Update: You may also be interested in my Reolink Argus Teardown post which can be found by clicking HERE.
Reolink Keen Teardown Review:
The review below is a complete teardown of Reolink’s newest and latest 100% battery operated indoor camera. The company is currently working on another battery only camera that will be both an indoor and outdoor model; the Argus. You may see a teardown of that model once it is released, this teardown will be of the Keen model.
If you are unfamiliar with Reolink security cameras or would like more information about them, make sure you visit their website at www.reolink.com. The company was stated back in 2007 and as their website states, “we’ve been devoted to creating the finest security products for consumers and business owners.”
Make sure you check out their many options under the product page that will fit in most security camera uses such as: indoor/outdoor, POE (Power Over Ethernet), Wireless, etc. Their products often receive rave reviews on Amazon and across many other camera review sites. Hopefully this teardown review will help to show you why.
The Reolink Keen looks and feels like the company’s other two indoor security camera offerings, namely the Reolink C1 and Reolink C2 cameras. If you are familiar with these other camera models, you will feel at home getting started and using the Keen.
There are a few unique items that sets this security camera part from its cousin versions which you can read about in my previous high-level review.
With all of that said, let’s get to the Keen teardown below.
The first three (3) images allow you to see the Reolink Keen’s external packaging one would expect to find on a retail shelf or upon opening the cardboard box the product was shipped in. The images include the front, side and back portions of the retail packaging.
Figure 1: Box Front
Figure 2: Box Side
Figure 3: Box Back
After slipping off the box sleeve and opening the product’s box, one sees that the Reolink Keen is very well packaged to protect it while in shipment. All manuals and other documentation is provided right on top along with the provided quick start guide, hanging templates, and security camera warning stickers; which I highly recommend one use. All of these items are provided yet the exciting part is found underneath the top documents.
Figure 4: Box Opened
With the documentation removed, on sees the camera itself, the Proximity InfraRed (PIR) sensor along with a small white cardboard box containing a mounting bracket, screws, and other assorted hardware and accessories. All equipment is securely packaged in a styrofoam form factor seen in the image below. The camera itself is very well protected using plastic wrap preventing any water or other potential damage to the star of the package.
Figure 5: Keen Packaging
Once the camera and PIR are removed from its packaging, the below two (2) images show the two most important items side-by-side. The first image is taken from a top down view while the second is more a front view prior to the disassembly process.
Figure 6: Camera Unpacked Top View
Figure 7: Camera Front View
The next image shows the camera and its parts after the teardown is complete. I did put the PIR module back together before focusing on the camera itself. However, you will see this component broken down in the review.
Figure 8: Fully Disassembled
I also wanted to provide a view of the device’s back prior to disassembly showing the SD card slot, Reset Button, and the wireless antennas. You will better see these items as we get later in the review when we look at the main circuit board.
Apart from the above listed items, one does not need to access the back of the camera apart from removing the SD Card to copy off footage the camera captured. The reset button is only required if one needs to factory reset the camera for one reason or another. This is simply accessible by poking a small blunt object into the hole. I would not recommend using anything that has a sharp edge as it could potentially damage the unit.
Figure 9: Back View
There is only one other opening on this camera which is located on the side of the camera used for batteries, four batteries are included, and a micro-USB power port if one decides to run this camera from a permanent power source. Be aware that the power port is not accessible unless you have the battery cover removed.
Figure 10: Battery and Power Compartment
Let me move from the basic externals images of the camera to the PIR sensor.
Because the PIR is a more simplistic piece of hardware, it will not take as much of the review to tear down and discuss its components.
Below are pictures of the PIR’s pre-disassembly front and back; shipped with the Reolink Keen camera. One should note that the PIR module is something that sets this camera apart from its other similar models; from Reolink or other manufactures. The camera does not have a built-in motion sensor, it is instead dependent on the PIR module to tell it when an event occurs.
This is a nice feature because the PIR module can be placed nearly anywhere you would like a motion event trigger to happen, the camera does not need to be looking in the direction of the event. This does not mean the camera will turn towards the PIR when a security event occurs, but one can set the PIR down a hall and trigger the camera covering a room. You can place the PIR up to 30 feet away from the camera and if there is motion sensed by the module the camera begins recording.
