking?
  • If thinking cloud recording do you have the upload bandwidth for the number of cams you want? What length of storage are you expecting?
  • Do you want continuous recording (the answer to this one ought to be yes somewhere if only on the camera or DVR.) 

This why the 40 I currently have online are a mixture of brands and models. See my compare sheet.

To find the best camera you need to first gather the answers to most of the above then ask that question again.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Rexing V1P vs V1 3rd gen Dash cam

Rexing V1 3rd Generation 4K UHD WiFi Car Dash Cam 2.4" LCD 170° Wide Angle Dashboard Camera Recorder with WiFi, 16GB Card, G-Sensor, WDR, Loop Recording
Rexing GPS Logger for Rexing V1 3rd Gen, V1P 3rd Gen, V2
Rexing V1P 2.4" LCD FHD 1080p 170 Degree Wide Angle Dual Channel Dashboard Camera Recorder Car Dash Cam with Rear Camera, G-Sensor, WDR, Loop Recording

Overall I'm quite pleased with the result over my previous dashcam, a VC-250 Dash Cam with GPS. Though I miss the remote on the VC-250 to trigger protecting of videos from being overwritten. Finding and pushing a button on the camera while driving is not practical. That experience taught me too an interior cam is about worthless for seeing out the back. Which is why I mounted a Rexing V1 3rd Generation 4K camera facing front and a Rexing V1P mounted on the rear window with its remote cam inside pointed forward to catch an inside and bit of side view that might be needed. The over all effect is almost a 360 exterior view plus interior. Decent audio on all streams makes syncing the stream almost automatic in a editor like Adobe's Premiere Pro.

Here is a quick multicam video I made from my Rexing V1P rear mounted camera and my forward mounted Rexing V1 3rd Generation 4K. Elements from the each cam are overlayed to keep the SUV in view and the GPS speed and time readings. It is an example of the clarity of the cameras and how they can show evidence if you need it.

For example in the above thumbnail I mixed the video down to the 1080p rez of the Rexing V1P forward (my back view) stream, overlayed the interior view from the Rexing V1P's remote cam and  overlayed a zoomed in image from the Rexing V1 3rd gen to show the lights and a cropped but dull rez shot of the Rexing V1 3rd gen's data overlay at the bottom to show speed and time. Lastly I added text. With something like Adobe's Premiere Pro it is not all the hard but not so easy you would normally do without reason.  I did a post digital zoom on the 4K stream to highlight what was happening. Note the 2X, 3X and 4X flash in the lower right to indicate that it has reached that level of zoom. (The editor smooths the changes in zoom so you might not even notice them.)  The picture near the end is still pretty clear at 4X zoom. Better than a lot of 720p cams I've seen unzoomed.

Note the raw video has GPS data encoded if you have options GPS. If you use the JMS DVR GPS player to view the videos you get a screen like this.

This is one of the improvements over the VC-250 that you had to convert the videos to see them outside of their app and after converting you lost the GPS data.

Note I replaced the audio on these to avoid audio book copyright issues.
Rexing V1 3rd gen night video sample
Rexing V1P exterior night sample
Rexing V1P interior night sample

Friday, September 28, 2018

Quick overview

At the moment I've have 38 cams from several brands on 3 Blue Iris servers plus one each of the Wyze cams. I've tried almost that many models. Here is what I've found.

I like the clarity of the Reolink 5MP the best.

But I've found the Reolink 5MP bullet cam can have trouble in Texas heat. When temps got over 100 here the Reolink's auto focus and zoom motors stopped working then the camera just crashed. For awhile it was also losing its configuration I bought the dome version and have not had any trouble with it. Heat has not seemed to be an issue with any others except the old Foscam 8900 PTL series OEMs made for indoor use.

IR reflection bad be really bad in some of these. Dome cams almost all seem to have this to some degree. You should look at the pics here but in general I would recommend the Amcrest, Hikvision or Reolink bullet cams for that.

