The uses of online surveillance cameras in residencies are becoming more and more popular with each passing year. It is no mystery that home security is uncertain more these days than during previous years due to the tough economic times. Not only do homeowners want to protect their valuables and assets, but they also want to offer protection to their families. Some homeowners have turned to this type of home security rather than purchasing firearms, while others have used each form of security in conjunction with each other.
What are the benefits of using online surveillance cameras?
There are a number of benefits to using a surveillance camera on the exterior of the home. For some homeowners, they want to see who is coming to their door without the visitor seeing them. This is also useful for those who are trying to secretly see if their spouse is having an affair and, with the camera, they can easily see and record who is coming and going while they are away.
Another benefit is keeping tabs on a babysitter parents are unsure of, as well as others entering their home like house cleaning services and maintenance people. Under some circumstances, homeowners have a lot of people coming and going from their home while they are away; therefore they want to know what is happening during these times. There are a number of ways to monitor these people without them knowing, including hiding cameras in stuffed animals, in clocks, and in appliances. The camera will tell homeowners what is going on while they're away, and tell parents if their child is being properly cared for.
Other benefits include checking in on kids that are old enough to be alone while parents are at work or out of the home for any other reason. It isn't uncommon for children to come home to an empty house after school because their parents have to work. So, using a few cameras sprinkled throughout the house and the property helps parents keep an eye on the kids while they are away. For those who keep surveillance cameras outside, it helps these parents see who is coming and going when they aren't home.
Can you tell if you're being watched?
The technological advancements of today allow online surveillance cameras to be wireless and self-contained. That way, they are completely free from any sort of cable systems or wires. This technology allows the camera to be hidden just about anywhere; therefore it's possible you could be being watched without really being sure. These internet surveillance cameras are hooked up directly to the user's computer, so the video feed can be watched from any location.
Where can online surveillance cameras be purchased?
Consumers can find online surveillance cameras at a number of retail locations, but they're easier to find through Internet retailers. It's best to shop around in order to ensure the correct model is purchased for the best possible price. If you feel like you are the one being watched by an online surveillance camera, you can also perform this same research to see what kinds of cameras to look for in your personal and business surroundings.
Lynn Darsow has extensive experience in home security. She enjoys sharing her insights on the subject on various home blogs. Visit www.zmododirect.com for more information about protecting your home.
Life Saving Home Security Tips to Stay Safe
Your home is usually secure when you're in it, however the real problems begin when you're away from home and spending time on vacation, work or elsewhere. Although having a security system is a great way to protect your belongings there are some ways you can improve on that through sheer common sense. Here we have prepared a few rules for you to follow so you can avoid any problems that might arise from carelessness and lack of alertness:
Create an illusion
When you're not home a dark, empty-looking house is a prime target for burglars and thieves of all sorts. For that very reason you need to create an illusion the house is still inhabited and that people are present within to discourage an unlawful entry before it happens. Make sure you have signs which warn trespassers they are being recorded on video and that there are security systems present. Use lights which utilize motion detectors to minimize the chance for burglars to find hiding spots.
Use good locks
All exterior doors should have deadbolts installed to prevent any chance of easily breaking them down. Make sure it’s made of hardened steel and also that the door frame is strong enough to support it. Doing so will secure the entrances to your home and it will boost the overall security.
Never place any keys outside your home
Forget keys under the doormat, on the door frame, in potted plants and so on. This is a security risk and a liability you don't need when you're protecting your home from entry. Thieves will find those since most of the locations are not that hard to figure out. Make them work hard to enter your home if that is what they intend to do.
Secure your patio doors
You can do this by placing a bar on the bottom track of the door to block it from opening. This is a low-tech but easy to implement way of locking a door or window of that kind. You can also install a glass break sensor to further secure windows against unlawful entry.
Keep garage doors closed
This should be done at all times when you're not entering or exiting the garage with your vehicle. The inner doors give an easy access to the rest of the house so make sure you do that. You can also install a garage door spring contact which can help secure that entry point by hooking it up to your alarm system.
