How much power is enough?

After searching all day for IP cameras (ouch about $3000) I don’t think it would be all that advisable to try and capture and send video and audio via the SBC. I have long thought most surveillance cameras weren’t worth the time of day, so I am looking at some auto focusing 8MB cameras. fixed 12mm version tested here.

You took the words right out of my mouth… Was thinking ditch the cameras inside the house, and just use basic proximity sensors. If the cameras are up to scratch they will pick up anyone properly before they get in the house.

Using proximity sensors I could detect presence in the room without needing to go way over the top. Handy for turning off the lights if no one is in the room. But I started thinking if I wanted to mount proximity sensors, light switches, etc, etc. Then perhaps I could put all the electronics in a concealed wall cabinet, that way all the wiring would be together. I would just have to run one Ethernet cable for POE illuminated switches, and one for network. All neat and tidy and easy to access. Throw a bit of conduit down where the box in wall is going to go and wiring is a piece of cake. Could even put a speaker in the box for room to room communication and voice activation responses.

The more I think about it one box per room would seem the sensible way to go. Just make sure I have a spare to quickly swap out in the case of a serious failure not easily fixed.

Forgot to mention I own a CNC machine I built myself. I could do up a nice polished aluminum face plate to mount the switches, speaker and motion sensor in…


$25 per room. The IP streaming part is implemented by the SBC. If you are looking at IP cameras those would never be plugged into the SBC in the first place. They are stand alone.

You could probably get the price down even more with old USB web cams.

Anyway, an IP camera doesn’t plug into the SBC in that room anyway so it really has nothing to do with the decision whether to use SBCs or not.

I could always add those to the SBC just to see what room Erika is in (we are in a much smaller house now and she doesn’t answer me calling out), but originally I was tossing up, do I try to integrate the security into the HA, or do I go for better cameras and make it stand alone but perhaps use some alarms to send messages to Mosquitto.

The 1600sqm block I bought is a battleaxe block so my driveway is about 45m long and the front of the house will be about 70m back from the road. So I plan to put some fairly rugged cameras up the driveway.

The house in front of me has right of way access on my driveway, so I won’t have a gate at the very front of the property. But I wan’t to monitor it just in case anyone decides to do something malicious up there.

I need a camera with an autofocus lens and really good quality to make sure I can see anyone that might come down the driveway uninvited day or night.

The cameras I am looking at have several triggering events that will be more easily integrated into an security system.

Smart Feature-set

Behavior Analysis: Line crossing detection, intrusion detection, unattended baggage detection, object removal detection	
Exception Detection: Scene change detection	
Face Detection: Yes	
Region of Interest:nbsp Support 1 fixed region for main stream and sub stream

Generally, I recommend putting most of the “smarts” in the end devices and OH integration consists of influencing them. OH excels at integration but it’s generic. A special purpose system (e.g. alarm system, thermostat, etc) will always be easier to set up and configure and use than building something from scratch. Then let those devices do what they do. And when you need to bridge between those systems and other systems (e.g. automatically arm the alarm system when everyone is away) OH just tells the alarm system what it wants to have happen. This way should OH go down for some reason, the alarm system still works (it becomes stairs).

For a concrete example. I have a Nest with forced air heating (i.e. one thermostat for the whole house). The house is three floors and there can be a large temperature differential, particularly in summer. So I have DIY thermometers on each floor of the house and when the top floor is warmer than the target temp and warmer than the basement temp, I turn on the house fan. But beyond that the Nest does the rest. I don’t have to implement hysteresis or complicated algorithms for how long it will take to warm the house when I start heading home or the like in OH. At most OH just needs to tell the Nest “change the target temp to X”.

So I would recommend making the alarm system separate and choosing one or build one with an API that can be used with OH. In fact, I’d probably separate the alarm system and CCTV system and let OH bridge between the two. But it depends on what you choose for the alarm system and it’s capabilities. I currently use Shinobi for my two cameras which has a well defined way to send events to OH.

You just gave me another good idea. The lower floor of the house will comprise of a garage, a large workshop, laundry, and a very large home theatre room. The plan is to have no windows downs stairs. And with an abundance of concrete / blocks making up the walls downstairs, I expect it will get quite cold down there. I will have some roller doors to let heat in / out of the garage and workshop areas (separated by a wall) but it would be nice to be able to pipe some heat downstairs during winter. Summer I will probably welcome the cooler environment. Anyway it is now in the wee hours time I hit the sack. Thanks for all the good info. I will have a think about how to make the systems modular without having to rely on the other systems to function.

Here’s a curve ball and a cunning trick…

As Rich suggested, you could put a screen on an SBC and turn it into a user interface / web broswer for OH.

Now take that a step further and use an Android tablet, you could use the fabulous IP Webcam Pro app and provide the video and audio from the tablet to your network.
With a choice of video and audio formats.

