captain11's profile
Captain

Captain

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4.7K Messages

Thu, Sep 9, 2021 1:19 PM

Outdoor Camera Review

My outdoor camera is up and hat's off to Simplisafe on the hardware design (every elegant that would make Apple jealous) features and specs that are comprehensive (a few ideas to improve in this post later) and intuitive software design.

For those who want a quick read: all of the elements needed for a quality, performance driven experience is here.  Simplisafe took its time to bring this to market but appears it has delivered a best-in-class device.  View (quality, wide angle) is great and glad SS has carried over what it learned from the Doorbell Pro and brought it to this new outdoor camera.  The tap zoom works like a charm, motion detection within the 30-foot range performs well and really does record people only when set up as such.  Installation, including the historically dreaded qr code worked seamlessly for me and, besides the AC adapter, actually was a 5-minute install at the corner of my garage.

Praise aside, there is one "must haves" to make this camera acceptable to me, and of course, there are several items that need improvement.

First the "must have".  If you live in an area that has an actual winter (cold temps, snow, ice etc. --and Chicagoland qualifies big time in that) the AC adapter kit is a must. Period. There is not a company out there (Google, Apple, Arlo, Simplisafe etc.) who claim battery life of x and in real life you get x - y - z.  There is no way no how I am climbing up on a ladder in January to replace a battery. : Period.  Want to roll the dice on the soon to be released solar panel? Knock your socks off, be my guest but I am all for counting on the power grid, thank you.

Also, the UI needs some work. The spotlight (which does a nice job) is currently an all-in or all out proposition. Maybe I am a victim of Ring advertising but I want to control the on/off of the spotlight on a live stream.  And yes, I also want to control turning on and off the siren the same way, while telling the person in view to stop leaning on my car.

Last item: load time.  Still a tad too long for my taste and using the doorbell pro as a historical precedent, I think SS will do well on this one over the next few months improving it.

That all said, my order is in for #2 outdoor cam which will be going up at the edge of my house covering the backyard.  For those keeping count, that will be 3 Simplicams covering my entire first floor, and 2 outdoor cams and a doorbell pro covering the outside. Six and done.  And a promise to my wife. :-)

Captain

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4.7K Messages

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@dandyDons sorry it took me a bit to get back active in this thread (had to watch grandkids yesterday) but did a test this morning. Please note the measurements are approximate.  Measured out from garage door on right side down the driveway to 40 feet. Waited 10 minutes having coffee to make sure outdoor camera, which is on left side of garage mounted at about 12 feet was not effected by my previous activity. Conditions: overcast, wind at 7 mph, temp 73 degrees, humidity 73%. Walked out of garage and camera picked me up starting at about 8 feet in recording. Continued to end of driveway, pause at sidewalk and return.

There was a "start up to record" time once I was in the field of vision but it did record me.  I repeated this 3 times with the same result.  Now question for Simplisafe: why the difference? dandyDon's, is it possibly the same but due to the 8 feet to pick up the camera isn't quick enough to start recording?

There has to be a reason why there are reported differences, just at a loss why.

PS: and I thought I had a large system! I am only at 44!

Community Admin

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Thanks for the further info, dandyDons. Do you have smart person detection turned on (the default)? I do know that there's an issue where in some conditions, it might not work properly. But an update for the Outdoor Camera is coming soon to address that specifically.

- Johnny M.
SimpliSafe Home Security

86 Messages

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My camera battery went from 100% to dead in 36 hours. I had motion set to high because it would not trigger even when I was right under it. I turned it back down to medium as it was picking up people on the sidewalk. I then tried blocking out the "squares' to prevent the sidewalk area from triggering, but it didn't work. Still triggers. So now I'm out of town and have a dead camera.

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Not very happy with the motion detection so far, here.
When I set it to 'all motion,' it detects all motion, even in the excluded activity zones. At the same time, it does not detect motion in the relevant valid activity zones.

For example when set to all motion, it will pick up a car going by in an excluded activity zone but completely miss the mailman coming straight up to the camera in a valid activity zone. It's the opposite of the desired behavior.

86 Messages

I wonder if we should try the opposite. Blocking activity zones where we want detection. I'm not going to be back home for 2 more days to try this.

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Yeah I has it set to people only. The reason was as the last two posts have mentioned the blocked out areas don't work and what kennybryant happened to me triggering in non active greyed off zones creating multiple flags and battery drain and again like jjcrews again excluded zones triggering but within it .. didn't even pick up the mailman. Exactly the issues I faced.

