I just got my first week of YI Home Camera experience under my belt and know enough to tell you that there is a lot of stuff that isn’t sufficiently documented. And some stuff that isn’t documented at all. Our article entitled Yi Home Camera Tips and Tricks tries to close the gap between fairly useful and really useful functionality.
A detailed review of the Yi Home Camera was published a week ago. We gave the Yi Home Camera a thumbs up based upon a slew of higher end features coupled with a budget minded price. We were impressed enough to name it Best Low Priced Home Security Camera for 2017. It was the last camera we looked at in 2016 and we’re glad we found out about the Yi entry.
So let’s move right into some Yi Home Camera tips and tricks. I learned these the hard way and figured I would share them in this follow up article to our review.
View a Yi Home Camera on a Windows Laptop or Desktop
The Yi Home Camera is accessed, setup and maintained using their smartphone applications. There is no browser access. However, there is a hard to find program that provides Windows access to your Yi Home Camera video. The program is written by Yi and available on their site.
Simply download and install onto your desktop. The Windows program isn’t a substitution for the smartphone app as it is strictly for viewing (you an also change the video from HD to SD to Auto). There is a Settings button on the left side of the display but clicking it simply provides the camera name and ID. Perhaps there are plans for more functionality in a future enhancement.
Download the Yi Home PC App and give it a try.
Activate Video Archives for Yi Home Camera Motion Events
The base Yi Home Camera doesn’t come with a micro SD card. The cloud feature is activated only when motion alerts are in effect.
What if you want to record motion events without being alerted? That’s where the micro SD card comes in. The Yi Home Camera supports up to a 32 GB card. I used the PNY Elite 32GB microSDHC Card. It’s rated at up to 85 MB per second and works well with the Yi Home Camera. Buy a 32 GB card as the price increase is minimal versus a smaller 16 GB cariety. Be sure the micro SD card used is Class 10 or UHS 1 (or higher).
Now, power the Yi Home Camera off, insert the card, then plug it back in. The camera will recognize the presence of the memory card. Now go into settings and turn on Activity Detection Recording. That option is only available when a memory card is present. All motion events will be recorded to the on-board memory card in one minute increments. This recording takes place without the Smart Detection option being activated.
Now, I can view motion events from many days ago. How many days worth depends upon the amount of activity that occurs in front of the camera. As a point of reference, my Yi Home Camera points out a front window with a street view. When a car passes by, the event is recorded to the memory card.
Approximately 3 GB of storage has been used in a 60 hour period. Extrapolating it forward says that I should be able to store roughly 25 days before it is overwritten. Keep in mind that your amount of activity will influence this calculation. A low activity environment will allow a greater number of days to be stored. When the card is full, the software will automatically delete the first hour of video and continue recording.
A screen capture with motion is attached to this article.
Activate Additional Layers of App Security
The Yi Home App is one of the few that incorporates additional smartphone security measures.
Go to Settings then click on PIN Protection. Enter a four-digit code. Refrain from using your smartphone code as that’s making it too easy.
Once PIN Protection is activated, the Touch ID option is available. Your stored fingerprint will be used when this is activated. Now one might think you would be prompted for the fingerprint when the app is first started but that’s not the case. When the app is opened, a lock appears on the camera that is protected. Click on that locked display to be prompted for the fingerprint authentication.
Place a Yi Camera Somewhere Other Than a Table
A Yi camera is typically placed on a table or shelf. Not surprising given the stand that’s included with the camera. However, the camera can be removed from the stand and alternate mounts can be deployed as illustrated in this article about Yi Camera Mounts.
So, that’s what I have discovered thus far. I’ll update the article as I gain more experience with the YI Home Camera.
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).