Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: WS-PoE-Tester/Detector

WS-PoE-Tester/Detector - Inline tester for power over ethernet, display from 20v to 56 volts, 0-5 amps, and actively used power in 802.3af, 802.3at and passive PoE at 10/100/1000 data rates

If you are hooking up IP cameras you probably are connecting them via POE (Power Over Ethernet). Seriously since you have to get power to it you might as run Ethernet cable to it to avoid WiFi issues and power them off the same UPS. Despite the Amazon title for this device it works good with 12 volt systems too. POE or old school analog power cables. Not only will this show that the camera is getting power but also how many amps it is drawing and the actual voltage. Then you can compare the end of the line voltage to the source to see how much loss there is so you can easily see if there is an iffy connection or too much loss due to the length being too long for the cable type you are using. Always try and keep the loss to less than 0.1 volts.

So useful I bought a second as a backup after I forgot to put the first one back in my tool box once.

If your camera does not support POE directly but has the standard 12 volt connector, you can pick up a Huacam HCP05 Passive PoE Injector/Splitter with 5.5 x 2.1 mm Connector to convert it to POE.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review: Amcrest UltraHD 2K IP3M-941W

I bought a Amcrest UltraHD 2K (3MP/2304TVL) WiFi Video Security IP Camera with Pan/Tilt, Dual Band 5ghz/2.4ghz, Two-Way Audio, 3-Megapixel @ 20FPS, Wide 90° Viewing Angle and Night Vision IP3M-941W (White) from Amazon. I should note the first one I received did not work. The second one did but took some messing with to get working with Blue Iris

The video quality of the Amcrest IP3M-941W is the same as the 2K Amcrest IP3M-943W cam. In other words about what you would expect from a 1080p cam just more of it. The normal Amazon price is $150 but it drops to $130 on occasion. The main extras you get for an extra $20 over the IP3M-943W are:

  • Pan/Tilt
  • Audio input
  • 5 GHz WiFi

The down sides:

  • Indoor only

Depends on the need:

  • The view is a little less wide with a 4 mm lens instead of the 2.8 mm the IP3M-943W has. Only 90 degrees instead of 100. But that is still wider than the 70 degrees of many cameras.
  • The 4 mm lens is a F 2.2 and the 2.8 is a F 2.0 so there will be a slight difference in depth of field but not enough I noticed it.
Bottom line:
If you need wide angle and pan/tilt or local recording it might be worth the extra money. If you do not need pan/tilt (with 90 deg view you probably do not), before you buy though check Hikvision. One of their models will probably do what you need for a lot less. And if you are really worried about security their dome versions can be bolted to the ceiling to really make it tough for thieves.

Example night shot from the Foscam FI9821W I replaced

Yeah the place is usually a mess with multiple projects going and keeping eval boxes to hand for return shipping. Anyway here is the same view with the Amcrest IP3M-941W
So what you get is pretty much wall to wall coverage if you put it in a corner. Plus a clearer picture. Though at up to 3 times the cost. Note you will get better coverage if you mount the cam about half way up the wall so it can look straight out. Though if your main goal is security instead of something like keeping an eye on the pets then you probably want to mount it as high as you can. Note both these cams use 5 volt power supplies so need to be close to an outlet versus 12 volt cams that can usually be on a 200 foot power cord with no problems.

One last point that might make this camera worth the extra money to you. As you can see above, the picture is clearer but you probably do not really get how much till you zoom in. If I zoom in, with the Foscam FI9821W you can barely make out the floor tiles.

But with the Amcrest IP3M-941W you can easily.

Note all the above pics are direct (raw) frame grabs. A quick contrast adjust in something like Photoshop / Premiere will bring up a bit more detail

Inside it looks like this

Again if you look closely you can see the lens is glued in place so no swapping.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: Foscam FI9821W

Foscam FI9821W V2 Megapixel HD 1280 x 720p H.264 Wireless/Wired Pan/Tilt IP Camera with IR-Cut Filter - 26ft Night Vision and 2.8mm Lens (70° Viewing Angle) 

If you are looking for something cheap to look out the window during the day or view the inside of your place the Foscam FI9821W V2 might be just the thing. I've seen them NEW as low as $47.50 on Amazon.com, used as low as $34 plus shipping and they can record to an SD card in the base.

Here is a night shot of the mess my living room is in

And in the day

And out the window
There is a 1080p version but it is usually going for about the same price as the 2K Amcrest IP3M-941W so you might as well get that or a Hikvision, if you do not need pan/tilt. Note both the Foscam FI9821W and the Amcrest IP3M-941W are 5 volt cams so must be withing about 10 feet of an AC outlet.