How to set up a simple home surveillance system?
March 26, 2010 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Looking to set up a fairly simple home surveillance system. I’m looking for some basic advice on equipment, programs for view and recording feeds as well as any other insights you might have.

After my parents house was broken into earlier this week they are now looking to install exterior cameras to capture the image of those entering their house. Here are my initial thoughts:
Need three rather inexpensive exterior cameras that can handle temperature extremes (including below freezing winters with snow and summers that can get as high as 90℉ or so in the summer).
Wireless would be preferable to hardwiring.
Would like to be able to view the feed from the cameras off site.
As well as off site storage for the feed in case the computer is taken as it was this time.
They use both Mac and PCs so something that would be compatible with both would be great. If not it should be Mac compatible at least.

Thanks so much!
posted by emmysue01 to Technology (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm using the DCS-920 from D-Link. It comes with its own software (you may need to download v3, I recommend it). I'm mostly happy with them within their limitations -- mainly that they aren't true low-light cameras and won't capture anything like a license plate, and they seem to need manual resetting (unplugging) every 5-10 days.

Once you've set them up on your network -- hardwired -- you can move them anywhere you can screw them in. Mine aren't outside and I'm not sure how well they'd do in super-cold outside weather. One in a room over an unheated garage was wonkier.

The initial setup hurdle was a bit frustrating but now that they're working it's dead simple and I can record days to disk using motion-activated recording. The cameras themselves can do it, or you can use the software, and there are notification options.

You could effect obscure rather than offsite storage using a wireless-enabled hard drive stuck in a crawlspace, or ftp anyplace you can set up a server. It adds up so something like Mozy is probably not cost-effective.
posted by dhartung at 10:03 PM on March 26, 2010

Best answer: SecuritySpy for mac is fantastic software as the hub of your operation.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 12:49 AM on March 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks foe the responces so far. Does anyone know if there is any system that will send the feed to a cloud for storage?
posted by emmysue01 at 7:44 AM on March 27, 2010

Best answer: securityspy + dropbox/idisk/flickr/etc. will work fine. it emails automatically, saves to a folder automatically, or ftp uploads automatically.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 1:48 PM on March 27, 2010

Response by poster: Awesome! Thanks so much for the information!!!!
posted by emmysue01 at 5:12 PM on March 27, 2010

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