ATG 41: WiFi Security Cameras on LTE/4G Hotspot

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I know this is a few months late, but I just listened to this episode 41 and Wyze is something that I have been experimenting with for about a year or so. There are a few things that Leo mentioned incorrectly. They might have been true in the early days of Wyze Cam, but I started with Wyze Cam V2 last year and the following facts are different.

Leo said Wyze does not record in the cloud, but in fact Wyze cam as free 14-day event storage on their cloud servers. They just recently added a paid tier that will allow you to remove the limits, which are currently 12 seconds of event recording and no more that one recording every five minutes.

Leo said there is built-in memory so you can record locally. Out of the box, if you press the View Playback button, an error shows at the bottom of the screen complaining that there is no memory card. I think he might be confusing the Events tab on the bottom of the app with built-in memory. That events tab shows what clips have been successfully uploaded to the free cloud storage. If you want to record locally, then you need to add an SD card.

Will the camera restart if the power goes out? Absolutely, but with one big catch. Since it does not have a real-time clock, the camera continues recording on the timeline at the point where the power was lost. You have to go to the Settings of the camera and Sync the time as soon as possible or else it will be hard to rely on the timestamp overlay. I’m not sure how this affects the cloud storage as I only pay attention to local storage and this affects scrubbing through the time line. PS. You can only playback video at normal speed. I hope they would add speed and direction options in the future.

When you connect to your camera from another location, the app will allow you to view the inserted SD card, but it can be very laggy on a slow connection. I can successfully view my memory cards over AT&T’s 4G service if I change my preview mode down to “SD” or “360p”. The actual recorded video will remain in HD.

Bandwidth may not be an issue if there are not so many motion alerts. There is one last correction to make. Leo said that it only consumes bandwidth when you connect to the camera using the app, when in fact, as it captures a motion event, it then uploads that event to the cloud. If you put the camera in front of moving objects, like swaying trees, and also have motion detection turned on, then you will be constantly uploading 12-second HD clips every five minutes. You can avoid this by proper camera placement and set recording schedules. It will still use a little bit of data just sitting idle, but it is small-- something like a megabyte per hour. I like the suggestion of using a local carrier, but make sure the Mi-Fi can be set to automatically turn on when plugged in to power. I had to dig deep into my FreedomPop Mi-Fi to find the setting to enable Wi-Fi while connected to USB.

If the Mi-Fi stays off-line for a few days, then the camera may give up trying to reconnect. My camera stopped trying when it was offline for a few days and even when the internet was restored for a few hours, it would not reconnect right away until I rebooted it.

Leo repeats at the end of the show that is does not have history and that going in-person to check the SD card is not easy, but you CAN still check the SD card remotely using the app, and you can take advantage of the free cloud recording for small clips.

I also have a Nest camera, but I am not paying for the Nest Aware subscription. A few years ago, Nest changed their operation so that it is not constantly streaming to the internet on the free tier. But I don’t like Nest because it does not offer an option for local storage for offline recovery like the Wyze Cam does.

Good show!

Recently converted from PresenceApp on mobile phones.
3x Wyze Cam v2
1x Wyze Cam Pan
1x DropCam Pro
1x Ring Doorbell