Customer Review

185 of 196 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Step 1. Measure door thickness. Step 2 drill 13/16" hole, May 13, 2009
This review is from: COP USA PH35 Video Peephole Door Camera, Adjustable, 1/3" CCD Image Sensor, 480 TVL, 0.1 Lux, 1.7mm Super Wide Angle Lens (Electronics)
This review is on the PH35 Door Peephole Camera made by COP (COP-USA)

The 2 specs below aren't published anywhere (including the instructions that come with the camera). The door thickness spec alone would have prevented me from buying this camera.

1. It's best suited for a 2" to 2-3/8" thick door, but can marginally work on a 1-3/4" door using the ugly adjustment screws (see my picture).

2. 13/16" hole (or counterbore) required for lens to mount flush (that's a big hole!).

Pros: Nice color image when lens is not in direct sunlight, right up to sunset. In my case, 6 hours of usefulness a day at best.

Cons:
- Useless image 18 hours a day (poor image from sunset to noon when camera lens faces east).
- Bad looking installation for 1-3/4" thick door (very common thickness) (creates a 1/4" gap between door and camera).
- Not possible to hide and tuck wiring (like another brand).
- 13/16" is a huge hole to drill through your door.
- "Stock Product Photo" doesn't show wiring, size and adjustment screws of the camera.
- No product specifications (door thickness) listed on Amazon (and Spytown). If that information had been provided, I wouldn't have purchased this camera. I thought it would be a direct replacement for my black and white KTC camera (I was wrong).

Still want to buy this camera? Read on and see what happened....

I'll never purchase from Spytown (retailer) or COP-USA (manufacturer) ever again. I purchased COP-USA's PH35 door camera through Spytown. The camera was defective out of the box as the lens came apart at the wrong end and 7-8 pieces of the lens assembly fell out.

Spytown wouldn't provide an RMA for me to return the camera. 6 phone calls, 2 online RMA requests over a 1 week period, no response.

Since I wasn't having any luck with Spytown, I contacted COP-USA directly in hopes of exchanging it since the west coast office is just a few miles from my home. Big mistake! The operator/receptionist stonewalled me telling me I needed to work with my retailer. I asked if I could talk to a technician in hopes he could tell me how to put the lens back together. She connected me to a technician that agreed the lens came apart at the wrong end, and I could stop by to pick up a new lens. Just as he said that, the operator cut him off (apparently she was listening), and told me, "he has no idea what he's talking about and you need to work through your retailer". I can't even begin to describe her tone with me. The tech was a good guy, but the operator clinched my decision with that company.

I finally did get an RMA # from Spytown...coincidently it was 4 days after disputing the charges with my credit card company. 7 weeks after I sent the camera back at my expense, I finally received a replacement (hooray?).

Now I finally get to install it. I discover since my door is 1-3/4" thick, the camera will not mount flush on the back (inside) of the door. Additionally, the wiring cannot be tucked and hidden along the camera like my KTC b/w camera....so all the wiring just dangles from the camera. I didn't like how the wiring looked so I went back to the KTC camera after a few weeks.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 15, 2011 5:40:00 PM PST
SavvyCat says:
But does it work?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2011 6:44:42 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jul 11, 2011 11:59:49 PM PDT]

