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OT: Home Camera Surveillance Systems


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As we begin our travels and will be staying away from the S&B for longer periods of time would like to have a home surveillance camera system for those times. I have researched a number of products such as Lorax, Samsung, Night Owl, Qsee sold at the big box stores and honestly not a lot of good reviews on any of these. History: We live in the county so quick LEO response would be about 20 mins. We presently have an ADT in home security system with cellular connection so have smoke, fire, glass, doors and windows covered. Their camera add-ons are expensive and poor reviews.

What I want & need:

1. Four wired outdoor cameras with night vision that works (our internet is Verizon Jetpack and goes on the road with us so no use having wireless). Besides wouldn't send to our iPads or phones anyway without adding an internet.

2. Minimum 1tb, preferably more DVR expandable to 8 cameras in future if desired. I have a Dell 20" monitor to use.

3. Motion activated cameras.

4. Easy to set up and use.

5. Doesn't break the bank.


I'm not looking to necessarily stop a break-in but would like to get a video of the event if I could. Have heard about Honeywell systems but again couldn't find any real good info. Anyone have any input from their home or business use?

P.S. Most of the above cheaper systems say night vision up to 75' but actual "in use" reviews say at most 5-10' on a clear, dark night.

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I have the NightOwl system and it works OK. It is around 3 years old now but still works fine. I have it behind a debian host firewall (so it as accessible from anywhere) as it is reported to be very hackable. If I had to do it again, it would go to an IP camera system and get a Power Over Ethernet (POE) switch. Would cost more but is easier to set up.

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Never's idea about the POE cameras and switches (like a router) is a good one. Ethernet cable uses 4 wires - 2 for data out and 2 for data back. The other four wires become device power (cameras in this case). So, 1 ether cable out and mount your camera, no 120 volt local plug, extra wall wart some place, one common supply and up to 8 cameras.

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Carl, when I built my office/shop I picked up a 10 camera (expandable to 16) system from Costco. It was around $500 at the time. I guess the real question is what quality of a photo do you want? In most cases it is going to boil down to the quality of the camera, placement of the camera(s) and any other deterrences.


I think most people only want to install as few cameras as possible. I purchased a 10 camera system, so I installed all 10. This provides not only more views but if somebody tries to disable a camera, you still have others. Place some up high for a better overall view and harder to reach for disabling but also low near possible entry points for a much more personal view of the person approaching.


Consider adding motion activated lights. When the lights are triggered it will help with the night vision some in addition to the light itself being a deterrence.


Record using the highest quality video setting possible.


Also think about how you are going to secure the recorder. Even if you are notified as soon as the system detects them, you said help could take time. They could be gone by the time help arrives and if they find and remove the recorder easily it just gets more difficult to track them down.


Also check to see if the recorder can also record/send the images to another device like a network disk storage device. This provides a backup of the images in the event one device fails or is taken. A larger disk in the 2nd device can also allow for a longer archive if desired.


Also consider a UPS in the event the power goes down or is shut off.


As for IP-POE vs coax I went with coax. I like the flexibility that comes with the use of IP-POE and I think it will be more common in the future but at the time I purchased I was able to get more bang for my buck with a package system and the coax systems were more prevalent. Lengthening the coax is easy as it is just coax with a BNC connector on each end. The cable also has the power wire molded to the coax wire, so you were just having to pull one wire it just has two connections at each end.

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