Wireless Video Camera Doorbell with APP

Doorbell

Wireless Video Camera Doorbell for Home Security or to give it the full title from the Banggood website, Wireless Camera Video Doorbell Home Security WiFi Smartphone Remote Video Rainproof. I love it (March 2020 update).

Late in 2019 I received this wireless (433Mhz for the bell, WIFI for the app) doorbell and to my surpise, setup was amongst the easiest I’ve done for some time. The doorbell itself came minus 18650 (standard rechargeable Lithium) batteries – iwhich I fitted and it seemed at first obvious that the claim of 6 months charge life was over-optimistic – a few days and the batteries were going down, anyway – I fitted fully charged batteries and turned off the PIR which I don’t need – the batterieswere still on full after 3 days and the actual doorbell wored a treat. (While I’m here updating I noticed the cost of the “RING” branded doorbell that on the face of it looks identical – on Amazon – horrendous price – so glad I spotted this).

Doorbell photos

This one is interesting in that even with postage it is less expensive to get from the USA than China though how that affects any duty will be down to where you live. In the UK it seems to be that most low-value packages from China escape duty.

Ok, so I plugged the actual bell into the wall (via a US to UK adaptor (I HATE American plugs with their two-bits-of-tin connectors – but then I hate bulky UK plugs as well. Give me a nice, solid and small European connector any day). It buzzed perfectly first time.

Postman Cam

I then turned on the camera which said in a friendly voice that it was ready for pairing. I pressed the volume control on both camera and bell and the two units connected – now for the App. In the little booklet that came with the camera/bell combo, they suggest you scan a QR code depending on which phone you have. I picked the centre Android Play Store code – and within seconds I had the app (XSH CAM) loaded and running on the phone.

With the camera next to the phone, I told put in the name and password of my WIFI access point into the app (no sign up or other nonsense) and that was it.

Now as you can see the main unit is mounted outside the front door at home in the (wet) UK (2 small screws and plastic rawlplugs) – the bell is just behind where that car is – garage direction so good range – and at the BACK of that out-building is where I just took this screenshot – could have just as easily taken it at the local pub.

I’d love to write loads about this gadget but it’s just very straight-forward, I picked a suitable spot for the bell and mounted the waterproof camera on the front door. The postman loves this (he knows me) – “more gadgets from China, Pete?” – and strangely enough, JUST after I fitted this.. I was on my own for the day in my (far end of the building) office and DPD delivered another new gadget – so this doorbell is coming in VERY handy.

Yes, I know I don’t photograph well… no need to remind me. Good gadget though – and cheap.

It’s all working – all I have to do now is figure out how to get the camera to alert me to a visitor when I’m out and about and the phone is in my pocket.

As for mounting – the camera itself has 4 small mounting screws AND double sided adhesive options.

Did I mention USB and micro-SD options hiding in the top of the unit and a security bolt in the bottom (which I immediately lost). You could of course use cloud storage if you wanted to (or none). For charging, you could feed the unit with AC (16-24v). Thinking about it if the batteries only last a matter of months without charging (no PIR as this eats current) that could be problematic so if you travel a lot, consider AC.

The manual (or booklet – it is all in English and comprehensive) doesn’t suggest this but of course if you have a handy DC supply on the other side of the wall able to put out the same voltage as the Lithiums you could always use that. Thinking about it, leaving a Lithium battery running the show with a slow very slow Lithium charger feeding through the wall might be another way around the 6 months battery charge life.

Having said all of this, last month I put in a set of NEW (as against old reclaimed) batteries and a month later the indicator is still absolutely on FULL. I’m impressed.

Good gadget. My idea of waterproof might vary from the standard Chinese definition so I may consider a little silicone around the back.

I’m looking for tech info on using the video stream if anyone has this (the link at the start points back to the product). Right now, I have the spec for the camera including: 166 degree angle, 1920*1080 resolution, IR LED, 2-way audio, motion detection.

Good, inexpensive gadget.

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44 thoughts on “Wireless Video Camera Doorbell with APP

  1. Hello Pete,
    2 questions :
    1 : Is the sound correct to talk to your visitor ?
    2 : Have you try to catch the video stream ?