Figure 11: Proximity Infrared (PIR) Sensor Front
The back of the PIR sensor contains the unit’s battery compartment and a set of DIP switches allowing one to select the module’s sensitivity level. This is often used when someone has pets or other smaller objects which might set off a motion event.
Figure 12: PIR Back and Switch View
One can see in the below photo that it is very easy to set the sensitivity to one of three allowed setting; high, medium, and low. High means the camera will more easily pick up small motion events (very sensitive) to Low (not very sensitive) is used to only alert when a large portion of the PIR’s view detects motion.
Figure 13: PIR Switch Close-up
Below is an image of the PIR unit with its battery compartment opened along with the provided lithium battery. A very simply unit to work with and configure. The additional packaging gives the user many different options of mounting the PIR module. It can be mounted using the provided screws or double sided tape. The mounting bracket slides into the two slots covering up the DIP switches. However, once the sensitivity is set, this unit is mostly a set it and forget it piece.
Figure 14: PIR Back and Battery Compartment
Opening the PIR module is as simple as removing the three visible screws located on the back of the device. There are no hidden or protected screws to access the innards of the PIR.
Figure 15: PIR Back Screws Removed
Once the three screws are removed from the back of the unit and the two halves separated, one sees the innards of the provided PIR module.
Figure 16: PIR Disassembled
Zooming into only the back half of the module we see there is a PC board, battery connectors, and a coil antenna. Here you can clearly see the IR sensor to the right of where the battery wires connect to the PC board. Along with the chips necessary to support and trigger motion events there is not all that much to this piece of hardware.
Figure 17: PIR Board and Antenna
The PIR unit has what appears to be a Bluetooth or low-power radio, the blue colored square chip and the antenna coil connection to the left of it. You will see an identical blue chip attached to the main circuit board of the camera later. The PC board is held in place by two screws near the bottom that are easily removed giving access to the back of the board.
Figure 18: PIR Board Close-up
The back of the PIR PC board is much less complex than the front, but here one sees the DIP switches and a couple of resistors that all appear to be well soldered. The other solder points I looked at on the PC board were solidly done except for those for the battery terminals where I would have liked to have seen less melting of the wire insolation.
Figure 19: PIR Board Back Close-up
As stated earlier, the PIR unit is a rather simple component compared to the camera itself.
Let me turn your attention to what I consider to the best part of this teardown review; the camera itself. Disassembly starts with removing six (6) visible screws located on the top back of the unit.
Figure 20: Camera Lens and Body Screws
The Bottom of the camera contains three visible screws and four hidden screws located under the rubber pads. The below image shows the three screws holding the battery compartment firmly in place, but the unit is unable to be opened until one removes the rubber feet to reveal the four additional screws holding the top and bottom of the body together.
Figure 21: Bottom Regular and Hidden Screws
Once you remove the four (4) rubber feet, you will see the remaining screws that need to be removed to get into the heart of the camera. Reolink makes disassembly easy because nearly all the screws can be removed using a single small Philips screwdriver. It is also helpful to have a small standard screwdriver or other tool you can use as a pry tool and also for removing items such as rubber feet shown below.
Figure 22: Hidden Screws Revealed
The four feet are simply removed by using a small pry tool to get under and lift upwards. These feet are stuck on using double sticky tape or similar adhesive.
Figure 23: Rubber Feet Removed
Before opening the unit all the way, I wanted to see what was under the two mesh grid holes located on both the right and left sides of the camera. The first image shows what appears to be a combination microphone and speaker attached using wires that run to the main circuit board.
These items are easily removed by prying out the grid using a screwdriver or waiting until the unit is opened all the way permitting easier access and removal. If you do decide to wait, these two side access ports easily snap apart.
Figure 24: Left Speaker and Placement
The matching right side of the mesh grid contains nothing as you can see from the below image. It appears it was created to provide symmetry for the camera or there are/is future plans for this vacant opening.
Figure 25: Right Side No Speaker (Open)
Opening the camera’s dome portion, one sees the below small motor used to drive the upward and downward motion of the camera. This motor is made visible once the camera’s lens PC board is removed using four (4) screws granting access to the motor.
