Originally Posted by socalsharky
Can you post the list of the equipment you eventually went with? Thanks.
Originally Posted by socalsharky
Any other relevant equipment, such as PoE switch, software, mounting brackets, etc., would be helpful. Are you integrating this with a Smart Home system such as HomeSeer or Smart Things?
It's been a little over a month since I've now had the camera security system installed.
Let me give a quick overview of the process.
In August 2017, I decided I needed a camera security system. I initially met with 2 installers who provided evaluations and estimates. I liked the 2nd one better. But after the onsite meeting with him, we decided to go from 5 to 8 cameras.
I kept waiting for an updated estimate. He said he was busy with a large project but he would get back to me. Over the next 4 months, after every time I checked with him, he'd say he'd get back to me soon, but he never would.
Finally near the end of that 4 month period, he said he no longer supported the brand we initially talked about. I was disappointed. But I still wanted to see what parts and manufacturers he now recommended. But I STILL never got an updated estimate, even after he said he only supported one brand now.
So finally I started looking at a few more installers. I then settled on one. He said I could buy my own parts and he could do an install only.
For the next 6 months, he was great, and prompt at answering all of my pre-install questions. And, there was no upselling or unrealistic claims from him.
After his install, I was very happy with how clean the install looked, all-around. Even in the attic. For example, I can see a clear difference between how neat his install was in the attic, when compared to the cable and satellite installers from years ago.
Not only that, but a few hours after the installation was done and he left, I realized I never got the security warning signs or stickers. That was one of the things I had asked about prior to the install, and he said he could provide them. He kept his word and dropped them off another day.
So I'm happy with the installer that I chose.
Here's the equipment I have:
: 8 x Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE
These are 2 MP varifocal cameras.
I wanted varifocals, because I wanted a little flexibility after installation to make some adjustments to the cameras.
Not every location needed varifocals. But given how there isn't much of a price difference between fixed lens of the same series, and varifocals, I thought why not get them all.
After the installation, and actually seeing the cameras in use, I see that it wouldn't have been terrible had I gone with fixed lens. But I'm still glad I went with varifocals.
For example, the house is in the deepest part of a court. Because it's a court, it means there's only one way in or out. Had this been a fixed lens camera, it would have been too far back to make anything out near the opening of the court. But because it was a varifocal, I'm able to zoom in a little more to the court entrance, while also not losing the field of view of the side gate entrance. So I can still see activity leading up to the side gate, for one of the cameras.
I've made zoom adjustments on 3 of the 8 cameras.
Also, the low light capabilities have been as good as I envisioned. I'd seen videos people posted online of these cameras in use. But I'm also glad that for my conditions, it's been as good what I saw from others' too.
These cameras also have built-in mics. When we were checking the installation, the installer's son was surprised that these cameras had sound. I guess the cameras from the installer's own company don't have built-in mics.
So, so far, I'm happy with the camera selection.
During my research and pre-installation phase, I realized that I wanted a NVR with 2 HDMI outputs. This is because I had one TV downstairs that was 1080p, and a new TV upstairs that would be 4K.
So I wanted to output one HDMI port at 1080p, and the other at 4K. I had explained my NVR and TV situation to several installers, as well as the NVR manufacturer (Dahua), and all of them agreed that I needed a NVR with 2 HDMI outputs.
After the install, I discovered one issue with this setup. While there are 3 USB ports on this NVR, all of them only control what happens on HDMI 1.
For HDMI 2, all I can do is view the cameras. What I mean is I can view the live camera feeds on HDMI 2 (which was connected to my upstairs TV). I can set it to see all of the cameras at once, or I can set it to rotate in groups of 16 or 8, or 4, or 1. As in, if I set it to rotate in groups of 4, it will show cameras 1 - 4, then 5 - 8 (or however I define one "group".)
But, on HDMI 2, I don't have access to the configuration settings, or admin menu.
This may be ok for certain setups. But for me, I wanted full menu access whether I was upstairs or downstairs.
So what I ended up having to do post-install, was split HDMI 1 so that it went to both the downstairs TV, and upstairs TV. I already had both a USB and HDMI extender installed for the upstairs TV.
That way, both TVs mirrored the output from HDMI 1.
