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Old 08-12-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
Aleks
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The smarthome discussions, the wireless thread, and my neighbor putting in cameras, etc got me thinking. I've been trying to research for some time, DIY home security using a smart hub (SmartThings, Wink), and components such as motion sensors, glass break sensors, window and door sensors, and cameras, giving you the ability to get smartphone alerts, and to check in real time. There's a seemingly unlimited amount of ways you can configure them, and almost all use the common languages like Zigbee and Z-Wave. The thing is, its hard to find any information on actual systems people have configured, or hardware people have used. I'm going to bite the bullet on components slowly, but I'm curious to know who else has gone down this path, what you've tried, products and deals that you've found.

Discuss?
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:44 PM   #2
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The smarthome discussions, the wireless thread, and my neighbor putting in cameras, etc got me thinking. I've been trying to research for some time, DIY home security using a smart hub (SmartThings, Wink), and components such as motion sensors, glass break sensors, window and door sensors, and cameras, giving you the ability to get smartphone alerts, and to check in real time. There's a seemingly unlimited amount of ways you can configure them, and almost all use the common languages like Zigbee and Z-Wave. The thing is, its hard to find any information on actual systems people have configured, or hardware people have used. I'm going to bite the bullet on components slowly, but I'm curious to know who else has gone down this path, what you've tried, products and deals that you've found.

Discuss?
Ring and Nest got into this space recently. Nest products while expensive tend to get good reviews. I have Ring cameras and think their packaged solution might be my next system after my current one kicks the bucket
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:52 PM   #3
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I started to go down that path. I have some Insteon home automation things, but then my home insurance company told me I had to get a commercial, externally monitored system. So I have that now and am working my other smart home features into it.

The SkyBell doorbell cam is neat. You can easily install that yourself into your existing doorbell system. It has motion sensor notifications or just set it for the button. It's nice to know if a shady character rings your doorbell to see if anyone is home.
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Old 08-24-2018, 08:27 AM   #4
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I've got an older DSC system that has pooched itself. One of the keypads fried and it will be more pain to re-program than its worth. Despite being 20 years old, still allowed me to self-monitor over the phone.

Anyone have experience with integrating some of the new system panel options with pre-existing hardwired sensors?

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Old 08-24-2018, 08:54 AM   #5
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Ring and Nest got into this space recently. Nest products while expensive tend to get good reviews. I have Ring cameras and think their packaged solution might be my next system after my current one kicks the bucket
I have an ADT alarm system (with guard service to come and check if there is an alarm) that I use for the house - no cameras though.
For the exterior, I have recently installed Ring doorbell cameras and two outdoor cameras with LED light and solar charging panels.. All have 2 way voice capabilities.
So far so good. Night vision works well. Costs me $10 a month for unlimited video alert and storage.
We will see how they tolerate a cold winter.
Keep your eye on the Ring website. They have some very good deals that come up that beat the prices on Amazon and stores by a lot.
I am considering buying two more cameras when they have their next sale on and installing them inside my house (or I might just bring them out when we are gone).
Installation is very simple and app has worked very well for me so far.
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:15 AM   #6
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I have In-Security
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:39 AM   #7
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I use a 5 camera set up of Alro cameras. They work quite well both in terms of motion detection and night vision. The only draw back for me is they are battery operated. The new version are powered.
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Old 08-24-2018, 03:09 PM   #8
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I've got an older DSC system that has pooched itself. One of the keypads fried and it will be more pain to re-program than its worth. Despite being 20 years old, still allowed me to self-monitor over the phone.

Anyone have experience with integrating some of the new system panel options with pre-existing hardwired sensors?
I would think that almost any wired setup would integrate with that, but I think the newest surge in popularity was because everything went wireless, for convenience and ease of install. Regardless, I would think all of the low voltage wiring for sensors to pad would be universal?
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Old 08-24-2018, 03:14 PM   #9
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https://tinyurl.com/yb7y72fw

So this is what I see as an interesting starting point. Obviously a canned startup box, but for the price is pretty reasonable ($380 if purchased all separately) as it includes a smart things hub, which would make this almost infinitely expandable to include cameras, smart switches, sound sensors.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:12 PM   #10
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Oh boy, this is right in my wheelhouse these days. I have been dabbling in home automation for just over a year and we moved into our new house in July and have gone all out over the past month and a half.

Going with SmartThings is an option but requires a little research if you're going to rely on it as a security system. I think it's fine for me as we have two huge dogs and it's fine for most who like to tinker. Definitely better then nothing though.

Some devices have local processing while some are processed in the cloud. For the most part, common ZigBee and Zwave devices are processed locally which is want you want for security. There are many complaints about SmartThings' cloud being down all the time but I am a relatively new user and have not had any issues.

