Protecting the parents homestead

by 4 weeks ago - last edited 4 weeks ago

So my parents have been out of town for a while and are going to be out even longer.  I flew out in August to take care of some stuff for them and also install some automation in their house.  They had the Nest Protect smoke alarms so we added the Nest thermostat (the new white one), Hello doorbell (works good except for the cloud recording - hogs uplink!) and the Nest Secure alarm system.  I was really happy with the alarm; a great easy to retrofit a security system that has some pretty clever sensors.  But my parents have less than a megabit up on a good day with their marginal DSL so a bunch of Nest or other cloud based cams weren't going to cut it. 


Unifi Protect to save the day!  I ended up installing a CK+ and 7 Flex cameras around the perimeter of their house.  One is inside right now, but will move outside once they get back home.  


On to the pictures!  


Front of the house to monitor the front, driveway and garage.  I'm not happy with this mount and will be probably moving it from being up against the house to just peaking out underneath (or maybe even through) the facia board:




IMG_1765.jpgFront of house - camera to right




IMG_1768.jpgClose up of mount

I'm not crazy about the mount location.  Maybe painting the conduit to match the house would help, but ultimately I think I'll flip the camera upside down and have it peak out from under the fascia board.  I didn't have a lot of time and the mount options at the time were slim.  Upside down isn't recommended for outside, but this location is pretty sheltered and I'm sure I could augment the water shedding capabilities since sometimes the rain does tend to blow sideways or even upside down.  This is the third flex I mounted - the first two I used an electrical box with conduit underneath.  It dawned on me I could just use conduit and skip the electrical box.  Duh!  Squished the ends of the conduit to keep the wasps out from building nests, put a screw on the bottom to keep the camera from sliding off and finally drilled two holes in the top of the conduit to attach it to the eaves.  Soffit vent hole was there and yes there is screen in there to keep the aforementioned wasps out!  


Here is what the camera sees - the quality is pretty amazing:

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 22.58.55.png



Over crappy less than a megabit DSL uplink even. Still boggles my mind. 


So around the corner of the garage my dad normally parks his truck there.  I mounted a motion controlled flood light last year so I just used the bottom of that box for a stub of conduit and another flex camera:






Again one end of conduit squished to keep the bugs out and with a screw at the bottom helps keep the camera from sliding off.  What the camera view looks like:

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 23.10.02.png



Just caught my parents neighbors using their driveway to load crap into their house while getting that screenshot. The nerve of some people :/ 


So behind that camera is the back side of the garage.  I mounted a camera up high to cover the garage door and the gate that's directly behind the previous camera:


This was the first Flex I mounted before it dawned on me the electrical box was entirely unnecessary.  D'oh!  I'll probably reclaim it for something else eventually.  Or maybe not.  It's certainly not going anywhere Man Happy


Camera view:

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 23.15.32.png



Behind the North garage door camera, on the other side of the chimney they have a shed, so gotta keep an eye on that of course:




This was number 2 I installed and about now is when the whole electrical box thing was looking a bit absurd.  Live and learn! 


Camera view:

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 23.19.51.png



Tough angle - I'd have to really lower the camera to get it under the soffit and I'm not sure I'm crazy about that idea - it's nice and protected now and also high enough to really discourage tampering. 


Around the corner to the right of the shed cam I put one at the end of the patio on the opposite side of their property - it gets a nice shot of the back yard and more importantly the back door:






Camera view:

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 23.25.18.png



You can see the shed to the back right behind the furtherest tree. This one turned out better than I expected.  And the camera isn't that obvious from the door or patio.  Paint that stupid conduit white and it will really blend in Man Happy  I had 48 hours so I was in a bit of a hurry pulling cable and getting everything mounted. 


I guess I didn't take a pic of the install in the garage but it's just upside down mounted to the drywall.  The recessed ceiling mounting kit would have been awesome to have at the time but I made do.  I don't remember how I got it to mount since it really, REALLY isn't designed to mount without that ceiling mount kit but obviously I did it. It makes a good picture to keep an eye on the freezer, my dads workbench (under the camera) and the two exterior doors (far left to left of the dryer - just barely visible - and the main overhead garage door to the right) and door to the kitchen near the water heater that goes into the house:

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 23.28.56.png


The truck hood is up because we have a battery tender on the battery.  



I ran everything to a closet in a bedroom.  Since I didn't have a patch panel that handled shielded cable I just ran the cables out the wall and to the switch.  It's also in a closet CoolgleamA  That's a Unifi 16 port switch (I had it lying around and it gives some room to grow) and I used a Kensington security cable kit from Fry's to secure the cloud key - it's the silver locking tab sticking out the  rear left of the CK+ - yes that's a Kensington security slot.  The tab slides open to retract the pins to go into the security slot, then you slide it shut and run the cable through.  With the cable in it, you can't slide the two halves apart to get it out - pretty clever.  Then I used one of the sticky plates from the kit on the top of the switch which the cable loops through to anchor the switch.  Finally I lag bolted the end of the cable (has a nice loop integrated into it - used a big ass washer to keep the loop under the bolt) to the wall way down low in the closet below a bunch of stuff I had to take out to do all the work, and then replaced all the stuff with the bolt buried behind it.  Ha!  I'd love to find a lock box or something I could lag to the wall then lock but what is there is probably more than sufficient to at least raise the alarm if something funky is going down:  






The ethernet cables are coming out a plate I got from monoprice that helps hide the hole.  


Left to do - I had a bad run to the main switch in their house that I couldn't get debugged so I swiped another run I did a few years back.  I may or may not fix that.  I need to put an outlet in that closet for them to get rid of the extension cord.  The camera inside will go outside around the corner from the patio camera to cover that last end of the house that has no coverage at the moment.  We may add another camera to watch the patio camera from somewhere near the back patio door.  Maybe a camera  from the corner of garage looking towards the existing front driveway cam so the cameras can cover each other.


Even without some of the other cameras I'm very pleased with the coverage and the performance of the system.  Several of my parents friends have expressed interest in getting similar setups so the next time I go to visit the folks at their place I'm probably going to be pretty busy!  

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3 weeks ago

Nice setup!

3 weeks ago

Nice job sir.

2 weeks ago

Looks good!



Nice @EricE I have 2 installs in Vegas too