Security Cameras

Pr3tty F1y

Active member
Say I want to install security cameras around my house but I don't want some subscription service or shipping my video off to the cloud.

Are there any FOSS packages out there/recommended hardware for doing so?

I mean, I get the basics of likely needing a redundant set of hard drives (like the WD purple series) in RAID whatever, but I wasn't sure if anyone has stood anything up like this and if there is a guide for dummies.
Definitely not what your looking for but I just installed some cheap (<$50 CDN$) lightbulb cameras at a friend's place.

Easy wifi set-up, screw into a normal light bulb socket and your good to go. SD card for recording in the bulb. Get a 2 way splitter and a LED bulb for extra light for dark areas or if your camera doesn't have decent night vision.

At this price point the features are minimal and you can spend more for storage than the camera itself, but no monthly fees.

Good starting point.

Work #1 has a professional 16 cam set-up with remote monitoring + unlimited number to phone / tablet users. But we're looking at $400+ per camera plus a good amount for initial set-up and monthly. That said pretty slick system if you need that much.

Work #2 has those cheap cube cameras from amazon (under $40 CDN) that are wifi based and USB powered. Limited features but was able to get a dozen on prime sale for under $500 CDN.

I would really figure out what you need and what you want before going down this road as it gets expensive with more features. Also figure out what your power source is going to be. Plugs, hard wired, light socket, solar, etc. As you have to take that into account as well as location, mounting, networking, storage, etc.
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So, security camera systems depend on how detailed you want to go with them.

Some NAS units can manage security cameras. Synology is one of them although I haven't ever given it a try myself (when I looked into it, it was only a good option for a few cameras which was not enough for my needs.) Otherwise you can go the route of setting of a cheap Intel machine (for Quicksync) and manage them via software like Blue Iris. Going the PC/Blue Iris route is generally more economical and customizable than buying a pre-made system.

On the low end, the cameras usually can accept an SD card and record locally. So, you can just manage them via their web interface and view footage that way. It's not as comprehensive, but for only a handful of cameras it may work fine.

One issue with IP cameras is many of them need power over ethernet, so you have to get a special switch that provides that.

As far as the cameras, the Dahua Starlight cameras are considered some of the best. You can buy some from a good price by contacting this guy at the IPcamtalk forum. Basically you import them from Hong Kong and get a better price then if you bought locally or from Amazon for big markups. I've made several purchases from him in the past for my properties, and a lot of other people from the forum have as well.

If you want more information you should visit the forum. There are resources there to get you up to speed on your options.
Great info, guys. I really appreciate it.

There is a lot to think about (i.e., do I want a phone app vs. maybe some possibility of dialing in manually to a server), PoE, canned vs. piecemeal solutions. This helps in starting to ballpark a price tag for it and distilling it down to what I need.

I also have to figure out what I want to do with my entryway/doorbell.

I don't really need an app for that per se, as I really don't want to talk to anyone who comes to my door :-P Maybe just play the Portal turret's 'I see you' on command :-P

At the same time, it would nice to have a motion sensor triggered recording when folks are there, potentially with some alert (I'm thinking maybe a minimal SMTP email server and that would just shoot me a quick link back to my household's IP/UNC of the camera so I could remotely view it).

I've been an end user of commercial systems, but I never went into the details re: bandwidth of recording/viewing at the same time.

I see more research in my future.
Interested in what you find if it is cost effective. Please do post when you come to a conclusion on what you are going to get.
Hah, it may be a while ;)

I'm thinking it may be easiest to start with a non-subscription doorbell cam. It seems like they're not exactly easy to come by (at least for a cost-effective, nice looking, nice operating unit) and getting accurate information from reviews is a roll of the dice.

However, it looks like this one should accept my existing wired power for my dumb doorbell, does not require a subscription, and allows for rtsp streaming.

I'm not really interested in a SD card in a unit as I see that as a massive single point of failure if some jackass just decides to take your doorbell with them to hide any porch pirating :p

But I'm hopeful that this this should just run wirelessly and I have the infrastructure in place to support it now. I just need to do a bit more searching to make sure there isn't anything better as hacking a ring to run locally seems feasible but may not work optimally.

Amcrest 4MP Video Doorbell Camera Pro, Outdoor Smart Home 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wireless WiFi Doorbell Camera, Micro SD Card, AI Human Detection, IP65 Weatherproof, 2-Way Audio, 164º Wide-Angle Wi-Fi AD410
I've used the Ring stuff, specifically the door bells and camera flood-light. I like the simplicity of that app, and the ease of setup & configuration.

I've recently bought a new house, and will probably install a full Ring security system. Will need to do a bit more research on it though.
I've used the Ring stuff, specifically the door bells and camera flood-light. I like the simplicity of that app, and the ease of setup & configuration.

I've recently bought a new house, and will probably install a full Ring security system. Will need to do a bit more research on it though.

I'm sure Ring is simple but I don't like someone else having a copy of video from my house and I'm not too keen on law enforcement having access to said video without appropriate warrants. Seems like it's better to keep your video yours.
Good luck. Most consumer(cheap) setups are heavily cloud, proprietary and subscription biased.

If you are serious about wanting a good off the grid setup, plan on spending some good coin.

I did it the hard way and have 7 makes and model IP cameras and use Blue Iris software. It is all very complicated and not very user friendly to configure this mess but it works.

BTW, if you go with Blue Iris be warned, once purchased, you only get 1 year of updates and patches included. Their web site is not very clear about this.:mad:
haha, of course. Rant incoming from a geeky programmer....

no, not gonna go there, I'll just erase this part and hit the couch. :cry:
in this day and age the closest ill get to self-hosting security cams for most residential setups is unifi protect. Ring, Nest, and Wyze just make it too simple.