Rated 3.5 out of 5Â by 26
Rated 3 out of 5Â by tnahpele Good but needs consideration in positioning
After a neighbor's house was vandalized, I started investigating security cameras for my property. I started out looking at IP webcams, which require wired power and a PC running if you want to record video.
When I saw the PSD3, I thought it was the perfect answer since it was wireless and came with its own DVR video recording device.
The outdoor unit is smaller than I expected, and can be easily mounted on any flat surface with two screws that it slips over. The build quality is very good - I'm especial enamored of the 2-axis articulated arms the lights are mounted on. You get high flexibility as to where the lights are pointed and they lock securely, unlike some units I've used that have flimsy ball-joints.
As a solar-powered security light, I rate the unit highly. The two lights are very bright and have a good coverage angle. Motion detection worked out to 35'.
There's a caveat here. Initially the motion detector only worked to 15', which was inadequate for my application. After calling technical support, I was told that the motion sensor is most sensitive below the angle it's pointing at. The recommendation was that the motion sensor head be aimed as high as possible unless the unit was mounted more than 12' above the ground. I had it mounted at 8' with the head aimed down for the camera view. Raising the head fully increased the detection range from 15' to 35'.
The light on time when triggered is spec'd at a minute but mine was more like 45 seconds. There's no adjustment for how long the light stays on.
As to to Xepatech technical support - I called twice. Wait times were short to none, and the representative was polite and helpful.
The manual mentions a mounting template, but there was none in my box. This wasn't a big deal since there's nothing tricky about where the screws go.
You use the menus on the DVR to link the camera to the DVR. I initially couldn't tell which yes/no menu item was selected and picked the wrong one. Tip - the item with the black background is the selected item.
I tried testing the camera with it near the DVR with the DVR in "monitor" mode. The TV screen would say "no signal", which I thought meant it wasn't linked to the DVR. What it really means is that the camera isn't transmitting. In order to save power, the camera only transmits for 10 seconds when the motion detector is tripped. If you're monitoring the camera, you only see video for those 10 seconds and then the screen goes back to saying "no signal". Fortunately there is an optional alert tone when then camera is triggered to tell you to look up at the monitor. I think it would be better if, when monitoring, the TV showed the last frame and time of the the transmission instead of saying "no signal". In that case you could tell at a glance if it had triggered and whether you needed to go review the video recording.
The DVR records audio as well as video - a plus. The video resolution is fair - I've attached a screen shot to this review. There are two issues with the camera that are concerning to me. First is that the angle of view of the camera is only 55 degrees, while the motion sensor covers 160 degrees. It's easy to trip the motion sensor and end up with no video of what tripped it. Second is the need to point the sensor head parallel to the ground even when the unit is mounted as high as 12'. Since the camera is built into the sensor head and has a narrow field of view, it's difficult to get the view of the camera to agree with where you want motion detected. It would have been nicer if the camera could be aimed separately from the motion sensor.
When monitoring the camera, it shows a signal strength meter on the screen. At 75', my signal strength was 4 out of 5 bars. I did have to move the unit due to radio interference from a nearby 2.4GHz transmitter that caused the camera to lose communication with the DVR after about an hour.
The DVR arranges recordings by hour. You can toggle through the recordings within an hour with the left/right buttons, but if you want to move to the next hour you have to navigate up to the hours menu and down to the next hour. Each recording is a megabyte, so the 2GB SD card that came with the DVR will hold about 2000 recordings. There's an option to overwrite old recordings if the memory card fills up. Videos are recorded in the popular mp4 format and look better on my PC than on the TV screen to the DVR.
October 12, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5Â by Sandiegohaunted A solid security and dvr monitoring system
This product has many great features including: Two fully adjustable super bright LED heads, adjustable motion sensor with built in camera and microphone, Wireless digital video recorder capable of recording photos and video to SD cards, and the unit is solar powered.
The unit ships with solar panel, dvr, security unit, and mounting hardware. Installation of the unit is fast however; it took a day to plan where to place the main unit and solar panel for optimum results. The unit requires 6 hours of full sunlight per day to charge the internal batteries. After initial setup, the unit should charge in the off position for three days prior to nonstop use.
The LED lights are very bright and work marvelously. The dvr is very simple to operate, clear, and intuitive. Files are stored on standard SD cards in either 10 sec video files or individual photos. A 2GB SD card has the potential to record at least 1900 videos. The unit is expandable to include a total of four security camera units operating on a single dvr. It would have been a good idea for the unit to offer a screen saver mode, to avoid âburned inâ images on modern televisions which were experienced during use. Photo and video quality depends on many factors including placement, lighting, time of day, and objects in motion. Near stationary subjects appear clearer than moving subjects.
As a security system the unit performs well but, is limited by solar power constraints, motion sensor position - range, and speed of subject being recorded. The system performs rather excellent as a stationary monitoring and recording service for garage areas and or entrances / exits.
October 18, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5Â by Dick Very useful product
This product exceeded my expectations in some ways because it had not only a solar-powered camera and light, but it also transmitted audio to my TV as well. I did have some difficulty synchronizing the camera with the DVR unit, but a call to tech support resolved the issue quickly. The only design issue I have is the mounting method - it slides on two screws you install in a wall. The unit could be easily removed. Instead, I mounted the unit on a board and then drilled the board to use two 1.5 inch U bolts to mount it high up on a pipe over a basketball pole, giving it greater range as well (see picture). So, adding a U bolt attachment method would be a good improvement in my opinion.
February 26, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Mike87 Bright light with added security of a camera
Works very well. Led lights surprisingly bright for battery/solar powered. I needed a light to illuminate the door of an unattached garage. The added security of the camera was a bonus. It will video or take still shots just in case someone tries to break in. It records flawlessly to the included sd card recorder that is in my house about 100 feet away.
April 4, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5Â by hpiguy 24 Hour Color Camera, Wireless Install, Expandable
Nice set of features for a home or small business security system.
The outdoor unit mounts with two screws for the light/camera and four screws for the solar panel. You'll have 15 feet of cord to find a sunny spot for the panel if the camera is installed in shade.
The light itself is surprisingly bright. Easily the brightness of two 60 watt bulbs and very white in color. I was taken back by the lights being able to shine on the entire deck, being LED and solar powered, you'd think they were plugged in when they come on. You can adjust the lights in any direction you wish, independent of each other.
The camera captures color still pictures or video and sound, you can select the mode on the DVR menu. Pictures are clear and not fuzzy, you can make out faces pretty well. Like the lights, you can aim the camera in any direction you wish,independent of the lights. The camera works 24-7, not just when the lights come on. It will detect motion and record during the day as well as the night.
DVR operation is simple and straightforward. Even without the manual the menu is intuitive and easy to use. It times dates all the videos and saves them in daily folders. Each 10 second video will use 1MB of disk space, so with the included 2GB card you'll be able to save over 1900 videos. You can set up the DVR to dump the oldest videos once it is full and save the new ones. You may also install higher capacity cards and store years of videos if you wish.
I had a slight issue with the included SD card, I had to take it out of the DVR a few times before it was recognized. I have not had any issues since that first time.
I have had zero issues getting a signal between the light and the DVR. They always connected right away no matter where I Iocated the light.
I will be adding at least one more camera soon, and the DVR can handle four cameras at once and store videos for each camera.
October 7, 2012