I use Dome ZWave door and window sensors on all entrance doors. These have local processing.
https://www.amazon.ca/Dome-Z-Wave-Wi...70_&dpSrc=srch

I use Aqara motion sensors in the basement, garage, office and mud room.
https://www.gearbest.com/alarm-syste...ml?wid=1433363
These are cheap, cheap, cheap but require a custom device handler and are processed by the smartthings cloud. I have never had an issue with them being slow or unresponsive though. A bitch to set up but once you get it, it's worth it. Aqara stuff is dirt cheap.

The one in the garage and basement are set to notify me with an intrusion alert when the Smart Home Monitor is set to away. They are used as occupancy sensors when set to home to turn on the lights in that room when occupancy is detected. These sensors also sense room lux level so the office goes to 50% when it's daylight but 100% when it's night.

I Aqara have leak detectors under the fridge, dishwasher and in our utility room
https://www.gearbest.com/home-smart-...ml?wid=1433363
I had leaks in all these areas in the past at our old home. Never again.

Garage door opener is controlled by the Linear GD00Z-4 Z-Wave Controller which includes a tilt sensor to update the open close status.
https://www.amazon.ca/GoControl-Line...70_&dpSrc=srch

I have a Ring Pro doorbell watching the front of the house. It integrates with SmartThings as both a camera and a motion sensor so if anyone approaches the house after 11:00pm, all the outside lights turn on as well as recording and sending a video clip.

For Cameras, I use WyzeCams. These are great little cameras for $37.00. The company is US based, ex Amazon guys and all the firmware is developed in house in the US.
https://www.amazon.ca/Wyze-Wireless-...ywords=wyzecam
These don't integrate natively with SmartThings but there are some things you can do with IFTTT to get them to work. My wife doesn't love cameras in the house but the one in the garage is on all the time. I will probably will just hook them up to a smart plug to turn the cameras on and off based on the Smart Home Monitor status. When we are home, turn the plug off. When SHM switches to Armed Away, turn on.

That's pretty much it for the security related stuff but there's a number of other Smart home devices I have that are tied in as well.


ZWave blinds, Amazon Echos, FireTVs, Chromecasts, RM Pro, Hue Bulbs, smartplugs, smart switches, dimmers, Ecobee thermostats and sensors, ZigBee buttons....

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Old 08-27-2018, 05:13 PM   #11
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I'm already on the SmartThings train, and try to use device handlers that will execute locally whenever possible. A few require cloud but since we're running dual WAN, cloud connectivity is less of a concern. I have a couple smart switches installed and plan to do more over time, ideally the whole house so I can set routines to turn every light in the house off at once (a 'bedtime' routine). I prefer smart switches over smart bulbs like Hue, as cool as they are, because turning off a switch doesn't accidentally power off the bulb entirely (negating its 'smart' capabilities).



For network stuff, you can see the Consumer Wi-Fi thread I started. Ubiquiti gear all over the place, only a couple unmanaged switches left that I have to replace to be full-on managed network infrastructure. I don't really have much in the way of Wi-Fi smart-home gear, but I have a separate VLAN ready for it.



For security cameras, I went with an 8-channel Reolink NVR with PoE, and two of their RLC-410-5MP cameras. They're ONVIF (so you can use Blue Iris or other NVRs instead of being stuck with just Reolink's NVR), they record audio, can be set up to privacy mask areas (like your neighbour's yard), configure motion sensing areas, and have wicked night vision. The big factors for me were the ability to have local recording and an effectively plug-and-play solution that still allowed mobile access when we're away. The Reolink stuff did that. There is very basic SmartThings integration available using 'Generic Video Camera' device handler by user pstuart. Unfortunately, it only allows viewing the stream from within the SmartThings Classic app and does not extend any motion sensing capability. IP security cameras like this do *not* support two-way audio, so if you're fantasizing about yelling at some prowler trying to sneak into your yard that you can't wait to try your new hockey stick on his face, you're going to need one of the Ring, Arlo, or Nest cameras.



Ring and Nest cameras were both very high on my list at first, but their inability to perform any sort of local recording and reliance on cloud subscription services (especially the case with Nest for the really cool features) dropped them down significantly. Netgear Arlo cameras support local recording, which is a +1 for them. Ring, Nest, and Arlo all support 2-way audio.



Despite the above, I will probably still use a Ring Doorbell Pro as it's less of a concern to me and I can integrate it with the Amazon Echo Show we have in the kitchen. I wanted a Doorbird really badly, but they're exceptionally pricey and I don't have (nor can be arsed to run) Cat5e at or near the doorbell. Our house is fully finished so it is a sizable undertaking to start running new Cat5e all over the place. Ring's installation is rather convenient in that regard.


On that note: Amazon Echos. We have one in the kitchen (Echo Show), and Echo Dots in the man cave, office, master bedroom, and garage. They're really useful for us, typically barking orders to set cooking and barbecue timers, lock doors if one of us forgot to lock them, or -- particularly on the Echo Show -- looking up recipes in the kitchen. We also use them as in-home intercom systems, since you can call between Echo devices.