Wifi range varies a LOT. For example at the turn in my driveway some 80 feet through heavy woods the Amcrests, Foscama and Escams all worked most of the time. Reolink, Hikvision and SV3C were iffy and the Wyze cam could not even connect.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Running a camera on battery

What I wanted to achieve.

I wanted to get a cam on my mailbox which across the street. But the closest place to an outlet that could get line of sight is over 300 feet from any building and across the driveway. So we are talking major construction to run a line or POE cable out there. I already have a couple cams down by the creek running longer distances from my super AP ( a UniFi AP Outdoor+ with a Ubiquiti Airmax Omni AMO-2G10 10Dbi 2.4 GHz Rocket antenna) so I started to wonder what kind of battery would it take to power a camera.

Experiment 1

Hooked a Foscam FI9804P 720P Outdoor HD Wireless IP Camera to a 12V 9Ah Compatible Battery normally used in pairs in my UPSs and it ran 35 hours.
Temp UPS battery setup

Experiment 2

Same Foscam FI9804P 720P Outdoor HD Wireless IP Camera but with a Duracell Marine Battery (Group Size 24) and it ran about 6 days. Was not sure it was fully charged since that seemed short so switched it back to the UPS battery which only lasted about a day this time. Running it dead might be taking a toll on it. Put it back on the big battery and up for 6 days so far.

Experiment 3

After talking to a neighbor and looking up some specs I started thinking a Wyze cam v2 might be a better way to go. About 1/2 the power draw, has audio and 1080p instead of 720p. Also smaller and needs less IRs to see so less visible. Of course the downside is it only records to the cloud and SD card right now unless you seriously hack it. Also not sure about its WiFi range but will make a good experiment. I'll first try it in parallel with the Foscam on the big battery and the Wyze on the UPS battery. Since it is an indoor camera I also bought the Frienda Camera Cover for Wyze Cam 1080p HD Camera and iSmart Alarm Spot Camera, Black Skin Cover with Security Wall Mount, Weather Resistant, Against Rain and Dust and some adapters to power USB off a battery. Camera, cover and 25 foot power cord total cost just $46.96. Add another $9.99 for a 32 GB SD card for redundancy sake.

Here is what it looks like with the cover on. It is a rubber like material which should seal it pretty good.
From front

From bottom
Ran into a problem with the power adapter I rigged up from WINOMO Car Auto Battery Terminal Clip 12V DC Cigarette Lighter Socket Adapter and Car Charger RAVPower 24W 4.8A Mini Dual USB Car Adapter with iSmart 2.0 Tech, Compatible with iPhone X 8 7 6 Plus and Galaxy S9 S8 Plus S7 S6 Edge Note 8 - Black seems the RAVPower is not long enough to make contact in the WINOMO. Ordered a Anker 24W Dual USB Car Charger, PowerDrive 2 for iPhone X / 8/7 / 6s / 6 / Plus, iPad Pro/Air 2 / Mini, Note 5/4, LG, Nexus, HTC that will hopefully work better.
 This appears to be a failure because the Wyze cam will not connect even at the driveway curve about 80 feet from the AP with line of sight much less through the woods where the drive cameras are or out by the gate where it was supposed to replace the Foscam.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Wyze Cam Pan 1080p Pan/Tilt/Zoom Camera and V2

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. Their specs recommend 1.5

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 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.

Update: 8/11/2018 More issues.

Found these instructions online for using Tiny cam to bridge the cam to the local NVR. They did not work for me. Might be some sort of manual firewall config though. Note they seem to connect to the server not the cam directly so you might be burning as much down bandwidth as up using them. When you test your connection it says it is receiving something but dropping all frames even if you point it at an address that does not respond which is either misleading or something else is going on.

However, trying to debug first I checked the regular app and it could not connect either till I rebooted the cam. Even after rebooting the cam it kept dropping out. So that might be an issue too. Oddly there are plenty of recordings which would seem to indicate the stream is getting to the cloud.

On a whim I tried connecting with the Amazon Show. But it now seems to think my one cam is two cams with the same name and will not connect to I rename one.

