Cell Phones

Using old cellphone as a security camera

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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6043 posts
5265 upvotes

Using old cellphone as a security camera

I don't need/want live streaming or any other fancy features - just want to record and be able to playback. I was thinking of picking up an old Android from Kijiji and downloading Salient Eye https://www.cnet.com/reviews/salient-ey ... id-review/

Anyone try something similar?
14 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 15, 2008
1643 posts
4243 upvotes
Pawtucket
I've been using Alfred for a few years now.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... u&hl=en_CA

Works great with with old phones. Have one running as old as Android 2.3 Gingerbread and it still works fine. Just make sure you use a smart plug to set when the power turns on/off. If you are constantly charging the battery, it will expand and can start a fire. I had a couple of phones where the battery expanded to the point where the LCD separated from the phone. After that, I made sure to use a smart plug and set a time when it would turn on/off.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 29, 2005
6330 posts
1488 upvotes
Montreal
So when the smart plug turns off, you let it run on battery for a few hours and then start charging again - right?

I can see how that would work but wouldn't buying an inexpensive proper security camera like the wyse that has that long thread on RFD be a more efficient solution? I used alfred for awhile on an old phone also but stopped because my wife complained that the charging cable was sticking out and unsightly. While it worked her concern was actually true.

I replaced it with a refurb Canary off eBay with no subscription and we're both happy. Cost was $69 Cdn.
Mine came from Markham but I don't see that listing anymore. At the time, Best Buy also had refurb units for a similar price.
This is one of the cheapest current listings but it comes from the US:

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Canary-Complete ... SwoMFdpoTc

I also have it integrated into my smarthome system and Alexa.
Phils
Deal Addict
Sep 15, 2008
1643 posts
4243 upvotes
Pawtucket
Phils wrote: So when the smart plug turns off, you let it run on battery for a few hours and then start charging again - right?
Thats right. I only use the old phones in some areas where there is little traffic and out of the way. Had a bunch of old phones lying around so I might as well put it to good use. The smart plugs were cheap so it wasn't much of an expenditure.

I have since installed a the Pan/Tilt Wyze cam in the front of my house. I like the ability to be able to move the camera around.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6043 posts
5265 upvotes
Phils wrote: So when the smart plug turns off, you let it run on battery for a few hours and then start charging again - right?

I can see how that would work but wouldn't buying an inexpensive proper security camera like the wyse that has that long thread on RFD be a more efficient solution? I used alfred for awhile on an old phone also but stopped because my wife complained that the charging cable was sticking out and unsightly. While it worked her concern was actually true.

I replaced it with a refurb Canary off eBay with no subscription and we're both happy. Cost was $69 Cdn.
Mine came from Markham but I don't see that listing anymore. At the time, Best Buy also had refurb units for a similar price.
This is one of the cheapest current listings but it comes from the US:

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Canary-Complete ... SwoMFdpoTc

I also have it integrated into my smarthome system and Alexa.
That's a good point. I looked into that first but decided to go this route for a couple of reasons. BTW which Wyse model do you recommend?
Deal Fanatic
Sep 29, 2005
6330 posts
1488 upvotes
Montreal
The pan-tilt one that redboy69 has which I guess is this one.
Last summer it went down as low as $32,80 at Amazon.ca.
Phils
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6043 posts
5265 upvotes
redboy69 wrote: I've been using Alfred for a few years now.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... u&hl=en_CA

Works great with with old phones. Have one running as old as Android 2.3 Gingerbread and it still works fine. Just make sure you use a smart plug to set when the power turns on/off. If you are constantly charging the battery, it will expand and can start a fire. I had a couple of phones where the battery expanded to the point where the LCD separated from the phone. After that, I made sure to use a smart plug and set a time when it would turn on/off.
It seems like most smart plugs require an app to be installed. I prefer not install any apps if I can help it for security and privacy reasons. Do you know of any plugs are on a timer or know when a device has been charged and shuts off?
Deal Addict
Sep 15, 2008
1643 posts
4243 upvotes
Pawtucket
hierophant wrote: It seems like most smart plugs require an app to be installed. I prefer not install any apps if I can help it for security and privacy reasons. Do you know of any plugs are on a timer or know when a device has been charged and shuts off?
Dont know of any smart plugs and don't require an app or hub. You could use the old fashioned timers that our parents used to have. You would be able to set multiple times to turn on/off the power just like a smart plug. I know as a kid, my dad would use those when we went on vacation.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 29, 2005
6330 posts
1488 upvotes
Montreal
You should be able to find one at Dollarama.
Phils
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 14, 2003
5272 posts
3627 upvotes
LaLaLand
redboy69 wrote: I've been using Alfred for a few years now.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... u&hl=en_CA

Works great with with old phones. Have one running as old as Android 2.3 Gingerbread and it still works fine. Just make sure you use a smart plug to set when the power turns on/off. If you are constantly charging the battery, it will expand and can start a fire. I had a couple of phones where the battery expanded to the point where the LCD separated from the phone. After that, I made sure to use a smart plug and set a time when it would turn on/off.
I though of doing this a while ago, but didn't think about this point about constantly charging old tech.

I recently bought two Xiaomi security cameras when I was in China. They were the equivalent of C$30 each. It was so cheap I thought I would take a chance. They are actually really good.
redboy69 wrote: Dont know of any smart plugs and don't require an app or hub. You could use the old fashioned timers that our parents used to have. You would be able to set multiple times to turn on/off the power just like a smart plug. I know as a kid, my dad would use those when we went on vacation.
Most smart plugs don't require a hub, but wifi and probably an app which is easy enough. I saw some on Amazon for around $10. I was going to pull the trigger on a smart plug recently, but remembered I had some mechanical timers lying around. These are fool-proof but not controllable via the internet. There's a motor that turns the dial and inserts to trip the on/off mechanism. Simple.

Image
Deal Fanatic
Nov 1, 2006
8792 posts
2704 upvotes
Toronto
hierophant wrote: I don't need/want live streaming or any other fancy features - just want to record and be able to playback. I was thinking of picking up an old Android from Kijiji and downloading Salient Eye https://www.cnet.com/reviews/salient-ey ... id-review/

Anyone try something similar?
I use manything.com and an old Moto G as remote monitor. Manything = Monitor Anything
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 27, 2004
13921 posts
3079 upvotes
Vancouver.bc.ca
Dollarama had those mechanical timers awhile back. Don't know if they still carry them. I can't remember the price, but someone said $2. At most, it would have been $4.
sunbeamtimer.jpg

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