Be sure to sign up for the weekly RV Travel Newsletter, published continuously every Saturday since 2001. Click here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Can You Put A WiFi Camera In Your RV And Look Inside While You're Out? YES!

    When I am traveling, I like to feel that my RV is secure when I am out. Some folks install alarm systems, but typically they go off and no one does anything about it. Sure, you could get one that calls your cell phone and you could return in a hurry or call 911, but that usually ends in a "barn door closed after the horse has already left" result. What if you could SEE what was going on in real time and had a recording of the perpetrators to give to the police? Or, simply see that nothing is going on at all? What about monitoring your RV in storage for the off-season? Well, you can. There are a few glitches, but nothing insurmountable. Read on!

Notice The USB Power Supply
The cost of WiFi cameras has been steadily dropping for a long time now. A model with Remote controlled Pan, Tilt, and Zoom (PTZ) can be had for $21.00 or so. They are pretty easy to set up and can run on your cell phone's data connection or a hotspot. If you set it up to only use your data when it "sees" something, you won't waste too much data at all. You'll be able to connect to it remotely and look at what's going on inside your RV. If you place it in the right place, you'll be able to see out the windows as well. Remember the PTZ will allow you to MOVE the camera's view around at will. There is no reason why you couldn't have more than one camera on this connection. They do not require much power at all, so that's not of major concern. You could even run them wired into your RV's 12V system. Some of the cameras even take 12V input via USB. But, to be sure, check the AC adapters voltage output...some are much lower!
Old Mobile Router And Dongle
Now, the issues to setting this up. First, you need to have an internet connection that is always on. Not much bandwidth nor data will be flowing when nothing is happening, but you need to be able to reach the cameras via the internet. If you have a cell phone, you could use it as a hotspot, but obviously you wouldn't be able to take it with you. So then you wouldn't be able to check the cameras! Catch-22! A second cell phone or stand-alone hotspot from a provider would work, but would likely cost extra each month (maybe even plus data). If you have two people with cell phones, one can leave the phone while the other takes over the monitoring portion. Of course, if you are in a location with WiFi already, you could set up a small (and cheap!) Mobile router to connect each time. Then you are all set.

I've got a few spare cameras that I purchased for home use, and have set up one in the RV. Since it's parked inside the fabric hangar and there is WiFi right inside the house, I have 24/7 access for storage. I can also see inside the fabric building through the windows when I Pan the camera around. Works really nicely! I've tried it through my cell phone hotspot and it's fine. If 720P movies will stream through it (They do!) this was a piece of cake. The cameras have SD Card slots, so they record internally AND when set up to be triggered by motion, you can have the cell phone application open automatically and record the video as well. Some of the cameras even include Audio! A permanent record of what happened to trigger it. Of course, it may have just have been a critter...but why take the chance?!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

11 comments:

  1. Rich,
    Cool article! Do you mind sharing a little more info on the cameras you’ve experimented with? Brand, models, etc?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott,
      Each time I searched for a particular brand, I found a different one! At this point, they are all pretty much the same. The price point to look for is 21.00 for a 720P PTZ camera. Some are Ball shaped some are "helmet" shaped, all work the same.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. There are companies that give you a free gig of data and 500 mins each month... not much for a "real" cellphone, but great for remote monitoring like this.

    With a weatherproof "bubble" type PTZ camera, you can mount it on the trailing edge and use it as a rearview, look around while backing, or spin it forward to see roof clearance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe,
      Not a bad idea! There may be lots of regional cell phone deals of this type. I encourage everyone to research their areas! Using as a backup camera! Stellar idea!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. I get a different deal ...but "Freedompop" currently offers 200min/500text/200MB totally free each month, but only works on GSM networks. I think (?) That's Sprint/ATT and not Verizon towers?

      Delete
  3. Just to start my usual RVT pricewar, AE has 720 PTZ cameras at $12... I have both the ball and "robot" types in my house, both work equally well, but the robot looks less professional to me if you're going to see the camera...lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe,
      Lots of folks don't want to deal with the shipping and issues with AliExpress. Me included! I look at Amazon (US/fulfilled by Amazon) or Ebay (Only US sourced) or newegg.com or a few others as a starting point.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. FMCA members can get unlimited data from sprint and up to 25gb from verizon for $50 each. I have both and have been running the sprint for a full three weeks with 3-4 items on it. Not streaming any tv but did a lot of Youtube.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vanessa,
      That's a GREAT tip for members!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  5. Don't forget the Alfred app that turns a old cell phone wifi and a power source in
    a security camera.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. W. Trepp,
      Good find! I've never heard of that app. Will give it a try as i have MANY unused cell phones with WiFi, lying about.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

Thank you for your comment. Our moderator checks each one to make sure we keep the Spammers away. So the comment will likely not appear immediately.