6 comments on “An Intelligent Doorbell with IP Camera

  1. I have a disability that confines me to a power wheelchair. I am in the process of remodeling an apartment to make it fully accessible. I am planning to make almost everything automated. I have done anything yet, but I do have a Universal Devices, Inc ISY-99I which I plan to use with MobiLinc HD on my iPad and iPhone. I am new to Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and BeagleBone, but I have a project in mind, that I need advice on.

    I would like to mount a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or BeagleBone with a camera above my apartment door. I would like to use this in three ways. First is to stream the camera live to a private Internet site or if this is to complicated simply to a LCD screen so I can see who is on the other side of the door. Second, I would like to connect to a door bell so that when the door bell is pressed it sends me a SMS message with a still photo of who is there. Last, I would like to link it to door sensors so that when the door opens it also sends me an SMS message with a still photo of who is there.

    • I claim to be no expert but let me point out some things I would consider. First instead of using a camera connected to an arduino/Pi, I would suggest just buying an IP camera. They are affordable and offer a lot of features built in. Secondly since you already own an x10 compatible controller, the ISY-991. You could very simply just buy an x10 universal module and wire that to your door bell. That is exactly how I did mine. Alternatively you could get an arduino and tie your door bell into a digital in pin on it.

      I wouldn’t recommend SMS for this, first off it’s not real time and it’s not guaranteed delivery. Also it’s costly. Why not just do this over email? It’s not realtime either but with IMAP idle support on many mail providers like gmail, it is near real time.

      With the IPcam, as I suggest, having it stream to a private site is a given, it comes built in with the IPCam’s on board web interface.

      Regarding the door sensor, you should probably do some research as there’s possibly very good solutions available. But you could also do this on an arduino very easily too. Connecting it to a digital pin and sensing the presence of voltage or not.

      You can see from my examples, I already do a lot of this, I have a still image emailed to me when someone rings my door bell. And I have a video feed pop up on any XBMC programs running on any computer in my house. I always believe that the best way to accomplish stuff like this is to actually have a server (A computer that you always leave running 24/7). It’s much easier and better (my opinion) to do this sort of stuff from a PC (running linux). Since Pi’s run linux, it’s effectively a server.

      I think your ideal solution would be to buy a Pi, install linux(probably ubuntu) on it. Connect your doorbell button to one set of GPIO pins on the Pi. Connect an off the self magnetic door sensor for alarm systems to another set of GPIO pins on the pi. Buy an IPCamera, buy a wifi adapter for the Pi. I think that should be all you need as far as hardware goes to do this. From there it’s just a matter of writing the software/scripts to do the necessary actions.

  2. Maybe you could Help me Out … I live in a house ( more like a rooming house) … there is 6 Suites. is there a way to have six door bells out side (best if all on same board like intercom system.. they can prob be six differt bells too .. and then chimes in each room… via the X10 (trying not to install wires to each room. also .. e-mail photos one each door bell is press to person on pre door bell. Dont want every one getting e-mail when say room 4 is press. The 1st part is main deal I have .. the wireless cam no big deal. Thanks if you could help.

    • Off the top of my head I would actually use an Arduino or raspberry Pi to receive the presses from all of your door bell buttons. Instead of this X10 module that I happened to use. An Arduino and Pi are about the same price, one draws more power and runs a full linux operating system. The Arduino is not as sophisticated but has it’s strengths for single purpose appliance type things like this. But the Pi could probably process all of your video too and you’d just have to install a wifi adapter.

  3. This is something I would love to look at setting up myself – I know this blog is almost a year old but this still looks relevant. I am new to home automation but am running XBMC clients around the house (HTPC and Pi’s) and also have a microserver.
    What would I need hardware wise to set something up like this?
    Can z-wave be used as I have found this product and am considering zwave as my home automation choice? http://zwave-products.co.uk/shop/article_307/Everspring-UTSE03A-Z-Wave-Door-Bell-Set.html?pse=apq

    At present though I am open to be swayed on automation protocol…

    • OH thats interesting. I’m just using a cheap doorbell “wired” to my pc, and I have a script that detects the doorbell press and then rips images off my security camera. Ideally I think a raspberry pi wired to the doorbell could satisfy this.

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