Update 11/22/2018: Got Tinycam to link to Blue Iris

Note I started with Pro version this time. Not sure if that was a factor in it working this time. 

Note when selecting Wyze and the cam type cloud is the only protocol available despite what the pics in the instructions sem to show. Then in Blue Iris setup your video config like this

Blue Iris video config window

The host and port come from the Tinycam app as mentioned in the instructions. Note the capital I in cameraId. 

The value can be found be pulling up the live view of the camera in a browser. The first screen you see when you point your browser to the Tinycam web server is the status / maint screen.

Tinycam status and maintenance page

Click on the All Cameras button and you get something like this.
Tinycam view all cameras page
Click the fullscreen icon
Full screen button pic
on one of the cameras and the cameraId for it is the end of the URL (Highlighted with yellow rectangle in pic.)

Tinycam single camera view page

This should get you connected however for for me:

  • The first cam, the pan version, connected fine but second, a V2, was iffy getting to show in the phone interface, web interface and never did connect to Blue Iris while I was sorting all this. I did move the V2 closer to the AP though and it started working so it might be a WiFi issue. Especially then coupled with its failure to connect in the driveway.
  • The Samsung Note 4 I was running Tinycam Pro on got hot and the drain on the battery even with the display turned off was high enough the battery ran out after s few hours. After recharging the phone, only running the Tinycam app, removing it from the case and placing it across a pyrex bowl to maximize air flow I got it to run overnight without overheating or the battery going dead.
  • Lastly it appears Tinycam is pulling from the cloud service which means you will be buring double the external bandwidth that would only be local with a camera with ONVIF or RSTP support.
Update 1/17/2019: After shutting down about everything else on the phone (does not even have sim) and only connecting to one Wyze camera. I noticed Tinycam was offline and when I checked it this is what the phone looked like. Probably lucky it did not burst into flame.
I put in a new battery and placed a temperature monitor with alarm on it. So far it seems OK but keeping a close eye on it. Here is a chart of the temp of the phone vs the room it is in.

In the load chart below it appears there is an upload of around 7-9 Mbps from the 2 cams. There is of course other stuff going on which spikes the upload to 20 Mbps or more and the download  is an almost constant 40 Mbps. But again in the dips is a matching 7-9 Mbps load.
OPNsense traffic report page

Here is a shot of the Tinycam stats screen the second day showing a bit on improvement over the day before.
Tinycam status info

After a couple days of up and downs I can't say I recommend Tinycam as a bridge or a constant view solution. Though at least some of the problems are probably Wyze related. I had both cams working for awhile the cameras seemed to take turns being offline. I tired installing on Bluestacks which seemed to have similar viewing issues and as far as I can see, no way to make the web server part of Tinycam accessible outside of Bluestacks. I also tried it on my new LG G Pad 2 a lot more powerful than the Note 4. Unfortunately the best I could do was get one camera to connect. I should note here too even the Wyze app was having issues talking to the cams despite signal levels of up to -26 db (99%). In fact I saw more issues with the cam with the stronger signal.

The last thing to try is OpenIPC Firmware for Wyze Cameras 

It is basically rooting the camera to convert it to a simple WiFi camera. It is open source and appears to be a simple SD card install. 

Note "Set up Wifi in the SD card config folder wpa_supplicant.conf" in the instructions means rename wpa_supplicant.conf.dist to wpa_supplicant.conf then edit it to change SSID and such to match your WiFi network.


        # Uncomment to connect to Hidden SSIDs
        pairwise=CCMP TKIP
        group=CCMP TKIP WEP104 WEP40


However once I did this the camera would no longer connect to WiFi. Seems this is a known issue.   After some research on Raspberry Pi blogs I found some dos that said priority=2 is only if you have more than one WiFi you use. removing it seems to have solved it.