Posted on Jan 21, 2012 12:31:43 AM PST
D. Field says:
Hey, thanks for your review. I was just shopping at Spytown and came here to see if there were any reviews on the products I was interested and you gave me one better: a review of Spytown! It's amazing how much misinformation is out there by deceptive retailers in the security equipment industry! Anyhow, thanks again for saving me a headache.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2012 9:21:58 PM PST
R. Boss says:
@ D. Field - I'm glad the Spytown info helped you. I actually simplified the information/description of my dealing with Spytown as they weren't the main focus of the review. They were actually FAR more a headache than I make them out to be. 3 or 4 of the phone calls for the RMA# they just hung up on me or the call was cut-off when transferring the call "to the right person", the rest just rang and rang never going to voicemail. Along your lines of "how much misinformation is out there by deceptive retailers"...the RMA I received was actually from a company called ROYALSYSTEMS (google it)...a distributor of cctv equipment. I'm guessing there's a lot of internal finger pointing within all these companies, and I guess Royalsystems drew the short straw when my credit card company was going to withdraw the $600+ I dropped at spytown. For what it's worth, I'll mention to stay free and clear of a company called eye spy video. They're another loser in the customer service department that I had to take to the better business bureau (they finally made good after BBB stepped in). Good luck in your search for an honest/reputable retailer, as well as finding a quality product.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2012 7:42:11 AM PDT
Thank you for your review. I understand that people are more motivated to write reviews when they have a bad experience, but the information in your review is very important to anyone wanting to purchase this product. I am looking for a good peephole camera and will not purchase this one because of your review. Customer assistance is very important in the purchase of anything and I wouldn't buy the best product if the customer assistance is bad and it sounds like both are bad in this case. I won't be purchasing from this retailer either.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2012 7:27:58 PM PDT
R. Boss says:
@ Vernon - thank you for your feedback. Customer support/assistance is near and dear to me as I've spent 20+ years as an engineer providing technical service and support to the auto/truck industry. I have a unique position where I get to watch what the factory ships out the door, and observe the dilemma mechanics and customers deal with; however, I get to tell the proper engineers how to "dial in the product" to hopefully eliminate having to see a mechanic in the first place. As a consumer, you never want to have to contact customer assistance, but if you do, you certainly want it to be a painless experience. Yes, the customer assistance from both Spytown and COP-USA were abysmal, and I have forever removed them from my shopping list.

I completely did away with the peephole camera. I installed two Infrared (IR) cameras, one above the door looking down, and one approximately 15 feet out looking towards the door. The IR camera's provide 24 hour surveillance (night vision) and I was able to hide all the wiring in the walls. I have them connected to my surveillance dvr, then modulate the video and sound signal to my OTA antennae to every tv in the house. I can see who's at the door from any tv in the house, and because of the surveillance dvr, I can see the same picture from my laptop from anywhere with an internet connection (I check for packages left on the porch). This works so much better for me for the 24 hour coverage (compared to 6 hours coverage), plus the cameras are color by day, then switch to black and white at night.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 9:00:33 AM PDT
Thank you, R. Boss for this excellent review of the product AND the company. You probably have saved me additional headaches.

Is there a good peephole camera that records (even motion-activated) that you can recommend? Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 10:54:52 AM PDT
R. Boss says:
@ Dr. Rev. Heather

Thank you for your feedback. The quick answer to your question is no. I went away from peephole cameras several years ago, opting for standard IR cameras as described in my reply to Vernon (2nd paragraph).

If you have a window that has a view of your porch, you can get a camera like the Panasonic BL-C30A, which provides software that you can record on your computer (I have this too, I wrote reviews on the system it came with Panasonic BLMS103A Network Camera Bundle). Or the Foscam FI8910W (I personally haven't tried, but will know soon as my friend just bought one).

Since my reply to Vernon, I do want to point out a product by Channel Vision: the IU Series Intercom System. It's a combination doorbell, intercom and an OPTIONAL Camera. I purchased the system without the camera. I haven't installed it yet, but I have other Channel Vision Products that I am very happy with and no no reason to be disappointed with this one. The intercom is a big plus for me, something the peephole cameras don't have.

Good luck in your search.

Posted on Jul 20, 2014 5:27:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 20, 2014 5:29:34 PM PDT
STGuy says:
R. Boss, thanks for the all the information you provided.

I've been looking for a good door viewer camera for an apartment door and I'm beginning to think there is no such animal. There seems to be a glut of cheap imported junk that being sold by companies who think they're doing you a favor by provide competent satisfactory customer service.

The search continues, but there are now two fewer companies that will waste my time and money. Thank you for that.

Posted on Dec 25, 2014 10:09:12 AM PST
Guglielmo says:
Thank you also for the image kindly provided to us. It shows perfectly the dimensions, a very important element I could not find in the Amazon page.
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R. Boss
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Location: Orange County, CA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 26,407