Category: Home Security Tips

Can LED bulbs be used with a timer? Timer Switch for LED,energy saving CFLs &

Timer switches are necessary for turning lights on automatically – whether your not home or just want the have them turn on and off automatically.

Can you use a timer switch with LED or low energy light bulbs.

With the replacement of traditional incandescent bulbs with new low energy CFL and LED bulbs We often get asked by  many people with built in timers why they experience flickering or LEDs remaining on.  We will attempt to explain why timer switches can be used with energy saving bulbs and LEDS,  and how you can resolve the issue in this article.  We will explain (briefly) how electrical timers work first and what causes the flickering.

How Electrical timer switches work.

Electrical timer switches require power to operate.  Light switch timers (eg. those that replace a standard light switch) don’t have a direct power connection.  The draw power to keep the timer ticking over is by passing a very small current through the light bulb.

The filament in old style bulbs passes the small current without any problems and the current isn’t high enough to light the bulb.  the timer simply use the resistance of the filament of an incandescent lightbulb as part of the timer circuitry.

Timer switch CFL energy saving Flickering

CFL bulbs do not have a resistance characteristic to offer the timer – (they are inductive).  The typical electronic timer reaction is to switch itself rapidly on and off due to the inductive element charging and discharging.

Timer switch, LEDS, dimly lit

In the case of LEDs, the small current is enough to produce light with LEDs, meaning they are dimly lit and stay on.  That is why the many timer switches therefore typically require a minimum load in order to operate.  this is usually 40w or more.

This also has the additional issue of the fuse in the timer switch blowing each time the light bulb blows requiring you to turn off the mains before replacing the fuse.

So how can you use a timer switch with your energy saving bulbs?Timer energy saving bulbs flicker

So what can you do?  there are a number of options available,
Get a large resistor.
Some timer switch manufacturers offer a larger external resistor which can be fitted between the bulb and the switch allowing them to operate bulbs of 20W.  these will not fit behind the switch and need to be wired into the ceiling.
Use old bulbs or more bulbs.
With CFLs you could try increasing the number of bulbs so if you have 3 bulbs of 15w you can meet the minimum load requirements of the timer switch.

A timer which works with Energy saving bulbs, LED’s or CFL

There is another solution which does work with all types of bulb – The light switch timer which mechanically operates the light switch and so can be used with any LED or CFL type bulb.

The light switch timer simply operates the existing light switch mechanically as you would with your finger.  This has the advantage that it does not matter what type of light bulb or LED you use you will not have any issues. In addition it does not require any wiring as it is a retro fit solution fitting over the existing switch.

CLF LED Timer siwtch light

How do I secure my house when on holiday?

Checklist of how to keep your home safe whilst you are away.  The following will give you some tips on how best to keep your home safe so you Don’t return from a fantastic few weeks away in the sun to realise your home has been burgled?

It’s easy to forget what you’re leaving behind in the excitement of going away and were all guilty of doing this including me. Were in such a rush to get our sunglasses on, sit on a plane and enjoy the luxuries of a well earned well needed break in the sun that we overlook what’s most important to us, our homes security. 78% of burglaries take place when nobody is at home.

Home security holiday Checklist

  • Locks – Double lock everything
  • Keys – Hide them away
  • Lights – put them on a timer
  • Alarm – Arm it
  • Neighbours  – Let them know
  • Post – make sure its not visible & piling up
  • Garden – trim it before you go.
  • Bins – make sure they are empty and put away neatly
  • Car – get a neighbour to park in the drive
  • Safe – Put valuables inside it
  • Plugs – Switch off unnecessary appliances.
  • Heating – Turn it off

Leaving your home empty

A home that looks unoccupied presents an irresistible temptation for thieves and measures must be taken to prevent this temptation from ever materialising. In an ideal world we have a neighbour or relative keep a watchful eye and house sit from time to time. If this isn’t possible precautions must be taken to give a perception the house is not empty. Your first priority should be to cancel any deliveries you may have coming to your house, i.e. milk or newspapers. A build up of uncollected post and deliveries gives a clear sign that your home is unoccupied, enticing individuals we would rather keep away.

An old habit of ours is to draw the curtains so nobody can see inside our home, and though this prevents having people look through our windows we soon realised it does pose as a big sign saying this house is empty. Blinds can often be a discreet compromise.

To truly give an illusion your home is occupied the use of lighting can act as a great deterrent to burglary.

If someone thinks that you’re at home they will think twice about entering it. Light switch timers are a must. They can be used to switch on your lights around your home according to your specified settings. Simple yet highly effective; the feature allows you to pre-programme light timing sessions, so unlike most timing switches the lights do not turn on at the same timetabled daily time. This makes it even more difficult for any individual to assess what times the home is unoccupied, let alone know you’re out on a beach without any care in the world!

