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Old 02-13-2018, 11:23 AM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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Tell me about the "Ring" doorbell/front porch security system

I've seen one too many videos of sketchy characters prowling around porches after midnight, as circulated by the people who are our neighbors through the website NextDoor. My husband has mentioned getting a front door camera or video device.

All the videos I see on NextDoor have mentioned "Ring". I know next to nothing about it. Does anyone have experience with it, and can tell me if it's a good system, or if not, discuss another one? I don't want some massively complex system; we're only an attached home without a lot of valuable stuff. I just want to know if a theft ring is casing our home at night or while we're at work.
  #2  
Old 02-13-2018, 12:03 PM
Pixel_Dent Pixel_Dent is offline
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We have one. It hooked up to the existing doorbell wiring to get its power so install was pretty easy (maybe 15 minutes). In addition to all the video features it makes the existing doorbell ring when it's pressed so that's nice.

It connects to our wifi network. When someone presses the doorbell I get a notification on my cell phone and can see and talk to the person at the door even if I'm at work. You can also set it up to notify you when anyone moves through a portion of its line of sight you define. I found it easy to adjust that to just tell me if someone was on the porch and not if a car drove past the house. I can also just tell it at any point that I just want to see what it's looking at from my phone or my computers at home or work.

It stores one minute videos whenever anyone rings the doorbell or just moves into its line of sight, so you can always go back and see who that was that was on your porch at 2PM yesterday.

The only issue we had with it is the first one we got was a lemon. It would work fine until it was in direct sunlight around 1PM each day and then it would die and need to be reset. After a few days of that I sent it back, got a new one, and the new one has worked flawlessly for the last 6 months. I've read of other people having the same issue so it seems like they have some QC issues. But, as I said, once I got a good one it's worked flawlessly.

Last edited by Pixel_Dent; 02-13-2018 at 12:03 PM.
  #3  
Old 02-13-2018, 12:49 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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We have two -- one for the front and one for the back.

We got them after someone vandalized all of our cars* -- they scratched the paint, broke off windshield wipers, bent the antennas. At that point we were more interested in the lights than anything else -- lights are a great deterrent.


When we first put them in place, I couldn't get either to work. Our house isn't all that big, but it was apparently too big for our Wifi signal to reach. After trying several things, I ultimately had to get two Wifi extenders. Now it works great. we can call up an image from the front or back at any time, even at night. You can adjust how sensitive the motion sensors are to local motion -- we regularly get the lights turning on for wildlife (the coyotes here have gotten BIG), but it's worth it. We haven't had a repeat since.



*We think it was done by some of my wife's students. They had earlier done a milder attack, writing obscenities on the driveway and cars with chalk, but that washed off. The paint-scratching was surprisingly expensive.
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2018, 01:43 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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We were considering this for my parents' house, as they're elderly and often have people like physical therapists visiting. I was surprised that the same company doesn't sell smart locks, as it seems an obvious thing that would work well with the video doorbell.
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:49 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Our NextDoor recommended them too, and they were the top pick of a website rating smart doorbells. I saw one with a battery - anyone use that?

It wouldn't cover our cars, but I found a camera for under $50 that might work. It can be mounted high enough that it would be reasonably safe. We suspect that our motion sensor above the garage door looks like a camera already.
  #6  
Old 02-13-2018, 02:00 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
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The product description for the Ring Floodlight Cam says it includes "a free 30-day trial of Ring Video Recording". Considering low priced monthly services scare me more than thieves, am I going to be locked into monthly payments for Ring or it that just for cloud storage or something I don't really need to have for the product?
  #7  
Old 02-13-2018, 02:51 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
The product description for the Ring Floodlight Cam says it includes "a free 30-day trial of Ring Video Recording". Considering low priced monthly services scare me more than thieves, am I going to be locked into monthly payments for Ring or it that just for cloud storage or something I don't really need to have for the product?
The monthly payment is only for storing video recordings. If you don't use that service -- we don't -- you don't pay anything more to Ring after you've bought the device.
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2018, 03:01 PM
Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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We have one. I like it a lot! Easy for my husband to install to the existing doorbell. One night we got a visitor - a possum was on our porch!

You can get a live view when someone rings your doorbell. It's nice to see packages get delivered. It even showed the A-hole Fedex driver throw our package from the driveway onto the porch!
  #9  
Old 02-13-2018, 03:04 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
The monthly payment is only for storing video recordings. If you don't use that service -- we don't -- you don't pay anything more to Ring after you've bought the device.
I can see us wanting to forward a video recording to the police. If we don't pay for storing video recordings, can we still somehow send a video to someone?
  #10  
Old 02-13-2018, 03:26 PM
SmellMyWort SmellMyWort is offline
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I would recommend reading some of the reviews for them on Amazon. It sounds like if you don't pony up for the cloud storage that the window to watch/save video of someone at your door is very short. Short enough that if you have a slow phone or device with the app it might not even get it open in time. That said, Costco currently has the Ring 2 on sale for $160 including the Ring Chime (which I think just gives you an audible notification in addition to the alert on the app--a $30 value) and a year of free cloud storage. That is $30 off their normal price for the combo. The Ring 2 alone is $169 on Amazon.
  #11  
Old 02-13-2018, 04:26 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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I picked up a Netgear Arlo Pro system a couple months ago. Kind of pricey ($350 on sale) but works flawlessly.
I got one with two cameras (you can get a single camera or run multiple cameras on the same system). The cameras are completely wireless so you can put them just about anywhere and move them around when you want. The cameras have a magnet in them so if you want to mount them on a wall or overhang they give you a little metal half-sphere you mount, and then the camera just sticks to it and you can pivot it in the direction you want.
The one at my front door is mounted up high so no one grabs it and runs off with it. I haven't mounted the one out back yet so I've been using it in various places around the house to monitor a few contractors that have been doing some work for me while I'm out.
They have rechargable batteries in them which supposedly last up to 6 months (mine are at 80% after 45 days) and when they run out you plug them into a charger for a couple hours.
Everything is run off an app (free) and you get alerts when they sense movement with the sensitivity set by you. Or you can just watch a live feed. You can talk back and forth like the ring doorbell and they also have a "siren" option so you can scare off unwanted visitors remotely.
And they also have night vision for my back yard.
If I had any complaint it would be the conversation feature. There is a noticeable dealy in the transmissions, the audio mutes while you speak, and a back-and-forth conversation gets rather difficult.
  #12  
Old 02-13-2018, 04:39 PM
Raza Raza is offline
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I just installed the Ring Pro this weekend; so far, so good. The Pro is 1080p and doesn't use a battery, but requires existing doorbell wiring.