I'm not sure how legit the claims are that Amazon Alexa has more smart-home skills than its competitors when it comes to the Canadian market. I had to switch my Amazon account to a US account, enable every skill I ever thought I might use (including Stringify and IFTTT, which stupidly aren't available in English - Canada), then switch my account back to Canada. The skills you enable will persist even after you change regions back. But there's a dearth of useful skills in the Canadian Alexa skills marketplace, and you will be jealous at all the ones in the US store (and annoyed when you figure out some of them won't work even with the region change trickery, like OpenTable).


Honorable mention, Windows 10 / Xbox One has Cortana which integrates with SmartThings, Nest, Ecobee (both Thermostat and Switch+), Wink, Lutron, Hue, etc. So you can tell your Windows PC or Xbox to do smart-home tasks. There's even Alexa integration with Cortana ... which is buggy and kind of strange, and doesn't give anywhere near the full functionality of Alexa, so it's still a work in progress. I have a Harman Kardon Invoke Cortana smart-speaker that I got for 50% off, and the audio quality blows everything except our Sonos Play 1 out of the water. With Echos all over the place, the smart functionality isn't used nearly as much.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:03 PM   #12
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Love those posts. Thats exactly the info I've been looking for to start building out. I hadn't thought of the local processing thing at all, and now I will!
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:05 AM   #13
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I ordered these last week, Will post a review once I get them and install them. Seems like a good deal.

https://www.lorextechnology.com/hd-d...em/2KMPX44-0-p
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:55 AM   #14
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I ordered these last week, Will post a review once I get them and install them. Seems like a good deal.

https://www.lorextechnology.com/hd-dvr-mpx-cameras/4mp-hd-camera-home-security-system/2KMPX44-0-p
Decent deal for sure, but my only reservation about that system is the fact that it's using coax instead of ethernet for the cameras. You end up with lower overall camera performance (hence only 15 FPS @ 4MP) and you can't manage cameras individually through their IP.

But for the price, which is the advantage of BNC cameras, you really can't complain. You're getting four cameras and a DVR, you'd pay more than that for a single Netgear Arlo Pro 2 with its base station. You also don't have to worry about the possibility of Chinese cameras calling home (though a separate, restricted VLAN takes care of that).

Are you running the coax yourself?
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:07 PM   #15
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I ordered these last week, Will post a review once I get them and install them. Seems like a good deal.

https://www.lorextechnology.com/hd-d...em/2KMPX44-0-p
My dad and my neighbor both have these cameras. They work decent, have good night vision, and decent motion detection. What my neighbors installer did though was also run coax at the same time as installing the cameras for future proofing. That way when the obsolescence comes, he can easily swap in another setup without having to tear in again
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:31 PM   #16
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:24 PM   #17
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^Pfft, where's the rusty nails coming out the end of it?
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:43 PM   #18
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I am running it myself the runs aren't very long and each camera comes with a 60ft BNC extension with power coming through also so just one run. I would have preferred the 4k IP cameras as I have a PoE switch already also but the price was a bit steep and I wanted to try something first. The DVR hooks up to the network also allowing viewing of the cameras on the app. See how it goes.
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Old 08-28-2018, 03:39 PM   #19
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I've taken some baby steps towards DIY monitoring. I got an Arlo with 4 cameras at half price (I see no reason to get the Arlo 2, the only real difference is higher camera resolution but the resolution is fine on these). They're wireless but the battery lasts a few months, and free cloud video storage for a week. I've got it set up to be armed when either both my phone and my wife's are away from the house, or at night. Sometimes get some "false alarms" from motion detected when the light changes, but overall seems to work fairly well.



Also got a Nest Hello on sale, I thought about the Ring but some people have complained about cold weather performance plus I have Google Home and thought Nest would integrate better. In addition to the camera it sends a message to our Google Home devices when rung, so no more not hearing the doorbell when I'm in the basement. The only thing I didn't like about it is you need at least a basic subscription to have any video storage at all.


I still have an old-school security system, next on my list is to check what discount the insurance company gives me for having it monitored vs. my monitoring cost, I'm pretty sure for the value I get from monitoring I should just cancel and look to eventually replace it with DIY sensors on doors and windows. Also looking at getting at least one smart lock that I can open remotely if the kids forget their keys or otherwise need to let someone in.
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Old 08-29-2018, 12:57 PM   #20
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I'd second going with Ethernet based cameras (or at least run some Cat at the same time) over Siamese ones.

I have 720p "Siamese" connected cameras, and they're fine, but the new 4K ones are the way to go (analog signal is limited by design). Wish I ran some Cat6 at the same time, luckily I can use the siamese cables to fish the Cat through so should make it a lot easier.
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