Never leave notes
Forget about notes like “Be back in an hour” or similar things for family members or anyone who was supposed to meet you while you're gone. This is a big green light for anyone approaching your home that the place is ripe for the picking. Also never forget to arm your security system when you leave your home even if it is for just ten minutes.
Kill the phones
Disconnecting the phone or turning down the volume to nothing is a good way to keep listening thieves from finding out you're not there to pick up the phone. Sometimes thieves with access to your personal information will call your home. A phone secretary could tip them off about not being at home too.
Got a red "H" on your DVR Screen?
If you see a red “H” icon on the DVR screen, then there is an issue with the Hard Drive (HDD). That red H is like the “Check Engine” light for the HDD, that something somehow is wrong with the HDD. Any of the following could be going on:
Zmodo DVR and Surveillance Cameras
There is no HDD in the DVR.
The hard drive Needs to be formatted.
The DVR is not properly detecting the HDD
The HDD is malfunctioning.
The DVR may need a software update so that it can successfully communicate with the HDD.
You can also watch videos of hard drive installation
*When the HDD is malfunctioning, the DVR may also freeze periodically or reboot over and over again.
If your DVR has a HDD installed, please try the following:
-Disconnect all cameras by unplugging all BNC cables from the channel inputs on the back of the DVR.
-Reboot the DVR.
-When the DVR turns back on, you should now be able to get to the HDD Management Menu. (When the HDD is malfunctioning and is attempting to continue to record, this is when the DVR may start freezing, rebooting, etc. Removing the cameras makes the DVR stop recording, so disconnecting the cameras and rebooting the DVR should enable the end user to access all menus.)
-Reformat the HDD using the DVR’s HDD Management Menu
-Re-connect the BNC video cables to the channel inputs on the back of the DVR.
Theoretically, this should fix the HDD’s ability to communicate with the DVR. If your DVR continues to display the red H, freeze, or reboot after completing these steps; please give us a call and we can try a software update.
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Throughout the blogosphere, from social media and even traditional news outlets, there is an indication that the popularity of do-it-yourself home security systems is growing. While precise reasons for this are unknown, an unofficial survey of news and discussions on this topic indicate that improvements in technology, as well as the cost-effectiveness of DIY home security projects are both very sensible explanations. A growing DIY home improvement trend, in general, may also play a role in the increased interest in DIY home security.
The Ease of Wireless Home Security Systems
A recent article on a website covering news in Florida suggests that DIY home security systems are receiving increased attention as new technology is easier to install and, thus, causing people to bypass well-known security dealers and expensive installation prices in favor of installing their own systems. We find this to be particularly true with wireless home security systems which do not require complex wiring procedures.
Technological advances have also made it possible for wireless systems to represent the same level of alarm quality as hardwired systems. Digital technology, in particular, eliminates a lot of the interference that earlier generations of analog wireless technology experienced. This is true for alarm systems, as well as wireless video surveillance systems.
DIY Hardwired Alarm Systems
Even hardwired systems can be self-installed. As the product reviews on the Ademco Honeywell Vista 20P Security System Kit that we offer in our main store will attest, most people find hardwired systems like these pretty easy and straightforward to install. Of those who find such an effort to be a challenge, the personalized tech support we provide helps make the DIY installation of even hardwired systems possible.
The Cost Effectiveness of DIY Home Security Systems
DIY home security systems also tend to cost quite a bit less than do alarm systems purchased through security dealers. Often, the alarm brands sold are identical to those that can be purchased from Home Security Store or another direct security retailer. Not only might systems cost less, but homeowners also save on the cost of labor for installation, as well as monitoring costs.