A really useful feature with the Pro is that you can define a pretty complex polygon (say, 12 points) to define your motion detection area. This helped us immensely, since our doorbell/camera faces a street; I was able to define an area around our front deck and sidewalk that avoided the street.
  #13  
Old 02-13-2018, 05:02 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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My son has one and they like it. When someone rings the doorbell it connects on his and my DIL's cellphones, so they can talk to the person on the porch as if they were in the house, even if they're at work. Records everybody that comes onto their porch via motion sensor, so they know instantly if their packages are delivered.

The downside: if, for instance, I am there babysitting my grandkids and someone rings the bell, I won't hear it. My son and DIL who are sitting at a restaurant somewhere will hear it. This is not a terrible problem though as I wouldn't be inclined to answer it anyway.

I don't need one, I have a dog who is happy to alert me to anyone on the porch at any hour of the day or night.
  #14  
Old 02-13-2018, 07:15 PM
MeanJoe MeanJoe is offline
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My wife wanted one for Christmas but I've yet to install it. I missed the few random warm days and haven't wanted to go out in the cold to install it. We bought the Ring Doorbell 2 which has the battery. Our 130+ year old home does not have a separate wire for power running to the doorbell and pulling new wire is all but an impossibility at this stage. I understand that the existing low voltage wires are not enough to power the video so when the camera activates it draws from the battery. To avoid having to regularly pull the batter and re-charge, I was told that the existing wires will "slow trickle" the battery and recharge it so it shouldn't be an issue. I'm no electrician so I have no idea if this is true or if I was sold a story to overcome my concern.
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  #15  
Old 02-13-2018, 07:43 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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I have the Ring 2 and also like it. Plus, my city has a grant program aimed at security cameras. For basically agreeing to let the cops get a copy of your video if something happens on your block, you get some money back on your purchase.

The one I have is the battery powered version. Looks like you have to charge it maybe 4 times a year, which involves using a special screwdriver to remove the battery, recharging it for several hours, and reinstalling.

I also got the indoor ringer. Costs like $25, you plug it into the wall, and makes a chime when someone rings. This addresses the annoyance of not hearing a ring if your phone is in another part of the house.

A few downsides that aren’t showstoppers: I get about 8 alerts per day of motion at my door which are actually trucks going down my misty sleepy street. So, the false alarm rate is higher than I’d like. (There are adjustments, but I just don’t think there’s a way to eliminate this problem)

Also, the motion sensor triggers the camera, which means that it always would have been nice to catch the 5 seconds before the camera came on. No way around this without making issue number 1 slightly worse, I think.

I also believe that part of these two issues is just how my front door is set up relative to my street. If your front door had a different position than mine relative to what the camera can see, I would not be surprised if some had an even better experience.

But yes, without doubt, I would buy one (or one like it) again.
  #16  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:26 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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I plan to get one this spring when we replace our front door. I'm also considering a few of the lights/cameras. Does anyone know if they can be individually disabled temporarily (short of removing the power)? I would like one to cover the back yard/deck, but we have a fire pit and frequently have people over and would hate for the light to kick on every time someone runs into the house to go to the restroom or freshen their drink.
  #17  
Old 02-14-2018, 06:59 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spud View Post
I plan to get one this spring when we replace our front door. I'm also considering a few of the lights/cameras. Does anyone know if they can be individually disabled temporarily (short of removing the power)? I would like one to cover the back yard/deck, but we have a fire pit and frequently have people over and would hate for the light to kick on every time someone runs into the house to go to the restroom or freshen their drink.
The Netgear Arlo cams can be toggled off/on through the app.
  #18  
Old 02-14-2018, 09:54 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
...
The downside: if, for instance, I am there babysitting my grandkids and someone rings the bell, I won't hear it. My son and DIL who are sitting at a restaurant somewhere will hear it. This is not a terrible problem though as I wouldn't be inclined to answer it anyway.
...
Any chance they have an old phone lying around that they could set up on their wifi (no phone service needed) with the appropriate app, and leave that out when you're babysitting? Or I suppose you could set up the app on your own phone but you don't need to know when their doorbell is ringing when you're not there .

I'm in no rush to get such a gadget. Too many security issues with Internet Of Things devices.
  #19  
Old 02-14-2018, 08:51 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
The Netgear Arlo cams can be toggled off/on through the app.
I may be missing something, but these don't seem to have the lights or audio.
  #20  
Old 02-15-2018, 01:05 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post

I'm in no rush to get such a gadget. Too many security issues with Internet Of Things devices.
Since they are just showing the street and your porch - which are not private - I'm not too worried. Internet door locks, on the other hand. No way for those.
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