The Piri company provided us for testing WiFi 2.4GHz wireless camera reolink argus 2 . The term "wireless" is of key importance here, because the camera, apart from WiFi connectivity, is powered by a battery (5200mAh 3.6V) and can draw energy from a photovoltaic panel.
In the video below, we look inside the housing and test the capabilities of the device. The camera has seals that allow you to work outdoors, a converter that allows you to record material in 1080p resolution. The PIR sensor detects movement and saves energy. Visibility at night is possible thanks to IR illumination - the lens has a mechanically sliding infrared filter. Video material can be saved on a microSD card (up to 64GB) inserted in the camera slot.
Easy installation and operation of the camera is possible in the smartphone application Piri StreamView , which allows you to view live, as well as review the material stored on the SD card. The installation is accelerated by camera voice prompts, scanning QR codes from the camera housing with the smartphone camera and the QR code displayed on the smartphone screen with the camera lens. The built-in miniature loudspeaker is surprisingly effective. As a curiosity - we can play an alarm sound from the camera's loudspeaker, and we can replace the default siren sound with any recording. In addition, thanks to the built-in microphone and speaker, we can start two-way voice communication.
The voice information of the camera and the application interface are prepared in Polish. The application interface is easy to use, requires minimal translation corrections.
The device has a wide-angle lens, The converter works well even in very strong sunlight . In the footage you will see the challenge of compression used in the camera, where the camera movement was made instead of a stationary frame. Despite such a strongly variable content of the image, the quality is sufficient. You can also see the improvement in video quality with stabilization of the frame. Video with a small amount of changes in the camera frame will be the standard operating mode of the device mounted on the handle. However, even when the frame shows, for example, tree leaves moved by the wind, the video quality will not be a problem.
The default high quality settings is 1080p 15FPS, low resolution is 640x360 5FPS. With no WiFi connection, the camera still saves material on the SD card. Recordings in low and high resolution are sent to the SD card in separate mp4 files. In the application, we can change the resolution settings. The maximum frame rate is 15FPS, low quality transmission takes a bandwidth of ~ 150-200kb / s, high quality is ~ 1200-1500kb / s.
The application during live view allows you to take a photo or record video and audio. The mounting of the camera is facilitated by a magnetic holder or a version with a mounting screw. The magnetic holder allows you to quickly change the mounting location of the camera. The set also includes a strap for mounting on a tree or a post.
We can easily provide access to the camera to other application users using the QR code and access data. After 20 minutes of live view, the application informs about the camera going into sleep mode, which extends the battery life. Live view can be resumed at any time, and the motion sensor watches over the activation of the camera when PIR detects activity around the device. There is an option to send an alert about motion detection by e-mail.
The camera is powered by two Li-Ion batteries in the 18650 format, the proper operation of which is supervised by the BMS. The manufacturer declares standby operation on the battery for up to 3 months or continuous viewing / recording for 16 hours. Inside the battery casing, the pins of the I2C bus and the signal from the NTC temperature sensor are visible.
Opening the battery pack is a good time to check the power consumption in various camera modes. When making such measurements, remember not to cause a short circuit on the battery, and to use a current meter with minimum resistance, e.g. a current-voltage converter. The measurement results are as follows: - no WiFi, recording to the card, IR off: current 345mA at a voltage of 3.902V - no WiFi, recording to the card, IR on: current 625mA at a voltage of 3.864V - WiFi connection, recording on the card, IR off: current 343mA at a voltage of 3.900V - WiFi connection, recording on the card, IR on: current 623mA at voltage 3.862V
As you can see, the state of the set-up connection does not have a large impact on the power consumption, it is important to turn on the IR backlight, then the camera consumes ~ 625mA (power ~ 2.4W) and in such conditions we can estimate the battery operation time for 7-8 hours. In the absence of IR lighting, the current consumption is 345mA (~ 1.34W), the estimated working time of continuous recording ~ 14-15 hours.
In standby mode (when the PIR sensor does not detect movement) and the WiFi connection is established, the camera consumes ~ 427uA (voltage 3.941V), which gives the power of 1-2mW. When observing changes in power consumption over time, you can see cyclic current pins, it is probably WiFi communication in energy saving mode.
Preview in the application, low resolution is: -IR off: ~ 374mA at 3.880V -> ~ 1.45W -IR on: ~ 662mA at 3.847V -> ~ 2.55W
Preview in the application, high resolution is: -IR off: ~ 375mA at 3.881V -> ~ 1.45W -IR enabled: ~ 641mA at 3.848V -> ~ 2.47W
Live view slightly increases the power consumption by ~ 100-150mW.
After opening the housing, you can see a gasket, a WiFi antenna stuck to the housing, a WiFi module, a memory backup battery or RTC.
The housing features a PIR motion sensor lens and a camera lens, as well as a miniature speaker.
