The RING Doorbell & Camera System Fortifies Home Security
Don’t let technology scare you off. Instead, use it to scare off intruders. Find out how effective the RING Doorbell & Camera system really is.
Call it a blend of the “Old” World and the New World. The first element of home security is a secure perimeter. You can fortify your place with fences, walls, or even hedges or planters full of thorned shrubs.
Next up is lighting that covers all four sides of the structure and adjacent areas. There are lots of different options here—from a manually switched setup, to a dusk-to-dawn timer system, to one controlled by motion sensors. I’m partial to the motion sensors, but there are a couple of areas around my house that I like to have lit up all night. That is easily accomplished by using a fixture with a day/night sensor that turns on a low-power “accent light” in the evening, but also has a motion sensor to kick on a higher-powered light when it is triggered.
Enter the New. Another vital component in any modern facility is a camera surveillance/recording system. While there is some built-in deterrent attached to having the bad guys know they are being watched and recorded, often they just don’t care. However, having everything video documented is invaluable when it comes to confirming loss and/or damages … and hopefully with identifying suspects.
I have recently completed a lengthy investigation of all the camera systems that are available for home se-
curity, and I’m happy to report that there is a new system available that goes beyond the after-the-fact usefulness of most systems with a real-time feature that can prevent a bad incident from occurring in the first place.
In fact, there are several new doorbell/camera/intercom systems available, and I would, of course, encourage you to do your own homework to select the one best suited for your needs. In my case, I went with the RING product as the one offering the most in features and performance for my application.
What we’re going to do here is to look at the RING system I chose to help you get a feel for the more important features and functions and help you make that decision which way to go. You might make a different decision, of course. As they say; “That’s why they have horse races— so you can pick one you like!”
STYLES & SYSTEMS
The big picture is that there are both hard-wired and wireless camera systems on the market that all feed back to a monitor or monitors and some type of recording device.
Camera capabilities range from black-and-white to color, various magnifications and field-of views and a selection of light sensitivity ratings. They can be a constant feed or motion-activated, whichever you desire. Recorder capacity is also up to you and your budget. While I suppose there might still be some systems that use tape or removable recordable
discs, almost everything offered today uses an electronic hard drive like the one in your computer.
I happened to want coverage of my entryway (front door) area, my driveway that is three cars wide and the entire back of the house. I went with the RING System, and here’s why.
THE RING SYSTEM
The RING system mounted on my original doorbell was very poor for the camera angle, so I mounted an autonomous doorbell/camera/intercom unit on the opposite side of the entryway landing. This can be wired into your existing doorbell circuit, but the location captures video as people approach and stand in front of the door, which is perfect.
Since it is not integrated into the existing doorbell circuit, I used an auxiliary chime device from RING that simply plugs into a standard wall socket and sounds off when the motion sensor is tripped or the doorbell button is pushed.
If you have an especially big house or spend time in the garage or another outbuilding, you can plug in an extra chime unit to signal you wherever you are when at home.
The system syncs to a smartphone, desktop or tablet, and they will signal you that way, and they also ring the chimes whenever they detect motion within their adjustable monitoring area. This lets you know that someone (or something) is close. With the phone or computer, you can have a live view and then elect to make contact even if the doorbell button is not pushed.
Those monitoring areas are adjustable for depth away from the device in five “slices” or zones across a 180-degree viewing area. You can imagine how surprised someone who is lurking about and up to no good will be when your voice comes out of nowhere to ask, “Can I help you?”
The RING company stores all the video, sorted by device and time/date coded, for $30 a year per device. No, that’s not a typo. It’s $30 per year per device. Also, you can post any video segment/ incident you choose to share with your neighbors, which is a valuable tool to alert the community to thieves, vandals and other miscreants.
The doorbell and cameras can be hardwired into a house current power supply, or you can use the rechargeable battery pack. I use the battery packs, and mine last around four or five weeks between charges. It only takes a little while to get them back up to full power when needed. The other option is a solar panel that mounts near the
“… THE LOCATION CAPTURES VIDEO AS PEOPLE APPROACH AND STAND IN FRONT OF THE DOOR, WHICH IS PERFECT.”
camera, and I use one of these on my camera that is on the peak of my garage roof over the driveway and therefore not easily accessible.
While having the devices hard-wired into an AC power source sounds a lot more convenient, it also leaves you liable to service interruption during a power outage or when some clever bad guy simply turns off your main breaker.
As above, the area covered by the camera and motion sensors can be tuned to exactly cover a required area without also registering unwanted “hits” from activity nearby.
My front units cover my entryway, and my driveway across the three-car parking space but only out to the sidewalk. The back camera is positioned under the far front corner of the patio cover and shows the entire back wall of my house, some 65 feet, and the patio area itself that extends about 18 feet out from the house. This gives me complete coverage of any possible points of entry around the house and a good view of the cars in the driveway.
I am quite happy with the RING system. However, as noted, there are now several other options available, and you may find one of those more appealing. The most important message here is to not neglect the need for some type of system to help safeguard yourself, your loved ones and your property/ possessions.
The good news is that it’s never been easier! You can find out more about this system online, and a Google search will present you with several other options.
Welcome to the New World of security. HD
This is the auxiliary camera in the backyard that is installed under the far front corner of the patio cover. It is tuned to view the entire back of the house.
Top: This is the main doorbell/ camera/intercom unit installed at the author’s entryway. It covers the approach and anything in front of the door. Bottom: This is the auxiliary camera and solar power unit that is installed on the peak of the garage roof at the front of the house.