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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Anyone have luck with wireless outdoor cameras to monitor their cabins?
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paulz
Member
# Posted: 26 Jan 2021 10:28
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Got my Micro Link powered up and online at my house. So far so good, easy. Already took a photo, sent a notification to my phone and the photo was there right away, about 4 minutes from the time stamp. Looks like I'm on a 30 day free unlimited picture plan.

Need to read the manual and set up all the options other than their default mode, then take it out to the cabin. Any options you feel are worth changing right off?

Thanks guys!

paulz
Member
# Posted: 30 Jan 2021 15:21
Reply 


Harrumph.. Brought the Micro Link V out to the cabin, doesn't seem to pick up a signal easily. Did send a photo or two but not in any place I can use. Both the Moultrie and my cell phone, also on Verizon, have excellent coverage. And the Spypoint even has an antenna. Last night I put them side by side. They both caught this critter, the Moultrie sent the text and photo (which I was able to see after bouncing the web site, as usual). Only knew the Spypoint did after putting the SD card in my laptop.

Darn.. The web site and app are terrific.
Screenshot_2021013.png
Screenshot_2021013.png


Brettny
Member
# Posted: 30 Jan 2021 15:41
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What percent service do you have? Mine is working with 25%. When I moved the camera I removed and reinstalled the SD card. I believe my antenna is 90* out from the tree right now. It's in the crotch of two trees and I'm sure the tree is blocking some service. Also use lithium batteries if your not there for over a month.

This pic was from today.
Screenshot_20210130.jpg
Screenshot_20210130.jpg


FishHog
Member
# Posted: 30 Jan 2021 17:26
Reply 


apparently some guys in limited service areas have had good luck with these
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MJFTKQB/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=A64JRSYTRERAS &psc=1

I haven't tried it so I have no first hand experience.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 30 Jan 2021 19:31
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Thanks Fish. I didnt even think to add an external antenna. Spy point does sell one but it's expensive. Fishes link even has the connector name you will need for a cheap aftermarket one. I may try an external one.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 30 Jan 2021 20:18
Reply 


It says 25% but I'm guessing that's not real time, only when it reports in? So if I move it around as I have been it will not tell right away?

It has the external antenna it came with, like the one on Amazon but maybe shorter.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 31 Jan 2021 06:25
Reply 


Yes it shows only the service/battery % since last check in. The antenna you have is the factory one.

Your on unlimited pictures now to turn the check in frequency up to instant and walk in front of it.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 31 Jan 2021 08:35
Reply 


I've been watching it power on. It blinks green LED while searching for a signal (according to the manual), then goes sold green for good signal, orange for weak, red for none. I'm getting red..

Wondering if it's really using the Verizon network. It's a Micro Link V, should be but I get 3-4 bars on our phones. Bringing it back to the city today to test it there.

SCSJeff
Member
# Posted: 31 Jan 2021 12:29
Reply 


You may have gotten a dud... Maybe internal antenna is broke or disconnected???

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 1 Feb 2021 08:30
Reply 


Paul did you do the update? Even out of the box mine needed an update.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 1 Feb 2021 09:25
Reply 


Yes mine has the current firmware listed on the web site.

Good experience with their support yesterday when I got back to the city. Their online chat answered right away. Did a factory reset, also found out my SD card was not the right class. Found another, it's working now, 98% reception. We'll see when I get back out to the cabin in a couple days.

Thanks for all the help guys.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 1 Feb 2021 11:06
Reply 


The class of SD card can make a huge difference. I even had an older moultree that took a standard SD card and would not work with any of the 6-7 micro SD cards with SD card adapters.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 4 Feb 2021 09:08
Reply 


The new camera sent pictures all day yesterday as I moved it around my house, even dead center in the house. Reception was 90%. Brought it out to the cabin again, put it next to the Moultrie, then out in the most open area, nothing. It did check in, it says, at 8pm, with reception at 25%, and has taken many pix but not sent any. Reception on the Moultrie says 60%.

So I guess I can try other antennas. I'm curious if it is really trying to use the Verizon network. Their product info on the Micro-V really isn't clear, and I doubt Raul down in Columbia who assisted me in the last chat would know. Maybe I'll try emailing them.

