on January 22, 2010
I've always been curious about what goes on at home when I'm not there. What do my dogs do all day? Can I watch my new little baby play and maybe take its first steps while I'm at work? This product is one of the simplest electronic products I've ever set-up. All I had to do was plug-in the camera, attach it to my home router and log in to the Astak site. My cameras were up and running.
This product can be used for so many different purposes: to be a video security/surveillance system, check on things at a business or home, or whatever else you can think of doing. Check out the stuff posted on You Tube. People actually caught people robbing their business.
This is what I like about this product:
1. Setup was a breeze
2. Only one wire to plug it into an outlet for power.
3. I can move the cameras around as needed. For example, some days I put it in my garage to watch the dogs while I'm gone. On other days, I have the camera sitting on the dresser in the babies room.
4. They are linked to your internet wirelessly
5. The website and camera functions are very easy to use
6. The image quality is great and the night vision works awesome.
7. I can share my camera with my family anywhere so that they can see whats going on. (Even my Brother-In-Law in the Army)
8. The range of my camera seemed just as good or better than my wireless home phone.
9. Works great with my iPhone to check in via the web.
10. The Yoics software program is very easy to use and easy to see other family members camera on a secure network. ( Many additional features also for remote desktop applications)
11. Directly posts videos to You Tube
12. Email alerts, motion detection, scheduled recording times, etc.
13. 270 degree turning radius with full tilt
14. Audio- so you can remotely hear what's going on
15. Remote viewing,sharing, and controlling
This is what I wish the product would do better:
1. Provide me with an iPhone app soon so that I can quickly check-in with one push of a button
2. Have a way for me to zoom into an area to get more clarity.
3. Have a battery back-up
Overall, I think the product is excellent for people that want to see what's going on in places when they are not there and they are not tech savy enough to hook up more difficult systems. I would recommend this for anyone and plan on buying more cameras in the future.
on December 3, 2010
- Initial setup very easy.
- Able to view easily from the web on computer or iPhone.
- Email alerts for motion detection works great.
- Video capture works well and will automatically upload to You Tube.
- Works well on wireless.
- Came with a 2GB SD Card (maybe only for Costco purchases).
- Night time pictures are decent, better than expected.
- Initialy could not view from the Mac or PC. See FAQ: [...]
- Software on the CD is worthless. Mac version did not work, didn't bother with the PC version. Recommend ignoring the CD.
- Software downloaded from [...] for the Mac worked once, then after would never load. Ended up removing it. Recommend ignoring this software as well.
- No ability to delete images or videos stored on the SD Card from the camera. You need to remove the SD Card and delete the files from a computer.
- When trying to watch a video stored on the SD card, it may crash the browser. You need to save it to your computer first then play the file.
For those interested here's my setup guide:
Mole Camera Setup:
- Get started:
-- Plug in LAN cable.
-- Plug in power.
- Register Your Camera:
-- Go to: [...]
-- Create a new account, it will detect your camera and bring up your camera's home page.
-- Note: If Yoics' site is down (unlikely), you can go directy to your camera's home page by typing in the IP address, e.g. 192.168.0.111
- Update browser:
-- At this point your camera is running, but you may not see a picture.
-- Reason is that you need to install an ActiveX Plug-in and/or QuickTime.
-- Instructions: [...]
- Setup Wireless:
-- Attach WiFi antenna.
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [Network] tabs.
-- Click the [Search] button and select your router.
-- Enter in the security settings for your router.
-- Unplug the power to your camera, unplug your LAN cable, plug the power back in. This will reset the camera so that it will now start using WiFi.
Setup Alerts and Remote Storage:
- Setup email notification:
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [e-mail] tabs.
-- For this you need to have an email account with SMTP. This is so that the camera can send the alert using this email account.
-- Enter the your email account settings.
-- Typical email settings: [...]
- Setup Alarm:
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [Alarm] tabs.
-- Check "E-mail Alarm".
-- Check "Send with Picture".
-- Check "Save Picture on the SD card".
-- Check `Save Video on the SD card". Must have this checked to upload to a remote storage.
- Setup Remote Storage for Video (optional):
-- Create a YouTube or Twitter account. This is if you want to upload your videos on the web so you can view them easier.
-- You can make these uploads private so that no one else can view them.
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [Remote Storage] tabs.
-- Enter your YouTube and/or Twitter account settings. Select "Private Youtube Upload" if you want to.
-- Note: You need to have selected "Save Video on the SD card".
Setup Motion Detection and Schedule:
- Setup Motion Detection:
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [Motion detection] tabs.
