The Eufy cams are great little (and not so little) IP security cameras, especially the wireless models. With an impressive battery life that can last up to 365 days (12 months, for emphasis, or a whole year), 2k (and now, up to 4k) renderings, an AI system (read: BionicMind) that is clearly the very best in the industry, an app that is as intuitive as it is functional and importantly, updates that never fail and come every now and then to keep things fresh and in shape, there’s little reason to ask for more.
When you factor in the impressive community and awesome customer service that is very eager to help and prompt in resolving challenges users may be having, it is difficult to see what to fault or criticize, either with the company or its product offering.
However, technology is and always will be technology. As awesome as these IP cameras are, there are several hundreds of things that go into making the process of detecting and recording footage seamless or hassle-free. The implication? One of them goes off and the whole fluid experience you were enjoying prior to the time may be ruined.
One of such instance is when your Eufy wireless IP security cameras decide to record footage, especially, non-human subjects for only 5 seconds irrespective of how long you pre-program the recording duration in the ‘customize menu’, found under the ‘power manager’ wizard.
While this is not an issue that happens every day (or with every camera, even in a closed setup), that it actually happens is indisputable.
So, when it happens, what is the easiest way out of the challenge? Do you curse your camera, curse Eufy or curse the day you chose to go with wireless IP cameras as a whole? Or do all three (3)?
Or, do you look for a viable solution that will put the issue at rest and help get your camera to record as set, irrespective of whether the object before the lens happens to be a human or an inanimate thing?
Anyone of the two options above is viable: the cursing option; contained as the former response or the solution-inspired response contained as the latter way out.
If you simply want to curse Eufy and join up the day you decided to opt for wireless IP security cameras as a whole, good luck; may the force be with you! You can do that by contacting the company directly here.
However, if you’re interested in a solution, this is what I come bearing…all you need to do is to read patiently what I have carefully typed down and follow the instructions contained therein.
Please, also know that everything contained in this article (as it is with the entire site) is inspired by my experience with the things I write about, review, and share same here. You should be confident that you’re not just following the advice of any writer online but you’re going with the suggestions of a Eufy security camera owner who has faced the same challenge(s) that brought you to this page and has conquered same and is now ready to help you conquer your own challenge(s) too.
First things first, however; let’s do away with the mandatory affiliate disclosure.
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My Experience With Eufy Security Camera Not Recording Non-Human Subjects For More 5 Seconds
I bought the Eufy Cam 2 Pro bundle of three (3) IP security cameras that also came with a base station that acts as the footage storage and general control console of the security setup. The base station was positioned centrally with the three (3) cameras covering critical points around my apartment. With two (2) cameras deployed to serve my apartment directly, the third was planted downstairs where its primary responsibility was to watch over the vehicles my wife and I park there.
Now, the batteries in these cameras are supposed to last a whole year on a single charge, assuming one has about 2-4 detections a day and these detections last for less than thirty (30) seconds. Unfortunately, I live in a tenanted apartment and action hasn’t been lacking since I moved in and subsequently, installed the cameras. Usually, the three (3) cameras, between themselves, see more than a hundred (100) detections and recordings a day. This is a lot, for a private application, you’ll agree with me.
As a result of this unique application and usage, I charge the cameras every three to four (3-4) months, usually as this is around the time when the battery percentage goes down to around thirty (30) or less. I aim for this point, not earlier, not later. The thinking is that, with this fair percentage to keep in mind, even if I forget to bring down the cameras, I’ll have some serious grace to fix the challenge before things go haywire completely and I lose coverage as a result of weak/dead batteries.
When I charge these cameras, I take down one first; the one closest to me and the one least likely to catch or have a stranger/intruder attempting entry. After this is charged, I replace the next closest one with the charged unit and plug in the taken unit to recharge. I repeat this pattern till all three (3) are charged and I take notes if anything is worthy of recording and eventually repeat the cycle after about three (3) or four (4) months have elapsed.
Recently, after I undertook this little charging ritual of mine, I discovered that after replacing the camera overseeing the garage with the unit I took from the front door, it became apparent, to my dismay, that the camera stopped recording vehicles and non-human movement for more than five (5) seconds, despite having my setting the ‘Power Manager’ of the camera in the ‘Customize Recording’ subhead and clearly instructing the camera to record every event to a maximum of two (2) minutes, only stopping before this mark if the footage ends earlier than the set two minutes.
This took me by surprise and naturally, I went into research mode. Nothing reasonable came forth online so I had to do things the Ter’ way – by rolling my sleeves and digging deep. To tackle the challenge, I tried to cast my mind back to see if this challenge had presented itself prior and I missed same. Unfortunately, the front door where I removed the camera, charged it, and took it over to oversee the vehicles only has human subjects, exclusively so, that did not help.