Throw into the mix that the app has motion detection, 2 way audio support, automatic night mode, stealth mode, GET command on Motion and you have yourself not only a great intercom but the most covert CCTV you could get…

I’ve got this running on an old Samsung S3 phone, which is “doing nothing” on a shelf, with it’s back to the room.

That same S3 is also running a GSM gateway server, so I can send and receive SMS in OH.
(it’s not difficult to filter the senders of text messages to add a layer of security)

It’s got a third app running that auto answers calls and switches on the speaker :wink:

all for a LOT less than the cost of a CCTV camera with a poor quality camera

Did I mention that you can remotely activate the flash light and (digitally) zoom in with Pavel’s IPWebcamPro app?

I “could” mount the phone / device on a Servo driven mount for Pan & Tilt via Art-Net / sACN / DMX control from OH, but that it probably way more than is needed. :slight_smile: (But I might do it anyway, now that I’ve thought about it)

AND that Pavel has written a IP Video to DirectShow app for Windows and Linux for his App, which I can use in Jinx! to influence my Art-Net LED array, but that is probably taking it all a little too far


I’ve just been told that those pan and tilt assemblies are quite lumpy when they are running, but the idea is sound

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Figure out a weather proof enclosure and I’m sold.

Before I got the raspicam in the garage, I used IP Webcam on an old phone and it worked great. I have no interest in cctv inside the house but I’d like to have one on all the doors. We have a lot of wildlife though so I want one in the back to support IR so I can see the deer and bear and bobcats and such wonder through the yard at night. I don’t think there are any old phones that can support that.

And I can’t believe I missed your post about the SMS Gateway software. Unfortunately I get a page not found error when I try to bring the app up. Perhaps it’s unavailable in the US. :frowning: I can probably set something up using Tasker and AutoRemote.

Is that pan tilt strong enough to move a phone? It looks to be designed for a Raspicam which weights a small fraction of a typical cell phone.


I’ve double checked that link and it seems find from the UK.

Maybe it is a location issue.

However, there are lots of other SMS Gateway app on Google Play, so maybe one of them is accessible to you?

(It was the forwarding of SMS to OH that appealed to me)
I can ask the author of SMS Gateway Ultimate if he can let us have the APK file?

As for the gimble, I’ll let you know when one arrives with me, a friend at who creating all kinds of Art-Net and SPi control gear says that he bought one to test his SPI to Servo PCB, and while it works, he thinks it’s a little cheap.

There are other versions out there…


I searched for the name too and found a bunch of other apps from Ice Cold Apps but not that one. For whatever reason I guess it’s not available in the US, or there is something else about my wireless provider or devices that makes it not show up.

None of the ones I could find were relevant. From what I could find there was only one that works similar to what you described (Green SMS Gateway) without using some cloud service, but it only supports sending, not forwarding and it costs $8. For $8 I’d probably set something up with Tasker instead. There must be some sort of ban on these sorts of apps in the US.

How very Draconian :frowning:


The app does’t support your Android version?

For cameras, I’d been planning on getting a pi and camera and putting them in an inexpensive outdoor housing from monoprice. If I can get it working, a motorized IR filter and the noIR camera gives me both modes, and I can run the whole thing off of one POE cable.

These other solutions are really interesting!

Something that I want to point out and that is support for features inside Openhab. Just because X hardware spouts it can do X feature does not mean it will work inside Openhab. Your idea of using Hikvision cameras with 2 way audio is not going to work unless you can code and willing to spend hours of unpaid work doing it. The IpCamera binding does not support 1 or 2 way audio and IF (note I state IF) it ever does it is most likely going to be Dahua cameras only since that is the only ones I own with mic/speaker. Dahua and Hikvision both have API abilities to do 2 way audio with GET / PUT, other brands are probably only going to work with the apps that come with their cameras or ONVIF if that ever becomes easy to do with a Java library. There are a number of Java libs but none are active and growing. Since you posted you want standalone and no clouds, I suspect the Hikvision app will refuse to work locally and all your data goes to their cloud first, same most likely with Dahua.

Sounds great your solution and even better that you report that you have it working. A tablet/phone mounted to the wall and something already possible to get working right now inside Openhab. :+1:
Can it do these:

  • Broadcast to all tablets around the house from 1 mic?
  • Work in the background so you can display habpanel on the screen?
  • Trigger events in openhab so it can open a habpanel that suits the task? ie If intercom is triggered at the gate, show a open gate button. If front door intercom is used, show a open front door button.

Finding the right way will be hard as you could use stand alone intercoms but then how much can they notify Openhab of events? You then have to walk up to a device to talk instead of just talking normally inside a room.