Such a shame, great app, great web site. Too bad the Moutrie camera can't link to it.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 5 Feb 2021 13:58
Reply 


I looked up the SIM number on this camera, says it's on a GSM network. I thought Verizon was a CDMA. Or is that all out the window now?
Screenshot_2021020.png
Screenshot_2021020.png


paulz
Member
# Posted: 5 Feb 2021 18:07
Reply 


Had another chat with Spypoint, he assured me it's on Verizon, and the antennas are 2.2 dbi, whatever that means.

Going to take it back to the city and try it without the antenna to see if it makes a difference.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 8 Feb 2021 14:03
Reply 


So, back in the city, 90% reception again. Took off the antenna, Zero, so I know it's working. I have a 50' extension cable left over from my wifi extender days, so I hooked that up and tossed the antenna up on the roof, thinking maybe I could put it up in a tree at the cabin. 25% but it did send pictures. So that's a bit odd..

Going to take it to the cabin again tomorrow and give it one more try. If nothing else I can use it at the city house, where I now have only an ancient Spypoint with no communication capability.

On another note, Moultrie put out an update to their app, containing a 'dark mode', so instead of staring at the blank white screen at least now it's a blank black screen. Actually it has been working better since, maybe they did something else.
20210208_105158_resi.jpg
20210208_105158_resi.jpg


FishHog
Member
# Posted: 9 Feb 2021 08:15
Reply 


seems strange Paul. Camera obviously works, but why won't it work at your cabin if your other devices get service. Can't explain that, but have you moved it around on the property to see if you just have something blocking the signal where you have placed it?

paulz
Member
# Posted: 9 Feb 2021 09:45 - Edited by: paulz
Reply 


The only explanation that makes sense to me is that it's using the Sprint network, but Spypoint assures me it's using Verizon. It is well known that Sprint phones don't work in my cabin local. I had a Sprint phone once, I got it to work, barely, one time, at one specific spot outside my cabin. Same spot I got the Spypoint to send two pictures, again one time only when the stars aligned.

With the cell phone, their tech support was able to tell me what tower it was using. The Spypoint again did tell me, twice, that it is using Verizon but I know of no other way to verify. It's the LTE-V model but I believe Sprint, maybe all phones are LTE now
.
There is one spot I haven't tried, out by my gate by the road, but it's only 50' from the center of my yard, the most open area I have, and it didn't work there.

There are many cheap 'booster' antennas, like the one you mentioned, on Ebay I could try, but I don't think I'll take a chance on their $70 antenna. I don't mind using it at my city house if it comes to that, be nice to have remote notifications from there as well.

Thanks Fish.

SCSJeff
Member
# Posted: 9 Feb 2021 10:19
Reply 


I'm still suspicious about the receiver inside the camera (not the external antenna). While in the city, you're going to have a very strong signal and proximity to the tower (and power of the tower) can make up for a weak receiver. But, out in the country, it may not cut it... The only way to know would be to get SpyPoint to replace the camera

Another thought... is it possible the camera gets locked to the tower back in the city? (Kind of like your cell phone occasionally will get updates for the carrier network)

paulz
Member
# Posted: 9 Feb 2021 10:29 - Edited by: paulz
Reply 


I guess it could get locked into a tower, but of course I turn it off when I travel with it.

I just did a chat with Verizon, as they have an online SIM card checker. It wouldn't take the number that is on both my camera sticker and the SIM card itself, so they gave up..

Did a little checking on my own, turns out the number (the only number on there, 8944500209190412976, is an ICCID number, different thing I guess. I entered that in an online checker and got this. The 44 at the beginning is the country code for England. Weird.

If someone has theirs handy maybe you could look at it, it's right behind the battery holder. Might also be on the app.

The web site I used to look it up:
https://www.imei.info/iccid
asdf.JPG
asdf.JPG


paulz
Member
# Posted: 10 Feb 2021 08:39
Reply 


Still no reception at my cabin. I was able to decode the ICCID number to reveal the carrier as Vodafone, out of UK, which I have never heard of. Apparently they have some connection with Verizon but all the info I'm seeing is years old.