However, the following helped and one option completely solved the issue, without having to revert to Eufy support.
How To Fix Eufy Security Camera Not Recording Non-Human Subjects For More Than 5 Seconds
If your Eufy security IP cameras are not recording non-human subjects for more than 5 seconds (or even if this implicates human subjects), the following are options open to you. I have personally tried these options myself and certify that these are great fixes, at least at press time.
1. Untoggle The ‘End Clip Early If Motion Stops’ Button, If You’re Using Customized Recording Lengths
As of the time of writing this, there are three (3) recording modes for Eufy IP cams as permitted by the app:
- Optimal Battery Life: This is self-explanatory and records clips for up to twenty (20) seconds, gives itself a five (5) seconds break, and then, starts all over again if motion is still present. If motion stops before the elapse of the initial time interval, the recording also stops, accordingly, to save battery.
- Optimal Surveillance: This mode works exactly like the option above. However, the recording duration is up to sixty (60) seconds as against the former’s twenty (20) seconds.
- Customize Recording: This mode allows you to set your own recording period, subject to a maximum of two (2) minutes duration. What this means is that your recording time can be anywhere from five (5) seconds to two (2) minutes, depending on what works for you but of course, subject to a five (5) seconds interval between the triggers (two seconds actually, with the HomeBase 3).
The third option above is what I used and the reality of a subject, especially a non-human one being recorded for exactly five (5) seconds with a corresponding interval of time in-between triggers irrespective of how long the subject remained in the focus of the camera lens was thus disturbing, to say the least.
It is instructive to note that, this option is the one that also consumes battery life the most since it allows the camera the maximum amount of time, deployed to record footage. Accordingly, it only makes sense that the battery is depleted more in this mode, especially if you set it to record over and above the sixty (60) seconds max available in the prior option, ‘Optimal Surveillance’.
In the wisdom of Eufy, to mitigate a possible scenario where the camera records well after the triggering event has ceased, right up to the maximum allotted time, there’s a smart button that simply reads: ‘End Clip Early If Motion Stops’. This option, if toggled, allows the recording to last for just as long as the subject’s movement within the camera lens lasts, (and maybe a few seconds more), and then, the battery-saving reality kicks in.
If, for instance, I have the cameras all set to this recording option and have allowed the motion to last as long as two (2) minutes if the subject remains in focus, all footage would be exactly two (2) minutes, no more, no less. However, with this option toggled on, if motion lasts for only thirteen (13) seconds, it would be recorded for only thirteen (13) seconds and nothing more.
However, when this challenge of the cameras not recording non-human subjects for more than five (5) seconds came up, I simply adjusted the camera’s recording time from the maximum two (2) minutes set before now to a reasonable thirty (30) seconds. The logic was and remains that, activities in the garage where the camera was stationed hardly ever cross this mark.
Or so I thought.
However, while this solved the initial challenge of the five (5) second recording, it created three (3) additional new problems for me:
- The footage was now recorded to a maximum of thirty (30) seconds, even if the triggering event only lasted five (5) seconds or less.
- For longer footage, sometimes, the five (5) seconds interval at the end of a clip and another often coincided with a super critical part of the footage that made the clip difficult to understand or analyze, otherwise or without. Sometimes, the non-human subject completely ‘vanished’ after this time, making an understanding of the events even more difficult.
- Finally, I now had more footage to look at. Almost double the number I used to have before this challenge (the garage downstairs remains one of the busiest spots around the house, BTW).
Essentially thus, I sorted one problem and created three (3) new ones! However, it is easy to see how this solution might work for you, especially if your circumstances are a bit different from mine. This option might likely work for you if you have:
- Less traffic to the affected camera(s) than I did.
- Non-human subjects last around where the camera is placed at exactly or about the same time you have manually set and/or
- If you’re not particularly keen on the details and simply want a notification/something to hold onto should things go wrong and you need to pull up footage.
However, if you’re anything like me (or your reality is close to mine), then, this option won’t fly. This is where the second solution, clearly explained below will be a blessing, sorting out your issues seamlessly and satisfactorily.
2. Map Out Clear Activity Zones
Since the first ‘solution’ described above did not fix my issue in a satisfactory fashion (and instead, left me with more challenges to contend with), I figured that something else was needed over and above the first attempt I had made in my bid to try and sort out the issue.
By some dint of chance, I remembered the ‘Activity Zones’ feature, found under the ‘Motion Detection’ menu of the app. This was worth playing with, I imagined, especially since the issue I was experiencing was closely related to it. However, before I decided to activate the activity zones and map things out, I cleverly decided to see if ‘Privacy Zones’ were activated/set.
