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Old 02-10-2009, 05:56 PM
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HF Security Camera - mini review

I couldn't work in my shop this afternoon (had some minor flooding) so I had an opportunity to install the Harbor Freight security camera I got for Christmas. Well, it was ORDERED for my Christmas present but delivery was delayed until this week due to back order.

I didn't know quite what to expect with this little gizmo since I have absolutely no experience with security cameras. But for the money, just $30, I don't see how you could go wrong with this little unit. It's basically just plug and play. And the screen image was much better than I expected out of something costing so little money.

Assuming you already have a spare TV, or a TV you are willing to switch over to the AV mode whenever you want to check what's on camera, there is nothing else you need to buy to get this up and operating. It comes with a swivel type mount so you can put it just about anywhere and get it pointed right where you want it. Also included is an 80' cord - which I found to be more than adequate to get the camera and TV where I wanted them - and a power adapter.

I got the black and white version but for there is a color camera available for $60. The camera comes with what they call "night vision" but that is nothing to write home about. It is an infra red picture but is only good for objects within 10-12' of the camera. So it might work nicely for an entryway or a key area of your shop that you want to keep watch over, but for large areas, like your yard, it is not that useful.

I have mine set up so that it takes in our entire driveway, parking area, and both "door" sides of my shop. Mostly my intended use is just to know when someone drives in our driveway...which is not visible from the desk area where I spend about 90% of my time when I'm in the house.

In a nutshell, I was very impressed with the picture quality of this little camera. Particularly considering the price tag of just thirty bucks. It's going to fill my needs perfectly and I would recommend it for anyone who wants to fiddle around with making their shop or their home a little more secure.

HF listing can be found here.



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Old 02-10-2009, 06:04 PM
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Pretty neat....I need one of those. I may just look into that. Can you run two cables and hook it up to two T-V's ? Thats what I need one for my office and one for my wifes sewing room.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:32 PM
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OK, I'll bite, why do you need one in your wife's sewing room?

Vince
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Highrise
Can you run two cables and hook it up to two T-V's ?
Interesting, because that was one of my wife's first questions...so we could have a monitor up on the bedroom level of the house where there are no windows looking out toward the drive and the shop.

And I don't know the answer but I'll test it out either later tonight or in the morning. I can't imagine why not. It's just two simple RCA jacks that plug into the TV and you can pick up splitters for those jacks at Radio Shack as well as other stores.

Let me go rustle up some parts and wiring and I'll see if it works.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:50 PM
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I want the camera looking at my driveway. I need a monitor in my office and also my wifes sewing room. We cannot see or hear anyone drive up from those two rooms. I found a wireless alarm that will sound when someone drives up but if I had the camera I could look at the monitor when the alarm goes off and see who it is. Will that camera work with two monitors? or do I have to get two cameras?
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:26 PM
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could also hook it to a DVR capture card designed for security camera's. Q see and many others make them for $30-100, and you could connect up to 4 camera's and broadcast and record the feed on your computer. and check the feed remotely from any computer in your house thru a network
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:50 PM
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I did a quick test here and you can run two monitors with just a simple RCA splitter cord. What I can't tell you for sure is how much the picture might degrade if you have long wire runs...I had my two tv's sitting right side by side. And it worked fine. I'll do another test tomorrow in full daylight but I'm certain this will work for two monitors in two different rooms of the house.

BTW, there is also sound if you want it. But I don't think the mic picks up from any great distance. Also, I just got a buzzing noise with mine so I turned the volume all the way off. It's just not a feature I can imagine needing in my circumstances.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt167
...you could connect up to 4 camera's and broadcast and record the feed on your computer. and check the feed remotely from any computer in your house thru a network
Matt167, and if you have a wireless network in your house, could the security signal be sent, for example, to a laptop in the sewing room? The nice thing about that would be you wouldn't have to string ugly wires all around the house to your various monitors.

Then my wife had a question as well...could you pick that signal up on an IPod or other similar mini-computer with screen?
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:24 AM
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Short follow up.

I tested the "dual monitor" setup again this morning in daylight...and it works great. The only challenge I see is hiding the RCA wire nicely so it isn't any eyesore going from room to room.

Oh, and my wife's comment this morning was, "Hey, watching our driveway is a LOT better than regular TV."
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
Short follow up.

I tested the "dual monitor" setup again this morning in daylight...and it works great. I only challenge I see is hiding the RCA wire nicely so it isn't any eyesore going from room to room.

Oh, and my wife's comment this morning was, "Hey, watching our driveway is a LOT better than regular TV."
Not much on tv shows eh?

There is a signal amplifier, should be available at Radio shack, if you ever need one.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:31 AM
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You need to set it up,Where we can watch you Cboy...LOL
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:33 AM
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I need to get one of those! We are having problems with Deer jumping our 8'(!) Fence and going into the Back Yard and eating Trees, Bushes and stuff-I can't shoot 'em (although I'd love to), so, I got a Wrist Rocket (and some of my .54 Caliber Black Powder round balls) and waited-sure enough, last Saturday night (at about 1:00 a.m.) they jumped the Fence (knocking a portion down) and started for the Trees-when I stepped out on the Deck there was A Buck and two Does starting to chomp away (and they just looked at me like what do you want?)-I stuck a Ball in the Rocket, pulled it all the way back and let 'er rip-it hit the Buck right between the eyes, and for a second he just stood there and looked at me-he realized what had happened, and turned to run-I got him in the Butt, and then got one of the Does on her way out-gonna cost me $230.00 to fix the Fence though-
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 35WINDOW
... last Saturday night (at about 1:00 a.m.) they jumped the Fence...
Just to make clear, unless you have some sort of yard light out by those trees this camera probably isn't going to help you much at night. The infra red signal only picks up objects 10 to 12 feet away - max.

We have a a couple motion detector yard lights outside our house and from time to time the bears set those off...so maybe set up your system with a motion detector or opt for a more expensive camera with long distance infra red.

Funny about the sling shot. If I tried that I'd no doubt shoot my eye out.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:51 AM
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You need to set it up,Where we can watch you Cboy...
Like, um, maybe on the upstairs throne?
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
Just to make clear, unless you have some sort of yard light out by those trees this camera probably isn't going to help you much at night. The infra red signal only picks up objects 10 to 12 feet away - max.

We have a a couple motion detector yard lights outside our house and from time to time the bears set those off...so maybe set up your system with a motion detector or opt for a more expensive camera with long distance infra red.

Funny about the sling shot. If I tried that I'd no doubt shoot my eye out.

Dewey,
Thanks, I hadn't thought of it-we do have a motion detector System for my Shop, but not on the other side of the House-great idea, thanks!

As for the Slingshot, I had this noisy Dog at one of my neighbors, and, if it's warm enough (Summer) and he barks too much, I have icecubes and.....well, use your imagination-the evidence does melt though-
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