It may be obvious but making sure your locks and alarms are secure and working can deter a burglar. The harder it is to gain entry into your home the more reluctant they will be to enter. The last resort for a thief would be to break in through a window or a door. This creates unwanted noise and attention alerting your neighbours or passers-by, not to mention triggering your burglar alarm. Therefore installing or upgrading good quality window locks are required and strong secure exterior locks will defiantly not do you any harm.

Finally ensuring your home is fully insured has multiple benefits, not just in the event of a burglary but also fires and floods. If something unexpected happens you can rest assured that you are fully covered and will be compensated for any damage or theft that happens in your absence.

To summarise don’t present an opportunity for someone to ruin your holiday! Take precautions and prepare yourself so you won’t find any nasty surprises when you return to your home.

The cost of a burglary goes way beyond the monetary loss

A dampening reality sets in when your home is broken into. There’s no ideal time to have your home burgled but to return home and find its happened can leave an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach. “Why did my neighbours not hear anything”. “How did this happen, why did this happen to me”. “Did I do everything in my power to prevent it happening before I left”. Within a few moments all the serenity of being on holiday is washed away and the empty pit in your stomach is filled with a deep regret and stress as you work to pick up the broken pieces again. Not what we envisioned a holiday would do for us. So what can we do? It’s pretty simple and cost effective.

Protect your home this summer holiday

Best Programmable Light Switch Timers

With the wide variety of timers on the market, how do you know which is the best for you.

What timer light switch should you buy?

Interior lighting is used as a deterrent as it gives the appearance of the residents still being home.   It is so effective that UK police forces recommend people leave lights on when they are away from home. But what is the best timer light switch to buy?

Timer light switches work by deterring intruders from targeting their home in the first place, but it may also alert neighbours and passers-by to suspicious activity in the event of a break-in. Studies show that burglars are far less likely to target a house if it seems that people may be at home.

Why use a timer light switch anyway?

Internal security lighting is therefore based around the idea of making it look like the home is occupied. This is achieved by the use of timers to simulate the lighting patterns of people at home. You can keep it simple by having lights turn on and off every few hours, or plan a more realistic lighting sequence.

Remember that whichever type of security lighting you choose, it is still important to complement it with a high quality alarm system. Lights are not a replacement for a house alarm. With that being said, let’s quickly make sense of each type of internal security lighting, and go over some advantages and disadvantages of each.

Best light timer switch

Lamps, how effective are they?

Plug in Timers

This is probably the most common type of timer you will have come across. The timer device is simply plugged into the wall socket, and then you plug your lamp (or any other mains appliance), into the timer. These tend to be cheap and easy to use. Most of them now have digital interfaces, but analogue timers are still available. Although these tend to be one of the easiest to install of all the different type of timers, they are also one of the most inflexible. You are limited to only using lights that you can plug into a wall socket. This is ideal if you regularly use lamps in your home but may in fact be a tale tell sign to a burglar that no one is home if they see a solitary dimply lit lamp left on.  Small plugged in lamps may not be enough to deter a potential burglar.

Mains Wired Timers

Timer plug

best timer switch plug

These timers are slightly more advanced than the plug timers. They are actually wired in to a light socket, meaning your main lights can be set  on a timer. These are digitally controlled and allow you to create very intricate on-off patterns for your lights. The biggest drawback is these types of timers is they require you to perform rewiring of the switch, which takes some time and expertise. They can be a good option if you are regularly set your lights on a timer and know how to do basic wiring. These types of timer cannot be used with energy saving light bulbs or LED’s and most require a neutral wire to be present in order to be installed.

Light Bulb timers

If want to control your main lights but don’t know how to do any wiring, then light bulb holders are a viable alternative. Instead of inserting a timer at the wall socket, you install it into the light fitting itself and insert the bulb into the timer. These operate on a dusk-till-dawn basis. They are not customisable as there is no control interface. These are ideal if you have a light fitting with a single bayonet Light bulb type fitting. They will require you to actually get up on ladders to install or remove them. Many people have also reported they do not work correctly if used with a lamp shade.

Light Switch Timer

The Light Switch Timer that allows you to control your main lights. It is very similar to a timer plug expect it is fitted over the light switch on the wall. The device simply slots over the top of your existing switch and as it is battery operated requires no wiring to install. The seven day timer allows you to program when you want your lights to come on and off on different days of the week to create a realistic “lived in” look. It is the only timer which can be used with any type of light bulb and on single double or triple switches. The only disadvantage is that it cannot be used with dimmer type switches. Obviously in our opinion it is the best timer light switch available.

Summary of Timers

  Plug Timer Mains Wired Timer Light Bulb Holder Unwired Light Switch Timer
Installation No wiring, easy to install. Requires wiring to install.Replaces existing light switch. No wiring, but requires ladders to install. No wiring, slots over existing switch with minor adjustment.
Programming Digital or analogue, can be fully customisable. Usually fully customisable. Not programmable.Automatic dusk-till-dawn setting. Fully programmable.
Removal No wiring, just unplug. Requires wiring so cannot be removed quickly. No wiring, but requires ladders. No wiring, only loosening of screws required.
Overall Rating ***
Can only be used with plugged in devices.
****
Excellent for security, but Limited application.
***
Not programmable and requires ladders.
*****
Fully programmable, easy to install and remove.

