Make your own Video Surveillance System

Want to know what to do with an old android phone you don’t really want to throw away because it still runs fine?

Well have I got something for you! I have this busted old Asus Zenfone 2 I’m going to use to make a security camera and I’m going to show you how I’m going to do it!

First you need to install the IP Webcam app on the phone. This is a small app that allows the phone to broadcast it’s camera feed over a wireless connection. Which is exactly what we’re looking for. Plus for a set and forget phone, the free version’s ads won’t even be a bother.

phone 1Second while you in the Android App store disable automatic updates. Some updates can break the system and cause your camera to now work so you want to be able to update the phone on your own terms (preferrably monthly at minimum)

phone 2

After installing the App you need to do some configuring:

phone 3

First open the app go to video preferences, make sure the video resolution is set to something you can use. Normally a security camera is barely set to a 480p resolution, but this app and your phones far superior camera you can go as high as you want. Just keep in mind the higher you set this the more LAN network band with your “security” camera will use which might affect other devices.

phone 4

I’m personally going to use 1280×720 which should be more than sufficient enough for my needs

Second go into Effects and enable text overly, now your video feed can be used as evidence in a court of law in case something happens.Screenshot_2018-02-17-15-36-24


Third enable “Stream on device boot” so if your phone ever shuts off and comes back on, you’ll have the IP Webcam app automatic start running again.

phone 5


Forth to test the system out, simply scroll to the bottom and hit “Start Server”

You should see a screen much like this one here. On the bottom of that screen there are 4 lines of text. You have 2 IPV4 addresses an IPV6 and it tells you how many devices are connected right now. And yes Im typing this up with a laptop in my… Lap.

phone 7

At this point your pretty much done here. Lets go and look at how we can view this feed. There’s a few different ways. One is using a simple web browser and another through a video player like VLC that supports network streaming. See that first IPv4 address? That’s all you need. My IP Address shows up as “” in these pictures and you can simply type that into your web browser’s address bar. From there you can simply click an option on video renderer to view a video feed, and of course there’s an audio player too.

web browser

Now for VLC this can be accomplished in 4 easy steps first after opening VLC go to Media and select “Open Network Stream” and type your cameras IP address into the prompt, remember you must use “http://” part of the ip address and end the address with “/video” so VLC knows to watch the video feed. Unfortunately your can’t pull audio at the same time. Bummer.

vlc 1vlc 2vlc 3

Ok so now we have a fully functional and working security camera. However, there’s one more thing you need to do. You need to give your camera a Static IP address because if you don’t that allows the cameras IP address to change at an interval (In my case every 2 hours) and thus you will lose your camera feed! It’s easy. I’ll show you how to do it on a TP Link router, but your router should be a simple google search away on how to set an static IP.

router 1

After logging into your router go to the DHCP settings, you’ll need your devices mac address which conveniently shows up on my routers DHCP client list. And because I know the current IP address of my camera ( and I can simply pair that up with my mac address (30-5A-3A-18-3C-E7).

router 5

So now that I know all that go to Adress Reservation and click “Add New” type in the Mac Address and enter a IP Address you want to use. I prefer to set all my static IPs up in the range so I never have to deal with conflicts on any home systems on my network. Bear in mind that if you set the IP address to the same address another device is using you’ll cause a network conflict and neither device will have LAN access. Once you get it set adjust your viewing options in whatever software you’re going to use to watch your camera, and your literally set and good to go! Well after you reboot your router.

router 3router 4

What I’m going to do is just set this camera up and watch my front door so I can check in on who’s knocking on, or through the door. Either way it’s at least a cool thing to do with an old phone.

One thing I really like about IP Camera is that it supports even internet streaming (I believe it’s a paid service though) so eventually I’ll connect it so I can check on my home at any time in the future.

Want more things to do on a budget? Leave a comment below on what you want and I’ll see if I can do it and share how I did it!

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