Outside security ideas - battery powered?

Hello everyone,

Just starting out with Home Assistant, and I’m interested in adding some kind of outside security for our house - however, I have no electrical outlets on the outside and due to local laws, self-adding outlets is not a possibility… And since I’m not looking to spend a ton of money, calling in an electrician is not on the table at the moment.

So, I’ve been looking at battery powered cameras, but I can’t decide if they are “a thing”? And, most of them seem very expensive, at least for my low-budget-project.

My current thought would be a few movement sensors that in turn triggers lights inside the house, if movement is triggered in a certain time-period. I know the Xiaomi movement sensors aren’t certified for outdoor use, but it will be possible to place them (for parts of the house) under cover. I won’t have any way of optically checking what kind of motion detected, but I guess that’s okay at the moment.

I currently don’t see cameras inside our house as having any form of wife-acceptance-factor, but if the idea is good enough, I’ll try my best sales pitch.
(to be honest, WAF is not even high on the current project, more on the "If you find that to be fun, alrighty :smiley: )

So, if you have any ideas for how to setup something along the lines of what I’m looking for, do join in!


Have a look at POE cameras. One cable and all you need is a switch or a power injector ! You can then place them outside or inside but also use zoneminder(linux)or blueiris(windows) or even motioneye(HA) to integrate them with HA. The integrations are only limited by what you think you want to achieve.

I also support the use of poe ip-cameras, but yeah I think for some budgets they aren’t reasonable. Outdoor ratings are what they are… at the end of the day it’s good old mother nature and physics that will determine the end of life for your devices (not some govt approval stamp). So if you put it up under the eaves and there’s not a ton of humidity/heat/cold, then you’ll be fine for a long time. If not then taking it apart, masking the sensor, and spraying it with conformal coating would be a budget weatherproofing solution. If you get salt spray from ocean waves, you’ll have to be much more aggressive with your plan for protection.

All that said, PIR motion sensors generally speaking, suck outdoors. For example they will give all kinds of false positives when the shadow of a tree branch is in view. Even inside, depending on the quality of the sensor, shadows can cause problems. In this regard, even for indoors motion, you will get what you pay for. Some cheaper sensors may false positive all the time. If all the areas you need to cover have no fast moving shadows (bushes, trees, plants, flags, etc), then you’re in luck and won’t really have to worry about this.

The problem with shadows and motion sensing even extends to camera detection. The good thing with cameras is they have software features available that can help minimize false positives in challenging outdoor situations. I have a front door cam that looks at a mess of japanese maple branch shadows during the day… but after tuning the detection on my pc based nvr software it works reliably with very rare false positives (like 2/week on windy spring afternoons). It does this with a combo of smarts like ignoring unnecessary areas, limiting the size, density, speed, and direction of movement triggers, and also only triggering when said movement crosses a defined line on the screen. A PIR motion sensor won’t do any of these things that are required to ‘catch a bad guy running though tree shadows’.

[edit: I was thinking, had I been involved in an overnight duct tape security project, I’d probably make use of photo detectors and emitters. You could cover a small property on a budget and fairly simply with those (these are just like garage door safety sensors). Last resort, a thin conductive tripwire, lol! :wink:

The WAF of a tripwire is, while I haven’t asked, very likely to be exactly 0! :smiley:

The house is built so the main entrance is covered by a carport while the “main” windows are covered by an awning, so motion sensors shouldn’t experience too much disturbance. Backside of the house might be a little more difficult, but all the more interesting to find out.

Not sure the security is fully needed, at the moment it might be more because I’m in need of a project. But, at least I’ll learn something.

Wasn’t aware of the existence of PoE cameras, will check them out!

If you are interested in poe cams a good place to read up on them and ask questions is ipcamtalk.com. The folks there were really helpful to me when I was setting up my ip cam system. A good poe cam setup is not a toy, and will not be ‘cheap’ compared to lesser things (like arlo, etc), but it is well worth it if the security is a need rather than a thing to show off.