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Video Security Systems

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#1
I just finished up installation of four new runs of cat5e for the ip video cameras I purchased. I was using two of them for a month or so to test 'em out and was impressed by the quality of the video.

I have a six camera system currently but it is only 640X480 res. The video is pretty grainy when you try to zoom in to see a detail - licence plates were impossible.

TrendNet IP301 camera at Frys.JPG

The cameras are all by Trendnet, model TV-IP310, all purchased in a visit to a local Frys (they're listed on their web site if you want to look). Somewhat of struggle at times to get into and onto the camera with their setup program, but dickin around enough finally brought each of them up and on line so I could install them on my security software. Just for video monitoring purposes each of them were just fine to go at that point.

Next, The security program
TBC,
BF
 

southfork

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#2
Been wanting one myself , should have run some cables before I blew in more insulation this spring, I wonder how the wireless ones are. Guess i could run the wires under the soffit though
 

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#3
There was a video security program that came bundled with the IP camera. But like most bundled software it was pretty elementary and there were other features I wanted in a video security system that I had on my wish list from my old analog system. Reading around the I-net on different video/ security forums I kept seeing the program Blue Iris mentioned. It turned out to be a popular home security system that had a two week free trial period. The cost of the software is $60 for the version that supports more than one surveillance camera.

So I downloaded their 15 day trial version and started testing it out.

Most of the setup was straight forward enough. When you first set up the IP camera you logged in as admin and changed the password. To install your camera you better damn well have that password and username handy. You need to know its IP address as well. Each camera is installed in turn. Blue Iris allows up to 64 cameras to be installed on the system, if that is your goal, go for it.

I installed my two IP cameras and one USB camera that was local to my computer for my trial run. It took me the first full two weeks to finally overcome their backwards (or was it inside out?) application of schedules. You know, like a vacation schedule, or a summertime/wintertime schedule or certain camera(s) off during certain times schedules. I was beating my head about over which camera was off or on and when. I couldn’t seem to get them to stop recording at any time.

I finally figured out it was just the way I was looking at it and what they were doing made perfect sense in a RPN sort of way. During that same time I also discovered that if you didn’t shut down your computer Blue Iris would continue running past the 15 day trial period. Turn of the computer or Blue Iris and you were done.

I’m still testing Blue Iris with my system, I hope to have the other two cameras hard installed in their locations by the end of the week. When I need to shut down, I just re-install an image of that system and install Blue Iris again.

BF
 

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#4
Been wanting one myself , should have run some cables before I blew in more insulation this spring, I wonder how the wireless ones are. Guess i could run the wires under the soffit though
I rejected wireless in the beginning because sometimes if the wifi signal is lost the security system will disable that camera.
They have outdoor rated CAT5e, I use it for all my alarm runs, even if they don't go truly outside.
I've been playing with this (with analog video systems, though) for about ten years.
These cameras are the first I've seen in my price range.

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#5
Here's a frame capture from one of my IP cameras that watches front door approach.
Cam4-122520.jpg

You can see it's pretty clear. Blue Iris can be set up to take a frame shot like this at whatever interval you want.
And, of course, like all video security programs I'v seen, allow you to set motion detection up.

BF
 

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#6
Just what in the hell is an IP camera? How are they better and how do they work? The cameras you are used to using in security systems are analog cameras. That is the signal they send back is a waveform, not a series of digital pulses.

With analog cameras the signal gets converted to a digital signal that your computer can use by a video digitizing card added to your computer. The IP cameras digitize the signal at the camera and send it down a CAT5 line as communication with a host.

Power is supplied to the analog camera by a parallel (with the video out cable) line that carries, usually 12v DC. Power to the IP Camera is across an unused pair of the CAT5 cable run. This requires an additional piece of equipment called an injector. One is required for each IP camera. There are also switches which inject the required 5v signal on the cable, this is what I recommend. You can get them in several camera supporting capacities, but they get pretty pricey when you’re looking at 64 camera capabilities. Here’s the one I’m using:
POE Switch.JPG

BF
 
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Goldhedge

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#7

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Goldhedge

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#12
What cameras would you use to catch the license plate?


also can you buy different cameras and use them on one system, or is the system proprietary?
 

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#13
Excellent example of visualizing resolution and frame size, there Goldhedge. I grabbed one of the stills they had:

2k-hd-sd-1024x540.jpg
The middle one, 640X480, which used to be "standard" size on computer screens last century.
BF
 

southfork

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#14
Very nice setup, Im still sick to my stomach that it has gotten to this point where we need alarms and cameras to protect ourselves.

Here's a frame capture from one of my IP cameras that watches front door approach.

You can see it's pretty clear. Blue Iris can be set up to take a frame shot like this at whatever interval you want.
And, of course, like all video security programs I'v seen, allow you to set motion detection up.

BF
 

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#15
It helps if you have a layout of your desired places to monitor. You need to be able to run CAT5 cable to the location you want the camera. If you’ve already run analog cable to those areas, then your layout work is half done. At least you know where you can utilize your cameras best. And, hey, with 64 camera capability you could cover a LOT of area – go for it.

