DIY Home Security System

Buying and installing a home security system can be a very tedious job and not a very affordable option however leaving your house or living in a house without one can be very anxiety provoking, with the help of this DIY you will no longer have to live in paranoia as you can DIY your very own home security and all you need is some old webcams from any laptop and may only cost a small fraction of what you would have to spend if you buy a home security system.


Web cam

USB cable

USB repeater


Step 1

To be able to start with this DIY you will need to get your hands on some old web cams, you can either buy them or take them out from your old laptop, these webcams are small so they can easily be camouflaged perfectly into the background which is an excellent quality when it comes to home security. If you intent to buy them they are fairly cheap, make sure to buy them with the connecting wire as it will make the connecting process easier.

Another alternative is to take them out of any old laptop that is not working, for this you will have to remove the screen bezel exposing the webcam, then carefully lift it out and then to remove it from the laptop you can cut out the wiring while keeping enough wiring so that it can later be soldered.


Step 2

Next you will need to wire them up. The process of wiring them is quite easy as they use the USB protocol, due to this they can be wired up to any USB cable, however. You do have to keep in mind the places that you will need the webcam placed so you will most probably need the longest USB cable you can find, to reach the USB cable to farther places you will need a USB repeater thing will allow you to reach up to 30 meters, allowing you to extend in hard-to-reach places.

Step 3

Once you have got the USB that you will be using, you will then need to chop off the other end of the USB cable which will expose the wires, two of the wires are for power and the other two for data.

The wires on USB are usually colour coordinated, however, the webcams don’t have a colour scheme so you will have to manually check out which wire works, you can do this with the help of a multi meter, keep it on beeper mode and test out the wires, for the process to be easier you need  to understand the ground connection of the webcam, there are screw holes that are ringed with copper that go to ground, with a multimeter touch the holes, you can test each of the wires so that you can find out what it is connected to.

A common characteristic among the wiring of the webcam that make finding the data connections easy is to be on the lookout of the twisted pairs of wires, they each have a twisted pair of wires which are always the data connection, this is how USB cables reduce interference on the data lines. There is no way of knowing which data connection is positive and which one is negative so in this situation you will have to guess, one way to find out is if the USB when connected to the laptop says that there is an error then you will need to swap them, after swapping it should work.  

Step 4

You will need to find one more wire which is the positive connection. One way in which you can find out is by looking for a small transistor like component on the board of the webcam, this is the power regulator, this regulator might be anywhere on the board and you might have more than one of them. You will need to test each one of them to see which one connects directly to outbound wires, you will then have to test more than once as one of them could be directly connected to ground which can cause confusion.

Step 5

Once you have everything ready you have to plug the USB into the computer or your laptop, doing this will install the drivers which can then be used as a standard digital video input, this will allow you to see through the webcam.

The size of the webcams gives them an advantage to be mounted anywhere, you can use Sugru and wrap it around the webcam, make sure not to cover the lens of the webcam in this process. Since Sugru comes in different colours you can pick a colour that is similar to the background where the webcam will be mounted completely camouflaging it with its background. Another grate quality about this is that it is nearly impossible to damage it as it really hard to take it off.

Step 6

Now we have to work on the central control hub, for this you will need a functioning laptop. For this you will need to plug the camera cables to the USB ports and install ‘Contacam’, which is a video surveillance software and it is free! This software will allow you to add your cameras which will allow you to record the feed, will allow you to set timers and send you motion activated email alerts with other options too.

One disadvantage is that it is not liking that you will be able to connect a third USB camera due to limitations with the driver and bandwidth, however this can be solved by adding another route USB controller, this allows you to add more USB cables. You can now keep it in your desired location. And it has a built-in battery it will work for a few hours if there is any power cut outs.

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