On the other side of the PCB there is a PIR sensor and a matrix. On the left side of the casing there is a mechanical infrared filter shifted with an electromagnet.
It is definitely not a typical IP camera known from CCTV monitoring. The device focuses on energy efficiency, easy installation and operation. Besides, this compact camera is definitely multifunctional. The application allows you to view from several cameras at the same time. When the camera detects motion, we can receive a PUSH notification on the smartphone.
What applications do you see for this compact wireless WiFi camera?
Personally, I am not convinced by the use of a camera at the entrance door, especially when using a magnetic holder, such a camera could quickly change its owner. A solution may be to install the camera at an appropriate height to prevent access to the camera.
I like the quick and easy assembly that virtually anyone can do. A camera left at home may allow you to check the reason for the alarm, to check the activity of pets, as well as to verify information about a sudden storm, flooding, etc. This functionality can be especially useful on vacation, giving you the opportunity to check what is happening in the apartment.
The camera can be left in the room when we share the apartment with the renovation team, maybe not everyone likes to work under the watchful eye of the camera, but after all, it's our home. Another idea for using the device, especially the two-way voice communication function, is to quickly install the camera in technical rooms, server rooms, etc. We can supervise the work of the installation team and, if necessary, quickly communicate with employees or colleagues in the technical room. The motion sensor will inform us about the start of work.
It is worth seeing the presentations on the channel YT Piri :
When it comes to prices, you can talk to Piri, I rather focused on what is inside this camera, what properties it has and how it works in practice. I was afraid that when working outside, the camera would be "overloaded" by the strong sun, but it turned out that the device was adapted to it.
Looking at the price you put, it is comparable to IP cameras designed to work with a CCTV recorder, while here is a slightly different application, more mobile and ready to be launched by the end user.
I have not fully figured out the role of a sticky piece of metal / heat sink in a closed housing. It is known to dissipate heat, but the housing is closed. Maybe the project takes into account work and "rest" cycles?
Extra, we have a representative of the manufacturer in the discussion.
It would be good if an LTE camera with a SIM card slot appeared someday. Such a camera would work anywhere with network coverage.
@Piri Poland What power can a solar panel, which is an optional kit for the camera, supply? I see in the information in your profile that you give a discount on a password related to elektroda.pl, is the price after or before the discount?
As for IR lighting, I will add that the power consumption of the camera when previewing in the application at high resolution is: -IR off: ~ 375mA at 3.881V -> ~ 1.45W -IR enabled: ~ 641mA at 3.848V -> ~ 2.47W
So the power consumption of 6 IR LEDs is about 1W, with this lighting power you cannot require too much, but there is nothing to complain about either. It is a compromise between range and power consumption.
A discount is always a good thing, especially since it is dedicated to portal users. However, the panel has a lot of power, even if you count purely theoretically, 4Wh is 20% of the battery capacity, i.e. 5 hours with full power and we have a full battery. In the case of sunny days, we actually get a camera completely independent of power, even with intensive use of the preview.
Will the camera with SIM use LTE / LTE-M or still 3G?
Perhaps these are habits of CCTV cameras, but it would be good for the Piri camera to create an ecosystem with other sensors and wired (NC / NO contacts) or wireless (ISM band) could receive the signal from the flood / door opening / gas sensor or actuate the siren / halogen lighting.
This would make it possible to trigger an alarm not only when motion is detected, but also when other threats appear. Similarly, the executive module activating the external siren could effectively deter the curious (at the same time distracting from the camera itself).
I am interested in a PV panel with a micro USB output. Is there a 5V DC / DC buck converter and it can be used as an emergency top-up? Or is the output directly from the panel and the camera's battery is adapted to it?
I understand, that is, at the output of the panel there is a voltage depending on the light intensity (also above 5V?) And the battery electronics is doing well.
If this is the case, it would be useful to know that it is not a micro USB connector on the plug from the panel, so that e.g. someone would not accidentally try to charge a phone or other device with a micro USB input.
@VSS night vision is an interesting topic, highly technical people know exactly what it is about and are aware that such sensitive devices can work, for example, in the light of the moon or stars, etc. However, I noticed that more and more often graphically IR lighting in a consumer camera is referred to as "active night vision "which is a bit of exceeding and comparing other classes of devices. How else to name such functionality in a figurative way?
As far as night vision is concerned, the technological progress is going very fast, the color night vision device can be a big surprise for someone who tested the "green" monochrome night vision device with a duplicator.
Great, waiting for information. I discovered one more detail, I gave the information that when switching on the IR illumination, the power consumption increases by ~ 1W. I suspect that this power consists of both the power supply of 6 IR LEDs as well as the power supply of the electromagnet that moves the mechanical IR filter.