Had I known that the USB ports could only control HDMI 1, I might have gotten the NVR model with 1 HDMI port. After all the questions I asked about having the 2 TV setup, at different resolutions, I guess no one thought of the fact that the USB ports could only control 1 HDMI port.
This NVR has built-in PoE switches. That's what the 16P in the model name stands for.
I'm glad I got a NVR with built in PoE switches. It makes the physical setup much cleaner. I have all of the cat6 cables going to the NVR, then one cat6 cable going from the NVR, to my main switch for my router.
The regular switch (non PoE) that I have is a TP-Link TL-SG108E. I just got it a few weeks before my camera installation.
If I had gotten a PoE switch that I intended to be my main router switch too, I think it would have made for a messier physical setup. I would have needed a 24 port switch. 16 would be sufficient, but it would cut it too close, so I would have then gotten a bulkier 24 port switch. Given all of the other hardwire connections I have (desktop; Ooma; Tivo; Slingbox), it would make it messier to have that many cat6 cables all going to one switch. Keep in mind that I also have cat6 cables for the HDMI extender, and USB extender.
So, that's why I like this physical setup with the built-in PoE switches better.
There's one issue with the NVR: It is loud. I've read after the fact that NVRs with built-in switches are louder.
The built-in PSU fan for the NVR is rated at 30 dB. I've seen a replacement fan online that's rated at 14 dB, but it also moves 40% less air (9.43 CFM vs. 5.53 CFM).
Given that the operating temperature is at 46 - 47 degrees Celsius, and we're currently in Autumn, and the max operating temperature is at 55 degrees, there's not much room for margin. I don't think I want to change the fan and risk getting closer to the max operating temperature. I haven't even seen what the temperature will be during summer, since I got the installation done in late September.
I used an app called Decibel-X a few hours ago.
The fan blows at 1380 - 1410 RPM. Here are the readings:
From across the room: 60 dB
If placed on top of the NVR, in the front: 74 dB
If placed on top of the NVR, but in the back (near where the fan is): 84 dB
Fortunately, if I'm watching TV or something, then it drowns out the NVR fan noise. It's only if I have the TV off, that I notice it.
Also, I have the NVR in an open style TV stand. I like the open style because it allows for easy access for ports in the back. This is helpful if I need to do something on the back of the Tivo or Slingbox. But I guess it also means that for something like a NVR, it allows for more noise to escape too.
I guess one thing to think about for next time would be to try and put the NVR in some kind of a closed cabinet. But then that will also take more physical space. As I already had a nice spot for the NVR, in between my DVD player, and my Tivo. I would have to get another piece of furniture, like a closed cabinet, for that. I don't think I want to add more furniture.
So, I don't think there is an easy solution. The noise is just something I will deal with.
Even if a NVR without a built-in switch is quieter, I think it makes the physical setup of having all hardwired devices go to that switch, messier.
I think if people don't have the devices I do, like a desktop, Tivo, Slingbox, and Ooma, then it's not as much of an issue. But I guess people can also use powerline Ethernet adapters and such so there's less long Ethernet cables. I guess everyone has their own ideas of what makes for the best physical setup for them.
For direct use on the NVR, I use the built-in Dahua software. It's pretty good for what I've used it for, so far.
For remote viewing on a PC, I use the web interface. There is also an app called SmartPSS, but I like the web interface a little more.
For remote viewing on a mobile, I use Gdmss Plus, which is free. The downside of a mobile app is that I can only access the most recent 1 - 2 hours of recordings. Whereas with the web interface, I can access any day or time on the NVR itself.
I bought the mounting brackets when I bought the cameras. While I bought both wall mounts and 2 ceiling mounts, the installer ended up using wall mounts for everything.
The exact mount that the installer will use can't really be determined until the installer starts installing. Also, some installers charge separately for mounts that they provide. For the installer I went with, it was included as a part of the installation price. So even if the mounts I bought wouldn't have worked for some reason, I would have just used the installer's.
Smart Home System:
No, I am not integrating it with a smart home system, such as Home Seer or Smart Things. I'm not sure I need to. I have my rules pretty simple. 7 of the cameras are 24/7. The garage camera is on motion only.