Review and summary of best timer switch?

Each has its pros and cons but – for most people not wanting to rewire or using LEDs or multi gang switches will find the best solution obvious.

Whichever timer you should choose you want to make sure you home looks realistically occupied and the timer meets your needs in terms of ease of installation and performance.

How To Stay Safe When You Go On Holiday – Home Security Tips

Holidays are a time to relax and unwind.  So here are a few tips to help you relax on holiday by ensuring your home is left safe and secure and keep to help keep you and your family safe whilst you are there.

Holiday checklist

Holiday planning

Before you go.

Lock up and double lock the doors.

Hide any keys you keep in the house especially your car keys

Do the obvious fridge emptying and turning off all unused appliance.

Set your light switch timer to make your home look occupied.

Ask a neighbour to park a car in your driveway

Going by plane.

Take pictures of your passport on your phone

Take a picture of the back of your credit cards so you have to contact number of your credit card provider in case you loose them

If your like me and don’t recall peoples mobile numbers any more it is a good idea to write down key contact numbers for people back home in case you loose your phone

Keep paper copies of your tickets in a separate location to your passports.

When your there

Ward off jet lag by eating less on the plane and changing your clock as soon as you get on the plane – Being alert when you arrive will keep you safe

I always try to eat some local yogurt as soon as I arrive.  Not sure of the science but they say the local live bacteria helps avoid tummy trouble.

Don’t keep all your valuables in one place.  I always keep a money belt for my really important valuables.  That is my passports, one credit card and some cash.  Do this once you clear customs.

Taxis.  Never put your stuff in the boot while the driver is sat in the driver’s seat. Ask him to give you a hand.

Have a great holiday!!

Wiring a Timer switch No Neutral Wire

Automatic light switch timers are wired into the mains lighting circuit.  However many of the homes in the UK do not have a neutral wire available at the switch.  So how do you connect them.

Can you put a timer on a light switch?

First of all you need to know what type of wiring you have at the switch. http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-fit-ceiling-lights/

If your switch only has 2 wires and an earth wire – this is a switched live arrangement and there is no neutral wire available.

Many electrical timers require a neutral so that the switch can be powered without sending power to the load.  If you do not have a neutral at the switch box it means that the power source (line) does not come into that box and you are just switching the hot from another source.

A traditional switch only switches the live so it does not need the neutral.   If there is no neutral then unfortunately, youneed to keep reading.

Wiring with no neutral

timer switch wiring

wiring a timer switch neutral wire

The neutral wire is use to provide power to the light switch timer for the clock.  this does require that you have three wires at the junction box (plus an earth) .  If you only have two wires at the switch you have a switched live type circuit.  You will need to get a neutral wire at the switch in order to correctly wire and power the device.

Most homes in the UK don’t have a neutral wire and so timer switch become quite difficult to install. However adding a neutral wire is not that easy.  An electrician should be able to add a neutral wire for you but this often requires cutting into the wall to get the wire to the switch you require it for.

How do you install your timer switch with no neutral wire?

The simplest way is to purchase a timer that does not need a neutral wire to operate.  This way you will not need to make any changes to the switch, and the timer will work with no neutral wire.

The mydome timer switch is not connected to your home electricity supply and does not rely on the neutral wore as a power source.  The timer uses two AA batteries to power the timer and mechanically switch the lights on and off.  This has the advantage that it can be used on the existing switch on your wall and requires replacing the existing switch.

It is Installed fitting the timer over an existing wall light – a small control wheel then turns the lights on and off by means of a control wheel on the rear of the unit to operate the switch manually.  The timer light switch can be used on single, double or triple switches and even allows the user to select which of the switches is operated via the timer.

Timer switch no nuetral required

Timer switch no neutral

Time to step up home security now clocks have gone back

Burglars are looking to take advantage of the longer nights.

The clocks have gone back and the evenings growing darker, unwelcome visitors are likely to return to the public’s doorsteps. Using the cover of darkness to help cloak their movements,  It may therefore not come as a surprise that as the winter months approach it becomes open season for burglars, with research showing that burglaries surge by 38% once the clocks have gone back.

As we move to the end of October and towards Bonfire Night we reach the worst time of year for burglaries with domestic damage increasing by a huge 160% during this period.

With opportunistic burglars using the darkness to help them hide in the shadows, it is important that families are vigilant and re-consider the security measures they have in place to protect their homes. As our home security systems have become more advanced, so have our burglars so it’s crucial that property owners use new technology to help compliment traditional security methods such as alarm systems and window locks.

To ensure family homes and neighbourhoods are kept safe this autumn and as an official sponsor of Home Security Month, mydome, has compiled its top tips for protecting neighbourhoods through technology.

Lock all doors and windows

It sounds basic, but a surprising number of burglaries take place because people have forgotten to lock all the doors and windows. Some people even leave a few windows open for air flow whilst they’re out of the house. Leaving your doors and windows unlocked is an open invitation to burglars, so always double-check them before you leave and to be extra safe install a double lock on your front door.