People here point out the beauty of wireless. So, do they use batteries? Didn’t think so, if they did they’d be like those fire alarm batteries; dead when you needed ‘em. So you say they need power, eh? Then just how are they “wireless”? And, unh, aren’t those wireless signals electromagnetic waves, like, maybe radio? And what with the hackers breaking into all kinds of super spy agency, banks, equifax and all that shit, you think their kids, tinkerin’ around might be practicing on your “wireless” network?

edit:(See Krack Attack by Weatherman posted oct 18)

So, being paranoid as I am I crawl around in the basement, the attic and up my two story walls installing hard wiring. Keeps me in shape.


BF
 
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#16
What cameras would you use to catch the license plate?


also can you buy different cameras and use them on one system, or is the system proprietary?
Aw man, it's TOUGH to catch LPs. Even at this res, direct on, I can only resolve, at best four or five numbers. If I know what they are you can see it. (like you see things in clouds). And you have to have a set up to capture the front of the car position to get a good picture.

These cameras are just set up on your WIRED network. Its up to you to find some suitable program to use them for security. You need all the equipment I ran over here. They work all by themselves as monitor-the-grounds type cameras.

BF
 

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#17
So, as to your question on license plate view, Goldhedge, I watched as my wife backed into the space next to my truck and you could read her plate from in front of the truck (about where the 'E' in 'Evaluation' is on the frame capture) sharp and clear, no problem at all.

BF
 

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#18
One of the problems you run into is; what do you do with the video you capture. Normally on my four camera setup (two of them are just installed in windows in 'testing' mode) I capture about 20 to 30 gBytes a day. If your sole purpose is to catch a picture of a burglar then you just erase them all whenever there's no break-in the day before :D.

If, like me, you review the videos each day to see if someone might be 'casing' your home then you need to set aside some time for review. You can set the playback speed on Blue Iris to X2 to up to X10 (IIRC) to zoom thru them zip-zip — it's kinda like time lapse photography. On a nice sunny day I get about 4 GB of shadows waving around on the ground. Other times, in the darkness, I get to see the raccoons inspecting my garbage containers. When I'm done I just erase those vids that aren't interesting. A few, I clip out what I want and save it.

During the zip-zip review it's easy to see someone walking up to my door and I can stop the fast review and look at then in real time or freeze a frame. Knowing the way the police work (file a report, turn it in to your insurance) I don't have too much faith in them arresting the perp from my freeze frame or being able to recover any of my stolen stuff. But reviewing my videos daily could give me a heads up to someone's intended purpose. And being aware of their intentions I might just be able to thwart them.

So far Blue Iris is handling my four camera in HD at 30 FPS with only about 35% cpu load.

BF
 

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#19
And here's some real-world results from my home town:

Friends thousands of miles away catch thief in Redmond thanks to a web cam

Redmond Police say a suspected thief with six convictions and more than two dozen arrests is now in custody thanks to a web camera and some quick-thinking friends thousands of miles away.

A Redmond man, William, who did not want to reveal his last name, said his friends caught a thief red-handed inside his apartment back in November. The 38-year-old engineer leaves a web camera on in his apartment so he can conference call with his friends in China every day.

November 13 his friends were getting ready to conference call him when they saw and heard something strange in the darkness of his apartment through a web camera.
Jermarsa.jpg
William's friends immediately took a snapshot and captured an image of the suspected thief. According to police, the photograph captured was so good that detectives were able to identity 29-year-old Jermarsa Jackson of Seattle, from it.

The quality and clarity of the photos captured by the burglary victim's camera was integral in helping our detectives solve this case. Our detectives often get video footage of crimes that are grainy or blurry and while we have an excellent crime analysis team, we cannot always get useful information from these images.
KOMO News

Wow! I can't believe that the police used this video to actually catch the criminal. But, then it's almost close up enough to qualify as a mug shot. In most of my images of a person their head is about the size of a dime on the monitor.

BF
 

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#20
Just wanted to bring up one more detail about my Cat5 wired system; the cameras are all on my network and are not relegated to only use by the security system, but I can call up each camera individually from any computer in the house to view what is going on at that camera. And, if I had the camera access unblocked I could log in from anywhere in the world and view what that camera sees.
This is in addition to being able to access the Blue Iris program remotely (if I had it activated) and view any recordings it had made. These two abilities should make this system a great resource for monitoring your home while you were off on three week vacation or some such.

BF
 

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#21
Im still sick to my stomach that it has gotten to this point where we need alarms and cameras to protect ourselves.
a-yep. Like this story for example:
Vandals destroy 50 beehives in Iowa, killing at least 500,000 bees
CBS NEWS
SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- The future of a honey business in Sioux Falls, Iowa, is uncertain after vandals destroyed dozens of their beehives, CBS affiliate KMEG reports. The owners of Wild Hill Honey said they discovered that 50 beehives were destroyed when they went to clear off snow on Thursday. The owner, Justin Engelhardt, told KMEG that the incident basically wipes out his business and that it will be impossible to recover from. He said that thousands of bees died from vandalism. "I knew it was going to be bad we went around the shed every hive was knocked over, dead bees in the snow, it was terrible," Englehardt said.
Vandalism — just destruction, no intent of thievery, just destruction. Wouldn't it be a good idea to set up video security before the local JDs decide to rip up your newly planted rosebushes or cut doughnuts in your lawn at 2:45 in the morning?