-- Select the areas where you want the camera to detect motion. I just used one window and expanded it to the full screen.
-- Select the sensitivity for each window. I set mine to 26. At 45 I was getting too many alerts.
- Setup Schedule:
-- This is when you want the camera's motion detection to be running. Generally you want to schedule it when you're not home.
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [Schedule] tabs.
-- Set the days and times.
- Setup Auto Capture (optional):
-- This is if you want to pictures to be taken at regular intervals.
-- I didn't bother with this.
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [Remote Storage] tabs.
Setup Camera as Virtual Web Server (Optional):
Normally you should be able to access the camera from [...]
However, if you want to remove any dependency on Yoics' server, then you can setup your router to operate the camera as a virtual web server. I did it mainly for fun.
- Setup User Access:
-- Out of the box, camera authentication is not active, which is ok if you're going to access via Yoics' site. But if you want to access your camera directly then you'll want to enable authentication.
-- From your camera's web site, click the [Advanced] --> [User] tabs.
-- Check "Enable".
-- Enter passwords for Admin, User and Guest.
- Find out your camera's IP Address:
-- From your camera's web site, click the [System] --> [Device Information] tabs.
-- Note the IP Address.
-- The default port is 80. Unless you changed it at [Advanced] --> [Network].
- Log in to your router's home page:
-- Typically: [...]
-- Find out what your router's public WAN IP Address is. Finding this information depends on the router, e.g. 111.222.333.444
-- Go to the virtual server settings.
-- Select the public port you want to use. e.g. 6000.
-- Enter the camera's IP Address and port. e.g. 192.168.0.111 port: 80
-- Save the settings and you can now access your camera using your IP Address and port. In this example it would be: [...]
on June 15, 2011
I recently purchased this from Costco. I was looking for a wireless IP Camera to use as a baby monitor that could pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) and that I could view it from my computer or Android phone . This camera seemed to fit the bill. Setup was pretty easy and I can barely use Excel; I was able to connect it to my router via wifi fairly easily and could view it on my computer and my phone over the network by typing in the camera's assigned router IP address. While it says it supports all browsers, it works best with Internet Explorer. Unless I'm missing something, I could only get sound when using H.264 streaming using Chrome and Firefox. JPEG streaming would only produce a picture and no sound. I prefer using IE anyway, so it's no biggie to me, but might be to others. Also, there is virtually no delay with PTZ when using IE, but a slight delay with other browsers. PTZ was more delayed and the video choppy when using my Android phone. And since Android does not have a Quicktime plugin for their browser, I didn't have sound. They also have instructions on how to view the camera through dyndns.org if you were away from home without going through their Yoics website. This was the hardest part for me because I didn't know how to open a port on my router. Once I figured that out, it was easy. They say it's less safe, but someone would have to know your IP address and know which one of the 65,000 ports the camera was on. If you are paranoid about someone accessing your camera, you can always set up a security password in order to view the camera. I actually prefer going through dyndns as it's less choppy and it's free. I would recommend not going through their Yoics setup as it's not necessary and is only there so they can get you to sign up for their premium service. The night vision is good, although the edges of the video are a little dark. Motion detection is great; you can set up 4 zones and choose how big each zone is and how sensitive the detection is. Email notification setup was easy and pictures were sent quickly and came in pretty clear. I haven't tried the built-in DVR yet.
Now for the things I don't like about this camera. As I mentioned earlier, I can't get sound when I use my phone's browser, but that's not a big deal. What I really wish you could do with this camera is turn off all the LEDs. Unless you cover up the LEDs, the camera isn't incognito at night. Sometimes our baby wakes up in the middle of the night and stares directly at the camera. Also, the IR lights around the camera used for night vision have a red glow and click when turning on and off; it would have been nice if they did not light up like our Summer Infant baby monitor camera and was quiet. It also gets a little warm to the touch. I would give this camera a 3.5 star if I could, but since I can't, I rounded up. I'm on the fence about returning this camera, but I have not found another one that is wireless and has all these features for about the same price. Turning off the LED lights and having a no-glow infrared would make this 5 stars.
on December 6, 2011
We just got our second Mole here at the lake, We've had one for about a year now and while this camera is not perfect, it is far better than any of the other cameras we have tried. We've got a Foscam FI8918W and a Lorex LNE 4001 and they are far less of a camera than this one. We have played with numerous high quality professional cameras (IE Samsung), and besides build quality all these cameras are a better choice and performers for the consumer.
One thing that we did that made a big difference to our older camera is update the firmware, our newer camera had much better firmware and we even found a newer one on the Yoics Support forum than made it perform even better. It is very nice to have the image player and a click to streaming option.
