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    Old Phone for Home Security

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    sinister_midget
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    Join date : 2016-08-26
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    Old Phone for Home Security

    Post  sinister_midget on Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:10 am

    To start this off, I thought I'd post something most or all of us need.


    Did you know you can use old Android phones for home-based cameras? You can. I've been doing it for a couple of years.


    There is absolutely no need for the phone to be on an active voice account any more. So when you get a new phone, rather than try to find a way to dispose of it, throw it in a drawer or whatever, use it for security of your premises. For free!


    All it needs is a battery that isn't totally dead, a working camera and connection to your own wifi. (If you don't have wifi, that's dead simple to set up for something like this, but it's a separate issue I may bring up another time.) You'll need the wifi to connect to your gmail account - which can be used on multiple phones, tablets, whatever at the same time - and to send signals and show you pictures remotely.


    There are several apps out there that can do this. The one I use is called Alfred (it looks to be discontinued or renamed, though I still have it installed), but I tested a few others that were just as good. You set it up on the old phone as a camera, then set it up on another phone or tablet as a viewer with both on the same account. Most of them have the ability to at least see a little in the dark (if the camera phone is able to do it) and turn the flash on for light (again, depends on whether the old phone has flash). With notifications turned on, any movement in front of that camera automatically sends a signal to my viewer device which tells me somebody is moving around. They get connected through the same email account, which is a reason wifi is needed. The other reason being that it can't work as a security camera unless it has a way to send pictures to a viewer.


    I have three set up. One points toward my front door. The other two cross each other so I have a view of my back door and another of the garage entry door on the other side of the room. I get signals whenever anything is going on. One more recent addition was when they gave me the ability to turn notices off and on. That way it wasn't signalling me constantly when my wife or son are home, then I can turn it back on when nobody should be there. With or without notifications I can look in on it any time I want. Sound is on automatically, so I can hear what's going on at the camera end, too.


    Most of the apps I've tested stored short videos (a few seconds) any time there was movement so as to capture whatever caused that to happen. It can be easily downloaded to the viewer device so it's saved permanently since the camera device starts deleting old files when storage gets full.


    I did have to angle my phones upward a little because I have two Bassets and they were setting notifications off all of the time. Now they don't.


    There's also an intercom capability. If I'm at work I can press the mic button to talk to whomever  is near the camera I'm viewing.


    The night vision function comes on automatically whenever the lighting is low. It looks weird when there's nothing to see, all fuzzy and grainy. But I've tested it by walking around in the dark. It's not perfect, but it's not too shabby. And I can always turn the flash on to see better if needed.


    You can't beat something like this for free. It helps to give more peace of mind. And it lets you keep using that old phone instead of it sitting around useless and in the way.


    One word of caution. Any phone used like this will need to be plugged in to keep the battery charged. I'd suggest inspecting batteries at least every couple of months to make sure they aren't bulging from being charged too much. That can be alleviated somewhat, too, by unplugging the charger for a few hours every few days to let the battery drain down and do some real work. I'd suggest taking the battery completely out except for two things: 1) if power goes out, the camera won't work; and, 2) some phones will not turn on at all without a battery installed. If the battery does look like it's going bad, you can usually get some fairly cheap just like them on Amazon or maybe even Walmart.


    Between this and my SimpliSafe, I feel much more secure than I would with ADT, and I get it for about a quarter of the cost.


    I'll look up Alfred again and see if it's just been renamed. I don't know that it's the best. But I've used it all along and love what it can do. The others I tested I gave up on. Not because they were bad. They were just different and Alfred did what I needed 100%.
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    Ladyelaine

    Posts : 340
    Join date : 2016-08-27
    Location : Suwannee Springs, Florida

    Re: Old Phone for Home Security

    Post  Ladyelaine on Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:27 am

    Very useful info for anyone to have.  I'll pass that along to several people who are using motion sensor game cameras now for premises security purposes. Thank you very much for that post.
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    Joencalif2

    Posts : 472
    Join date : 2016-08-26
    Age : 67
    Location : Riverside Ca

    Re: Old Phone for Home Security

    Post  Joencalif2 on Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:09 pm

    Good info thanks..... Laughing

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