I also discovered the demo.bin file is a boot loader altered to look at the SD so you really only have to mess with the holding the button bit the one time. I should also note the OpenIPC version has all the logging stripped out of run.sh so when things go wrong it is impossible to know what happened. So added some back similar to what was in the Dafang hacks and a couple things of my own in mine to help sort things.

if [ ! -d $LOGDIR ]; then
  mkdir -p $LOGDIR
echo "==================================================" >> $LOGPATH
echo "Starting OpenIPC" >> $LOGPATH
echo "==================================================" >> $LOGPATH

## Update hostname:
hostname -F $CONFIGPATH/hostname.conf

## Load kernel modules
insmod /driver/tx-isp.ko isp_clk=100000000
##insmod /driver/sensor_imx323.ko
insmod /driver/sensor_jxf22.ko
##insmod /driver/sensor_ps5230.ko
insmod /driver/exfat.ko
insmod /driver/sample_motor.ko
insmod /driver/audio.ko spk_gpio=-1 sign_mode=0
insmod /driver/sinfo.ko
##insmod /driver/8189es.ko
insmod /driver/sample_pwm_core.ko
insmod /driver/sample_pwm_hal.ko
insmod /driver/rtl8189ftv.ko
##insmod /system/sdcard/driver/sensor_jxf22.ko data_interface=2 pwdn_gpio=-1 res                                                                    et_gpio=18 sensor_gpio_func=0

## Fix IR:
echo 63 > /sys/class/gpio/export
echo out > "/sys/class/gpio/gpio25/direction"
echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio63/direction
echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio63/value

## Start Wifi:
echo Start Wifi: >> $LOGPATH
wpa_supplicant -D nl80211 -iwlan0 -c $CONFIGPATH/wpa_supplicant.conf -B &
sleep 5
wpa_supplicant_status="$(wpa_cli status)"
echo "wpa_supplicant: $wpa_supplicant_status" >> $LOGPATH

#udhcpc -i wlan0 -s /system/etc/udhcpc.script -q
udhcpc -i wlan0 -p /var/run/udhcpc.pid -b -x hostname:"$(hostname)"  >> $LOGPATH 2>&1

## NTP Server
echo Start ntpd: >> $LOGPATH
ntp_srv="$(cat "$CONFIGPATH/ntp_srv.conf")"
/system/sdcard/bin/busybox ntpd -q -n -p "$ntp_srv" # run ntp update  >> $LOGPATH 2>&1

## Start FTP & SSH
echo Start FTP-SSH: >> $LOGPATH
/system/sdcard/bin/dropbearmulti dropbear -R  >> $LOGPATH 2>&1
/system/sdcard/bin/bftpd -d  >> $LOGPATH 2>&1

## Start Webserver:
echo Start Webserver: >> $LOGPATH
/system/sdcard/bin/boa -c /system/sdcard/config/  >> $LOGPATH 2>&1

## Autostart
for i in /system/sdcard/config/autostart/*; do
echo Start $i: >> $LOGPATH
  $i  >> $LOGPATH 2>&1


On the plus side if all else fails just powering it up without the SD card seems to set it back to where it was when first set it up with your config intact.

Working with Blue Iris

If you got the OpenIPC working OK then to get Blue Iris to use it you need a video config like this

The password is ismart12
Note you need to type in the Video Path and change the RTSP port.
I have not fully tested it yet but it seems like many of the controls do not actually work and or go back to defaults after reboots.
Other I've noticed so far
Time seems to ignore timezone and shows UTC
The video stream seems to be 720p no matter what the value Manage->Setting->Resolution are set to.
Manage->Setting->Display debug info on OSD look useful
Bumping the cam seems to be too much motion for it to deal with,

CPU is really cranking and the cams seems to be running hotter than it did before the new firmware.
Motion detection does not seem to actually doing anything till you configure it and then only puts a dot in the upper right corner

It is hard to say how much CPU motion detection is using but given I've seen it hit 100% it does not seem to be worth the overhead.