-Email alerts and Private YouTube upload are fantastic. If you have a Gmail account and you have it linked to your YouTube account you get video embedded in your email, which you cannot ask for better, we have an account just for our moles that make it into something of an online DVR.
-Efficient H.264 video for high quality streams.
-Color is much better in daylight than our other cams because of its mechanical IR filter.
-We like Yoics, for dead simple setup and mobile viewing.
-iPhone and Android App support via Yoics Launch and Yoics View (these are new and free! Total Bonus!)
-Built in SD card storage for video and snapshots.
-Works with MAC, PC, iPhone, Android. One of the only cameras that works very well with the Mac OSX.
-Much better than the flock of "professional" IP cameras that I've played with that only work with IE or proprietary software and no mobile support.
- Blinking light you cannot turn off.
- MAC setup for streaming can be a challenge as you have to follow their FAQ to get it configured for quicklime (but worth it!)
- 2 Way Audio only works with Internet Explorer on PC.
- Clicks when the IR cutter switches in or out
- PTZ noise is recorded and pretty loud.
- No Sound on Mobile phones.
- UI can be confusing to setup motion alerts and recording and you need to make sure you have all the boxes ticked under multiple settings to get what you want.
- As easy as it is I can see how people might still get confused (but no different than the other cameras I've seen)
-Playback from Memory card needs VLC player on some platforms (doesn't affect YouTube)
Compared to our other cameras:
-slightly closer view than our 2 other cameras giving it less of a field of view, they should offer different lenses.
-Far better audio and video streaming than the Foscam that only does JPG/MJPG image streaming (and separate audio stream).
-Works on the MAC, we cannot get the Foscam to reliably work on the Mac with sound.
-Lorex LNE has ok streaming video, but its controls do not work at all, but the color quality is better on the Mole.
-You must port forward the Foscam to view it remotely, Lorex LNE and Mole have Yoics which we use.
-Much better Yoics implementation than the Lorex LNE.
-Much better feature set in General
What you need to know:
- On Mac Lion they changed QuickTime defaults so streaming will not work unless you configure QuickTime.
- Some Windows Quicktime builds also needs configuration to get streaming (Apple get it straight!)
- The default bandwidth settings might be to high if you have slower DSL connection, you may have to adjust this to not get video streaming to cut off.
- There is likely newer firmware for the camera than what comes with it.
- Camera uses Yoics for remote access, though you can set up remote access via port forwarding and dynamic DNS exactly like the foscam. We for the most part like Yoics, and even more like their iPhone and Android apps (of which the only way the Mis'ess can use the cameras)
Wish list for an IP camera:
Flash streaming display for PC/MAC/Linux Viewing (IE RTMP)
Apple Live Streaming for iPhone display.
Streaming for Android (new androids support apple live streaming)
2 way audio for mobile.
In Conclusion I believe that the Astak Mole is the best of the current crop of PTZ cameras that we have seen, I've seen the other reviews and I can only think the negative ones on this camera have to resolve around older firmware and not being able to setup QuickTime correctly. These are the only two issues that I see being a problem with this camera. Having said that, although it isn't perfect, the performance, feature set, ease of installation and image quality is the best of the cameras that we at lake tech have seen. Highly recommend.
on February 21, 2011
I just read a news about a guy called police after he got the self phone email alarm from his camera. I think this is exactly what I need for my second house. I started to search on the web for suitable products and the astak camera came out. I bought it, spent about 15 minutes to setup and now it is working like a charm. I got a whole bunch of emails in the first day because I set the sensitivity too high. Now it is working perfectly along with the youtube upload. Great product!"
on December 13, 2009
This camera delivered as promised with sheer ease of setup. There are cheaper wireless IP cameras out there but guaranteed they can be very frustrating in the setup process. I tried couple of other brands but they all require that you have technical knowledge about network protocol, port forwarding, dynamic DNS, etc. By comparison, the Mole's instruction was easy, non-technical and I was viewing the camera within a few minutes. Works well with the iPhone so that I can view the camera from anywhere.
Prompt tech suport is another plus. Many reviews of products neglect to examine and report on a company's tech support. What takes companies like Apple from good to great is their outstanding tech support.