The NVR has a lot of configuration options for how I want to set my recording rules. But I'm keeping it simple.
Because I'm recording the outside cameras 24/7, if something happens, I will capture it. I don't need to worry about IF it will sense something. Or I don't have to worry about wastage in motion detection recordings, with it recording a bunch of cats. There's several cats in the neighborhood, so if I had set it to motion, it would have recorded them often. Since I'm recording 24/7, I don't have to worry about false alerts.
If you recommend me integrating it with a smart home system, I'd like to hear your reasons, as well as how exactly I would do it.
I have heard from someone that wants certain recording rules when going on a vacation, and others when at home. But I'm keeping my recording rules simple.
Also, here's a funny story of me using the camera recordings. A neighbor said a drone crashed into a tree in my backyard. He came at 9pm to tell me this, but said it happened earlier in the day. I couldn't find it at night. I said I would check during the morning or weekend afternoon, and see if I could find it.
While I did physically check, I also checked my recordings for 2 hours during the specified time range. I didn't hear or see anything.
I then told the neighbor that I couldn't find anything, but that he was welcome to come over and help look during the weekend. Later during the day, the neighbor then said he found it at the neighbor's next to me.
So the story is funny because if I had set the cameras to motion only, I don't know if the cameras would or would not have picked up a drone. But because I had it set to 24/7, I could say with strong degree of confidence that there wasn't a drone crash during the specified hours.
I have seen home automation for lights and fans, and I think that is useful. But right now, based on how I'm doing my recordings, as well as what the NVR software provides, I don't think I'm missing anything? But again, I'm always learning. So maybe there is a way I could use a smart home system to enhance my security cameras.
I went with a Western Digital 8TB Purple 5400 rpm.
This was one of the recording time calculators I used to help me determine the hard drive size:
I had wanted at least 31 days of recording.
According to the calculator, I'd need at least 6 TB. I'm recording at 15 fps using H.265 compression.
But, just before ordering the hard drive, I decided to upgrade to 8TB, just to be safe.
After the install, I was a bit dismayed because it seemed to be using about 167 GB per day. According to the calculator, I should have been using between 99 - 114 GB. (With the worst case being that the garage camera recorded 24/7, even though it was set to motion).
About 1.5 weeks later, I realized it was because the cameras were recording at constant bitrate.
I changed it to variable bitrate. After that, it started using about 72 GB per day, less than 1/2 of what it was before. So I was getting even more storage than I had calculated.
I ended up getting a new router, pre-install. I did this because I wanted to set up a VPN. My gateway that I was renting from the cable company didn't support that.
This time, I bought a router.
I bought the ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900. The stock firmware on the router supports VPN configuration.
It's easy to use the VPN. If I'm remote, I tap once on my mobile phone to connect to the VPN. Then I go to the remote viewing app, GDMSS Plus, and open that to connect to my camera feeds.
I went with the APC BR 1500VA. I chose this because it has a pure sine wave, instead of a simulated sine wave. This model has 6 battery backup ports.
It also allows the most runtime for a 1500 VA.
Let's talk about power consumption, since it is related to how much runtime I get.
The NVR and PoE switches use about 58 - 59 Watts during the day, and about 71 Watts at night. They use more power at night because of the infrared.
The PoE switches by themselves use about 24 watts during the day, and 37 - 38 at night.
On the battery backup ports, I have the following plugged in: Modem, Router, Switch, Ooma, Tivo, NVR. The total power consumed is 98 - 111 watts.
I have about 72 mins of runtime during the day, 65 at night. This is what the APC unit suggests I'll be getting. I can't say for sure that I would get that in a real case scenario, if I went on battery backup power entirely.
The runtime seems a few mins less than APC's chart online, but oh well.
According to the chart, I should be getting 77 mins at 100 watts, and 71 at 110 watts.
If I look at the runtime of an older, simulated sinewave model, then I get 73 mins at 100 watts, and 66 at 110 watts, which is close to what I'm getting. But I have the pure sine wave model, but I'm not getting real world runtimes of what their specs are. Oh well.
, let me know after you've read this, and if you have any feedback or questions. And, what you're thinking of doing, and if any of this helped.