Avoid hiding spare keys

Many homeowners still keep a spare set of keys somewhere in front of their house. This is a bad habit and a major security risk. Your key is never hidden as well as you think it is and experienced burglars will know all the common hiding places. If you have arranged for a neighbour or friend to check your post whilst you’re away, lending them a spare key is a far safer alternative. Burglars are also increasingly starting to use devices which can remotely access car keys to unlock your car from inside your house. It’s therefore worth making sure your car keys are kept safe further inside your house.

Don’t forget to lock up sheds and garages

It’s often easy to forget that sheds and garages are an extension of your home and in the colder months these spaces can often be forgotten about. Sheds and garages usually store a number of tools that could prove useful to burglars trying to break into your home. Make sure these spaces are locked up and secured.

Make it look like you are at home

Very few burglars have been known to strike when they think someone is at home. Many thieves are opportunists and if it looks like your home is empty they will be more inclined to try their luck. Making it look like you’re at home, is a simple and effective security measure you should take. Keep up appearances by opening your curtains, mowing the lawn before you leave and installing an outdoor light which automatically turns on for a couple of hours each evening. Better still, invest in an outdoor light with motion detectors, so that anyone who walks past triggers the light to come on.Light switch timer - promoted by London metropolitan's operation bumblebee'

Visible Security

 

 

Burglars will not try to break-in if they fear they will get caught. Savvy burglars will know of all the latest security devices, and they’ll avoid homes if they know that there are effective security solutions in place. Sometimes, even just a security sign can deter a burglar from breaking in, so get your devices set up, and make sure burglars know that your home is protected.

Smart Technology

Whilst traditional security systems are important, they cannot be relied upon to prevent crime from taking place. Unfortunately, most traditional security systems, such

as alarms, are reactive solutions that will let you know when a burglary has occurred, but there is little you can do thereafter to stop it. Smartphone connected security devices, equipped with cameras and motion detectors, can send live video footage straight to you or your neighbours’ fingertips, meaning you can respond to and prevent suspicious activity before it happens.

Think twice about who can see your social media updates

Holiday makers who share updates about their upcoming trips months in advance and then check in and share snaps of their holidays put their homes at great risk of burglary. Criminals are increasingly using social media to check when homes are empty and half term and the Christmas holidays can provide rich pickings. Before you go on holiday think twice about who can see your family’s social media profiles and ensure that privacy settings are switched on.

 

 

Clocks going back – Its time to programme those lights

During the dark winter months the clocks go back 1 hour and nights get longer. Our homes are left exposed in the dark for allot longer than we would like – but they don’t have to be!

Which home would you target if you was a burglar?

 

 

Its time to secure your home easily with our quick programming guide for your light switch timer.

Light Switch Timer – Quick programming guide

Protecting the things that matter most to you and your family when it matters the most. Take a look at the following post to find out how we look after you.

Setting the clock – quick programming guide

  • press enter – then use the day/ hour / min buttons until correct time is displayed.
  • Press enter

Programming

  • Press prog button select the day / hour /min you want the light(s) to turn on – press enter
  • Then select the day / hour /min you want it to turn off – press enter
  • Press prog to complete

*To select multiple days continue pressing the day button. You can select groups of days so a single program can turn lights on every day at the same time.

*Repeat for as many programs as you want.

 

 

Additional features

How do I stop my programmed schedule from running without erasing all the programmes manually?

By holding down the hour button for 10 seconds you will see a bar appear on top of the word ‘Auto’ on your LCD screen. This signifies that your saved programmes are not active. The programmed timetable still remains in the memory of your light switch timer for the next time you wish to use it. In order to activate the programmes again please press the hour button until the word ‘Auto’ no longer has a bar above it.

This feature is ideal because it allows you to keep your light switch timer on the wall all the time using only the manual On/Off feature  like a normal switch.  Activate your programmes only when they are needed without having to create a new timetable each time.

 

Can I change the temperature from degree’s Celsius to Fahrenheit?

Holding down the Min button for 10 seconds toggles between the two different temperature units of measure.

 

 

 

Want to see whats going on at your home when your not there? Receive real time notifications each time something changes or someone enters your home.

Cleverloop – Smart Home Security Evolved

 

A £2,833 bill, and still counting

The true cost of burglaries and what’s really at stake – and it’s not only the financial cost

The true cost of burglary

We often read stories and articles about home security and burglary rates across the country however what these articles fail to mention is the average cost of a burglary. We all take steps to secure our homes but are we really doing enough? Sometimes it takes a big number for the realisation to really hit home – in this case that number is £2,833. This accounts for the loss and repair bill that all victims end up paying after they’ve been burgled; as if being burgled wasn’t bad enough!

broken door - burgled home

 

After figures from the Office of National Statistics were scrutinised by Post Office Home Insurance, analysis revealed that on average victims lose £2,267 in stolen valuables. The bill

grows with an additional £566 having to be set aside to pay for any damage. These numbers only give a glimpse into the cost of being burgled as there is no way of measuring the emotional distress suffered from this invasion of privacy and increased sense of vulnerability.

