Home Security Camera Setups

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socialforums2019
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Home Security Camera Setups

Post by socialforums2019 »

At the moment, I have a single drop cam which allows me to watch the front door. We live in a town house complex, so there is no other entrances to watch. With that said, we are now moving to a SFH and want to have "eyes" around the property (front, side yard/gate, back yard, etc.) where I would be able to check what is going on from my phone and/or remotely. Is this something I should custom or just go with one of the companies/services?
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Tubes
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by Tubes »

A lot depends on your tech savvy, and perhaps your home improvement skills.

I have a wired HD IP camera system connected to an NVR with 6 cameras. The cameras are powered through ethernet (POE). So if all of this lingo (IP, HD, 4K, NVR, Ethernet, POE) is gibberish to you, then go with a company.

But if you find it intriguing and at least understand some of the lingo, then you may want to consider installing your own. Look up "NVR" for the many systems out there on Amazon and the like. I don't do Costco, but I hear they offer some kind of system a lot of times.

Some are wireless, but that's kind of a pain in the ... because they still need POWER. You still need a power wire! If you decide on an NVR system, get wired and bite the bullet to drill and run ethernet cable. I spent a few saturdays crawling in my attic and knee-wall area to route my camera wires. Get a system with POE and digital IP cameras. Get 1080 or above and you'll have really sharp views of the action.

Here's the rub: most of these systems are off brand overseas setups. Some of the descriptions on Amazon are almost comical in their English descriptions. (Example: "Warm Note: all cameras need connect power supply.") My brand (Q-SEE) went out of business this year due to covid. So, that's a risk. They put their support web site on auto-pilot, otherwise there is no help. The web site will eventually crash and burn.

I still like the system. There is a phone app that I can watch any camera from anywhere. I can also play back replays of motion events over the app and locally. And of course, I can also watch and manage directly. Just hook up a mouse and small display to the NVR and it is good to go.

One bummer is motion events were "pinging" my APP. Once the company went out of business, that stopped working. I have to rely on email notifications. I really liked the specific notifications hitting my phone when a motion event occurred. Oh well, another pandemic casualty.

So what am I saying? TL / DR below:

- If you are not tech savvy and don't like home improvement: go with a major company and have them install it.
- If you are ready for the challenge:
+ There are many options, both cloud based and local storage based
+ Local storage (NVR) systems can give you incredibly rich functionality
+ It takes some work to manage
+ Most NVRs are off brand companies with dubious support
+ I recommend systems that will take generic IP cameras made to a standard. If you get a "paired" system, they are trying to lock you in.
+ Wired systems are very reliable but are on the higher end of DYI for a professional looking install. It is a lot of work.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by TomatoTomahto »

We installed Ring cameras and lights around the house. One of the pluses for us that they integrate with some Lutron devices, Yale smart locks, First Alert smoke and CO detectors, Samsung SmartThings, and probably a dozen more devices.

For example, if motion is detected near my front door, I can record it, turn on the driveway lights (Z-wave), turn on the front door lights (Lutron), and under some circumstances turn on all of the lights and recorders around the outside of the house.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Tubes
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by Tubes »

Ring and the like are an option. Installation is usually pretty easy. I was an early adopter of their products and found a few cons:
- Cost for cloud storage
- Reliability of hardware

I have since removed all my Ring products. My doorbell and stickup cam died after 18 and 42 months respectively. The doorbell cam got a lot of sun. This constant heat did it in. Your video is also available to employees for support purposes. Employees are supposed to keep it confidential, access it only in certain instances, etc. Still know it is out there. An NVR system keeps the video on premise. You can potentially send it to cloud back up if you want. Your choice. One downside is if the criminal breaks in, they can steal your NVR. There goes the video!

As for Ring hardware, I have no idea of Amazon fixed some of the issues I had from the nascent company at the time. Perhaps they have.

There are plenty of pros for cloud based devices. Ring was real easy to use. The notifications were pretty reliable, although sometimes a bit stale.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by TomatoTomahto »

I can’t speak to Ring reliabilty (having installed less than a year ago), but their software is easy to use and full monitoring and video storage (for as many devices/sensors as I have) is $100/year.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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galawdawg
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by galawdawg »

I am sure that I have a much more "robust" approach to home security than many here.1 I have two dozen hard-wired cameras run to three different DVR units. That provides redundancy and prevents total loss of coverage if one DVR unit goes down. My cameras are wired with coax as several have very long underground runs and network cabling used in NVR/POE systems would not support those long runs. Instead of those power bricks (wall warts) that often come with camera systems, I have power supply distribution boxes. The entire system has battery backup. Video can be live viewed on a smartphone, computer or monitor. Motion detection, camera tampering and other system alerts and status information is sent by email and/or text. All of it is recorded on mirrored 3tb drives in each unit.