Captain.. if it wasn't for all your assistance many moons again I would have been lost with it all. I have multiple internal cameras (1 outside with outdoor kit), water sensor, glass breaks smoke detectors in every room and too many entry sensors to even count haha!

Captain

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4.7K Messages

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@dandyDons it was interesting reading through this thread again, and want to make two observations: I have only used motion on "People Only" and I have only used the AC adapter, so battery life is not applicable in my instance.  Living in the greater Chicagoland area, as stated in my original post review, no way am I climbing a ladder in January to replace a dead battery.

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I have the Orbi mesh WiFi system and get 500mbps on WiFi devices with my 1Gb service but this crappy camera has the ability to take down the whole system. When I put my iPhone right next to the camera and run a Speedtest I get 200 mbps? Hopefully it is a firmware issue but doubt it. I currently cannot leave it connected.

Community Admin

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Hi LMJ,

Are you saying that when your camera is active, your router goes down completely for all devices? The Outdoor Cameras, even at highest quality settings, don't push through all that much data - a 5-minute alarm should generate only a 35-40MB video file.

We do also have another update coming very soon that addresses compatibility with some routers. So that might resolve your particular issue.

- Johnny M.
SimpliSafe Home Security

4 Messages

Yes, any time the camera is accessed via the app or the camera records motion the Internet connection whether a device is connect via ethernet or WiFi temporarily drops for approximately 30 seconds.

Captain

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@LMJ my camera goes through the "wake up process" and connects fine with no drops in connectivity. I should note this was not always the case. Unfortunately, the current phone app lacks the "Connection Check" tool that is available for the doorbell pro and Simplicams that I have found indispensable. (It measures WIFI signal strength and upload speed to the cameras). Lacking that, I used the Ookla Speedtest app on my phone and determined that my Google WIFI mesh system wasn't quite doing the job for the outdoor camera where I wanted it mounted. Purchased an additional point and no connection problems since. If you are willing, an extender or another mesh point may do the trick for you.

Now, to Simplisafe: please add the connection check to the phone app. if there is a technical reason, please let us customers know. Also, is it possible for the firmware to determine there is an AC power source and then have it bypass the wakeup mode and just start streaming? For those customers who made investment of an AC power adapter, that would be a nice performance tweak. Finally, since i have the AC adapter, add a button on the live stream screen to turn on the light and to manually set off the camera alarm. (and yes, I know, I sound like a ring commercial). Thanks!

Finally, I just realized there is a comprehensive troubleshooting tool in the Help Center. It's very good, check it out!

https://support.simplisafe.com/hc/en-us/articles/4407862139021-Wireless-...

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Appreciate the information , like you I have one of the best, most current mesh WiFi systems available. I do a Speedtest with my phone next to the mounted camera and get 200 mbps however the camera continues to interrupt my entire internet connection -That is both LAN and WiFi. Same issue with camera unmounted literally 2 inches from the Orbi satellite. This thing is so not ready for prime time and honestly am so annoyed at the amount of my time I've wasted in trying to set this up. I've had the previous outdoor camera solution (along with 3 other indoor cameras and another 25+security system products) that Simplisafe sold without a problem using an older WiFi network of points. What absolute garbage and BS.

Captain

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4.7K Messages

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@LMJ for whatever the reason, mine is stable and works as I posted. The head scratcher is your internet is much, much faster than mine. With good old ATT Uverse I am only 80 down and 20 up. Now add that I have 3 Simplicams and the doorbell pro too, and another 20+ IoT devices on my wifi, all can do live streams whe I test.  I wish I could provide a clear cut reason on the difference experience.

Follow-up: LMJ, one more question: by any chance do you have the rotation setting turned on? (Note: admittedly grasping at straws here but want to check out a theory)

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I initially reported earlier in this thread (on 9/14) my battery died after only 36 hours. Since putting in a freshly charged battery and changing the sensitivity back down from high to medium, it seems to be working fine. It even seems to be obeying the blocked out activity zones. Not sure if the power recycle due to battery dead "rebooted" things or what. The battery still shows 100% after 11 days now. Not sure if that is correct, but time will tell.

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I've had the new camera installed in my backyard for a few days now. The daytime picture quality doesn't appear to be as good as my doorbell camera, and the night vision is unusable. It's so grainy, you couldn't identify someone that's 10' away. I have a few outside lights on, and they don't help at all. It's setup in 1080P, night vision on, without the LED light (to conserve battery).

Has anyone else had any issues with night vision?

Advocate

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422 Messages

Has anyone else had any issues with night vision?


Yes, it's awful in my experience also. I'm not sure what variables are in play that make our experiences different from the OP but something's up if we're having wildly different experiences.