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Basic security camera, view in browser?

I would like to put a very basic camera on the outside of our house to view the front of the house. I don’t plan on recording. It’s just so I can see if and when people arrive or if someone comes into the yard who should not be there.

There is ALWAYS someone at home. We have the grandparent living with us in a flat behind the house. So recording is not that important.

To make it really simple I would like to be able to view the feed in a browser. I did this years ago with a smartphone and app so I know it’s possible. That way I can run it on my secondary monitor, or my phone, or grandad can have it open on his laptop.

I do not want it on the internet, no need for that.

However… since I live in a 3rd world country, proper cameras are quite expensive. So I’m looking at going DIY. I already have power available on the roof so no need for POE.

I was thinking something like a raspberry pi with a camera connected to wifi or possibly even LAN.

The whole thing must be:

  1. Simple to use (View in any browser on local network, want to avoid the need for 3rd party apps if possible)
  2. Must NOT require internet
  3. Weather proof (the heat is what I’m mostly concerned about… africa is hot)
  4. Affordable

There is obviously a lot of info on how to do this on the web already, but I would like to get any advise from people who might already have done something similar or ideas on how I might do it differently. If there is already a plug and play solution I would like to know about that as well.

Thank you

EDIT: Good example of what I’m talking about in the link below, but that was 2017. I’m asking here since there might be something better/easier that I’ve not found yet.

Unfortunately I’m not all that familiar with what is available to you in your country to be able to make any recommendations. As for the video link you included, it looks like it should work, but there are some things to keep in mind.

I’ve built a few projects for home automation in my home using raspberry pi, primarily to control my lawn sprinkler system and a time lapse camera as a fun project to film things like construction in the neighborhood and record snow fall over a period of time. The lessons I’ve learned so far:

Pros:

  1. You are in complete control of this project. You can make it as complex or a simple as you want, limited only by your time and your skill level.
  2. Raspberry Pi’s can handle fairly high heat environments well as long as you stick to the older models that don’t require much power. I would recommend sticking to a Pi 2 or the Zero models.

Cons:

  1. SSD longevity isn’t very good, especially on a Rasperry Pi. This is especially true if you have frequent power outages or your power supply doesn’t provide clean voltages. Make backups of your config and good notes and expect to have to replace or at least reformat the SSD every now and then if the Pi stops booting. A backup battery may help, especially if you include a script that will safely shutdown the Pi in the event of a power failure.
  2. Depending on how much rain you get, make sure it’s well covered from the elements. Although the Pi is reasonably robust for what it is, the elements still aren’t good for it. If you plan on building a housing like in the video, you could also end up with insects making nests inside it if the box is not completely sealed.

As for security cameras in general, it’s usually recommended to use Ethernet instead of wireless if possible since wifi can be easily interfered with at a distance before your camera has a chance to capture anything. If using Ethernet, its also a good practice to place it on a separate network with limited access to anything important since a bad actor could unplug your camera and have a direct link into your network.

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I should maybe just point out that we have a flat roof with a parapet. I want the camera to stick out, but have the rest hidden behind the parapet.

The camera will be on the roof on the first floor which ends up about 8 meters high which is about 26ft. Although not impossible that someone can gain access to it, it should be fairly unlikely. Will also be fairly hidden.

I thought SD cards lasted quite a while. I have a Pi 3 for media playback and it’s been using the same SD for about 4 years now AND we’ve have many power outages. Our power utility can’t generate enough power and so we often suffer from rolling blackouts. The Pi3 has been one the few pieces of electronics that’s been a setup and forget solution. Not even my freezer has been this reliable. I honestly haven’t touched the Pi3 in about 4 years and it’s still working 100%.

That said, I do leave the case open as it does get quite warm and is why I’m mostly worried about the heat. Today was 36°C , about 97F, and although it’s not that bad when in shade, the sun is like a laser beam. It’s currently 21:45 and we don’t have cold water… it’s very cool, but not cold.

We do get quite a bit of rain during our winter (May-September-ish) so it will need to be closed off quite well. I will do airflow on the bottom of the case/box and have it not lay flat on the roof behind the parapet.

I’m not a fan of wifi in general… infact I try and avoid it normally. However, getting a network cable to where I need the camera is a bit of a pain which is why I was leaning towards wifi. If I REALLY wanted to I can take it straight though the roof and use PoE. There is PoE hat for the Pi3 and a single port PoE injector is not that expensive.

If I can get a commercial solution that does what I want and is more robust then it might be worth the extra cash if it’s not like twice the cost. We can import stuff and things.

Any commercial suggestions?

the problem with ip cameras is in order to use them remotely with an app or cell phone is they must be connected or linked to a router connected to the internet to function whether it is a raspberry or any other computer.
another alternative is connecting it to a cellular transmitter but you would be using data at a colossal rate. and thats not really a feasible option unless you own stock in your isp and cellular service provider.

wireless ip cams provide their own set of disadvantages as well.
like it or not your most stable setup is power over ethernet type ip cams and small server running at all times.
you can then search its ip address via any browser.

also many security dvr systems can also do this function and there are a lot of them out there