Ring cameras and video doorbells are useful tools in home security. They help protect our homes, families – and our Amazon packages! But what if you want to keep an eye on things a little further out from your home? Say, the street, for example?
There are times that suspicious activity or circumstances preceding a major event sometimes involve a suspicious car that keeps passing through the street. With that in mind, can your Ring cameras or video doorbells record the cars that drive past? Whether or not they successfully do this depends on a few different things.
What are Ring Cameras and Doorbells?
Ring is a smart home manufacturer that specializes in the production of smart home products. Their product line includes items such as smart lighting and even alarm systems. Two of their most popular and best-sellers, however, are their smart security cameras and video doorbells.
Ring’s cameras come in versions that can be placed inside, as well as outside of your home. The Video doorbells are typically placed outside of the home, at the front door, and sometimes even the side door.
There are also Floodlight Cams that capture footage with the aid of attached external lights so that even the darkest parts of your property are illuminated.
Most of these cameras access the internet using a Wi-Fi connection. The only exception to the rule is the Ring Stick-Up Cam Elite as well as the Ring Doorbell Elite. Both of these access the internet via PoE, or, Power over Ethernet. This means that they receive both power and internet via an Ethernet cord.
With this Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection, these cameras are able to connect to the Ring app, which is their main hub of control. The Ring app is where you’ll set up all of the different settings for your Ring cameras and video doorbells. These include settings such as Motion Detection zones, Motion Sensitivity, and whether or not to use Person Detection.
This is also where your motion-detected events are recorded. But do these events also include the cars passing your home?
Ring Camera Range
In general, most Ring Cameras and Video Doorbells have a viewing range of about 30 feet. This means that as long as there aren’t any obstructions, you can get a good, clear view of what’s going on around your property.
Even though the advertised range is 30 feet, this also depends on other conditions. Lighting because of the time of day can also factor in, causing the view to not be as clear after a certain distance.
In addition, the motion sensors within most Ring cameras and doorbells are able to detect motion anywhere from 5 – 25 feet in front of them, and about 155 degrees horizontally. This motion, depending on how you’ve adjusted your settings, is what triggers the motion alerts that you receive on your phone or other smart devices.
So how does this factor in when it comes to cars passing your home?
Can Ring Cameras and Doorbells Record Cars Going Past?
In a nutshell – yes. As long as the passing cars are within range of your camera’s view, as well as their motion sensors, Ring cameras and doorbells will detect vehicles passing.
However, besides the Ring camera’s range, how successful cars are recorded can also depend on a few different factors. Each of these factors also plays a role in how your cameras catch images in low light, such as nighttime, or cloudy days.
Factor #1: Camera Placement
One factor that determines if, and how well your camera or video doorbell catches cars driving by, is where the camera is faced.
Typically, if your Ring Video Doorbell is in front of your house and your house is facing the street, this is pretty straightforward.
Now, this may be a different story if your camera isn’t directly facing the street. If it’s at an angle, you may catch cars as soon as they pass, or as they’re about to go past your home. This may prove even more difficult at night.
The glare from headlights may make an angular view more complicated, blinding the camera, as it were, to any details of the car. You’ll essentially just know ‘a car passed’, but that’s about it.
If you have a camera, say, on the side of your home where it only gets a partial view of the street, your chances of catching a car passing will be touch and go. Again, this will be particularly challenging at night, or if there are obstructions such as poles, trees, or fences.
Factor #2: Internet Connection
Internet connection moreso determines how clear the images of cars going past are. If you’re looking to catch a decent amount of detail on passing cars, a good, strong internet connection is paramount.
In the Ring app, you can check the strength of your internet connection. Here you can tell if the signal is strong, or may be in need of some help.
If the RSSI signal is in green, your internet connection is strong. If it’s yellow, it has a decent connection – but could be better. However, if the signal is displayed in red, you may need to invest in a Wi-Fi extender in order to boost the signal and improve your connection.
When it comes to the Elite PoE devices, these typically have a stronger, more stable connection than devices that use Wi-Fi. This also, of course, depends on the strength of the Wi-Fi in your particular area.
Factor #3: Frame Rate and Lighting
The frame rate or frames per second (fps) also factors into how well you catch cars going by. The higher the frame rate, the better the image quality. Lower frame rates won’t capture images quite as clearly, and you may miss important details – especially if you’re looking for a particular vehicle.
Lower frame rates usually produce choppy, pixelated videos. On average, most Ring cameras have frame rates in the 15 fps range. This is usually enough to catch important motion-detected events, no matter what time of day.
The frame rate may decrease slightly at night when light conditions aren’t the best. Even if the frame rate is still good and you can catch the cars passing by clearly, details such as color and make may be more difficult to decipher.
Some models do have the option for Color Night Vision, but full color support is still quite limited since the color is artificially “guessed” from the current light:
Full color is only available with wired-in devices, but not including more budget cameras like the Ring Doorbell Wired and the Ring Indoor Cam. Ring’s help pages give the current list of color night vision-cameras as:
- Ring Doorbell Pro 1 and 2, and the Elite PoE doorbell
- The Ring Stick Up Cams
- The Ring Spotlight and Floodlight Cams
Factor #4: Motion Detection Settings
Are you missing some of those cars passing your home? The key may be in your Settings. If you’ve chosen to have your cameras only detect and alert you to motion involving people, the AI will filter out everything else – including cars.
This is of course not a problem if you live on a busy street and don’t want to be notified every time a car comes rolling by. But if you want to see car footage as well, you’ll need to adjust your settings.
You’ll have to make the adjustment by going to Motion Settings and then to Smart Alerts. In this section of the app, you’ll be able to adjust if you’ll be alerted when the motion event involves people or other motion. It can even determine if a package has been left at your home.
If your settings indicate for you to be notified only when people are part of the motion detected event, cars will not be included.
Another area where you can make adjustments is in Motion Sensitivity.
The more sensitive your camera’s sensors are to motion, the more likely it will be to catch a car passing. It’s to be noted, though, that this may also reduce battery life. More motion detection means more recording and alerts – both of which can drain your camera’s battery faster.
Advanced Motion Detection, though great for catching people, may make it less likely that you’ll also catch cars.
Even when settings are set perfectly, sometimes technology won’t capture exactly what you want. Sometimes that ‘Person’ detected in your yard is simply a Patio umbrella billowing in the wind – and sometimes that motion is the glare of car headlights as it passes at night.
However, except for a few instances here and there, your cameras will record what you intend them to.
Other Cameras and Doorbells To Record Cars Going Past
If you’re looking for other options besides Ring, there are a variety of other smart camera brands to choose from.
Wyze, for one, has outdoor cameras that are also capable of catching cars passing your home. Like Ring, their field of vision is also about 30 feet. The Wyze Floodlight Cam is also capable of full-color night vision. Not only can you catch cars passing by, but you can see details such as color as well.
Google Nest also has their battery-powered Nest Cam which can be used for the outside of your home. It can also catch cars passing by, but has a range of 25 feet as opposed to Ring’s 30 feet. Still, this is often enough to catch cars passing by. Their frame rates, which are close to 30 fps, are a notch above the rest, so even nighttime footage can be seen clearly.
Catching all the Footage
Whether you’re trying to catch cars passing by on your cameras, or you’re trying to catch a specific car – smart cameras have got you covered. Most of them, as long as conditions like frame rate, internet, and where they’re faced are favorable, will catch footage of cars without a problem.
Don’t want to deal with Ring products specifically? There are other options you can explore so that you can continue to keep your home, and neighborhood, safe.
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