Here are a few tips that may be more than you need, but will hopefully give you some food for thought.

1. Purchase the highest quality system within your budget. Avoid generic/no-name products from China.
2. When determining how many cameras you need, consider overlapping your coverage. For example, for your front yard, have one camera on the right corner angled across the yard towards the left and one camera on the left corner angled across the yard towards the right. That helps eliminate blind spots where a bad actor can make his way to a camera and disable it without being seen on other cameras. So that is two cameras for each side of the house for an overall view. Plus you should have one or more separate cameras for each entry area.
3. The cameras covering your yard should have a wider field of view (but not a fish-eye which will distort the view). Cameras covering entry points should have a more narrow field of view. Choose at least 1080p resolution. While color night-vision is fine, I don't think it is really necessary.
4. Consider hard-wired cameras for best reliability. Wireless cameras are convenient but you can run into issues with signal strength, poor transmission of HD video and network connectivity problems. Plus, you still need a power supply so when mounting one under an eave at the corner of your house, installing a POE/NVR camera which only requires Cat 5 or 6 cable or a DVR camera which requires Siamese coax, is much easier and less costly than running power to those camera locations. If you use a DVR system, don't use the thin Siamese coax cables that come with the system. Get some high quality cable, such as Paige or Belden Siamese Coax (RG59 plus 18/2 power) and BNC connectors.
5. Think about multiple DVR/NVR units, rather than a single unit. For example, if you go with a sixteen camera system, get two (2) eight camera NVR/DVR units. Then have one camera for each yard and one camera for each entry point hooked to one and the second camera for each yard and entry point hooked to the other. If one goes down, you still have some surveillance capability while the first unit is serviced or replaced.
6. Connect the DVR/NVR units and the camera power supplies to a battery backup. Do the same for your network router and your DSL/cable modem. That keeps your systems up and running, at least temporarily, in the event of a power outage.

Again, this may be WAY more than you need or want, but some of these tips may be helpful even if you go with a couple of wireless stand-alone cameras.



1As a DA, I received a few death threats which weren't too concerning as those who make such threats don't often carry them out. More concerning was a militia group some of whose members conspired to target me and a few other state officials, as well as state and federal government buildings, for attack with firearms, explosives and ricin. They even discussed disbursing ricin in the metro Atlanta area (although their planned method would have been ineffective). The joint terrorism task force was able to position an undercover FBI agent to sell the explosives and silencers to two of the group. Two others (well-educated scientists) were caught in the process of making ricin from castor beans. All four were sent to federal prison.

During that investigation, I was able to receive a comprehensive personal security assessment and advice on improving our security, which included recommendations for a surveillance system. The surveillance system has two dozen hard wired cameras including underground wiring to hidden camera positions covering the road in front of our property as well as the entrance and driveway (one of which will capture license plates clearly). While surveillance of our entire farm would be unmanageable (and unnecessary), there isn't a spot on the acre surrounding our house that doesn't have redundant coverage. 8-)
runner3081
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by runner3081 »

We have Arlo Pro 2 cameras, one on battery power, one hard-wired.

They work great and come with free cloud storage for 24 hours.
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Tubes
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by Tubes »

So I'm reading galawdawg's good post about a robust system, and I'm thinking: "Man, that may be overkill."

Then I get to the footnote. Woah!
Dottie57
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by Dottie57 »

runner3081 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:12 pm We have Arlo Pro 2 cameras, one on battery power, one hard-wired.

They work great and come with free cloud storage for 24 hours.
Ditto here. They are simple and easy to use.
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galawdawg
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by galawdawg »

Tubes wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:03 pm So I'm reading galawdawg's good post about a robust system, and I'm thinking: "Man, that may be overkill."

Then I get to the footnote. Woah!
Yep. Really the only time in my career that I had very significant concerns. Nothing like going about life as usual knowing you are a target but having to let the investigation play out to be sure it is a genuine criminal conspiracy and not just talk. https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/atlan ... ical-toxin
ElJefeDelQueso
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by ElJefeDelQueso »

socialforums2019 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:29 am At the moment, I have a single drop cam which allows me to watch the front door. We live in a town house complex, so there is no other entrances to watch. With that said, we are now moving to a SFH and want to have "eyes" around the property (front, side yard/gate, back yard, etc.) where I would be able to check what is going on from my phone and/or remotely. Is this something I should custom or just go with one of the companies/services?
Blue Iris is a popular security camera software package that runs on a standard PC. https://blueirissoftware.com/

This will work with any standard ONVIF PoE camera, so you are not locked in to a particular company. You will need to repair / upgrade over time.

Look for multiport PoE power injectors on Amazon, around $150 for a 12 port unit last I checked, some short Ethernet patch cables, and use a standard switch to interface with your cameras through the injector.