The use of a mechanically sliding filter gives a lot to this construction in terms of image quality. For example, here is a test of the gadget https://www.elektroda.pl/rtvforum/topic3507804.html with fixed filters, the effect is color distortions when there are many components of light outside the visible range.
From a different barrel (maybe not entirely to the point - after all, the clue of the discussion concerns this specific webcam and its longevity without mains power, but I could not resist ...) - I know that such cameras are actually for a layman - plug and play, i.e. they have work out of the box, but why can't they actually work without a corporate server? Everything is fine when the connection works, and when the company gives up remote support for older products, something happens to their server or the company simply disappears and the camera becomes unusable. Even the simplest IP cameras with ONVIF have a built-in web server and it is possible to work directly via the website or using dedicated software, and for such work, a fixed IP or one of several DynDns is enough. Someone previously proposed to create an alarm "ecosystem", but it would rather be feasible in the local network and, for example, using RTP streams, not a remote company server. PS. In the MediaTech webcam - also ready from the box - by accident (at the beginning it was permanently crashing and due to unstable behavior and as a result of repair attempts I discovered a few hidden options) I entered the ONVIF layer with a web server, and the entire simple operation by the company server turned out to be an overlay - so it's possible ... PPS. The electromagnet, the infrared filter does not consume energy when idle - it works - with a spring pin - on the principle of a bistable relay - a short pulse of appropriate polarity shifts it. So the lion's share of the current goes rather to IR LEDs (and a lot for WiFi support)
And such a solution described as future-proof in the middle of the topic - i.e. with a GSM card (of course without a solar panel) - has been used by foresters and hunters quite a long time ago - so they are the so-called photo traps. Maybe they lack the full functionality of an IP camera, but as it seems - the above-mentioned webcam with the GSM option will also not be streaming live .....
@kotbury you mentioned an interesting topic, now many IoT equipment works only because it is connected to the provider's cloud ... Maybe in the future such devices will be very cheap but we will have to pay a subscription to use the service. Similarly, alexa voice assistants, smog sensors, sonoff relays, etc ...
An interesting thing with this "bistable" infrared filter, a clever solution, I will check how it looks in this copy.
As for the announced Piri LTE webcam, I think that its main advantage compared to the wildlife camera will be the live stream from anywhere, but we'll see what it says @Piri Poland
Such control of the infrared filter is in the AHWVSE modules (which I have put in bulk in several notoriously breaking down IP cameras - even more Chinese - one filter out of curiosity but also because of the need to fit the lens housing - I stripped it down to the broth), in others it may be different.
As for the announced Piri LTE webcam, I think that its main advantage compared to the wildlife camera will be the live stream from anywhere,
And streaming over GSM ... in card GSM is probably not feasible due to costs - even subscription ones have limits. Camera traps (autopsy) send single MMS messages every several seconds and only after detecting motion, and at most a few or several seconds of FTP videos and the money from the prepaid card goes like water ... (of course in the described camera after WiFi the problem of limits does not exist, but addiction from the webcam supplier's website)
It's all fine, just why 2.4GHz. At this frequency, a webcam may come in handy somewhere in a sparsely populated place. Wherever there is civilization on 2.4 GHz, it is impossible to work with video normally, this is the level of interference from other users of this band. So it is not suitable for serious applications. This is of course my opinion based on working with various types of video equipment, if someone has a different opinion, I will be happy to hear the arguments.
@kotbury I checked the infrared filter is "bistable" it is a good solution to optimize power consumption. I had to suggest the apertures (iris) in the lenses of old PAL cameras, which were continuously powered, adjusting the aperture for optimal exposure (in the end position they had an additional dark film filter for very bright light).
Wherever there is civilization on 2.4 GHz, it is impossible to work with video normally, this is the level of interference from other users of this band. So it is not suitable for serious applications. This is of course my opinion based on working with various types of video equipment, if someone has a different opinion, I will be happy to hear the arguments.
Well, it seems that WiFi (regardless of whether BG or N or A) occurs rather EXCLUSIVELY where there is civilization, so it will rather work (of course, while maintaining common sense in the selection of channels) - and when it comes to the type of stream, e.g. in modeling transponders, in monitoring 30 FPS at FullHd and with a range greater than the dimensions of an average apartment or yard - it is unlikely to be needed - it's not a FPV drone for kilometers, usually 15 FPS in 720p is perfectly sufficient.
As for the price, it is always a relative matter, the price results from something, and there are many factors that shape the price of a product over time. The question is whether there is an alternative to such a camera, with similar parameters and functionality but at a lower price?
For example, the topic includes information that the LTE camera will be even more expensive, but we get something for the price, the camera that we leave anywhere and if the battery is charged, the camera works.
As for me, it all depends on the needs, if I want to do constant monitoring of the building, I will invest in the installation of IP cameras, cable management, recorder installation, emergency power supply, internet connection, etc. And if I want to monitor various places ad hoc, such portable cameras are interesting case.