Lastly night vision does not seem to be working right. Setting Manage->Setting->RTSP->Night Vision to On seems to flip it into night vision mode for a second then it flips back even when it is too dark to see anything unless you turn off IR Cut first. There might a set of clicks that get this working but this would seem to indicate it is not planned to be fixed.
So with the IR Cut on my hall at night with just the light from the bath room looks like this from the Wyze V2.
For comparison here to the view from the kennel looking back the other way.
If I turn off the IR Cut you can see a lot more
Which really is not that bad other than the tint. If I turn the lights on in the hall it is not enough to mask the tint though it should be bright enough in the daytime.
Was about to give up on this for the night when I went though the process one last time and this time there was no tint. This it the options I ended up with.
And here is the working night shot.

Update 4/29/2019 Wyze adds RTSP support.
Tried it on my Pan and was as easy as and similar to the OpenIPC SD card style upgrade though with less needed config.  Details here. So far seems like everything else looks the same. Given how hard OpenIPC drives the V2 I figured something would have to go. If the cam does not fry from the load I'll be impressed. By the next morning the case was still cooler than the V2 running OpenIPC. I did notice bumping the cam when I felt the case seemed to freak out the tracking for a bit causing the cam to bounce back and forth for awhile.Had to stick my hand in front of it to give it a simple view to calm it down.

Update 5/18/2019 Wyze RTSP definately better than the OpenIPC firmware.
Bottom line, I bought another V2 to try this on after the Pan and was impressed enough to get another and convert the V2 I had OpenIPC on to the Wyze RTSP firmware.


  • Wyze appears to have not plans to update this firmware.  A taxing as the OpenIPC firmware is on this hardware and the recent announcement about using the cams as hubs for sensors I would imagine they have crammed about all they can into these versions of the cams.
  • Tracking on the Pan is a bit glitchy with the RTSP firmware. Cranking down the sensitivity helps but the cam sometimes just starts bouncing back and forth. See this video for an example. 

On the plus side.

  • Both the V2 and Pan are supported where OpenIPC sort of does.
  • The camera runs somewhat cooler
  • I'm not seeing the pixel distortions (see above) anymore. 
  • You retain all the Wyze features including the output resolution, working day/night switch and rectangles around motion.

Reliability of the stream seems unchanged. I've gone to just putting them on Etekcity plugs and having my home automation system repower them if they are offline for more than a few minutes to workaround that. Still all and all it tough to beat for $25 and $38. Especially when you get 3 way storage. On the SD card, 24/7 stream to NVR and alerts to the cloud. That should insure you always know what happened.

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.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bluecherry NVR vs others

BlueCherry is another multi-camera Linux NVR. 

Here is a great 45 minute overview and demonstration. Below is mainly just the stuff not really covered in it.

You can download their client and connect to their demo server to try it for yourself. Note only 4 of the demo cameras would connect for me and one is playing a animated video.

Interface beats Zoneminder by a mile.

Their feature compare with Zoneminder is here. kerberos.io does beat them on some features like heat maps but over all I'd say the Bluecherry interface is better than kerberos.io too.

Does most of what Blue Iris does. Main diffs with Blue Iris

It costs a lot more.

To dup my current 38 cam set up would be $650 to 675 vs $135 for Blue Iris. There is a 30 day free trail though.

Generally the interface is not as polished as Blue Iris though way ahead of Zoneminder

Plays back at up to 128x where Blue Iris does up to 256X

Probably not that big of a deal unless you are having to find when thing X happened in several hours of video.

Also not seeing many automation options. 

For example with Blue Iris I can trigger virtual devices in my home automation system based on motion and loss of signal. Here the only option appears to be email. This is what the options are with Blue Iris for motion or loss of signal triggering.

Motion detection seems thin

Compare this Bluecherry screen

to Blue Iris' these screens

Zoom seems to stay centered on image instead of cursor location like in Blue Iris

This means if the thing you want to zoom in on is off center, zoom is basically useless. Also it is a simple +- button system of step instead of the much smoother Blue Iris method of put your cursor over the subject and use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.


Not sure about loads since I have not set up a sever to test on matching hardware. The client did not seem to load my PC much at all though all I could pull from their server appeared to be 4 streams around 720p.