Figure 26: Motor drive for Up and Down Motion
The below image shows the back portion of the lens board. Here you can easily see the surface mounted resistors and a few cable connectors. These cable bundles simply lift upwards to detach. Once detached from the camera body, and the four (4) screws are remove, the lens circuit board lifts revealing the heart of the camera; the optics.
Figure 27: Lens PC Board Attached (Back)
The two images below show the lens and the connector used to attach it to the camera’s main board; shown in later images below.
Figure 28: Camera Lens Close-up (Front)
Figure 29: Camera Lens and Cable
Once the four screws are removed, the lens PC board can be easily removed from the rest of the camera’s body.
Figure 30: Back Lens Close-up
The motor displayed in the below image is used to move the camera left to right, whereas the previous motor discussed was used only for up/down motion. These are identical motors and I found them to be a bit nosier then I would like to have in a device of this type and quality. However, as always, costs are important to manage to keep the camera’s price down.
Figure 31: Side to Side Motor
The next two images show an exploded view of the camera module and body. The first shows the entire device where the second one shows a closer view of the body and the PC board.
Figure 32: Exploded View with Lens Cover
Figure 33: Camera Main PC Board
When the top and bottom of the camera body are separated one sees the cable connections to the main PC board along with the multiple cables bundled going thought the center of the camera body permitting rotation. One can also see clearly the motors used to rotate the camera from left to right.
Figure 34: Main PC Board Connections Through Body and Motor
To separate the body from the camera harness that permits rotation, one needs to remove six (6) screws located around its base. One simply needs to rotate the based around until you see the screws though the provided cutouts. Turn the base until the next screw is visible until all are removed. After removing these screws, one sees the cables from the main PC board to the rest of the camera; lens, motors, etc.
Figure 35: Cable Bundle and More Screws
The below shows a thick oil or grease applied to the plastic components of the camera body to allow for a more fluid motion.
Figure 36: Cable Bundle and Grease Close-up
The next image shows the main PC board once the rest of the top body has been removed. Here one sees the cable terminations, a battery to retain specific information such as date, time, Wi-Fi details, etc. when power is disconnected and the external antenna on the right of the picture.
Figure 37: Main PC Board Top View
Below is a zoomed in image of the cable connectors terminating on the main PC board.
Figure 38: PC Board Connector Close-up
On the back side of the main PC board, one can remove the battery compartment and get a better view into the back of the board. Here we can see the wireless controller chip and the (Bluetooth) radio connecting to the PIR sensor to the camera. In the picture, you can see the grey wires that run from the PC board to the two attached wireless antennas.
Figure 39: Wireless Controller and Connections
Below is a similar view with the black plastic body off to one side. You can see the good job of surface mounting the components that are usually covered up by the battery compartment holder. In the view below you can still see the battery spring near the bottom of the image which are directly connected to the circuit board. One can also see the power LED at the far left of the image.
Figure 40: PC Board Removed (Back)
Below is a zoomed in image of the radios in the camera along with the external antenna connections. You can also get a good view of the many components that make up this complex device.
Figure 41: Wireless Controller Close-up
Flipping the main circuit board over once again, you may be asking what the piece of black tape in the middle of the circuit board is covering. Some would think it is a special chip or other important component.
Sorry to disappoint you by revealing it in the next two images. Here we can see the tape applied to the board is more a protective covering to prevent things from rubbing on the components underneath
Figure 42: PC Board Top with Tape
Main circuit board with black tape lifted for a better view of what is being protected. The lower black foam covered object is where the SD card is inserted in the back of the camera.
Figure 43: PC Board Top with Tape Removed
Close-up view of the cable connectors on the main circuit board. We can easily make out items such as LED, MIC, SPeaKer, etc.
Figure 44: Board Connectors Close-up
The main PC board has a blue LED for power and a red surface mounted LED on the other side of the board for connectivity and other alerts.
Figure 45: PC board LED
Once the disassembly was completed, you can see the results in the below image. Although it does not look like many parts overall, the camera’s circuitry is quite complex and the product appears to be very well constructed.