Recommendations for PIR motion detector?
  • Hi all,

    The false positives from the cameras are getting a bit unbearable, so I think we really need to get some PIR (or other technology!) motion sensors and rely on these. Has anyone done this? I see there's an Applescript on the site... so I guess so, but any advice would be much appreciated. Ideally we'd have a couple of sensors, somehow connected to the mac. I've googled a bit, but without much luck so far...


  • What would be nice are IP ( even POE ) PIRs with small event system running which did a HTTP request upon triggering.
  • Hi caseyd, yes I agree, such devices would be very handy! Unfortunately I don't know if they actually exist. Any PIR devices that triggers an AppleScript or HTTP event upon detection could easily be linked in to SecuritySpy.

    We're looking into implementing support for PIR detectors built into cameras (e.g. some Axis cameras have these built in). Hopefully these will become more common in cameras.
  • I have a Pi and a couple of Beagles laying around. Even some Arduinos with ethernet. But as we 'just' moved back to the USA from Barcelona all I can do is recognize the boxes they're in. pfeah.

    Mr. Ed - I think for the price an IP PIR scratched out of one of these would be fine. When I get to do that I'll write it up - but there are a number of examples on the web.

    I've looked at the AppleScript dictonary for SecuritySpy - thanks Ben - but did I miss a direct REST API?
  • SecuritySpy doesn't implement REST specifically, however it does of course have an HTTP interface (via its built-in web server) and most functions can be accessed in this way. For example you can trigger recording in a particular camera by sending a simple GET HTTP request to SecuritySpy.
  • Hi all,

    What I did in the end was get some z-wave PIR sensors and used Indigo on trial. It all works pretty well, but I'm not very happy with the 200 USD price for Indigo (I've no problem with paying for quality software, but this is pretty steep and we're only using a tiny fraction of the features).

    So, I'm now looking at OpenHAB etc and other open source alternatives ... the problem is I'm doing all of this remotely (it's my parents house) and it's a bit of a pain.

    Since my own house has now been robbed too, I probably will start getting that set up too and experiment there...


  • Implementing PIR is vital. Having used IP cams for many years with Security Spy, I believe that the existing but ignored "Input output" (I/O) ports of most IP cameras I've used (Vivotek, Dahua, Trendnet) is clearly the right place to hook up a PIR. PIRs have a simple open/closed function, which is just how the I/O port works. Of course, PIRs are the standard feature on basic motion lighting (12v or 110v), and motion detection security systems so the devices are cost effective. To hook up a PIR to a IP cam I/O port is not something I am technically sophisticated enough to execute, but I know (given the I/O ports exist on cams) someone must have, and will hopefully share it!

    ** I use Indigo and other "smarthome type" products for power management and motion but they don't provide a viable solution for cams because the PIR is set to POWER them on only during an motion event, then they go OFF. But for most everybody who needs their cams on 24/7 for occasional monitoring, the power on/off solution is not viable.
  • Implementing triggering of recordings via the input ports of cameras is definitely on the "to do" list with high priority. It'll be in a near-future update of SecuritySpy.
  • Hi Ben,
    Do you think that this is a feature that will be implemented this year?
  • I just started looking at ZWave PIR devices... I originally had written some code for OS X in Objective C to talk to ZWave network via the Aeon Labs Z Stick. I next ported it to python and am running my own Zwave code now on a beaglebone black and I have run it on a raspberry pi as well. The python version also runs on OS X and probably would on windows as well if windows supports the Python Twisted libraries. This all would get expensive when you start adding up the components ( Beaglebone or Pi, Zwave USB device, Zwave PIR device - probably $120 to $170 range total ). I've never found any decent PIR devices for DIY projects though. I've messed with a few on arduino and other boards but never felt that any I could buy through distributors was on par with what is found today in ZWave PIR devices. When you all are talking about triggering on the input ports I'm assuming this is some sort of TCP/IP port and not a physical one. Where can I find info on this.... I might be able to create something using a Pi or Beaglebone that can then talk to SS or direct to the cameras. Would be an interesting diversion. The PIR I'm playing with right now is the Aeon Labs multi sensor, but it appears that the Ecolink Zwave PIR is about the lowest priced one I have seen.. It is $40 on Amazon. It might be worth grabbing one and seeing how low I can get total cost down on a system. If the Zwave interface code is running on the same box as SS then the cost would just be the PIR devices for each camera and the Aeon Labs Z-Stick ( about 40 dollars on Amazon as well ).
  • Hi Ben, maybe you would consider something like an "i/o over" LAN interface
    In this way one is able to connect any PIR or other device of their choice


  • Hi All,

    We have been working on this and the next version will support triggering motion detection on input from the Axis cameras' IO ports. We have this working already so if anyone wants a test version with this functionality before the next update is officially released then let me know.

    Support for other cameras will follow, but of course different cameras have different APIs so this may not be simple.

    As for web devices such as the TCW122B-RR (mentioned by McChiel above), the problem is that such devices use polling to get the status of their input ports, rather than a streaming/event model. WebRelay is another example. So SecuritySpy would have to continually and repeatedly ask the device whether a port is currently on or off. This is fine for inputs that get switched on for long periods of time (e.g. a light switch or a fire alarm), but a momentary pulse of input such as from a PIR detector may not be picked up like this. What we need is a device that pushes data to the receiver, so that momentary events get communicated (this is how Axis devices do it).

    Alternatively, an IO device that can trigger an AppleScript would work (a one-line AppleScript would tell SecuritySpy to record from a particular camera). However the only device I can seem to find that does this easily is GPI Commander, which is expensive (it has 24 ports, so overkill for most users).

    So I think, as JCSWPA says above, the way to go here is for SecuritySpy to support the IO ports built into many network cameras. I'll make this a priority.
  • Great Work Ben,

    You are pointing out the Axis 210, however this product has an 'end of life' status.
    So according Axis it is a discontinued product, the replacement should be the Axis M1103.

    I would like SS to guard my little boat next to my house, but motion detection is not an option as the boat is always rocking.
    Now I am in favour of ordering a new Axis of the newer type, using a PIR to detect unwanted but warm scum who wants to fiddle my boat.

    Tell me what new type of Axis (POE outdoors) you think is most suitable for this job.
    I would be happy to order and install the unit with an PIR sensor and help you with your tests.

  • Hi Michiel,

    Yes that Axis link is to a discontinued product but it's the only one I could find that explained the IO ports concisely with a nice picture to demonstrate what the ports look like. The information on this page applies to newer Axis devices with IO ports.

    I haven't yet added support for Axis cameras with built-in PIR sensors though; just the IO ports. Annoyingly the PIR sensors seem to require a different API to the IO ports. I'm looking into that and will report back.
  • Sorry Ben for miscommunication.
    I mean an additional PIR sensor
  • Hi Michiel,

    In that case, the Axis M2014-E looks perfect for your needs. It's small, high-resolution, and waterproof for outdoor usage. And it's not too expensive either - $350 on Amazon.

    The main unit (into which the camera connects) has an "IO terminal block" comprising one input and one output, which is described on page 48 of the camera's user manual. You would use a PIR sensor that has a simple switched output (so that the switch is open when no motion is detected, and closes when some motion is detected). You connect the switched output of this PIR to pins 1 and 3 of the terminal block.

    Does this sound good to you?

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