Building your own CCTV Video Surveillance System

Building your own CCTV Video Surveillance System

Learning to Build and maintain your own video surveillance system is not “rocket science”. If this is for your home or small business, there are just a few things you should know and review prior to building your system.

We will start with the cameras. Draw a simple plan of your home or business and decide where you want to place cameras. This will also help you determine how many cameras you need. If all the cameras are in the same building and close to each other (within 300 feet), than you will need one DVR for recording and processing the camera signals. If however you will be locating cameras in different buildings and more than 300 feet apart, you will want to consider two or more DVRs. These DVRs can be networked together in your system with any computer network port. A camera should be viewing entrance doors, areas out of easy visibility and maybe outside areas of entrance or escape to name a few. Putting cameras in every bedroom or storage closet will be a waste of resources. Cameras should overlook rooms or areas where there is something valuable to steal or were a problem such as water leakage or damage would be disastrous. Today stand-alone DVRs or security DVRs are available that will control 4, 8, 12, 24 or 32 cameras.  Anticipate any future need for growth, but if a four camera system fulfills your needs, you do not need a 16 camera DVR.

Let me discuss the size of the stand-alone DVR or security DVR. Many people determine after buying a system that they need more cameras. A good rule to use when buying DVR is that is you are only using 75% of its capacity. Buy a 4 channel DVR if you need three cameras or a 8 channel DVR if you are going to use 6 cameras. I mentioned before about camera and DVR spacing. Under normal circumstances a wired DVR and camera system should stay within 150 to 300 feet of each other, meaning with two cameras in different directions you can cover 300 to 600 feet. A low power wireless system works very well up to 1500 feet, while a high power transmitter will comfortably work at 3000 feet from the DVR. If you are using different building with walls and distance is a factor in wiring or reception, consider two DVRs and they can be connect to any computer port in your network. Another factor is the power supplying the DVR. Having a 2nd DVR on a different circuit or electrical grid can increase security in the event that wires are cut or power turned off by the burglar. If your situation calls for more spacing between cameras and the DVR, talk to your supplier and there are things like changing the wire and cable that can increase distance. Even though most systems advertise longer distance, I am being conservative as type of cable and composition of walls make a big difference in wired or wireless camera reception range.

When buying your cameras you should buy weather proof cameras for outside use, even if it is placed under an overhang or entrance roof.  Day night cameras work well in lighted areas, but in total darkness you will require an infrared security camera. The disadvantage of an infrared camera is that you can see the LEDs at night. For covert cameras the smaller bullet camera or dome camera are a good choice and normally are not noticed by a passerby. In areas where you want camera visibility to deter crime, use professional CCTV cameras located in outdoor enclosures. These professional cameras have a variety of features to include auto gain, auto iris and back light compensation. Also you can get a wide-angle or zoom lens that can be controlled remotely through your DVR.

Deciding to buy a wired or wireless system, depends on four basics:

1.       Cost - a wired system is less expensive than a wireless system.

2.       Reliability - a wired system is more reliable than a wireless system.

3.       Ease of Installation – It is easier and faster to install a wireless system.

4.       Flexibility – It is hard to change camera positions or locations with a wired system.

If you find that you need a combination of wired and wireless cameras, than you can mix wired and wireless cameras with your DVR. If however you really only need one camera, consider a hidden camera or hidden DVR camera sometimes called a nanny cam. These hidden cameras are built into common objects found in the home or business. These cameras can be built into exit signs, clocks, mirrors, radios or air fresheners. Most of the objects used are fully operational. Also a hidden camera with internal DVR can easy be moved to any location and simply plugged in to operate.

Connectivity is our next goal. Do you want to set up a surveillance center in your business or just store the video on the DVR for viewing later? You also can send your video information over the internet and look at it on your laptop, PDA or smart phone. Today we have found that putting a DVR card in your computer to save money, instead of purchasing a stand-alone DVR, is not always the best idea. When you use your computer as a DVR you are susceptible to computer hacking or a virus and you must run your computer 24/7. Also you should run a separate external hard drive for recording the video. The security DVR is required to convert video signals to digital date so you can view or record this data. When using your video surveillance system to view the premises, but you have no need to record any video you can use a DVR USB that converts video signals to digital data to go to your computer, monitor or to a modem for the Internet. The DVR USB does not have a hard drive. The final option to go from video recording to viewing video data is the IP Camera. The IP camera has its own separate IP address and can be connected directly to your computer, monitor or modem for the Internet. Again the IP camera does not have a hard drive, but it does not require a stand-alone DVR.

In conclusion, determine the number and location of the cameras. Determine how you want to view the video signal and if you need to record it for later viewing. Then review complete systems available, and if they fulfill your needsPsychology Articles, they can save you money with the complete video surveillance system when compared to purchasing individual components. Finally video surveillance systems are basically a do-it-yourself project and you can save a lot of money over paying someone to install the system.

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