Welcome aboard this in-depth exploration of the relationship between various Wyze Cam models (Pan, V2, V3) and Home Assistant. Home automation hubs like Home Assistant are becoming the new black, thanks to their talent for herding all your smart devices into one playground for smooth control and integration. Wyze Cam models, celebrated for their budget-friendliness and remarkable features, have become the apple of many homeowners' eyes. But, the million-dollar question that often pops up is, do these cameras play nice with Home Assistant? In this piece, we're going to dive head first into this subject, uncovering the compatibility, setup hoops, potential hurdles, and tips to pump up the functionality of your Wyze Cams when they shake hands with Home Assistant.
- How the Wyze Cam became famous
- What is the Wyze Cam?
- Integrating the Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan with Home Assistant
- Integrating the Wyze Cam v3 with Home Assistant: A love story yet to begin
- Alternatives to the Wyze Cam
How the Wyze Cam became famous
The Wyze Cam, a pint-sized powerhouse in the world of security cameras, has been turning heads not just because of its modest price. The latest model, Wyze Cam v3, is like striking gold in a bargain bin. For just $20, you can score an IP65-rated, full-HD security camera fitted with a Starlight CMOS Sensor, allowing it to see colours even in low-light conditions. That's basically like getting a high-end designer suit at thrift shop prices.
But the winning streak doesn't stop at the hardware. The Wyze Cam comes with a 14-day cloud storage pass on the house, plus support for local microSD recording (remember, Endurance-rated microSD cards work best here). For an extra $2 per month, you can snag Wyze's Cam Plus that offers unlimited event recording length with no cooldown time. The free package, meanwhile, offers 12-second clips with a mandatory five-minute pause between each clip.
Currently, you can choose from three Wyze Cams: the Wyze Cam v2, its successor the Wyze Cam v3, and the Wyze Cam Pan. The v3 is a direct upgrade from the v2, sporting similar looks and functions but with beefed-up specs, a wider field of view, higher-frame-rate recording, and weatherproofing. The Wyze Cam Pan is pretty much a v2 on wheels, with the added bonus of panning capability. The v3 might seem like it has outshone the v2, but for Home Assistant users, the v2 still has a trick up its sleeve.
What is the Wyze Cam?
If you've ever come face-to-face with a Wyze Cam, you might think you're seeing double. They bear a striking resemblance to cameras from Chinese brands like Xiaomi or Neos. The reason? They're basically identical twins. Security cameras like Wyze Cams and Xiaomi Dafang models are likely bought in bulk from Chinese Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), customized with unique firmware, and rebranded. This business model could be the secret behind Wyze's ability to offer their cameras at bargain-basement prices – they've outsourced the hardware hassle.
Where these vendors really strive to shine is in delivering the best app experience. The Wyze app might not have the highest scores on the Play Store and Apple Store, but they do offer a very generous free tier and a reasonably priced paid tier packed with perks.
Looking at the Wyzecam Pan, it's a dead ringer for the Xiaomi Dafang, while the Wyze Cam v2 could be the Xiaomi Xiaofang 1S or Neos SmartCam's doppelgänger. They're so similar, in fact, you can even use the same custom firmware on them. It's hard to say whether they're as identical on the inside as they are on the outside, as Wyze Cams are a bit of a rare gem in Europe, but it wouldn't be a stretch to think they could be.
Integrating the Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan with Home Assistant
The Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan are two peas in a pod. Both can be supercharged with an official RTSP enabled firmware, and each can be jazzed up with the same custom firmware. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, there's another route that involves commandeering an old Android gadget or Android virtual machine to host a tinyCam PRO server and then pass the feeds to Home Assistant.
RTSP firmware for Wyze Cam and Wyze Cam Pan
There's a single compelling reason to opt for the Wyze Cam v2 or Wyze Cam Pan over the Wyze Cam v3 – the power of RTSP. Wyze has rolled out an official firmware with RTSP capabilities specifically for v2 and Pan models. Once you've loaded the firmware, one-two, a few lines of YAML, and you've got the Wyze Cam v2 integrated with Home Assistant. The same magic applies to the Wyze Cam Pan.
Even though the RTSP firmware is still in its beta phase and isn't likely to be updated in the near future, it's already a hit with its users. You should note, however, that Wyze has emphasized that they won't be committing to ongoing maintenance of the RTSP firmware, though they will release security updates. But hey, with the RTSP component, you can watch your video feed in Home Assistant and even add it to your Dashboard – pretty cool!