    Thank you to help

      1. try doing a “intense nmap scan” on its ip address to see which ports are open, and take a “ping -t its-ip” to see if it stays connected or goes to sleep…

        mine was sleeping most of the time and enabled wifi only in visitor pressing the button, so a little delay between actual pressing and video starting to stream…

        1. There’s quite a number of seconds which go by before the app will connect to the camera after the button is pressed(doorbell ring). A shame because the delay is so great you’re chance of seeing who is there if they are dropping something off is nil. A guest will wait a bit longer and might even ring twice.

          I was hoping at the very least that there would be a way to enable recording on button press. ie immediate record of who pushed the button even if the live stream was delayed, the recorded video would be a good alternative. But I could find no way to do that. PIR might do that but without external power that’d be useless due to dead batteries from lots of false triggers.

          I opened mine up and was hoping for an ESP32 but it is not so unlikely to easily hack. Although I did see a 4 pads which might be programming pins for the processor used(not AVR nor MicroChip).

          It will work with a WiFi router not connected to the Internet. But I saw what looked like lots of Internet traffic when I momentarily connected the router to the Internet. Even though I had the cloud feature turned off.

          Mostly a paper weight it seems.

          1. Hmm, mine responds instantly. NOt suer why you would ASSUME something not advertised – marketing people rarely miss tricks like that. For processor – I just wanted a doorbell, in this instance it could be powered by aliens – I’m not fussed. It does work with a WIFI routter and of course, sensibly NOT over the Internet unless you use a VPN – so no Chinese cloud – that’s a good thing IMHO. I use PIVPN – free and simple for ALL esternal access…OpenVPN standard. Any old Pi from v2 onwards will do.

            1. I do think it would be good if the PIR didnt use lots of battery power – but other than that, perfect – battery still full weeks later. If it were not that I have 200 year old thick stone walls I’d give it power.

            2. Yes, it will respond quickly if you all the Xsh app to run active in the background on your phone.

              As for expecting unlisted features, well it has an SD card, it has a camera and it has both a PIR sensor and it has a button. The world is buzzing with the RING door bell/camera and it actively records on triggers. It’s a simple software feature so even though this is ~$35 and the RING is ~$100 I was hoping it was there. My bad.

          2. Correct installation is crucial for these cheap systems. I connected a WiFi extender right behind the main door. Without it, connection takes ages. You must connect to 2.4ghz network which does not disconnect at any time, otherwise you will need to restart unit whilst WiFi signal is already functional. Reason being that unit does not automatically start scanning for a WiFi if signal is lost so you will lose functionality upon signal disconnect even if WiFi signal becomes functional again. Upon restart, unit starts scanning for available WiFi and connects to the programmed one. Finally, external Door bell unit is not very weather proof. I protected mine with a mini porch…. The previous one short circuited beyond repair with the first rainfall. The one I have now has been working perfectly fine even after several thunderstorms and I manage to speak to visitors in real time even when I’m abroad without any problem whatsoever!

            1. In my case the doorbell is connected to a Vodafone router (the latest one, only came out a few months ago) in the loft. It works well. I found the most important thing was to use GOOD BATTERIES. At first I used a couple of ex-laptop batteries and was disappointed with battery life, pointing the blame at the doorbell – then I checke battery capacity – sure enough, it was down compared to expected capacity. I’ve purchased decent brand-name Lithiums now and after weeks of operation the battery level shows 100% – this has also all survived a power cut without issue. I am confident it will work all summer without maintenance.

  2. I brought just the bell and managed to capture the rf bell sounds with a rf bridge. Then added buttos in node red. Also set up,a motion pir. Which will play one of the bells tunes when activated

  3. I built a ‘doorbell’ of sorts some time ago and actually wrote it up πŸ™‚
    Take a look at: http://myiot.co.uk/doorbell/

    It worked really well. The latency could sometimes be a problem but I would usually receive a notification on my phone within a few seconds.

    I’ve used Twilio for (SMS) phone notifications previously. It’s great but I ended up with an unexpected bill which I didn’t appreciate. I moved on to Pushover which isn’t free, but a small single payment is required, & you can try before you buy.

    I’ve messed around with a few 433MHz doorbells & can offer a few words of advice:
    They are not always 433MHz despite what it says on the box! πŸ™
    Some of them use rolling codes which can be confusing. It certainly confused me! I guess it’s just a common chip which is used for all sorts of things?