Just sayin...
BF
 

southfork

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#22
So how many cameras should one have to truly give 100% coverage? It's winter so I could brave the heat of the attic I suppose, hate to trample thru my new insulation though. Guess I could get a leaf rake to even it again.
 

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#23
How many cameras? Well, for one thing each camera you install loads down the computer that you are using. Somewhere you reach the point that all resources are used up and the computer shuts down. I have four cameras running now and that overloads my system (detailed here) to the point where I get video dropouts in the recordings if all four cameras are busy (like on a windy day).

I would suggest that you start by purchasing just one camera. Set it up so that it’s monitoring the most popular approach to your home, and install a camera there. Download Blue Iris (cost free trial) and run it for a few weeks to see if you have your ducks in a row.

This will give you some experience at running CAT5, setting up Blue Iris, and getting a measure on what kind of horsepower (computer sizing) you will need to run your envisioned system. Your question about how many are needed should resolve itself when you see the requirements of running the wire, setting up Blue Iris, monitoring the output, and overall coverage from the different locations you have selected for camera installation.

That is, to say, try to go slow.

BF
 

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#24
Very nice setup, Im still sick to my stomach that it has gotten to this point where we need alarms and cameras to protect ourselves.
Get used to it, think Mexico or some of those South American countries, that's the level of protection we are going to need soon.
 

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#25
Sitting here thinking about it.

I don’t like the idea of cameras in the home bu t four cameras placed on my eavs would cover the outside nicely. My thoughts go to using an old router with no external connection ran to a cheap laptop with a large SSD. The CAT5 would run to a central location in the attic. The laptop would go into a hidden location
How do I get the signal out of a hot attic and onto the laptop? Could I simply plug the cameras into the router ports and beam the signal to the hidden laptop?will a router survive in the attic?
 

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#26
Get used to it, think Mexico or some of those South American countries, that's the level of protection we are going to need soon.
I built a 10' foot tall plastered concrete block wall (every other core pored with concrete and rebar) around our place. Bought a Swann 8 camera security system from Costco with night vision and remote viewing. The remote viewing had a software upgrade and now works great.
 

southfork

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#27
Ran tons of cat5 and ethernet cables over the years, my only weakness is figuring the software out Guess i could set the system up in garage and run cables from there, why would the cameras bog your computer down, couldnt you upgrade the memory or use a ssd?

How many cameras? Well, for one thing each camera you install loads down the computer that you are using. Somewhere you reach the point that all resources are used up and the computer shuts down. I have four cameras running now and that overloads my system (detailed here) to the point where I get video dropouts in the recordings if all four cameras are busy (like on a windy day).

I would suggest that you start by purchasing just one camera. Set it up so that it’s monitoring the most popular approach to your home, and install a camera there. Download Blue Iris (cost free trial) and run it for a few weeks to see if you have your ducks in a row.

This will give you some experience at running CAT5, setting up Blue Iris, and getting a measure on what kind of horsepower (computer sizing) you will need to run your envisioned system. Your question about how many are needed should resolve itself when you see the requirements of running the wire, setting up Blue Iris, monitoring the output, and overall coverage from the different locations you have selected for camera installation.

That is, to say, try to go slow.

BF
 

latemetal

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You don't have to limit yourself to mounting cameras on your house. I know a guy who built a birdhouse to house his camera in and put it up on a pole about 15 feet in the air.
And, Errosion, don't forget, with POE cameras you need to inject a five volt source down the CAT5. Here's a simple diagram of what you're calling for in your post. With the switch in the attic, the computer on the floor below. The box labeled 'switch' is the central point for the CAT5 runs.
Crude Layout.jpg
why would the cameras bog your computer down
Each camera has a bitstream that needs to be processed by the CPU. It's the CPU that needs the muscles, and, yeah, the more memory the better (using 16Gb now). I have the OS on a SSD. Requirements are pretty low (relatively speaking) for 640 X 480 cameras but when you start with 2048 X 1152 for a good resolution photo you can shut your system down by overloading to much action at once.

Wow! a ten foot concrete block wall! I'm impressed. You don't happen to live in mexico, do you Silver? You could mount a laser alarm perimeter on top of the wall (or do you already have concertina wire there?). I like it! I hope you ran one inch conduit around in it while you were building it.

BF
 

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Wow! a ten foot concrete block wall! I'm impressed. You don't happen to live in mexico, do you Silver? You could mount a laser alarm perimeter on top of the wall (or do you already have concertina wire there?). I like it! I hope you ran one inch conduit around in it while you were building it.

BF

I live in a border county about 100 miles from Mexico with a highway straight to the border nearby. Walled compounds (hacienda style) are popular in this region. No conduit, but I could easily run some under the lip on the cap.
 
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