Typically, alarm monitoring can cost the upwards of $20 per month if contracted through a home security dealer. DIY home security system owners, however, can receive comparable monitoring services for less than half that cost. One of the main reasons people often cite for bypassing alarm monitoring (which we do not recommend that anyone do) is because of the high cost of monitoring through security dealers. It stands to reason, then, that homeowners would embrace DIY home security systems, which can be monitored for less than $100 annually.
The Latest and Best Technology is Also DIY
In addition to professional monitoring, a lot of DIY home security customers are taking advantage of new technology that allows them to self-monitor their homes. This is done through the use of alarm accessories and smartphone applications that make it possible to view a home– inside and out– from a remote location using a smartphone, tablet or a laptop computer. Many of these same devices also make it possible to access home automation tools in order to control other things in a home’s environment, such as lighting and heating.
Beyond alarm and monitoring accessories, however, people find value in DIY projects that heighten home security by doing things like changing a home’s locks, installing additional keypads or even adding yard signs and window decals indicating the presence of a home security system. Often overlooked in conversations of DIY home security– or home security, in general– these simple projects help add layers of home security which are very necessary in keeping burglars at bay. For example, biometric door locks, which are controlled by fingerprint, are definite deterrents…not to mention, they add a certain “cool factor” to a home.
DIY Home Improvement Movement Empowers Homeowners
The plethora of DIY home improvement television shows, blogs, websites and magazines also undoubtedly supports the popularity of DIY home security systems. Mediums like these have helped homeowners feel empowered about making improvements to their homes. By highlighting ordinary people with average skill sets who are committed to undertaking handyman projects on their own, the masses have learned that they, too, can learn how to improve a home’s value and security without paying the price for expensive contractors and installers.
Of course, we are pleased at the increasing popularity of DIY home security systems. We know that consumers can save money by going this route and we also know that quality does not have to be compromised when purchasing a system from a reputable DIY home security company. Homeowners deserve to have the best and strongest security at home, but they do not deserve being charged high markups for equipment, installation and monitoring.
Your Thoughts on the DIY Home Security Trend
Have you engaged in a DIY home security project? What prompted you to do so? Also, why do you think that DIY home security projects are becoming more popular? We’re always interested in your stories and comments, and we look forward to hearing from you in the space provided below.
Learn the newest trends of the security industry, just move your mouse into our website Zmodo Direct
There are many factors that go into creating a effective CCTV solution. In addition to quality equipment and installation we must always to be aware of the camera positioning. When you position security cameras correctly you can eliminate the need of additional cameras to cover your target area and maximize the efficiency of your security system. On the flip side, if you position cameras incorrectly, it can lead to blind spots or the need to unnecessarily purchase more cameras. Keep these points in mind to get the most out of your system without breaking the bank.
Mount cameras at an elevated position – Mounting your cameras at a high altitude can do a couple of things for your surveillance solution. It can keep your cameras out of range of vandals and would be burglars, which can save you from having to replace broken security cameras. It also allows your camera to have a high vantage point increasing its viewing area. Pro Tip : The low mounting of a camera can create the need for two cameras to gain full coverage. Move the mounting point up a few feet and you’ll eliminate the need for that second camera and you’ll save yourself a couple hundred bucks.
Try to keep them hidden – This is important because you want to capture people on camera, but you don’t want them to know they are on camera! People act differently when they know they are on camera. However, sometimes it is important to let people know they are on camera. Banks or stores generally let people know they are on camera to prevent crime rather than “allow” it to happen and catch the criminal later. Depending on your application, you may want to purchase low profile cameras or you may want to mount them in the open. Keep in mind what you are trying to achieve with your system.
Cover your target area – When placing cameras, make sure that you provide ample coverage, but not in excess. For example, if you are trying to cover a backyard gate don’t zoom in to only have the gate in frame. Position the camera to cover part of your backyard or driveway as well so you cover as much area as possible without sacrificing video quality. The more information you capture on your security DVR, the better your chances are to either catch a criminal or prevent one! Pro Tip : Do not overlap your camera feeds unless it is an area of utmost importance. The only reason to record the same area with multiple cameras is if you’re worried that one camera may fail.
