If you are a do-it-yourself’er that is looking for ways to increase the security of your home, I have found just the thing. This is one of the most inexpensive home security camera systems you can put together yourself.
Maybe you want to monitor your entryways? Or maybe you need to keep an eye on your backyard?
Alright. Go to your drawer and pull out one or more of those old smart phones. And let’s make this thing useful again. We are going to walk through process of setting up your security network together. (Don’t you remember how excited your were to have a camera on your phone?)
First things first
Decide what device you are going to use for monitoring. You are most likely going to choose a mobile one (phone or tablet) so that you can see what is going on when you are away from home.
After charging your old phone and connecting it to your Wi-Fi, you are going to need an app to set this new security monitoring network up. So, is this an I-phone or an Android device?
If you are an Apple user (I-phone) go to your App Store. There are plenty of apps such as Presence and Manything to choose from.
If you are an Android user you will go to Google Play. There you will find apps such as Warden Cam and IP Webcam.
The app with my favorite name is, “Make old smart phone as Free Home Security Camera.” There’s no mistaking that one, LOL.
There are even apps like Camio that work with both.
Before choosing an app, decide what you need the system to do
- Are you only wanting to have eyes on a certain area?
- Do you want motion detection and push notifications (alerts)?
- Do you want video recording and cloud storage?
- Does your phone have infrared detection?
- Do you want to run more than one camera?
The answer to these and other such questions will determine which app is best suited for you. And the features you need may only be available in the paid version of some apps.
Now you can peruse the available apps, make your choice and download one (or even two).
Set up your monitoring device
Up to this point, you have:
- Decided which old phones to use.
- Determined what exactly to use them for. (Inside front door, watching pets while away, etc.)
- Downloaded an app or two to try.
Now that you have set up the app on the old phone(s), you are ready to visit the website of that app get your network running.
Here is where you will set up broadcasting and recording.
Positioning your phone camera
You know what you want to be able to see with your camera(s). Now you have to make some mounting decisions.
- You need your phone to be close enough to an outlet to stay plugged in.
- A smartphone tripod or suction car mount is something to consider when trying to get the perfect view.
- If necessary, consider an inexpensive, wide angle lens for your phone in order to capture an entire room.
- You may even consider partially hiding your phone on a busy bookshelf where it will go completely unnoticed.
(Each of these items mentioned above can be found online for under $10. I even found a pack of 3 Nylon braided 10 foot cables for less than $10.)
Now that you’re up and running
It is time to put the final touches on your homemade wireless security system. (A system that would have been very expensive a few years ago.)
You will want to turn the brightness on your screen down as far as possible. This will decrease the amount of heat generated by the phone.
Finally, you want to check that you’re:
- Motion detection alert notification if you set that up.
- Your online recording. Again, you just want to make sure everything is running smoothly so that when a real need arises, you are all set.
- Camera phone after 10 or so minutes to make sure it has not timed out. If so, you will have to change that in your phone settings.
- System 1 hour and 24 hours. You don’t want to be counting on it only to find out it glitched within the first day.
After that, it will be like any other monitoring system. You will want to do a quick check every month, and before going out of town just to be safe.
- Check that your camera has not been bumped or moved.
- Check to be sure you still have a clear line-of-sight.
- Check your motion detection.
- Check your system is recording properly (including time stamp).
- Dust your lens. (Security and electronic companies often suggest you use a can of compressed air only.)
Addressing your strategy
Our strategy here is Defense, Deterrence, and Detection. Since detection can be very expensive, you have just saved yourself a good bit of money. And if you haven’t beefed up your Defenses, my suggestion is that you take that savings and spend it in that area.
I’m curious if I overlooked something in my article. Or maybe you have a smartphone system already in place and have some suggestions. Or maybe you have question in setting up you network, that you think I might be able to help with. Be sure and leave a comment below.
And remember, being prepared means living without regret.