Triple Covert IP Camera?

Covert IP cameras have become more common. See our Covert IP Camera Test for background.

The basic option is a single covert IP camera 'head' connected to a 'body' / IP encoder.

Mobotix's version has a two headed option (see Mobotix S14 Flexmount).

Now, Brickcom is releasing a three headed version, like so:

It's certainly different. Plus, from the online pricing available, ~$330 USD for the 'head' + 1 camera and then ~$175 for additional heads, it's relatively inexpensive (~$700 for 3 total covert cameras).

But is there much use for it? Anyone particularly interested or confused about this?


Anyone particularly interested or confused about this?

Not confused at all, by using a shared archictecture and commoditized components, one can drive costs down substantially. In this case the pairing of the three relatively unassuming tentacle cams with the standardized mass produced four two three??? channel encoder...

Ok, now I'm confused, where is the other tentacle? Is this really 3-off board or three seperate single channel encoders? Where's the shared architecture and cost/space savings there? Who makes a three channel encoder?

But wait, the Hydra has a unique capability that sets it apart, the ability to insult the intelligence of their customer to degree never seen before, like so:

With 3 PH-100Ah cameras attached to the VB-03, the PH-100Ah Kit can either monitor 3 different places simultaneously, or monitor a particular place from 3 distinct viewpoints.

They don't like to brag, but I should point out it also has the capability to monitor 2 different places where one of those places is monitored from 2 viewpoints! With any luck it auto-configures, I hate DIP switches... ;)

Any time I have had to install covert cameras, space or 'lack of' has been an issue. Currently, I have 3 separate deployments in San Francisco by landlords requiring proof to evict tenents due to the super-hot rental market. All that is available to be used in a typical multi unit Victorian front entrance is the landing light. No pictures, clocks, plants or junk to hide / disguise your device. Typically, I customize a Home Depot LED exterior light fixture with day/night sensor (most unused space in a light fixture that I could find) by installing an analog pin-hole camera with 420TVL, a mini DVR with motion sensor and micro SD and the stripped down power supplies (8VDC - CAM, 12VDC - DVR) hard wired to the light fixture conductors and the unit is ready for install. I could not find a similar solution in mega pixel format with similar parameters which was dissapointing. The 420 TVL are fine but there must be a solution that I was unable to find!

Three is useful for ATM requirements - in hand requested spec. Wide angle for face, one for over shoulder, one for wide scene overview when not in use. Where typically the whole assembly needs to be inside the ATM.

Previously did a proof of concept based on SDI as the camera to encoder interface for use in ATM's. Covert SDI cameras are cheap to make, small & low power and come in 1080, WDR, etc.

Have not had a chance to examine the crop of this type but expect the interface to be similar, which would make these heads expensive.

Vendors are coming out with 40mm square IP cameras now. But this solution is one box, one ethernet cable. For some ATM applications when the router only has 4 ports and is driving the ATM, alarm/HVAC monitoring/UPS, you get one left for CCTV and and no room for a switch.

This is only 720p @ 30fps from the spec.

Have to wonder if that is 30FPS total or for each camera?

"Vendors are coming out with 40mm square IP cameras now"

Undisclosed A, can you share any examples? I am curious about what new small camera options are coming out?

Examples - 1, 2, 3

The top two most likely off the same reference design.

But Hik has probably rolled their own.

Thanks, very interesting!

So those have no 'head' / base unit? It's all in the mini IP camera, then?

For others, here are the pics of those cameras:

Yes an all in one, supposed to be ONVIF, sure Hik will be compliant.

The first two are POE with a larger RJ45 dongle. Yet to see good detail on the Hik.

Not long before someone adds a micro SD to one.

There are some units available with wifi too!

Thank you Undisclosed A

Would like to know how long the extension cable is? This could work in a retail setting where you're trying to get a Hallway, manager office, and cashoffice shot. I tend to put most of my coverts in a wall vs a Prop.

Shawn, the spec sheet says 7 meters, which is fairly long for this type of head / base setup.

Hi John,

If appropriate i can help arrange a three headed of those for testing and send to your office. It has its limitations, but is meant to be an cost effective way to install a basic 3 camera views in a small area: such as small store, a group of ATMs', a group of Public Phones, and so on. The camera itself has a basic image and it has no day and night or WDR, so this version is meant for the "many different things to see in a small area, but with a small budget" I myself not a big fan of it either, but i can see it will save some costs on hardware, installation and maintanence for the right situation.

Does the cable detach at both ends or just one?

What's the connector?

Does it appear as one ip or three?

Do you guys do component level design typically, in this case the tri-encoder?

I forgot to mention. I am Sales Director in Brickcom and the triple headed camera (we called it Hydra camera) is aproduct of my company.

Thanks John, I also see they are coming out with a 5m extension cable. If we get one I'll let you know what I think.

By the way, I forgot to mention: I am the Sales Director at Brickcom and this is a camera that we manufacture.

HI Rukimini,

1. The cable detaches from just one side (the body side).

2. The cable is a mini USB connector (mini-B plug).

3. It appears as one IP. in order to view it in a typical software (or with the free software it comes wiht) you need to add the IP address three times and choose the different streams one, stream two and stream three.

4. As the last question "component level design": I am not sure if this answers your question but we do patent the technologies like in this case, the camera is unique design and patents filed and pending.

Oscar, thanks for the info, as well as the rare double disclosure. So one could presumably use any reasonably length usb tentacle extender?

P.S. I would also like to apologize for my penultimate petulant post. This stems from a condition of mine, which unexpectedly flares up from time to time, though my doctors say there's excellent prognosis for a full recovery...;)

HI Rukmini.

Haa no worries, i guess this is the purpose of the forum to get the people informed.

It cannot use any USB Extender. it comes with a 2 meter with a extendable cable of 5 meters. making it total 7 meter max. This is as of now, i am sure more upgrades coming on this as this is the first generation of camera of this type.

cheers