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Old 03-23-2012, 07:31 PM
 
28,611 posts, read 40,594,929 times
Reputation: 37281

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Since we are selling our house (sometime in the future) and are visiting possible retirement locales for extended periods of time we decided security cameras would be a good idea. We are also going to install remote controls for lighting, etc.

I decided to start with a single camera to see how easy it would be to set up and use. I am going to place it in different rooms to see what coverage I will get without panning it. That will tell me how many I will have to buy to cover the house.

If you purchase one make sure it is from an authorized Foscam dealer or they will not provide support. This is where I got mine and they are authorized: Amazon.com: Foscam FI8910W Wireless/Wired Pan & Tilt IP/Network Camera with IR-Cut Filter for True Color Images - 8 Meter Night Vision and 3.6mm Lens (67° Viewing Angle) - Black NEWEST MODEL: Camera & Photo

This camera I would rate as medium to somewhat difficult to install.

The first thing I figured out was that I needed to print out the manual that comes on the CD. The quick install pamphlet is good, but limited.

One thing that they tell you to do is go to Managed DNS | Outsourced DNS | Anycast DNS and get a free domain name to use when you connect remotely. The problem is this company doesn't provide free domain names. The other options for domain names given in a list they provide in the software seem to be non-existent. At least I think that's what they're telling me... It's confusing and poorly explained. I'm currently connecting with the IP address, but haven't had a chance to try try it from outside my network. I'm going to try using our domain supplied by Microsoft for our Windows Home Server. xxxxx.homeserver,com. If it works, I'm set. If not, I'm looking for a place to get one. I'm not overly interested in purchasing a somain name just for the cameras.

Their port forwarding screen and explanation are confusing, but it's port forwarding what would anyone expect? I still don't understand why every explanation I find regarding this task confuses it more than necessary.

As for the camera itself, I am very impressed. The pan and tilt range is excellent, the resolution is clear at 640x480, the color is crisp, and you can adjust the brightness and contrast. I think it has the ability to save settings based on what you choose, but I haven't tested that yet.

It will email alerts (it can be turned on and off easily) and I have set up and tested this feature. It works well, but I can't get it to successfully send a message to Mrs. Tek's Gmail account even though it sends one to mine. It attaches six snapshots to the email, and you can get a bunch of emails with constant movement! I know this because I forgot to turn it off once after testing. Oops! The picture quality in the email is excellent.

I have set up our smart phones (Android) access the camera and it works fairly well. The biggest negative is the speed of the connection. Picture quality is pretty good and you can control the pan, tilt etc from the phone. An app download is required. This is the one I use: IP Cam Viewer Free. There is a Full version with quite a few features that are not in the free. I may be buying that one once things settle down on the PC side. $4.00

I downloaded a plugin: http://www.videolan.org that captures the audio and it works, but is a bit noisy. I've read that static can be caused by the wireless antenna and the power cord among other things and that experimentation should resolve the issues. I did notice that it really picked up the the tick-tock from our mantel clock.

So far, so good. I'll post more as I work through the full install.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:24 PM
 
28,611 posts, read 40,594,929 times
Reputation: 37281
An update in case any is interested.

Quote:
It will email alerts (it can be turned on and off easily) and I have set up and tested this feature. It works well, but I can't get it to successfully send a message to Mrs. Tek's Gmail account even though it sends one to mine. It attaches six snapshots to the email, and you can get a bunch of emails with constant movement! I know this because I forgot to turn it off once after testing. Oops! The picture quality in the email is excellent.
I figured out the email for Gmail. There is this choice in the mail settings:

"Gmail only support TLS at port 465 and support STARTTLS at port 25/587."

I initially used STARTTLS at port 25 and it wouldn't work. Changing it to TLS at port 465 resolved the problem.

And after reading much about controlling the camera I found this software, which is highly regarded by many:

Blue Iris - Home

Blue Iris - Download.com
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