If you want to know more information about home security products,please go to our website: Zmodo Direct
Introduction to the Different Technologies
This guide is designed to educate you on basic system design and application. It is intended to help you make the right choices when designing a video surveillance system that will meet your expectations.
The first step is to understand the different technologies, their operations and benefits. The technology is cutting-edge "Digital". Your goals and what you want to accomplish will dictate which technology is right for you.
There are 2 types of surveillance technologies to consider. They are:
|PC Based Systems
||Hardware Based Systems
There are a few acronyms which you may or may not know. Just for the record, here are the ones that matter.
- CCTV: Closed Circuit Television
- DVR: Digital Video Recorder
- BNC: Fitting used to connect coax cable to cameras and equipment.
- RCA: Fitting used to connect coax cable to cameras, equipment and power supply.
PC Based Digital Video Systems
A PC based DVR is comprised of a computer, video capture cards and custom written software. These systems are considered to be the best bang for the buck. They are easier to use and more flexible than Hardware DVRs. These units are available as kits which you install on your PC or as complete factory built recorders. Some factory models can be expanded as your needs grow.
|8 CH PC Based System
||32 CH PC Based System
||16 CH PC Based System
PC based DVRs are available in 8, 16 & 32 channel configurations:
PC based DVRs are programmed and operated with a keyboard and mouse. The video is recorded to the computer's hard drive in a compressed format. This compression allows a huge amount of video to be stored. On average, a four camera system recording continuously should record at least 30 days of video for all 4 cameras on one single 80G hard drive. To double the recording days simply add another 80G hard drive.
These systems are designed so they do not require any scheduled action to maintain the video recordings. They record video to the hard drive until a certain amount of disk space is left. Then the system will delete the oldest clips and record the new video. This provides a continuous 30+ days of recordings at anytime.
The video is played back on the computer monitor or is saved to a floppy or burned to a CD. Some systems such as the ZMODO system save the video so it can be played back on any PC with Windows Media Player (a real nice feature). You can also print or save a jpeg image of any specific video frame. These systems allow you to view and playback any combination of cameras without interrupting the systems recording process.
ZMODO Pro is the most powerful, yet easy to use software on the market. Unlike hardware based DVRs, the software is flexible, easy to understand and simple to operate. Using our automatic searching options, playback is a breeze; saving you huge amounts of time compared to the various hardware DVRs on the market.
Cable & Maximum Distance:
CCTV video coax cable is used to transmit the video from the camera to the front end. The maximum distance the cameras can be from the front end is a function of the cable rather than the camera itself. Using RG59 coax, you can extend the camera out to 600'. Using RG6 coax cable, you can extend it to 1000'.
Any professional grade camera that uses RCA or BNC connectors will work with these systems. Please see the "Cameras" section for detail on the various cameras available.
PC Based Digital Video Recorder Overview:
- High Resolution Recording (640x480)
- Easy to use and flexible
- Save time on playing back video
- Store large amounts of video or recording days
- Little or no maintenance
- Easy network integration
- The system runs on a PC with the Windows Operating System, users must have average computer skills
Hardware Based Digital Video Systems
A Hardware based DVR is built specifically for video recording. These units are built from the ground up to perform one specific function, record video. While they do operate some software internally, the video processing is hardware based. It is this hardware which provides the live viewing and high resolution recording.
Hardware DVR's are available in two different versions. The older style looks much like a VCR but has a hard drive built into it to record the video. A TV or CCTV analog monitor is used to view the video. Their programming is much like a VCR and can be quite confusing. The basic rule with this type of unit is, the more features they have the harder they are to operate. Most are programmed with a hand held remote much like a regular VCR. They do provide high resolution digital recordings which match the quality of a PC based DVR.