I use Reolink cameras because they are cheap and work pretty well. There are numerous compatible manufacturers.

Get a home AV company to run CAT5E cables in your attic, or do it yourself if you're handy. I've got mine brought to a 16 port keystone wall plate in my media closet.

This setup is pretty foolproof and has run 24/7 for several years for me with no maintenance.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by Sandtrap »

runner3081 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:12 pm We have Arlo Pro 2 cameras, one on battery power, one hard-wired.

They work great and come with free cloud storage for 24 hours.
+1
Arlo Pro 2
Set of 5

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lthenderson
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by lthenderson »

Tubes wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:00 pm I have a wired HD IP camera system connected to an NVR with 6 cameras. The cameras are powered through ethernet (POE). So if all of this lingo (IP, HD, 4K, NVR, Ethernet, POE) is gibberish to you, then go with a company.

But if you find it intriguing and at least understand some of the lingo, then you may want to consider installing your own.
+1 I have a similar system and like this advice. I would add that I went with domed cameras versus drop down for a reason touched up above. With domes camera, you can't tell which way they are pointing until you are nearly right on top of them so they are a great deterrent for thieves looking to disable them first. They mount on the underneath side of your eaves so no wires are exposed and since they are covered, I find them a lot more robust and longer lasting when exposed to the elements than drop cameras.
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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by oldcomputerguy »

We have deployed ten Blink cameras inside and around the outside of our home. They work pretty well and do what we want. A couple of things we've learned since we bought them, though;
  • The system consists of a "sync module" and one or more cameras slaved to the sync module. The cameras can store motion detected clips on the sync module. Version 2 and later of the sync module comes with a USB connector that lets you add a USB stick for clip storage; version 1 of the sync module does not have this ability.
  • The cameras can also push clips to a cloud storage account for easier access from your phone app. However, this ability is part of a 30-day free trial. If you wish to continue to store clips in the cloud, you have to sign up for a paid cloud account. There are several tiers, depending on how many cameras you have and what time period you wish to commit for.
All in all, we're happy with the system. We signed up for the annual cloud storage plan (unlimited number of cameras), it's around $100 per year. Fo the number of cameras we have, this was far and away the better deal.
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Tubes
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by Tubes »

lthenderson wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:15 am
Tubes wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:00 pm I have a wired HD IP camera system connected to an NVR with 6 cameras. The cameras are powered through ethernet (POE). So if all of this lingo (IP, HD, 4K, NVR, Ethernet, POE) is gibberish to you, then go with a company.

But if you find it intriguing and at least understand some of the lingo, then you may want to consider installing your own.
+1 I have a similar system and like this advice. I would add that I went with domed cameras versus drop down for a reason touched up above. With domes camera, you can't tell which way they are pointing until you are nearly right on top of them so they are a great deterrent for thieves looking to disable them first. They mount on the underneath side of your eaves so no wires are exposed and since they are covered, I find them a lot more robust and longer lasting when exposed to the elements than drop cameras.
Great point about flexibility of camera types with the more traditional NVR/DVR systems. I have both domes and bullets. Most are under eaves and trouble free.
Nyarlathotep
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by Nyarlathotep »

runner3081 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:12 pm We have Arlo Pro 2 cameras, one on battery power, one hard-wired. They work great ...
Another vote for Arlo Pro 2. Wireless, battery powered, easy to set up and use. I have three outside and one inside my house. A bit pricier than some other alternatives, but a great choice for just about anyone.
runner3081 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:12 pm... and come with free cloud storage for 24 hours.
Actually, Netgear provides free cloud storage of all Arlo Pro 2 video recordings for seven days. Honestly, I can't imagine needing more than that.
FreemanB
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Re: Home Security Camera Setups

Post by FreemanB »

Nyarlathotep wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:20 am
runner3081 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:12 pm We have Arlo Pro 2 cameras, one on battery power, one hard-wired. They work great ...
Another vote for Arlo Pro 2. Wireless, battery powered, easy to set up and use. I have three outside and one inside my house. A bit pricier than some other alternatives, but a great choice for just about anyone.
runner3081 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:12 pm... and come with free cloud storage for 24 hours.
Actually, Netgear provides free cloud storage of all Arlo Pro 2 video recordings for seven days. Honestly, I can't imagine needing more than that.
Another vote for Arlo, and yep, it is 7 days of storage.(I think there's a space limit as well, but nothing likely to get hit in 7 days) I think it is the easiest out-of-the-box solution for all of your needs. We have 4 cameras(3 External and one internal), all running on battery. You get remote access, either through web or an app, but you can easily configure when, what, and how they record. The setup and configuration is easy, even for non-tech people, and I haven't had any issues with them for 3+ years now.
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