Home & Office Surveillance: Uniden Guardian

Home & Office security cameras have taken a huge leap forward in the past few years.  The ability to store video on SD or Micro-SD cards, wireless cameras, and smartphone apps that allow viewing of video via the Internet have forever changed the technology of home & office surveillance.  

A couple of years ago, we saw the Uniden Guardian on sale at Costco, and, always being curious about technology (and having an aging yellow lab (Sunny) that we wanted to keep track of when we were not home), we purchased a 2 camera set to install at home.

Feature Chart for Uniden Guardians G755 and G955

This chart shows the features I deem most important for a home & office security camera.  I will use this chart in this series as a quick comparison.

uniden guardian features

Figure 1 shows the architecture of the G755 at home.  At work we installed 4 cameras, two pointing down the hall in each direction and one camera in each of the two stairways.

Guardian home architecture

The Uniden Guardian version we purchased (G755) came with two wireless cameras, a base unit, and a 4 gig SD card.

home base niceThe base unit needs to be set-up in the house where you have a wired connection to the Internet, and is also within a 100 feet or so of all the cameras.  This is were the video storage happens, so if your house is broken into it should be hidden somewhere where the burglars can’t find it.  Needing to be connected to both power and a wired network connection makes hiding it rather difficult (it does have a battery, but, you lose Internet access when you take it out of the base). The base unit has a touch screen which takes a bit of getting used to (you really have to touch an option to get it to work). But, it does a fair job of recording the video (although on the G955 when all 4 cameras are active there are occasional lapses). The cameras work well in low light except that the resolution takes a major hit. Grabbing the video from the SD card is as easy as taking the SD card out and putting it in your computer. We have had to do this several times, including once for the Tracy Police Department who were called to our neighbors for a break-in (yes, we saw the guy who did it).

Tough neighborhood….arrrghhh.

guardian camera niceExcept for needing power, the camera installation was easy.  The cameras connected easily to the base unit and they work very well in full light and work at a much lower resolution in low light. In fact, watching Sunny at night in a dark house we could hardly tell that the lights were completely off.  Very impressive.  When there is fast action though (like cars driving by the house), the nighttime video kinda sucks.

We have had the outside camera (see the featured picture) in the elements for a couple of years and it has worked perfectly.  Rain, sunshine, 100+ degrees to 30 degrees..no problem.  The only issue I have with the cameras is that it clicks on with spiderwebs (and raindrops), and here, for some reason we have spiderwebs galore (not so much rain), so I am outside a lot with our handy dandy extendable Webster.

Using the Uniden Guardian

The base station has many features that can be set-up for your particular installation.

list of features

Here is a peek at the System Setup menu option.

inside system setup

In the G755 at home, I have to go into the “Format Storage” area quite often since this version does not allow recording over memory space.  That means that when the spiderwebs fill up the 4 gig of memory, I have to reformat the SD card.  A stupid design decision, and I let them know it!  FYI, The newer G955 at the office just keeps recording.

Selecting a video to watch is very easy.  The picture below shows the calendar of recordings.  You just select the day, then the time and watch the video.  You can fast forward and go back or go to the next or previous video slice.  Another complaint: The video runs for 2 minutes after the camera detects motion (or spiderwebs).  I want to make that 30 seconds or 45 seconds.  BUT, there is no adjustment even in the newer G955.  That is needed.  Hint, Hint.

list of recordings

recodings

The above picture shows the detailed recording list.  You read it like this: The recording A055209-1 means that the recording took place at 5:52 AM with Camera 1 and it is recorded in MP4 format.

Here is a shot of our friend, Pat, coming up the driveway as seen from the base unit.

pat

Smartphone Apps

uniden guardian app iconThe handiest feature of the Uniden Guardian is the ability to watch the video via a smartphone app wherever you are. You can also get an email when the camera detects motion, but, because of the outside camera spiderwebs and cars, I did not use that option.

Below are some screen shots of the app loaded on my Galaxy Note 4 (note that I could also see, and select, the office cameras when I still had the office). There is an app that works on the iPhone too.

home screen note 4 screen shot 1 selecting a camera

When Sunny was alive (we lost our 14.5 year old baby the day after Thanksgiving) we used Camera 2 as Sunny-cam.

Here is a video of some idiot thieves stealing a car battery I had ready to go back to Sears.

Conclusion

Technology has progressed enough to make home & office surveillance robust, inexpensive, and fully featured.

The Uniden Guardian is fully featured, easy to install and operate, and reliable.  Although it has some irksome issues, it has been a good choice for our first home & office security camera solution.

I will continue this blog series looking at several more home and office security cameras in the coming weeks, so click the “Follow TechyMike” button to get notifications when new blogs are posted.

Gotta love technology!

Sunny (May 3, 2000 – Nov 28, 2014)

sunny on beach

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