    The devices I was working with transmit 8 different codes cyclically. The receiver will respond to ANY of the 8 codes EXCEPT the last one received, presumably this is to prevent nefarious cloning of the transmitter? Doesn’t make a lot of sense with a doorbell, but maybe makes sense with a lock?

    Quite easy to hack when you understand what is going on, but it took me an evening! πŸ™

  4. I’d be upset if someone hacked my lock – but doorbell? Chances are they would be nearby and I could simply beat the c**p out of them. The camera part does not run on 433Mhz, just the bell, the rest runs on WIFI and I don’t open a range of ports to the outside world – I use a vpn.

    Right now, despite loving my new doorbell, I’m marginally concerned that despite having put in 3 fully charged Lithiums when I wrote this – and turning off the IR light… the battery indicator shows it is at half mast. I do hope that’s just a duff indication as I put this in a stone wall no-where near power. It’s rather neat being able to monitor the front door from the pub.

      1. I’m beginning to wonder if the camera simply has a really ropy battery indicator. The level went fown to 50% and has stayed there without moving all weekend and the whole thing works just fine.

          1. Well, there is that – it is REALLY cold here, but I didn’t use brand new batteries so that theory goes out of the window… they should be fine. Sparky70 made a comment about the PIR I need to chase up and I’ll try to get feedback from Banggood.

    1. HEY SPARKY70 – thanks for the feedback – I have the PIR on low sensitivity – and yes it is killing the battery after just a few days – I’ve yet to try turning the PIR off… don;t actually need it – but keep the feedback coming chaps. So Sparky70 what do you reck for battery life with PIR on? I’ll put chrged batteries in today if it isn’t raining and try with the PIR off.

      1. Hi Peter mine did last longer with out pir on not sure by how much,my draw back on mine is the hit and miss of the cloud service i believe,mines more offline than online,is yours the same?

        1. Hi Tony

          I don’t use the cloud service – it is turned on but ultimately I’ll fit an SD when I get around to it. I use a VPN and call home that way – right now far more of a potential issue is Vodaphone’s unreliable broadband and crappy customer service – so I rely on the cloud as little as possible. I’ve been pondering getting another SIM, low data, no calls (if such a thing exists on the only reliable mobile service in this part of Northumberland, UK – that would be O2 as Voda have NO mobile service up here) as a backup.

          1. run an “intense scan” using zenmap on its ip, report what you get back, let’s see if it has any open protocol usable…

            and search for IOT SIM CARD, in Italy there are a few with very cheap plans, not much data, just for that

  5. I brought one and installed it yesterday. Batteries are down after half a day. No ports open? Got it’s IP address. Anyone fine our much about this unit. Would love it working with node red.

    1. Node Red is my next job – it is working a treat but I dont understand why the battery exhausts so quickly – if you find out let me know – meanwhile I’ll harrass Banggood about it – and I have a charging solution so it’s staying put.

  6. I have over 1300 18650s here so I just keep changing them Peter :’)
    I am in DIY Charger Discharger on facebook. There maybe someone near you with spare 18650s to help you out mate.

  7. I’m not so sure, yesterday I replaced the batteries – and late tonught they are showing 100% – could it have been the battery set? They were old batteries, I know by the colour this lot while still being ex-computer are newer, no more than 5-6 years old… 11:30pm Sunday, display says 100% – I’ll check again during the week..

  8. @peter, if you do get in touch with the manufacturer, having a feature to record video on button press(door bell) would go a long way to making it useful on battery power. With PIR off and an SD card installed it doesn’t seem to drain much since it can go to sleep and has 0 mA used.
    When the button is pushed and you’re streaming SD quality it pulls ~200mA and with nothing connected streaming it pulls ~150mA.

    I did just realize that if I leave the app running in the background, it will connect to the camera within a few seconds. So that’s good.

  9. Did anyone figure how to capture the video stream without using the app? Using nmap it only found port 80 open, not sure if it has an rtsp port available.

    1. Always worth checking port 554 – thats common for RTSP. I’m just using it as standard right now, I’m on on holiday and don’t want to upset things while it is working. Perhaps when I get back.

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