We don’t always anticipate immediately how much repair work can cost but once you tally up a window here, a door there you soon realise that the bill can be a bitter pill to swallow. 51 % of burglary victims are required to repair forced doors, 27% for broken locks, 24% for broken windows and 7% for damage to furniture. Its hidden costs like these that often add to the emotional distress suffered by burglar victims and constrained finances at times when families are already

stretched.

The rise in expensive gadgets and technologies make them quick and easy targets as they are often laid out in plain sight. The problem with these items going missing is that the information we store on them may be so much more valuable than the  item itself; that’s saying allot when we consider that laptops now cost in the region of £700. By taking laptops and tablets burglars get access into a large variety of aspects of our lives through the numerous apps we use. I mean do we want someone to have unlimited access to our pictures, banking information, cloud storage? Its information like this that can come back to haunt us if found in the wrong hands. If used correctly someone can continue taking from us long after the burglary.

Despite the rise in technology jewellery still accounts for 38% of items declared missing after being burgled. Sentimental value often outweighs the monetary value of these items and its tragic when they have gone missing. Unlike other items sometimes things simply can’t be replaced.

Rob Clarkson, managing director at Post Office Money Insurance, commented: “Nothing can prepare homeowners for the emotional impact of a burglary – it can leave you feeling vulnerable and unsafe in your own home. At this difficult time, the last thing you should be concerned about is the practicality of covering costs for home repairs or replacing valuables. As such, it’s important to make sure you protect your home as much as possible, not just by securing doors and windows but also by having adequate home insurance in place.”

Top tips

While tragedy can strike anyone at any time, there are a few things you can do to keep your property and possessions as safe as possible. If you can afford it, the most secure course of action would be to get a security alarm. For those who don’t have the money for such a system, you could install an external light with a timer and/or motion detection function to deter burglars, especially while you’re away on holiday.

Further options to consider include extra locks, or better locks (such as a three-point locking system) if yours are a bit old and maybe easier to get through. Add some good locks to your shed or garage, too, as burglars tend to love these for their relative ease of access. Of course it’s imperative to not forget to lock your doors and windows, regardless of how fancy the locks may be or how long you’ll be away, as it can only take a minute while you’re not looking for someone to get in and take your stuff. Common sense also tells us not to leave keys outside the house, no matter how hidden you think they are, and not to flaunt your expensive belongings where outside eyes can easily see them.

Last, but certainly not least, ensure your home and contents insurance are sufficient to cover the cost of your possessions – they can tally up more than you think, especially if you’ve bought some high-priced things since the last time you reviewed your policy. With sufficient financial security in place, you can at least be sure you won’t be footing the bill should the worst come to pass.

Cleverloop – Is it the WIFI camera for me?

The CleverLoop Smart Home Security system is a wireless camera set up that gives you the ability to keep a check on your home and family when you’re away anywhere in the world you can get internet access.

 

Cleverloop – Is it the WIFI camera for me?

Clever Loop - clever home security system

The next time your homes being targeted be alerted

A security system that has the advantage of having both indoor and outdoor cameras to be able to monitor your home or other premises inside and out. To provide the wireless capability the cameras are controlled by a device known as the base station which can control up to 4 cameras.

The base station enables much of the processing to be done locally which reduces data flow across your internet connection which is great for your bandwidth. This also means the company has a learning algorithm to improve detection of suspicious motion so you are only notified of important events.

There are no monthly fees or add on services – it is all included in the price.

In our review we look at how well it provides security for your family, home, other premises and valuable items by looking at everything in detail so you can see what is good and what you

Base Station

This is the brains of the system. It controls communication between the cameras and your smart device and processes the footage from the cameras for the smart detection according to the cameras with geo fencing and scheduling settings.

It also analyses all the footage and stores up 8 GB locally. More can be stored with a larger SD card and/or an external hard drive. This analysis and storage helps to protect privacy as well as reduce bandwidth usage. Only the events seen as important (based on the learning algorithm) are stored remotely online. They say this functionality is how they can offer this solution without a monthly fee as the processing is done locally and not over the internet.

Cameras

cleverloop completeThere are 2 types of cameras – indoor and outdoor and they do differ with some of their specifications.

Indoor camera

A 720p HD camera with a 110 degree field of view giving a good range to cover a room or area and if installed in a corner (but not as good as the Piper NV 180 degree range). It has night vision that switches over automatically to allow you to continue to get coverage. It allows for two way audio so you can have conversations with anyone at home or with your pets.

These are great for keeping an eye on the inside of the home, protecting areas where high value items are kept, entranceway.

Using the indoor camera through a window will run into problems with the infra-red LED reflecting off the window interfering with what the camera records. You can turn the LEDs off but you won’t see much at night unless the area is well lit. The better option is to use an outdoor camera.

