Cabin Security System

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 22, 2012

A PRO member recently asked for recommendations to secure a cabin in a remote location, with no power or internet connectivity. We posed the question on LinkedIn, discussing a number of options. In this update, we'll look at these options, the pros and cons of each, and our ultimate recommendation.

The Question

The full text of the user's question:

"I have a property in the mountains that keeps getting broken into. We have no electricity at the cabin so I need some sort of solar powered, motion activated security camera system that can send me very clear photos of people breaking in so that I can easily identify them. And, if at all possible, have those photos sent to me in real time via a cellular connection (we do have that there), to my computer, phone, iPad or whatever, so that I can react in real time and send the Sheriff to act before the thieves get away."

The Challenges

There are a number of challenges here:

  • No power: The lack of electricity at the site means that whichever solution is chosen, it must be powered via batteries or solar. Completely battery-powered systems are few, and solar may have its own issues at the site, due to forest coverage. A solar array capable of powering multiple cameras would also likely be very large, which may present issues in locating it.
  • Limited connectivity: With no internet access at the site, images transmitted for remote viewing will need to be small, suitable for transmission over cellular networks.
  • Location: With the cabin being remotely located in the mountains, false alarms are a key concern. A single false alarm could take take a substantial amount of time to investigate. 

Possible Options

A few options were suggested for this application:

  • VideoIQ: VideoIQ's analytic capabilities would likely do well in this area, and provide more configurable detection rules with adjustable sensitivity. However, since the area is remote, with no power, light levels will be low, nearly guaranteeing that additional IR illumination will be required. The combination of a camera or cameras, IR illuminators, and an external cellular router will also require a substantial amount of power, requiring a large solar power system. All these things add up to a much more expensive system than other options. 
  • Eye Trax: Another possible solution presented was Eye Trax, a system consisting of a VGA camera with IR illuminators, combined with a passive infrared detector with 75' range. The Eye Trax camera transmits still images via GSM cellular connection, upon motion detection, or on a schedule. The Eye Trax camera may be solar powered (or 110V) with battery backup. The main drawback of this option is that each camera requires a separate cell account, and a separate solar panel for each, unless the user chooses to install a larger solar power system to power multiple 110VAC cameras.
  • Videofied: Finally, Videofied's wireless video security system, which consists of fully wireless, battery-powered MotionViewers and GSM-connected panel, is an option. Upon activation, the Motionviewer, a PIR detector with camera, captures a short video clip, which is transmitted via a GSM cellular connection. Users may see our test of Videofied for more information. The main disadvantage to Videofied is video quality. The MotionViewer is equipped with a 320x240 monochrome camera. Compared to resolutions up to 1080p with VideoIQ, and VGA with the Eye Trax system, this is very low.

Our Recommendation

Our final recommendation to the user was Videofied. Here's why:

  • Single Cellular Account: Unlike the Eye Trax system, Videofied is able to transmit video clips from multiple cameras via a single cellular connection, which lowers recurring cost.
  • Flexibility: Videofied is a fully-featured intrusion detection system, with options aside from MotionViewers, such as door contacts and smoke detectors. Videofied door contacts also accept input from external dry contacts, so sensors such as flood detectors may be connected. Since the location is remote and unoccupied most of the time, these other detectors may be more desirable than other options, which provide video only.
  • Autonomy: Since the Videofied system, including the panel, as well as detectors, is completely battery-powered, no solar options need to be considered. This lowers initial install cost, and the cost of batteries over the system's life is unlikely to add up to the cost of solar systems to run other options.

Users should be aware of Videofied's limitations, however, which may be critical to some applications. 320x240 monochrome video is low-resolution by today's standards, and will not provide identification-quality video at long ranges. If "chokepoints" can be covered, this may not be an issue, but if not, more cameras will be required than with other options. If live look-in is a required feature for the user, Videofied will not be a fit. The MotionViewers' cameras are only activated upon motion, so viewing of live video is not possible.

A Videofied control panel has an MRSP of about $700 USD. An outdoor MotionViewer has an MSRP of about $600, with an indoor MotionViewer costing about $400. Typically, Videofied products are purchased as a solution from an alarm / security provider and are not DIY.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
Vivotek 4MP Camera Tested (FD8379-HV) on Sep 13, 2018
Next in our series of updated 4MP testing, we bought and tested Vivotek's FD8379-HV, and entry level 4MP model claiming "top-notch quality video in...
October 2018 Camera Course on Sep 13, 2018
Today is the last day to save $50 on the October 2018 Camera Course, register now. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...
Dahua Low-Cost 4MP Camera Tested (N44CL52) on Sep 10, 2018
4MP use continues to increase, especially in low-cost models, according to integrators in our 2018 Resolution Usage Statistics. We bought Dahua's...
Hikvision Value Express IP Cameras Tested Poorly on Sep 05, 2018
Even lower cost Hikvision products? Their new Value Express line is marketed for applications where "budgets are limited and performance is...
Exit Devices For Access Control Tutorial on Aug 28, 2018
Exit Devices, also called 'Panic Bars' or 'Crash Bars' are required by safety codes the world over, and become integral parts of electronic access...
Backup Power for Large Security Systems Tutorial on Aug 24, 2018
Choosing the right backup power system depends on system size. While small and medium systems greatly benefit from using UPS battery backup...
SNMP / Network Monitoring For Surveillance 2018 on Aug 21, 2018
Surveillance systems typically rely on the the VMS to report issues, but this most often just means knowing a camera is "down" with no warning or...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact