Security Camera ZModo Mini Wifi

Camera Zmodo Mini Wifi

been considering security cameras for a long time. 

I do have a built in wired system, typically they aren’t any good
when it comes to identifying people or capturing events. To enjoy the
full features, it requires subscriptions for monthly monitoring. They
make a lot of noise, call emergency services and then you suffer
inconvenience charges. And frankly, they are moody (false alarms) and
depend on someone to arm and disarm the system, which I would be the
only human in my household that would take the time. 
a normal wired system just doesn’t meet my household or usage

face it. Video camera’s allow us all to move around normally without
interrupting our lives, they don’t force everyone to learn
complicated codes or create false alarms where the emergency services
charge for their inconvenience. But there can be a lot to learn. 

should I get started? Like any other red blooded American. Pick a
direction and see how it works out. Play that out for a while and
pick another direction. 

a year ago, while browsing a Frys, I picked up a 
As inexpensive as it was, my expectations weren’t very high. But what
the heck, give it a shot, right?

got it home and setting it up at that time was done between an
Android app over my house wifi direct to the camera. The app at that
time was MeShare and seemed unreliable and mounting it at that time
was troublesome. So I tabled it, but made a few notes. 

forward to a week ago and I pulled it out of my drawer and decided to
try it again. Zmodo had a more current Android app, now called ZModo
Zink. And I discovered from the support forums, that the firmware
needed to be updated. A quick download of the app, the app auto
discovered the camera on the house wifi and then gave me the option
of updating the firmware. I said yes and we were in business. 

app was vastly improved, very simple to use and seems much more
stable than the previous app. The camera provides alerts to the
Android app when something might have happened and you have the
option of receiving a notification and a video clip is sent that
gives you the option to download the video clip to your phone. 

mounted the camera just inside a window adjacent to my front door.

to the documentation, you are allowed access to clips for download up
to 36 hours from the event. That sounds decent for no subscription
fees and if you are a person that hangs onto your cell phone,
theoretically you should see alerts in 36 hours, but have to remember
that you must actually pick the correct clip and download it to your
android device. However, if you have a lot of cameras or your cameras
get a lot of traffic (notifications with video capture) or travel off
line or in questionable cell phone coverage, I can imagine that this
could become an issue with lots of alerts and lots of memory being
eaten up. 

business strategy is clearly enticing customers to their cloud based
subscription service to extend retention of footage. Nothing
gets done without the app, so ensure your happy with it as much as
the camera.

the Camera: 
was really easy. It has a normal lighting and an infra red (IR)
mode. Resolution is really good with proper positioning and
lighting. Put some thought into it and experiment, but I expect
that’s required for any installation like this.
app provides simple remote controls that allow you to switch between
four modes of operation which you can remotely control. By default
Zmodo has provided logic
to reduce false alerts
, but this algorithm may also exclude a
period of time when something won’t be recorded. Example: Based on
the logic, when there is an event triggered, it only captures 10
seconds. Great for someone showing up initially at your front door,
like package delivery. Any subsequent event from the first will
capture five second clips, so if there is a gathering of people and
something occurs outside that five seconds you might not catch it.
Ergo, their
cloud pricing plans
. I’ll leave it to you to determine if its
reasonably priced or not.

the time of this article for continuous retention in their cloud it’s
$99.90 a year. But they also have a less expeensive plan with seven
day retention of $49.90 a year. Additional devices can be added for
an added 50% per device. As an example two cameras on a 7 day plan is
roughly $75 a year. Two cameras on the continuous cloud would be
roughly $150 a year. It doesn’t indicate that it’s an
introductory plan. The superificial search I’ve done tells me there
are cost competitive alternatives.

camera works well for watching the entryway of the front door of our
house which is no wider than three and a half feet and no deeper than
6 feet. It actually looks across the doorway from one side with
minimal view of the street. I found that if it looked outward more,
it would video capture on vehicles driving by, which would be a real
waste of notifications. There is small sliver of the view that sees a
tiny bit of the street and I still get video clips of big trucks
maneuvering when nothing else happens.
mounted it inside a window so it can’t be tampered with but…..
what I didn’t consider is the glow from it’s ‘status’ light
caused a reflection off the glass and made it completely unable to
see anything in night camera mode except the reflection of the camera

covered the status light with electrical tape, which solved the
reflection problem, but really didn’t improve the performance. The
camera has an IR night mode, but unless there is some form of infra
red or normal light illumination, it really does no good at all. In
darkness you need infra red illumination. That’s why you see so
many outdoor security cameras with a ring of LED’s right around the
lens, but the LED’s give off no visible light. When the IR sensors
are set off, the IR illumination kicks on at a non visible spectrum
to humans.

App & Service Issues: There are some times
when the clips appear to be absolutely empty. I don’t know if it’s
because of imperceptible things like the wind moving leaves or
traffic in the back ground. There have been instances where I know
someone walked by and the camera didn’t capture them in a clip. Of
course, with continuous footage captured in a loop in the cloud, that
should be a different story. The alert would notify me and I would
check in the cloud for near that time.

lack of IR illumination, which might be overcome with lighting
strategies, but adds to the complexity overall.

is no way to access the video feed without using the Zmodo app. This is not an IP streaming camera. Meaning I can’t use the camera or its video feed with any non-Zmodo
services. Why does that matter? I want control over my own data
without having to pay someone a monthly subscription fee that
averages out to quite a bit of money per device. It would be nice to
be able to integrate this camera with others for a full suite of
video feeds for customizable recording and storage of whatever I want
for as long as I want.

This is clearly not
a full service review. I’m in no way positively or negatively
affiliated with Zmodo beyond having purchased the camera myself.
own selfish view? This was a good learning step for
me, but not the end game I
want. I want a more open set
of devices so I can build and control things myself.
this or something similar like Ring and
it’s services
have a role to play in the market. Maybe it’s
something for you?

Author: 21Buzzards

Mid-life retired reservist in the corporate IT world parenting a grandchild. Sharing my evolution as age and priorities impact life.

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