There are a lot of extra bells and whistles with this camera (video recording, motion activated capture, email alerts when motion is detected, etc.). Since I use this camera as a "granny cam" I haven't had the need for the extras but it's good to know they're there should I need it in the future.
on February 21, 2011
The wireless controls are the best feature about this camera, and it also has a nice design. I liked that no matter where I moved it in the house, in connected back to the network. A good deal for the price.
on May 6, 2015
1/2015 - I liked this camera when I first got it, the picture is very clear. You don't have to pay a service to use it and you put an sd card in it so you have copies of the pictures and video. I like that I can view the camera live on my home computer for no charge (which I can view remotely when I am away from home through teamviewer on my computer) and there is also an app that I can view the live camera. With the app you only get 5 minutes of free viewing a month which isn't much otherwise you have to pay to upgrade to the Pro version of the app. My only complaint is that sometimes the colors are green and purple so I have to unplug it and plug it in again until it shows everything clearly. Picture at night is good too.
9/2015 - update - I would like this camera if it worked properly. see attached screen shot of what my camera picture looks like after having it for 9 months. I would give 0 stars if i could. Warranty is not being honored by manufacturer nor can they be contacted. I have called and no answer and have emailed and no response.
10/2015 - update - I contacted the vendor that I bought it from and they sent me a new camera. The picture is blurry on the new camera.
3/2016 - update - Now the camera head just turns around and around and around. The camera stopped showing up on my network so I tried to uninstall it and reinstall it on my computer. I cannot install it on my mac because the software is outdated and does not work on my mac. I tried installing it via the Astak yoics website and it still doesn't show up. I was able to contact the company via phone, and they couldn't even see it on their system when it was plugged in and it was recording on the SD card. The representative gave me an RMA number and the address to send it to, they said they would send me a new one, and the turnaround time is 24 hours to send me a new camera. I had to pay $11 bucks for shipping (and this is the second time I am paying to return it). The company called me 4 days after they received the camera back and asked me who gave me the RMA number because it's not in their system. I can't believe the incompetence of this company. I did get a new mole camera back in the mail, (used or refurbished) the new one still does not work. Where you connect the wifi antenna is loose so the antenna can't even stand up on its own nor can it connect to wifi Plus the camera just rotates and rotates and rotates which is the problem I had with the last camera. When I was finally able to get into settings I noticed somebody else's email address so this is definitely used and going in the garbage. they did nothing to clear out the last persons data. They are sending me another one now. What crap. 4 cameras in one year = garbage. Please don't buy this
on February 10, 2011
I loved the initial concept of the mole, but I did not realize how versatile its abilities were until I owned one. This is not just some high-tech security camera. It is great for my own personal interests, like checking on my kids or cat at home. I really enjoyed playing with the camera. With how often I want to use it, I am extremely grateful that the camera is easy to use and set up. I would not use the camera as often as I do if it were not as user-friendly as it is.
on December 11, 2010
I've had this camera now for about 8 months. I have it installed at my vacation home, viewing through a window to the outside where my boat lift is. So, I am able to remotely monitor and/or remotely pan the camera if I want to watch live. I have it set up to email me still pictures whenever it detects movement. To use the mole for these purposes, I can attest, it works very well. Other features (youtube, twitter, mobile phone) I have not tried.
The set up was a bit of a problem, I made a "beginner" mistake by connecting mole to computer (by Ethernet cable). It is supposed to be connected to the ROUTER by ethernet cable for the setup process. ANYWAY, Once I figured that out it went okay. One disappointment: I was hoping to be able to use the night vision feature, but, unless the camera is mounted outside, it won't work well at all, reason is that the infra red light, needed to "see" at night, reflects back off the window glass and almost blinds the Mole. If you carefully experiment with the right angle, you can lessen that to some degree, but it is awkward, and I found it not worth doing. The infra red night vision does work well when the mole is watching inside.
I see others have complained that you might have to pay for the web portal to monitor/control the Mole. At this point, you do not, you have access free, but it is time limited (I think 30 minutes per day). So, if you want to constantly monitor something, you will have to pay for the "PRO" version (can't remember what it costs now, but look it up, not too bad, I think) I think you also have the option to set things up so that you do not have to go through their portal at all, but that process looks complicated to me, so I've never done that. (And, as you can imagine the web site doesn't really give much in direction about that).
ANYWAY: I like it, it works well for what I want, once it is set up it hasn't given me any problems. I can unplug it and move it to a different window, upstairs, downstairs, whatever, and once plugged back in it automatically connects to network, no further set up needed. At this point it mostly catches the action of some outside cats who like to stalk around the dock. Since I have it at vacation home, it is nice to be able to monitor what is going on around the dock area. It was very useful when we had some work being done on the bulkhead replaced, I couldn't be there, but could monitor what was going on.
PROS: Set up wasn't too bad
Sends pictures triggered by motion to email
You can remotely view live and pan/tilt
CONS: Can't use night vision through a window