Going to try chats again with Verizon and Spypoint but I doubt there 'agents' will know anything.

SCSJeff
Member
# Posted: 10 Feb 2021 16:26
Reply 


Vodafone is a Tier 2 (maybe Tier 3) provider that uses Verizon's network. I know under heavy load Verizon will de-prioritize lower Tier networks. I doubt your Tower at the cabin is under heavy load, but I guess it's possible that the particular tower that you're hitting at the cabin is preventing Vodafone (maybe all lower Tier providers on their network).

paulz
Member
# Posted: 10 Feb 2021 17:56
Reply 


Thanks Jeff! Finally some info. I did a chat with a Verizon agent this morning, never heard of Vodafone. Then an hour long session with the Spypoint agent, going through all the usual stuff I have done 100 times already. SD format, device reset, power off, power on.. ended up telling me I need a firmware update, even though mine has the current version per the web site. Said to leave the camera on for 24 hours. How is it going to update if there is no communication? Oh well, I'll take it to the city tomorrow where it does connect. Oh, they never heard of Vodefone either..

Good point about the tower. Population about 1,000 in the valley where I and the tower are, I think..What I will do is take it down to the center of the valley where there aren't trees to block and see. But you may be onto something.. My cell phone is actually through Page Plus, using Verizon network, and it's got 3+ bars.

SCSJeff
Member
# Posted: 10 Feb 2021 21:42
Reply 


Did a bit more digging. Appears vodafone is based mainly in Europe and would be "roaming" when in North America. Would make more sense then if the tower at your cabin does not support any roaming networks...

FishHog
Member
# Posted: 11 Feb 2021 07:05
Reply 


perhaps Spypoint accidently sent you a european model. But if it works at his home that wouldn't make much sense.

SCSJeff
Member
# Posted: 11 Feb 2021 08:04
Reply 


I'm thinking if it is roaming... not all towers support roaming (especially ones out in the country)

paulz
Member
# Posted: 11 Feb 2021 15:19
Reply 


Well I thought you were onto something...but on the way back to the city this morning I stopped at the ball field 2 miles from the cabin. Wide open area. Set the camera down and farted around for 15 minutes. Gave up, stuck it in the bed of the pickup and drove off...about 50 yards, and got a notification! Got a shot from the ballfield, reception showed 50%. My Verizon phone had all bars.

So, maybe it's not the tower. To complicate matters, I see is now has the new firmware they mentioned yesterday, which is not yet listed on the website, which shows V1.17.12.178. I now have v!.17.12.183, so I guess I have to try it again at the cabin.

You might want to check yours, if you care to..it may show an exclamation point by your revision number.

What a saga. More to follow in a few days..
20210211_092456_resi.jpg
20210211_092456_resi.jpg


paulz
Member
# Posted: 18 Feb 2021 13:15
Reply 


I'm surprised, dumbfounded a even a little giddy! When I got to the cabin two days ago I powered up the Spypoint, with the new firmware, for one last attempt. Two days on the cabin deck, zilch. As I was packing up this morning I powered it off and on for the heck of it, before resigning to use it in the city. A few minutes later my phone dinged, got a photo (along with all the other photos it took over the last two days)!!! Checked the signal, 100%! Am I in the Twilight Zone here or something? Powered it off, moved it 50', still transmitting!

My best explanation is that my free month is ending and they figured they better get it working if they want me to buy a plan.

Or, it has connected to another cell tower. Or maybe the firmware but I doubt it. Going to now place it somewhere useful and see what happens.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 18 Feb 2021 13:37
Reply 


Sometimes turning them on and off helps the reset.

I pulled the card on mine and found pictures it never sent to me. This was about when the alkaline batteries died.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 18 Feb 2021 13:46
Reply 


Yeah it's supposed to make them link to the tower, I think. But this was about the 200th reset.

Now that I think about it, the Moutrie, which has been dead nuts reliable about sending photos (getting them up on the app is another story, but that seems to be improving), stopped transmitting for a couple days this week. I wonder if there was some sort of tower work/upgrade or whatever. Hmm.

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