Setting Up Your Own Home Security
Setting Up Home Security with Surveillance Cameras and motion sensors:
With all that’s going on around us, and the changing environment we live in, with regards to the economy, to include safety at home, I felt like this article will help some with setting up home security at a lower cost than some of the monthly fee security companies out there.
Don’t get me wrong, I think those companies that sell home security options are great, but for most of us, the cost makes us procrastinate or just not use them. We tend to put it off because of the cost, and probably nothing has happened to push you forward into this investment.
You know how life is, we put things off, such as our health, safety, etc., until something happens, and than we try to play catch up making changes, so that this does not happen. What's those famous words, "I wish I would have", "If only". Before you say that, do something today about it.
About a year ago, my parents almost had a home invasion happen, they were lucky. I purchased some of items I’ve listed in this article to discourage this to happen again to them. Our home was broke into also some years ago while we were at work. Coming home to this was terrible. Not a good feeling. Situations like this made me think about the safety of my family in my own house. You read and hear about it often, home invasions.
The following items are a good investment for anyone. You can start small and build up to the more costly items. The comfort it brings, is well worth the cost.
First, I will talk about some inexpensive motion sensors that cause a receiver to chime like a doorbell. I have purchased 2 types of motion sensors. The first product by Optex, is a little bit more in cost, but well worth it.
You can get a transmitter and receiver for about 160.00. The transmitter is weather proof, so it can be mounted any where outside. Basically when someone passes through the area of the beam, it causes the receiver to ring like a doorbell. You can get up to 4 transmitters on one receiver, and the receiver will identify what transmitter was activated or set-off, so you know where this person is. The Transmitter runs off of a standard 9 volt battery.
I have a transmitter at the front door, back door, and entrance to the driveway. I turn on the receiver every night before bed. This gives me eyes outside my house while I’m asleep. If someone or something crosses those boundaries, I will know quickly.
Next, I thought about it, I wanted the person snooping around my house to be discouraged before they got to the door. Kind of a 1st layer of defense. So, I found another motion sensor that was more reasonable in cost. It also can have up to 4 transmitters on one receiver, and was around $30.00 for the receiver and one transmitter (kit). The sound of the receiver is not as loud as the optex one, but was perfect for the cost and what I needed it for. I just wanted something outside that the person would hear first. So, I placed the receiver outside, and installed 3 transmitters outside. Basically, if someone is snooping around the front yard, side of house, they will hear the receiver go off, hopefully discouraging them to continue. It's not too loud to be a nusiance, but loud enough for them to hear.
My next step was setting up surveillance cameras.
I know there are a lot out there, and I’ve tried a few. First, I went with the X10 cameras. I fought with these for a little while. They were reasonable in cost, but just not that clear and the software just not that good. Don’t waste your money on these.
I kept searching and found IP based cameras that were wireless and would run through my wireless network that was already in place. Now these cameras are not just wireless, they could be wired also.
I started with Linksys cameras, they are about $150 or so per camera. I liked them, and they did the job. The problem I had was the recorded video was proprietary, so I could only view the video captured with the software that came with the camera. These cameras held up good outside. I had a couple of them placed at the front and back door. I could be working on my computer, and be watching what was going on outside. I started looking around again for some more IP cameras, and came across a brand I never heard of, Trendnet. Dell sells a lot of networking equipment made by Trendnet. I bought one to see what they were like. The price was a little cheaper than the Linksys, around 109.00 per camera.
I really like the Trendnet cameras, and they had a lot to select from. I think I have about 6 of them mounted all around the house. The software that comes with them is perfect for monitoring, recording motion, emailing recorded video also.
Just be careful when purchasing different models, make sure the software that comes with the camera, works with all the models that you want to purchase. I basically stuck to one model, the TV100, and have been happy with the results.
After getting the cameras set-up, I wanted to be able to view them over the internet when not at home. The software that comes with the cameras, only allow you to view them while at home. However if you wanted to view them over the internet you could with the built in web software in each camera. But only one camera at a time and you needed to make some changes in your home router, so that you could see them online. (another article)
I found 2 pieces of software that made it easy to set-up. First, If you have an iPhone, there’s an app that allows you to view up to 4 cameras on your iPhone, and was super simple to set-up (iCam). Download the iPhone app and install, and download the transmission software for your computer at home to transmit to your iPhone. Pretty quick, and works great.
Second software, webcamXP. Installs on your computer at home, and you select the cameras you want to broadcast. The cool thing, you can mix and match cameras. Doesn’t have to be Trendnet, it can be Linksys, 3com, etc. You can set-up users to access your website to login to view, you can have it generate html code, so you can stream video on a web page. It's pretty nice piece of software.
The one I use the most is the iPhone app because it's portable and convient.
Don't procrastinate, make sure you have the flood lights for sure, than go with the motion sensors, than the cameras. If money is not an issue, do it all, just do it.
Now, of course I have motion sensor flood lights around the house. This is a must for everyone. You should replace all your standard flood lights with motion sensor lights. They range in prices and features.
Basically, where I have a motion sensor flood light, I have a camera installed also.
This makes it easier to see what you're cameras are recording. If you can't see it, then what's the point? The visual effect may be enough to scare some people off, but for the rest of them, you want to be able to catch them red handed. Flood lights are perfect at lighting up the area so that you can see.
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