I tried X10.com security and wireless cameras. I ordered about ~$800 worth of equipment and was excited about a no fee security system, internet camera access, enhanced home automation with macros, motion sensors, and other features. However, after setting up and thoroughly troubleshooting I had issues with all of it. The security motion detectors couldn’t detect me. The complete system required countless batteries. The security dialer required a land line which (at the time) I was hoping to unload. The cameras had bad interference with (2.4 GHz Spectrum) phones and wireless (802.11) devices. Additionally, the system would allow only one camera at a time to be active, had extremely low visibility at night even well lit areas. Also, the security dialer was only capable of calling a few phone numbers and was not a monitored device. After I evaluated this setup for a few weeks, I sent all of it back to X10.com. I looked at other security systems, but they aren’t integrated with all of the features I want. I would like the system to notify me of water in the basement, carbon monoxide, smoke, etc. When we moved into our new house it was equipped with an integrated alarm service, but now I am paying a monthly monitoring fee. However, I still wanted to have cameras.
I mentioned the X10 security cameras and the issues I had with them. After some more research, I decided to purchase a couple of Hootoo Pan and Tilt IP Cameras (HP-210F). These particular ones are pan and tilt, with two way audio, web enabled, motion detection, low light, infrared cameras. Some of these features work fine and others aren't so great. Most features require Internet Explorer to take full advantage of. The interface is kind of clunky and required some even clunkier proprietary IP camera detection software to be installed on my PC for initial setup. The IR is pretty good for low-ambient light visibility but I have one inside pointing out of my front window and have not been able to disable the IR, so had to block it with cardboard. With router porting, I am able to view them remotely when away from home, and the FTP service is able to capture images upon motion detection, although it doesn't seem to know when to stop. Therefore the picture directory has to be purged almost weekly to prevent data overload, even on a newer PC. A few times I have let the data run over and had to purge with a command line because Windows 7 couldn't handle the load. I have used Yawcam for motion detection before and I rather prefer that software, but getting it to work with more than one camera is difficult, and it takes up home server system resources to run it. The audio isn't even worth turning on, for either listening or broadcasting, but it is equipped. The firmware updates are nowhere to be found if there are any. An annoyance is that when the power goes out, the camera tends to re-position itself to this nonsense factory position, pointing at the ceiling. There doesn't seem to be a way to reset this so that it comes to a default position after a power failure that I want, so I sometimes wonder if I should just construct a bracket or platform that puts the default position where i want it, but is I haven't had a chance to do it yet. But for the price that I got them for, they seem to perform basic functions satisfactorily. They are good enough that I am considering two to three more HooToo Outdoor IP Cameras to add to the set.
This site has some interesting stuff on Foscam command line switches that seem to work on my Hootoo cameras, but I couldn't find one that would cut down the number of FTP pictures sent after motion was detected or one that would turn off the IR lights.
Also, I was able to download and install the latest firmware and web GUI from the Hootoo site, but they didn't seem to change much except the web GUI changed from green to blue!
UPDATE: Disabling the IR Light
UPDATE: Improving the Motion Detection Using Third Party App