If looking at doing this myself I would look at Jarvis and Motion running on a PI per room. You could do something like “Jarvis, tell my wife I am looking for her” and then jarvis can trigger text to speech around a multi room audio system. USB cameras plugged into the same PI would be cheap with motion, $30 per room extra and USB inspection style cameras could be installed in 12mm holes and will not be seen. I looked at doing this but gave it away due to night vision would not be as good as a decent IpCamera and a camera that is seen is a deterrent in the first place to prevent the place being broken into. Of course you would want to trial this on one setup before buying multiples and also see if your family is happy having spy cameras installed through a house.

I did contemplate using touch screens in each of the rooms but it seemed to work out to be fairly expensive by the time you added everything up. Although if I do wind up using a SBC in each room, perhaps I could revisit this idea. What I was primarily looking to do was replace the physical buttons with a small touch screen.

Just to clarify I wasn’t looking at using the Hikvision cameras inside the house (perhaps one in the kitchen / dining area), that would be a mostly external affair to ensure the block is well monitored. I am in two minds about monitoring the inside of the house. There is only me and my wife in what is going to be a big house. The new house will be more than twice the size of the current house, so the video inside was not so much about spying as it was about accurate presence detection. But there are other ways I could achieve that without needing to fill the house with cameras.

OK I am going to approach this from a totally different angle… I am going to do what I always promise myself but never do when writing code… And that is to define the scope of the project using pseudo code before I even begin line 1 of code.

Start off by spitballing all the things I might want the HA system to do on paper (text file).
Once I have done that group together all of the parts that might need to work together to achieve that end (still only high level planning).

Start to refine the group task idea a bit more to find the easiest way to make that happen. Then think about what hardware I need to achieve that functionality.

(Spitball ideas) Define the scope of the project…
Turn lights on and off - Dim / auto?
voice control system
Turn heating and cooling on / off (basic climate control - fans and AC)
Open / Lock doors
Open / Lock Windows
Open / Close blinds
Monitor the temperature / humidity inside and outside
Precense detection via phone
Security system itegration
Auto lights outside
Move air from downstairs to upstairs and upstairs to downstairs.
Rain sensing outside to determine if opening windows is viable.

Group first lot of interacting items together…
Turn heating and cooling on / off (basic climate control - fans and AC)
Open / Lock Windows
Open / Close blinds
Monitor the temperature / humidity inside and outside
Move air from downstairs to upstairs and upstairs to downstairs.
Rain sensing outside to determine if opening windows is viable.

Hardware / Controls group 1: Roughly how it will happen…
Fan speed contols manual and automatic
AC control manual and automatic
Lock / unlock windows - solinoids?
Open / close windows - motors?
Sense windows open / closed - contacts?
Open / close blinds - motors?
Monitor temp / humidity inisde and out - sensors
Rain sensing - sensors
Move internal air - fans

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I’ve had a quick play around this morning and can report the following…

Yes, it certainly can.

The Samsung S3 was running IPWebcamPro, with audio enabled.

My Samcung S7 and Acer laptops could both connect to the IPWebcamPro web page and pull audio AND video

Oh yes, it can be run in the background :slight_smile:

Ummm… Yes…

Or at least I got in working on the Samsung S7, but can’t quite get it working on the S3.

Pavel sent me a plugin that sends a HTTP GET request when movement is detected.

These three files need to be put in a folder called :


Then I setup the plugin with this URL


What you do in openHAB after the item has been sent an update is entirely up to your imagination :smile:

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habpanel viewer - talks to openHAB and can take pictures, detect motion and serve as a touch screen interface

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Sorry for the late reply… Been working on writing a script for my Asus RT-AC68U router to talk to MQTT on a RPi. Now that little distraction is out of the way I can get back to thinking about the home automation system.

I do like the idea of a touch panel, but I am going to need time to really consider if this is not a little too high tech. Although the idea of being able to customize the buttons based upon changing requirements is kind of cool.

If I do go in that direction I want to stick with basic hardware like RPi and a simple touchscreen, rather that anything super exotic or unusual. I would need the code that runs on it to be nearly universal so in the event of a breakdown it would be easily swapped.

That sounds like a perfect description of a Velbus glass panel

Or these if you want text to be displayed / editable

Yes and no… As mentioned above, someone might rarely ring at the front gate and you need to open the gate. You don’t want to have an open gate button in every room, so using a touch panel it could be used more like a “button on demand” system. You don’t want to necessarily have it as an option until you need it, so fixed menus like those in the video aren’t necessarily the most desirable answer. I don’t know if I really want to go that far as extra hardware is just one more thing to reboot in the event of a power failure, a whole lot of re-synchronization just to turn on a light.

The other issue I have to consider is my eyesight is going to crap. Ever since my mid forties my eyesight has been getting worse and worse to the point I now need to put glasses on to read anything, otherwise everything is just a blur. I only need glasses for reading, so I don’t want to be constantly carrying around a pair of glasses just to turn on a light.

So I either need to make the text gigantic or use a combination of physical button and a touch screen but only use the touchscreen for some special feature which I wouldn’t mind putting glasses on to see.