Xiaomi DaFang Hacks (custom firmware) for Wyze Cam
The alternate route is to flash the Wyze Cam v2 or Wyze Cam Pan with the custom firmware we mentioned earlier. Once you've loaded the custom firmware, your security camera will have zero traces of its Wyze Cam origins. The custom firmware comes with an RTSP-server which can be smoothly integrated with Home Assistant. The custom firmware does offer a few more perks, but be warned, it's a tad more complex to set up.
Armed with the custom firmware, you can integrate the Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan with Home Assistant using the generic camera component. Other sensors on the Wyze Cam can be easily integrated via MQTT Discovery. You'll get access to readings from the light and motion sensor and even gain switches in Home Assistant that allow you to toggle the IR filter, LEDs (including infrared), night mode, motion detection, and tracking. If your security camera supports panning, you can control it directly from Home Assistant.
I've personally installed the custom firmware on a Xiaomi Dafang security camera (essentially a Wyze Cam twin), and it does take a bit of fiddling to get it perfect. But once the settings were tweaked just right, it was smooth sailing. Plus, being able to control the motors and make indoor security cameras face a wall when someone is home – priceless!
tinyCam PRO server
tinyCam is an Android app designed for remote surveillance, control, and video recording of your network or IP cameras, video encoders, and DVRs with CCTV cams. Presently, tinyCam only acknowledges the Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan as supported models. I've yet to find any evidence of the app playing nice with the Wyze Cam v3, or even being tested with it.
There's a catch though – tinyCam is exclusively an Android app and doesn't play ball with Windows, Linux, or macOS. This means you'll need to have a committed Android device up and running at all times, or use Android in a virtual machine (VM) or emulator. The Home Assistant forum offers a guide on setting up tinyCam using the Genymotion Android emulator and integrating it with Home Assistant. There's also a thread on Reddit outlining how to get an Android VM running on Unraid for use with tinyCam.
Integrating the Wyze Cam v3 with Home Assistant: A love story yet to begin
Wyze has just dropped its latest security camera, the Wyze Cam v3, and trust me, it's been turning heads. It's affordable, reliable and holds its own against its predecessor without costing you an extra penny. Many tech reviews out there are waxing lyrical about this new kid on the block. It's a dream come true for anyone hunting for a budget-friendly security camera that plays well with Home Assistant. However, there's a 'but' – a rather big one. As it stands, the camera and Home Assistant are at a standstill, with no official way to integrate the two yet. It seems we may have to wait a little longer for this tech marriage to happen.
Despite the tech community's clamour for an official API, Wyze has been holding its cards close to its chest. An official API would grant developers the golden ticket to unlock the Wyze Cam v3 and other Wyze's treasure trove of products. While other tech giants like Logitech and Arlo have thrown open their doors to third-party integrations with their security cameras, Wyze seems to be building its own exclusive club. Sure, they have bulbs and switches that rub shoulders with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, but when it comes to cooperating with Home Assistant, it's more of a workaround than a warm welcome. Our only glimmer of hope currently lies with tinyCam, who might step in to support the Wyze Cam v3.
So, if you've been eyeing the Wyze Cam v3 or any of Wyze's products, but the lack of integration has put a damper on your shopping spree, don't just sit there! Make some noise on the Wyze Forum. Tell them that their aloofness towards developers might cost them potential customers. After all, even a paid API is a step up from no API at all.
Alternatives to the Wyze Cam
If you're a fan of the Wyze Cam series, but are looking to switch things up a bit, there are some top-notch alternatives that play well with Home Assistant. Before we dive into the details, let's shine a spotlight on two of the most user-friendly options that have already been mentioned: Logi Circle and Abode. These bad boys not only offer cloud uploads, but also pride themselves on their intuitive apps.
And if you're a Google Nest devotee, hold on to your seats because integration is currently in the pipeline! Though it's still under construction, we expect it to hit the market in the foreseeable future. A small caveat to note, though: this integration will come with a price tag for API access.
For those who like to keep things a little more hands-on, Home Assistant offers the option to integrate ONVIF Profile S compliant cameras directly, or route them via DVR software like Blue Iris using an RTSP stream. It might sound a bit tech-heavy, but it's a great option for those who like to keep control of their systems.
If you're more inclined towards direct integrations, Home Assistant also has your back with support for Ubiquiti UniFi Video, Synology DSM, and ZoneMinder. It's like a smorgasbord of camera options – there's really something for everyone here.