Outdoor camera

This 720p HD camera field of view of the camera is 60 degrees making this good to cover a defined areas such entrance ways or alongside a house, specific part of a car park or garden rather than large open spaces. The switch between day and night visions is automatic and fairly seamless. At night the length of vision is up to 65 ft with infra-red. It is weather proof.

These are great for watching your doors, garden paths and gates. At the front door as well as keeping a lookout for people trying break and enter they can be used to keep an eye on parcels and delivery men.
Both cameras provide a clear image during the day and as night – although at night it is black and white due to the infra-red vision.

The cameras do not pan, tilt or zoom nor is there a digital capability to do this.

If you want more than 4 cameras you need to buy additional base stations that can all be controlled by the one App. For a house or apartment 4 camera sis probably going to get your entrances covered and a 2 rooms with your most important items covered.

The video quality of both cameras is very clear during daytime and night vision. You can clearly see what is going on and see faces. There is little blurring.

Remote Monitoring

The App is easy to use and fairly intuitive. This is where you control the system and set it up how you want it to work.
You can watch recorded clips, download them for safekeeping or share them with others. This is only available on Android and IOS devices. It can be done from anywhere you can get access to the internet.

You can only watch one camera’s live feed at a time – 2 of you can watch live feeds at the same time. They are planning an update in the near future to allow you to watch 4 cameras at once.

While you are watching a live feed of one camera the motion detection continues to work on all cameras. This helps with the fact you can’t watch all cameras at once if there is a security event is happening you are able to get a record of what is happening elsewhere.

There isn’t a limit on the number of base stations and cameras you can add to your account. It means you can monitor your home, business premises and a vacation home all from the one App on your phone without having to switch between them. You just need to make sure you name them so you can identify them easily!

Notification

With the learning algorithm you should only receive a notification when an important event happens when there is an unauthorized human movement in your house when no one is expected to be there.

When an important movement is detected you receive a push notification on your phone that is announced by a quick buzz. From there you can view a quick 10 second video clip of the event. You can also be notified when the base station loses connection with the cameras.

You can set up others to receive notifications. They need to open their own account and then scan the QR code at the back of your base station (provided you’ve not changed the access code). You can have as many people as you want added to the base station. They do have the same access as the owner so can make any changes they want as well as receive notifications and monitor the system – so you do need to be careful as to who you give access too.

The system doesn’t send out notifications when the system is turned on/off or when people arrive or leave home. It does mean you won’t know when your children or other arrive home while you are at work. The system could also be turned off by mistake (or deliberately) without your knowledge when you want it live.

 

Sensors/Detection

One of the annoying things with motion sensors and alerts is that you can end up with many false alerts buzzing your phone during the day as it picks up your pet moving around or the wind moving trees or cars moving on the street.

Often the way to fix this is to turn down the sensitivity or to tell the camera to ignore movement in certain sectors.

Cleverloop instead uses a learning algorithm to split the motion detected into two types: important, known as alarms and unimportant known as movements.

The movement is recorded for both types but only important events generate an alert to your mobile device.
Alarms are for motion seen as people who are in the field of view when the camera is armed and movements are for events such as pets moving around or trees moving or cars driving past.

When a motion is determined by the system as an alarm it sends a notification to your phone and records it locally and to the cloud (which can be disabled). It will continue to record the 10 second clips and notifications while the event continues – there is no period of reset as there can be with other security systems.

Recording starts at the same time movement is detected.

When it sees a movement (not important) no alert is sent to your phone and this is recorded locally only. This recording can still be viewed remotely with your phone.

You can help it to learn by letting it know it has done something wrong by pressing “Mark this is as movement” or “Mark this as an alarm.” It needs this help to become more accurate with its “decision making.” These improvement statements are found underneath the clips as appropriate.

As well as learning from what you tell the system it also learns from the anonymous feedback of other customers combined together which help it to get “smarter” to give less false alerts.

You reset the algorithm by pressing “Forget all learned patterns” which you probably only want to do if you move the camera to a new location.

Learning algorithms are new and can be subject to problems with them not actually “learning” and giving you false alerts anyway. However, there is no indication that CleverLoop is doing that but it will probably need “tweaking” by the company to get it right as well as your own feedback.

It doesn’t have face recognition so it sees all people as people – so if you mark movement of family member as unimportant it will mark all movement by people as unimportant not just family members – to avoid this the geo fencing and scheduling can help reduce alerts.

The fact it doesn’t totally ignore movements and stores them locally gives you more chances to provide more feedback which is great so if it does miss something important, such as someone breaking into your house you still have the video albeit it is recorded locally.

Most companies that have a learning algorithm do charge for this so at some stage they may find they need to charge a monthly fee to continue this service.

 

Video Storage

There are 3 ways you can store video.

In the cloud. It stores up to 7 days of motion clips with the clips deleted as they get to 7 days old. You can download any video stored in the cloud on to your phone so nothing important should be erased without you having a backup. There are no options for longer storage at present.