Old Hardware Based DVR System
- 640x480 High Res Recording
- Live Video Viewing
- Remote Access via Internet
- Motion Recording
- Automatic Schedules
- PTZ Control
- Alarm Monitoring
- Email Paging
- Password Protection
A newer version of hardware based DVR is quite innovative. A high quality PC monitor is equipped with the DVR hardware and a hard drive built right into the back of the monitor. The cameras, internet and other connections are located on the side of the monitor. This design saves space, reduces cost and completely eliminated the need for a PC or old style DVR case. These units are programmed and operated with the buttons on the front of the monitor or with a hand held remote. While they are considered easier to operate than the old style hardware DVR they do have some pros and cons. The technology right now only supports a maximum of 4 camera inputs and 1 audio input for recording, and if the monitor goes out the entire system may have to be replaced
Hardware Based DVR Trend – Monitor & DVR Combined
- 640x480 High Res Recording
- Live Video Viewing
- Remote Access via Internet
- Motion Recording
- Automatic Schedules
- Multiple Audio Recording
- Password Protection
- Saves Space
- Cost Effective
- Optional Wall Mounting
Hardware Based Digital Video Recorder Overview:
- High resolution digital video recordings (640x480)
- Live Camera Viewing, No delay
- Programs with handheld remote, much like a VCR.
- Little or no maintenance
- Save Space
- Harder to program and operate than PC based DVRs.
Different Types of the Cameras
Indoor cameras come in all types, sizes and styles. The most popular is the smoked mini dome camera. The dome camera can be mounted on the ceiling or wall and adjusted to view any angle. Although the dome is designed to protect the camera inside, they are not weatherproof and should not be installed where they are exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures.
The only difference between indoor and outdoor cameras is that the outdoor cameras are in an environmentally protected housing. Some housing has heaters and blowers to keep the temperature inside within the operating parameters of the camera. Others such as the mini outdoor bullet cameras generate their own heat for operation. All outdoor cameras discussed in this guide are designed to operate in -5F to 120F temperature.
Day/Night or Night Vision:
Affordable night vision cameras are the latest innovation to the video surveillance industry. There are many types and styles to choose from but they all have one thing in common, infrared LED's. Small LED's that transmit out infrared light surround the cameras lens. The LED's cast out light the camera can see but the human eye cannot. The distance a camera can see in the dark is based on how many LED's the camera has. As a rule a camera with 10-20 LED's can see 20 feet in complete darkness. Some cameras such as the one below can see up to 70' in complete darkness. Notice the LED's surrounding the camera lens.
These cameras provide high quality color pictures during the day and when the light levels drop past a minimum level, they automatically switch to night vision or black and white pictures in complete darkness. When the light levels increase the camera automatically changes back to color video. These cameras are very reliable and flexible and should be considered when designing your system.
High Resolution Cameras:
Security cameras come with higher resolution Sony chips. These cameras feature 480 to 540 lines of high resolution for applications where you require the crispest picture possible. They are available for indoor, outdoor, night vision, and harsh environment use.
Because cameras are so small now they can be hidden in almost anything. It's common to see cameras in pictures, clocks, radios, smoke detectors, motion detectors, books, ties and anything else we can dream up. The cameras are the same cameras used with standard indoor cameras. The only difference is the housings used.
Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras:
PTZ cameras, as they are called, are considered "top of the line" in security cameras. They can pan 360 degrees, tilt 90 degrees, and optically zoom in as much as 27 times. They are controlled and programmed with either a desk top joy stick control or through the software of a PC based DVR. They come in both indoor and outdoor versions, can be wall or ceiling mounted, and can be equipped with color Day/Night cameras or night vision.
The cameras can be programmed to automatically run preprogrammed tours, automatically panning, tilting and zooming to predetermined locations. They can also be programmed to pan, tilt and zoom to a specific view if motion is detected or a pre-defined alarm occurs. A user can override the automatic operation and control the cameras as needed. Up to 16 PTZ cameras can be installed on most DVR systems (as long as the DVR supports 16 cameras). The cameras are controlled with a two wire communication wire which loops from one camera to another. Each camera has dip switches which are used to set its address. The comm. wire can have a maximum distance of 3000 feet. In addition to the communication wire each camera also required a video cable to transmit the video signal back to the front end.
