Who's at my front door?
May 19, 2009 11:04 AM   Subscribe

I want a Video Door Phone, but hurdles regarding installation may not make it possible. Can you see any way to get around this?

So I really want some sort of system where if somebody comes to our front door I can see them through a video camera / monitor and talk to them through a phone/intercom.

The alarm company came over and said that they did not think it would be possible to install the video camera/intercom portion b/c I don’t have the wiring for it, and trying to wire it would be pretty invasive as far as tearing up the wall.

The better quality units are 4-wire installation, which I can see won’t work b/c we don’t have the wires for that, but what about 2-wire installation? Something like this unit or this one. The reviews make it sound like it works over standard doorbell wires, but he says No: “I do not think that will work either because we need one of those wires to be a Cat5e to transfer the video. What is there is probably a 2 conductor 18 gauge solid wire.”

So is he right? The only other option I can think of a wireless system which I think would be considerably less quality.
posted by texas_blissful to Technology (5 answers total)
I found a better picture of the box contents of the first monitor and the wire it included seemed pretty bog-standard. But there's no guarantee that the wire you have now is in good shape. I don't think you need cat5 or anything of that standard. Not sure if there's any way to know other than to try it.
posted by GuyZero at 12:16 PM on May 19, 2009

Check the installation manual for the units (google make+model and go to manufacturers site) that you found to see if they really need a single pair of wires, or contact a different installer until you find one that understands what you need.

Technically, yes a single pair of wires could carry power to the camera and video+audio back to the monitor unit. Another pair of wires may be needed to trigger the electronic lock.
posted by nielm at 1:21 PM on May 19, 2009

Is surface mounted conduit not an option? Why do you need to make holes in walls.

Wiremold is common type of decorative conduit. It can be painted to blend in with the wall.
posted by Flood at 1:31 PM on May 19, 2009

A good alarm installer or electrician can do amazing things with flexible drill bits and fish tapes to run new wires through old walls with minimal or no damage. Call around and get a second opinion.
posted by brain at 3:45 PM on May 19, 2009

Response by poster: brain -
According to them, since we have a 2-story foyer and code requires 2x4 fireblockers(?) positioned horizontally every few feet, and they say they can’t get through those. The outside is brick as well.

nielm -
Great idea...I did google it and now I'm wondering if there are even more problems.
1) There is not an outlet anywhere near the front door (on the inside).
2) Will the wires then no longer be connected to the other chimes that were hear first. It's a big house; I'm thinking one chime won't be enough.
posted by texas_blissful at 5:08 PM on May 19, 2009

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