On SD Card.
this stores all motion clips – important and other events as deemed by the learning algorithm.

External Hard Drive.
This is the way to go if you want continuous storage and still get important motion clips stored in the cloud. You plug the hard drive into the USB slot on the base station. This storage starts to work as soon as you plug it in. A 1 Tb hard drive can record up to 45 days of one camera at 720p resolution.

There is a limitation on the use of the external hard drive. You can only record to it continuously when the camera is in stay disarmed or auto disarmed. When it is in stay armed or auto armed mode the continuous recording stops and only record important motion clips.

Another issue is that you can’t view the external hard drive video using the App but have to disconnect it and connect to another computer to watch it.

Contract

There is no contract to sign, nor are there any fees to use the system or store video on the cloud.

Included in the purchase price, at no additional cost you get cloud storage, remote monitoring, software updates and the learning algorithm.

They don’t offer any upgrades or additional services at this stage.

Alarms

There is no audible alarm at this time that may change in the future. Without an audible alarm an intruder will continue without know they’ve been detected – most burglaries only take minutes. A siren can disorient them momentarily plus most criminals don’t like attention or the possibility that there might be noticed and leave quickly.

To help with this it is possible to install a DIY home security system that you manage yourself in the same way as you are doing with cameras. They don’t interact with the cameras but can give you the opportunity to cover more entry points and also more rooms with a more economical solution.

When you receive a notification from the cameras after you can sound the alarm or if the security system notifies you can check with the camera if you can see what is happening before taking further action.

Wireless or Wired

The base station is plugged into the router but the cameras work wirelessly for communication. All the devices do need to be plugged in for power.

Installation

To set up the system you need spare ports on your WiFi router 2.4 GHZ, a mobile device (Android 4.1 above and/or IOS 6.0) a power supply with 27.5 ins of where you are installing the base station.

The setup of the system is straightforward – it takes a few minutes after plugging in and connecting the base station to your router, downloading the App and activating your account.

You follow along to a video and you are soon up and running.

It does also involve plugging in the cameras to the router initially to get them set up before they work with the WiFi

The cameras can be set anywhere you can get a WiFI signal and have a power supply to plug into within 9.8 ft (you can extend this with a power extender).

Indoors this is probably not an issue but outdoors you may run into issues with having to run power to them or running the cord through the wall or eaves into the attic.

The mounting hardware needed for installing the cameras is included in the box.

 

Battery

Batteries are not required for the system as all components require to be plugged in for power.

Setting the Cameras

The system can be set/armed/disarmed in a number of ways by doing this with the phone or by setting up scheduling or using geo location.

To arm/disarm with your phone you use the App to do this and it is straightforward to do.

The scheduling is where you set when the system is armed for recording and disarmed based on you and your family’s lifestyle so you don’t need to remember to arm/disarm as you leave.

Geo fencing uses your phone’s location which can help in ensuring the cameras are on when you’re not there and turn off when you get home. It works with your smart device and others that are assigned to it. When the last device leaves the cameras will be set to record when motion is detected, and when a device returns they can be set to turn off. In this way it can avoid the problem that could happen if someone forgets to turn on the system when they leave. Your phone does need to be turned on and you are logged into the App.

Each base station supports up to 3 indoor/outdoor cameras, to control more cameras you need to buy another base station.

At the back of the base station is where you plug in the power, the USB port for video storage, Ethernet cable for connecting to the WiFi router and SD card slot for video storage.

 

Pros

  • Indoor and outdoor cameras are available
  • Can monitor remotely using IOS and Android devices
  • Multiple choices for storage of video – cloud, SD Card or external hard drive
  • No monthly fees payable or contract to sign
  • Learning algorithm will help to cut down on the number of false alerts to your phone
  • Sends notifications to your phone when important motion is detected
  • No cabling needs to be laid to connect cameras to base station
  • Cameras and base station allowing them to be take with you when you move house
  • The App is easy to navigate around to get to live feed and reviewing recorded events
  • Easy to set up
  • Is expandable with purchase of base stations
  • Multiple locations can be controlled by one App
  • Easy to add as many people as you want to monitor and receive notifications
  • Can use scheduling and geo fencing to automate arming/disarming the system
  • Can choose where to record video locally or remotely on supplier’s servers
  • Recording starts, and notifications are sent immediately when a security event is detected and this continues until movement stops being detected

Cons

  • Limited to only 4 cameras per base station. You need to buy additional base stations as well as cameras if you want more.
  • Not compatible nor able to integrate with other smart home devices
  • There is no battery backup for use in the event of a power outage.
  • When there is a power outage the system stops working
  • No audible alarm when motion detected
  • Cameras need to be installed with an available power supply which may limit where you can place them outdoors
  • Can only have continuous recording to USB flash drive or hard drive when in disarmed mode
  • Only records a 10 second video clip when set to motion record
  • Cameras do not pan/tilt/zoom (nor digitally)

CleverLoop Smart Home Security System Price

The 4 cameras can be configured how you want as a mix of indoor or outdoor cameras or all the same.
When looking at similar cameras – such as the Nest Cam Security Camera which doesn’t have a learning algorithm but does have more environmental sensors, 1080 HD, 130 degree field of view and integrates with Nest. You are required to pay a monthly fee to access video storage. The pricing for the CleverLoop is similar and for 4 cameras is better by about £60.00.