Another Linux option is kerberos.io Do not know anyone that has actually tried it though. If you look at the docs, to do multicams on a server (not a RPI) you need to setup a docker image for each cam. I'm still looking if you need multiple web interfaces as well. The demo appears to show a camera only. I like some of the data displays like the heat maps I have not seen elsewhere but wonder about the horsepower required for all that. Especially since I'm phasing out all my 720p cams. Blue Iris is often accused of being a CPU hog. With motion highlighting turned on (similar to but less data intense than heat amps ought to be) 13 (720p to 2K mixed) cams can max a 4th gen i7 (4 cores / 8 threads) during a storm.

Another issue for me is I want a console. If the dogs start barking or a sensor is triggered I want to be able to look at the monitors and see what is going on.One of the reasons I have 3 Blue Iris servers, other than load, is that 13 cameras fit perfectly in a 1:3, 4 up layout full screen display on a 32 inch monitor so that I can see at a glance what is going on.

I should note too load. Those servers are each looking at around 40 mb/s coming in from cameras so sending to the cloud in never going to happen without a fiber uplink.

I am thinking about setting it up just to fine tune motion detection setting for Blue Iris if nothing else.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Microseven 6-22mm 3MP Manual Zoom Varifocal Len HD 1080P

Microseven 6-22mm 3MP Manual Zoom Varifocal Len HD 1080P SONY 1/2.8" CMOS Built-in Microphone & POE ONVIF Works with Alexa, WiFi IP Camera Outdoor 128GB, Free M7 Cloud &Live Streaming on microseven.tv

Unlike the Reolink 411ws this one has a manual zoom, 6 to 22 mm, and focus which means you set the sweet spot where you want it and it will stay there unlike the Reolink 411ws when it is loses power. Or as it is doing now, just reboots.

Technically the Microseven would not focus at its full zoom. I pushed the focus to the max and then backed off the zoom till I got it to focus at a target about 65 feet away. 

Here are the shots for testing recognition at just over 100 feet. First the Reolink at full zoom looks like this

And Microseven also at "full zoom" looks like this.

Right off you can see it is zoomed in tighter and clearer. But the rez is lower 1080p @ 3MP vs 1728p @ 5MP. If you zoom in on the pics though you see the higher optical zoom of the Microseven (left) still looks a bit better. 

At about 200 feet the Reolink looks like

And the Microseven like

Zooming in again they compare like this Microseven left and Reolink right

Still neither is all that useful at 200 feet for license plate reading or face recognition.
At 165 feet it is almost usable. Though I'd say my beard looks a LOT longer in this pic than it is.

Night vision is better though

Zoomed in it still looks pretty good.

That building is 370 feet away.
Compare with this shot from the zoomed in Reolink 411

But then the Escam QD900 beat the Reolink 411ws in this test
Even with all the grain in the Escam shot might still edge out the others in this one case. Note however the Escam's night vision distance is very limited on its own so without the security light on that building. I should note in the Reolink vs Escam compare there was also an IR flood installed while in the Microseven shots above no IR flood was used. For an idea of how well these illuminate here is a wide shot from the Reolink 411ws
Note the time and name are wrong because it has lost its config again.
Here is the same shot from the Mcroseven. Note the name and time display are turned off on it.

Paired together I think they give great coverage. If I only could have one I'd probably go with the Reolink given the fact fully zoomed in you still have a wider field of view while getting almost as good recognition abilities at distance. Note I did not include and zoomed out shots from the Microseven because it focusing it can be a bit touchy and since it only goes down to 6 mm it still would not be as wide as a standard 70 degree lens at only 50 degrees. The Reolink above for comparison is 98 degrees.

One last shot to highlight a minor point the OSD of name and time are small and only have top and bottom as options. So in case that matter here is a shot with OSD turned on.

Generally I leave the camera's OSD (top) on as a backup to what Blue Iris has (at bottom). They often get off especially with DST. The Microseven OSD I had not even noticed got turned off i earlier shots it is so hard to see.