On seeing that no privacy zones were set, I decided to check Activity Zones and I discovered that these were not also set. Since the issue, as earlier stated, implicated the cameras at the detection level, I decided to activate them. The garage needed two of such zones to be set to adequately cover it as the zones come in standard rectangles and don’t allow for free-form drawing that would have sorted the challenge with a single zone (this issue was one of my criticisms of the Eufy security system when I ran the Eufy cam 2 pro review some months back).
And, viola! that was it!!
The issue was solved as brilliantly as if it never even existed and for about three (3) weeks after (to the time of writing), human and non-human subjects have been detected and recorded within the scope of the camera lens as they present; for as long as they move within that range. It is also instructive to note that I have since returned the customized settings to remain on a max of two (2) minutes, subject to an interval of five (5) seconds between footage recording, if the motion persists beyond the set time frame and all these have worked as flawlessly as the cameras worked when I first took them out of the box, about a year ago.
This is the solution that brilliantly worked for me when I had a similar issue with the Eufy cam 2 Pro. There is no reason to believe that it won’t work for you even if you are using a different model (from Eufy) or if the facts of your case are slightly different from what I’ve relayed here but are implicated in any way by motion detection and recording.
Why Wasn’t This Challenge Detected Earlier And Why Did It Affect Only A Camera And Not All Three (3)?
When the challenge as narrated above occurred, this line of thinking didn’t immediately occur to me. However, as time elapsed and the issue persisted, I began the process of figuring out why only one of the cameras would behave in this manner especially since it was only just taken from another place (where it worked flawlessly), charged fully, and placed at the new location.
I looked at the logs, on the app to see if the camera was updated. All that I saw was an update for the HomeBase and not the camera(s) themselves. My reasoning after this was that, if only one of the cameras was affected (and all three of them are the same make and model), then, the update had nothing to do with the challenge before me.
Next, I tried to see what the cameras shared in common and what, if present, distinguished the erring unit from the rest of its sisters. And, this was where I began to see a curious pattern…
…the erring camera unit was the only one that was subjected to non-human subjects (vehicles, mostly) as the other two (2) were placed in a place where they only saw human subjects. Armed with this knowledge, I moved in and this is how I tried the two solutions above and finally, settled for the latter I’m now sharing with you.
What Did Eufy Support Say Or Do During This Time?
I know that this is a question you’ve been itching to ask me ever since this article began or at least, waiting for me to provide insight, covering it.
However, before I proceed with the answer, it is expedient to understand that as a person, I love understanding how the things I have or use work, so that, if there’s a challenge, I’d at least know where the issue is coming from. This trait of mine was in full swing when this particular Eufy Cam 2 Pro camera started its misbehavior. Accordingly, thus, I made attempts at fixing the issue myself (or at least, understanding what was going on) and that is how the first resolution came about.
However, when that ‘resolution’ proved itself to be a fix that caused more problems than solving the existing one, I intuitively knew that I would need to reach out to support and possibly, talk to the Eufy engineers/developers themselves. These folks were responsible for this product and if anything, they would have all the answers I needed.
I reached out to support via https://support.eufylife.com/s/ and opted for the live chat option. Within a few minutes, I was chatting with a super friendly support staff who was enthusiastic about the job and eager to help. However, when the detail of my issues was relayed, he took notes and said he was going to log the same and I’d be contacted at my registered mail by a customer support engineer.
True to his words, I got a mail from a customer support engineer about twenty-four (24) hours later. The staff reached out and asked for the exact time the issue happened, the app log, the serial number of the camera affected, and a video depicting the issue. He further promised that after all these were provided, he’d get back within twenty-four (24) hours max.
Simple as his request was, I felt intimated by what I needed to do to help him diagnose what my problem might be. Don’t get me wrong: all he asked was reasonable…the problem was that I was either too lazy or headstrong to accede to them so I simply ignored his email and set forth to see what I could do (further). My thinking was that, if after many trials after that fact, I still couldn’t find a way around, I’ll just brace up and begin the process of gathering all that he had requested.
Luckily, the next step worked brilliantly and that is how I came about the activity zone marking that I shared with you earlier, above. As for the email response demanding the plethora of things listed above, it remains unanswered to this day, even as I type this very article!
Summary: Why Did The Issue Happen In The First Place?
Frankly, I have no (definite) idea and I guess I will never truly know what triggered the issue or why the issue was allowed to even happen in the first place. This is because, as I indicated above, I never replied to that support email and that was that; the issue also remains brilliantly fixed to this day.
However, if I’m to take a wild guess, I’d say a rare software glitch triggered it.
A rare software glitch that happened in both a rare and intermittent manner and is yet to be discovered and fixed by the developers.
This glitch, if my theory is right, is corrected when you force the camera ‘to look’ exactly where you want it and nowhere else. Hopefully, the Eufy HomeBase S380 will correct this issue, stock, and going forward, no one would have to face it again.