Motorola Homesight Unpacking, Installation and System Components
The Motorola homesight system components come in very nice retail packages. The retail clamshells contained helpful information and did a very good job of explaining the function of each kit as well as the specific contents of each package. The Easy Start Kit is by far the largest package, with all other components being available as individual items that can be purchased a la carte. In this way, the consumer can completely customize the system for their home and no products are wasted. I appreciated this approach as it would have been all too easy to force consumers into picking up grouped items that would result in wasted money and unused kit components.
As I unpacked the individual sensors and cameras I saw that nearly every component was encased by a UV-resistant ABS plastic. This is a good quality plastic that resists yellowing and also allows creative molding and design elements to be used in the products - which Motorola took advantage of in designing some of the kit components. The included AC adapters and extension cables all seemed of acceptable quality, especially the 60' extension cable for the wired camera which appeared to be a heavy duty ADB (6-pin) cable.
There are two ways to set up a home security system. One, you could figure out a very intelligent, thoughtful and efficient way to set up the Motorola homesight, or two, you can choose the "kid in a candy store" method. We chose the former and I'll outline the steps I took, along with some challenges I ran into along the way. If, perchance, you see a chance to improve the method, please take it.
Software Installation and Configuration
Installing and launching the software was very simple and I encountered no difficulties in getting the application to go through the process. As part of the installation process you will connect the Wireless System Controller to your PC (but not before it asks you to). At this point you are ready to run the Motorola homesight setup process which readies your system to add additional components.
Connecting the Wireless System Controller
The one known constant in setting up the system involved unpacking the Easy Start Kit and making the necessary connections for the Wireless System Controller. It connects to the PC via USB 2.0 and requires a 12VDC power adapter (included). You will want to place the Controller in a centralized location - however, you need to connect it to a PC, and so you are a bit limited in that regard. This is where I wished Motorola had utilized on-board firmware such as found with most routers, allowing you to locate the Controller anywhere an Ethernet connection was present. This would entail a complete web interface to the configuration and monitoring software and was apparently not the direction Motorola wanted to take, likely due to the built-in video functions and desire for cost savings.
Wireless Camera - Day
I next installed the Wireless Camera - Day which also includes a motion sensor. I decided to place this camera in the living room (and I later added another Wireless Day/Night camera) so that it could pick up that wide open area. I set this camera on the counter using the included stand since there was no need to mount it on a wall for the angle I was attempting to capture. The Wireless Camera - Day is a rather rugged device. The camera can be manually swiveled from left to right in an arc that allows both a wide assortment of placement and positioning options as well as a way to hone the included motion sensor's field of coverage. The light on front tells of the device is active (green) or disengaged (red) and a 12VDC adapter provides power, so you'll need to plan to be somewhat near an outlet. An 8' extension cable for the AC adapter is provided, so you don't need to be right on top of one. Possibly the greatest thing that was overlooked in the design of this camera was the ability for it to tilt up or down. It would have been an incredibly useful feature and it was sorely missed when positioning the cameras for an optimal viewing angle. To allow the Motorola homesight system to recognize the camera, activate the Device Discovery function of the software and insert the included plastic "toothpick" into the Discovery hole on the camera (just behind the motion sensor in the top of the unit.) Should you decide to mount the camera, the included instruction sheets feature a template which can be used to easily drill pilot holes and plan the positioning of the device on a wall.
The Wireless Door/Window Sensor is the first component that makes you sit up and realize that this truly is a wireless connection (not even an AC adapter is needed for this device. A pair of AAA batteries (included) power this sensor for up to a full year according to the information provided by Motorola. There is a thin antenna that gets screwed into the top of the sensor. Motorola claims that once a unit is "Discovered" it will not need to be discovered again - even in the event of a power loss (or in this case, changing of batteries). I hope this is true because the Discovery hole is located on the rear of the unit (a design mistake in my opinion). If you utilize the included two-sided tape to affix the sensor to a door or window you will find it impossible to gain access to the rear of the unit without having to destroy the tape. The batteries are easily removable and in either case, I would recommend the use of the small mounting screws to affix the sensor to the door or window. A small helpful hint: be sure to attach the larger wireless sensor to the fixed part of the system (door frame, window sill/wall) and attach the small magnet brick to the moving part of the system (door, sliding window, etc). For all of the sensors, the included instruction sheets feature a template which can be used to easily drill pilot holes and plan the positioning of the sensors.
The wired camera is perfect for using in the room which houses the Wireless Control System. In this case it was the office. You can connect up to three of them to a single base station and use the Device Detection to add them into the monitoring system. Each wired Camera comes with a 60' extension cable (a 6-pin ADB cable) so you have almost unlimited flexibility in placement. In addition, the ADB cable supplies power to the camera so there is no need to locate it near an outlet.
I installed two Wireless Day/Night cameras in my home. One was placed in the living room for security and another was placed in the toddler room to allow us to monitor him remotely. As with all of the Motorola cameras, the Wireless Day/Night Camera has a built-in passive infrared motion detector as well as microphone. It is exactly similar to the Wireless Day Camera noted earlier, except that it also features a color infrared camera which can take pictures in 0 lux light conditions (absolute darkness). It is perfect for any security or monitoring needs that don't allow for a well-lit area.
AC adapter, 8' adapter extender and mounting hardware are again included. I chose to wall mount one of the cameras and table mount the other. The process to mount the camera on the wall was easy thank to the included mounting template, and Motorola even included white cable holders that can be nailed into the wall to run the wire neatly up a corner (which I did).