Simple Cloud Based Home Surveillance




Introduction: Simple Cloud Based Home Surveillance

Why DIY?

Leaving your house for that one two week vacation has always felt a little bit unnerving. While traditional home security systems may cost up to a thousand each year and dedicated IP cameras may set you back hundreds of dollars, building your own surveillance system has never been easier.

Why this Instructable?

If you are looking for a easy entry-level solution to your surveillance needs, look no further. This solution builds upon existing free to use technologies and will not cost you a cent if you have the prerequisite materials.

What You Need:

Step 1: Set Up DropBox

Download Dropbox

  • download the exe
  • run the exe

Sign In or Sign Up

Create a Dropbox Folder for your Security Cam

  • Click on the Dropbox icon on your toolbar (bottom left corner near the time)
  • Click on the little Folder to navigate to your local Dropbox folder on your computer
  • Create a folder to store images captured by your webcam

Step 2: Setup Your Webcam Software


Download and Install YawCam

  • download
  • run the exe
  • launch Yawcam

Plug in Your USB Webcam

this is self explanatory but just in case...

  • find your USB port
  • plug in the USB cable from your webcam
  • flip your USB cable connector because you tried the wrong side
  • celebrate your success

In YawCam:

  • From the toolbar > Settings > Detect webcam..

A popup window will appear

  • > Choose PC Camera > Ok

Now in your preview window you should be able to see your webcam feed

Setup Motion Detection

  • Click 'Enable' to start motion detection
  • In the toolbar >Window >Motion Detection
  • In the motion detection window
    • >'Action' Tab > Check 'Save File'
    • >Click on 'Settings'
    • Choose the file path for your Dropbox folder

Linux (Ubuntu)

This is a little bit more involved. You need some knowledge of command line but hey, if you are using Linux you're up for it.

Installing Motion

$ sudo apt-get install motion

Configuring Motion

  • Create a copy of the config in your home directory to edit

$ mkdir .motion

$ sudo cp /etc/motion/motion.conf ~/.motion/motion.conf

  • Open the config file with your favourite text editor

$ sudo ~/.motion/motion.conf

  • Make desired changes to your config

target_dir - make sure this points to your Dropbox folder


Download and Install iSentry

  • >'Uploads' Tab
  • Choose your Dropbox location

Step 3: Set Up IFTTT

Sign Up or Sign In

  • visit the website

Add IFTTT Recipes

Make sure to connect your email and phone to IFTTT to take advantage of these features

Add Email Notification When Motion is Detected

  • change the subfolder field for Dropbox (e.g. I named my folder /securityCam)

Add SMS Notification When Motion is Detected

  • change the subfolder field for Dropbox (e.g. I named my folder /securityCam

Step 4: Tweak and Enjoy!

Make Your Own Custom IFTTT Recipe

Change Your Webcam Settings

Multiple Old Computers Lying Around? Set up surveillance for your whole home

Try Google Drive instead of Dropbox


Have fun!

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    4 years ago

    You know what would be really cool ? Some instructions that the average computer user could actually make work. These don't.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    you could also get a bunch of old android phones on ebay for $20 and under with mini hdmi, or even use the WiFi to make them wireless for internet, and a PoE (power over ethernet) injector so that you plug the phone into the charger, the charger to the PoE injector, and run Ethernet cable down to your nearest or chosen outlet via the PoE station. I am planning on doing something like this myself


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I'll be watching out for this if you do make it :)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    thanks, I currently have other project planned first but I have already bought a Asus EEPC (basically a tiny laptop) on ebay for $40 and external hard drive to act as my DVR/server. i plan on slowly buying all of the other components that I need for this. I was thinking of using a Rasp Pi, but then it would be too much $$ as I would have to buy the Pi, the camera module, the SD card, write all of that code to get it up and running, and a housing for it all for each unit.... this way I can just buy the phones, download and install the software, and I am up and running. Thanks again for the inspiration :)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice and easy to follow instructable, but I think you should extend it by adding instructions for Linux and OS X. I don't think it would be much difficult, the only thing you need to change is the motion detection software instructions, instead of YawCam you will need to use an alternative for Linux and OS X.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks and good idea! I don't have a Mac but I will be looking into Linux.