The 4 camera system can be used for a house and a business – it can probably cover two entrances and your backyard or a car park but isn’t going to give you complete coverage. This can be enough for an apartment.

For a home as a minimum there are four areas you probably want to cover with cameras are the front door, back door, off street windows.

Also you probably want to cover areas that have items of high value such as a master bedroom (or at least in the access to the bedrooms) and garage.

The 4 cameras can give you coverage over the backdoor and front door and one other important area (indoors or outdoors) to give you coverage of the places criminals target first for entry and looking for valuable items.
You can add the additional cameras if you want to provide more coverage but you do need to buy a base station when you want more than 3.

Review Summary

CleverLoop as a home monitoring system does a very good job.

There are some areas of concern with the lack of back up (seems to be an issue with most systems), that everyone added to the system has the same rights to make changes to the system, you have to buy a base station every time you want to add more than 4 cameras.

The camera themselves provide a good clear image of what is happening and who is doing it. It does make it very easy to keep an eye on your home through notifications and live feeds.

The Cleverloop passes our tests and is right up there with the best of the WIFI Camera’s out there.

 

 

 

 

 

Moving home, Mortgage calculators – don’t overlook home security

Moving in to a new Home – Don’t Neglect your Home security.
Moving into a new home is the perfect time to think about security

New Home – New Home Security

It’s that time of year where we all like to check our mortgage calculators and plan our year ahead. For those of us moving home it can be a stressful time and we often overlook some of the most important things associated with that move – home security. For those of us staying where we are, planning how to keep burglars away is just as important as those monthly mortgage repayments. Below are a list of steps that we should keep in mind as we begin 2017.

Alarm systems

Make sure your alarm system is working. This may seem obvious but even if one connection is loose at an entry point your home becomes unsecure. Burglars can enter from that entry point and your alarm system will fail to ring. Noise has proven to be one of the most effective ways of scaring burglars once they have entered your home so making sure your system works has never been more important. The rise of smart home technology and smart cameras has now made it even easier to monitor your home whilst away. New inventions like the clever loop home security kit ensure you’re doing everything in your power to protect your home.

Locks

Ensure all your locks are secure and not old and easily broken. Locks are one of the few things we change regularly and we shouldn’t have to either. However its always good to have a look at all the locks whether your moving into a new home or staying in your existing home. Make sure that it’s difficult to forcibly break into your home. New home purchasers often find that locks are not always as secure as they had hoped with them being something that’s easily overlooked when moving in. we suggest using British standard locks. In order for any lock to be classed as a ‘British Standard’ lock they must have been through rigorous testing including strength, durability and of course security, these products are also re-assessed and re-tested to ensure you have complete confidence in the safety, quality and reliability of the locks you have installed in your home. A higher quality lock such as a British Standard lock can act as a great deterrent against burglary as it will make it a lot harder for the intruder to gain entry.

Secure the perimeter

Fencing, hedging and walls around your home can attract or deter thieves. It’s always a good practice to comb over your surroundings and look for any possible entry points. Large walls and hedges though in theory are good they have proven to increase home insurance premiums for one simple reason; once a burglar has got passed them they are free to work without the fear of being interrupted from onlookers. It’s therefore advisable to have smaller hedges and walls that make it difficult but don’t obscure the view of anyone passing by too much. Thorny hedges under your windows and around the home have always proven to be effective ways of deterring burglars.  Gravel and stone driveways are also good as they create noise when passed over drawing attention to any uninvited guests.

Lights –Burglars are in search of houses with no one home. To reduce your home’s risk of burglary at night, install motion lights on the front and on the rear of your house wherever possible. To be extra cautious, try to position the lights at the corners of your residence so the motion detectors can catch someone approaching from the side. Make sure the lights are positioned at a height that someone cannot disable them by easily reaching up and unscrewing the bulb. Also use lighting within the home to give the perception the home is not empty. The light switch timer is a programmable timer that controls your existing mains lights when you’re away. If your home looks occupied then a burglar is more likely to strike elsewhere.

Protect your valuables – Don’t leave your valuables (Laptop, jewellery, mobiles etc.) where they can be seen from a window, consider drapes or blinds so that any view of the interior of your home is restricted.

The illusion of being home

If you work evenings or know you are going away on holiday for a number of weeks there are a number of cheaper options available that when used give the illusion that someone is still in the property.

  • Light switch timer – programmable timer for your mains lights
  • TV Simulator – Simulates the light of a LED TV.
  • Pay for Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ Service to ensure any post you receive whilst you’re away doesn’t pile up; this can be a tell-tale sign that your property isn’t currently occupied.
  • Introduce your self to the neighbours.