Oh, hey, look! An article that’s not about my car!
So let’s talk about the Eufy HomeBase 3. Also called the HomeBase S380. The marketing is inconsistent around it.
I ordered it last year when it went on sale and had a promise to support all Eufy Security devices by the end of the year. My cameras hadn’t supported HomeBase previously, that was the domain of the battery cameras only. So the idea of getting back to recording to a central smart device and keeping things local was attractive.
Only Eufy broke their promise. None of my cameras were supported by the end of the year. I returned my HB3 for a refund. Yeah, there was another scandal going on around that time as well, but I found it useless to keep a device around that I couldn’t use and I wasn’t going to let the return window expire.
It’s a good thing I didn’t wait. It wasn’t until May of this year that support for my cameras actually became functional, apparently. So I decided to give them another chance. Granted, it only supports recording, not the edge AI stuff. That would come later.
I couldn’t get it working out of the box. All of my cameras state dthere was no supported HB3 found. The HB3 installed an update when I set it up so it should contain all the updates that claimed all the support. My cameras were up to date. They just couldn’t talk to each other.
Searching around, I saw notes about turning off AP isolation and not much else. The thing is, I don’t use AP isolation. Everything on my network can talk to everything else. So I contacted support via chat.
That was a mistake.
The representative did not want to work on my issue. At one point, after providing a response to them, they replied asking if I was still there and they would close the chat if I did not respond in 2 minutes. I copied and pasted my response. Then the rep said they couldn’t help me because my issue was unusual.
2 days later I got an email requesting me to turn off AP isolation. The chat transcript includes a note from me stating there is no AP isolation. So I pointed this out and gave info about what my network environment was. They then requested I connect everything to my phone’s wifi hotspot feature. This one is weird for testing AP isolation issues because Apple enforces client isolation. But, this test wouldn’t get anywhere because the HB3 refused to connect to my iPhone.
I had some wifi extenders stored away. So I decided to do some testing with that. I managed to get a camera talking to the HB3.
More testing leads me to discover that this system does NOT work with TP-Link mesh technologies. If any mesh was enabled, the cameras could not talk to the HB3. I could work around this using one of the extenders and having everything go through that, but this introduces more wifi noise in the area. This is far from ideal. I disabled 5GHz on the extender because the Eufy system dosn’t use it and none of my other devices would ever use it.
I wire everything up in the living room so as to be as central to all of my cameras as possible. The extender doesn’t work as well as my normal Omada APs so this is not super ideal.
I have 6 cameras in total. One of them is my doorbell. Eufy broke another promise in decided rather than trying to get that working with the HB3 that they would rather not even bother. So that leaves 5 cameras that should be able to record to the HB3. When I get to the 5th camera, I get a notice that only 4 can be configured for continuous recording. The options are continuous or only events. Given the edge AI detection stuff doesn’t work on my cameras yet, this ultimately meant 4 cameras would work. Because it can’t determine events on the 5th camera.
At least, that’s my interpretation.
I gave up. I repackaged the HB3. I’ll be requesting a return for refund.
Eufy made a lot of promises on the HB3. And they broke almost all of them. Some might argue they straight broke all of them. It’s a product that should not have been released in the condition it was released in. It’s a product that shouldn’t exist in its current condition based on its promises. It doesn’t work as designed, and based on the latest updates on the support roadmap, it will never function as originally advertised.
I’ll be switching my cameras back to streaming RTSP to a Frigate environment. The camera RTSP streams are janky. I tried optimizing the Frigate and ffmpeg configurations as much as possible, but looking at the raw streams, they’re just janky coming from the cameras. I was hoping the HB3 would solve this.
I have set aside a list of stuff on Amazon to completely replace all of the Eufy camera stuff with Reolink. I’m not sure when I’ll pull the trigger on it, but this seems to be the only path forward at this point.
Eufy Security is a failure of products. And I’m an OG user, having backed the original camera on kickstarter way back in the day, with the original HomeBase. They did kick off a category of security cameras that have, at this point, been pretty well copied. Whether their implementations are better, I couldn’t say. I figured out the battery camera was not for me, though, so I don’t intend to find out how they compare.
I’m a little saddened, in the end. Anker is pretty well regarded for their cables and battery products. I’ve enjoyed Soundcore products in the past. I have a Eufy stick vacuum and a Eufy robovacuum that I’m pretty happy with. But Eufy security products? It’s not their wheelhoue, I guess. They don’t have the right people to make it good.
So I will be returning the HB3. Again. I will not be giving it another chance. By the time a new version comes out with more promises that may or may not be kept, I’ll likely be running a Reolink setup. For now, I’m going back to using Frigate as my NVR.