simple home monitoring?

Karen Lewellen klewellen at
Sat Jul 18 22:17:37 UTC 2015

Good answers, let me spell this out more carefully.
1, this is an apartment building, and I am on the top floor.
2, I have no need to monitor when I am home, the two locks I have on the 
door  prevent entry.
3. I have no pets unless you count my stuffies.
4, I only need to monitor /capture activity  on the front door, and 
obviously prefer something that might not attract too much attention , I 
know  where to place the camera   to prevent  issues.  something I would 
activated when I leave, and turn off when home.
if you must run a wire from the door to the pie, that might defeat the 
based on that simplicity, if a machine for it really is $40 in Canada i 
might get something new since it will only be doing this job.  No machines 
with anything running on them now, but have an older desktop.   p 2 i think 
that could be set up for it.
what is the simplest way  to do the job based on these details?

I am not vetoing anything just want to keep it simple.

On Sat, 18 Jul 2015, Tim Chase wrote:

> On July 18, 2015, Karen Lewellen wrote:
>> Would be nice is a simple system that I can dedicate a machine for,
>> meaning a basic setup, with few resources required.
>> perhaps software that would email me an alert  or monitoring
>> results.
> Depending on the complexity of the solution you want, and what you
> have on hand, your solution can range from free-ish to several hundred
> dollars.
> At the cheapest end of the spectrum, if you already have a
> computer/laptop with a camera (A generic USB web-cam should run under
> $20 and I've spotted them for close to $5 on sale or used), as others
> have mentioned, you can point the camera at the door and use some
> vision-processing or motion-detection libraries to determine if the
> camera sees movement. If so, this can trigger all manner of actions
> (take a picture, send an email or text-message alert, sound alarms).
> You could get false-alarms here though if you're not careful.  If you
> monitor the entire frame that the camera captures, friends or dogs
> walking around in the middle of the night might trigger alerts. You
> might have to limit the observed area to the upper corner of the door
> where it's unlikely to see motion you don't care about.  Also, it's
> easy for a camera to get bumped unless you mount it on a wall.
> A slight step up, some small hardware investment could put a
> magnetic reed-switch (Adafruit sells one for $4) on your door-frame
> and run a wire to something like a Raspberry Pi (another $30 for one
> with a network jack on Adafruit) so that you capture door open/close
> events and trigger an action only when the door really opens/closes.
> You could even combine the ideas so that when the reed-switch detects
> the door opening, an attached camera would take a picture/video and
> upload it to an off-site location.  Or it could email you an alert or
> play audio or whatever.  One of the biggest advantages of this setup
> is how little power that the Pi draws.  A desktop/laptop may be
> drawing 60-120 watts of power, whereas the Pi draw much less.  For a
> security system that will be on all (or most of) the time, the
> electricity costs can add up.
> Finally at the mega-bucks end of the spectrum, you can get security
> systems with multiple cameras, network integration, and alerts.
> These are usually in the $300-1000 range depending on the number of
> cameras and the features of the system.  This sounds like overkill
> for what you want.  But maybe you won the lottery, in which case,
> bully for you, knock yourself out and get a top-of-the-line system.
> And fly me out as an installation consultant (grins)
> -tim
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