On DVR's the communication cable terminates on a PTZ Netcom control board installed in the DVR. This control board interfaces the software and mouse commands with the cameras. On time lapse and other systems the cameras are controlled with a desk top joy stick control. One down side to the joy stick control is it does not provide the ability to control the cameras remotely.
We have been very careful about recommending and supporting wireless products. In the past wireless security cameras have been notoriously unreliable and seldom meet the expectations of the consumer. However, with the development of wireless networks and IP technology, new products have emerged which do provide a level of performance acceptable for small and mid-sized video surveillance applications. This new technology uses a Digital "Spread Spectrum" technology which provides reliable wireless video transmission up to 300 feet and secures the video signal so it can not be viewed by others outside the building or home.
The following chart details the main differences between the old wireless technology (2.4 Ghz - Analog) and the new technology (2.4 Ghz - Digital):
IP Network Cameras:
Free yourself from long video wires and enjoy the convenience of wireless technology with the IP cameras. These cameras can connect to your wireless router and record straight to your computer's hard drive. The advanced, built-in chip enables features such as recording triggered by motion detection, email alerts, and remote access from popular web browsers. IP configuration is easy with the included software.
Customizing Your Own Kit
Once you have your cameras and system chosen, you have two options to purchase. You can purchase each part of the system individually i.e.: recorder, cameras, power supplies, wire. Or you can customize a prepackaged kit to meet your needs. We offer several different kits based on all two technologies (PC Based & Hardware Based). Based on the cameras you have chosen you can now customize the kit which best meets your needs with the cameras you want. This approach will save you about 5% compared to buying the parts individually. The kits include everything you need including easy to follow installation guides.
Wiring and Powering Cameras
Video Cable & Maximum Distance
All of the systems use video coax cable to transmit the video from the camera to the recorder. The maximum distance the cameras can be from the recorder is a function of the cable rather than the camera itself. Using RG59 coax cable you can extend the camera out to 600 feet. Using RG6 coax cable you can run up to 1,000 feet. Cable is available in 500' boxes or pre-made cables 25', 50', 65', 99', 130', 165' lengths.
|Pre-made Video + Power Cable
||500' Box Video Coax Cable
||BNC & RCA Twisted-on Fitting
For Pre-made Cables:
BNC fittings are used to connect the cable to both the camera and the recorder, or monitor. You simply push the fitting on the video port and turn it, it couldn't be easier.
RCA fittings are used to connect the cable to both the camera and the power supply. You simply plug-in it to the power supply. Cameras can be powered in two ways. You can power each camera with its own plug in power supply, or you can wire multiple cameras back to a multi-camera power source. Both options plug into a regular 110V electrical outlet and then step the power down to 12V DC to feed to the camera.
|Plug-in Power Supply
||Multi-Camera Power Supply
Plug in power supplies are usually located within 6-10 feet of the camera. The multi-camera power supplies are installed in a closet or somewhere out of the way and then a two conductor power wire is pulled to each camera. When designing a surveillance system you may want to use a combination of plug in and multi-camera power supplies. This will depend on where your power outlets are located and how easily you can pull a wire from a multi-camera power supply to each camera. Multi-camera power supplies have one fused, dedicated power output for each camera. This design provides excellent protection from power spikes and surges.
Making a BNC Fitting
- Strip away all of the cable and shielding so you have 1/2" of the center conductor exposed.
- Then strip away the black covering so you have 1/4" of the shielding exposed. Do not allow any of the copper shielding to touch the center conductor
- Insert the cable into the fitting and gently find the hole for the center conductor before you press the fitting on the wire. Now just twist the fitting on the wire while firmly pressing down until the fitting has been firmly twisted onto the cable