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Daddymem

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Been trying to figure out a system for a while now. I think 6-8 camera POE with an NVR, and maybe a wireless or two to cover an out building. My head is spinning from all the information, options, and systems.

At this point I think I have my desired specs figured (mostly) out but am stuck on 2 things (for now) that I am researching.

1. Operating temperatures. It gets cold where I live. Not frequent, but not unusual to get cold snaps below 0F. I emailed with Reolink about their operating temps and they said their cams would just stop working if it got too cold then would start operating when it got warm enough. There are some brands and models rated down to -22F but that limits my choices. Any tips or tricks on cold weather operation?

2. Backup Power. We have nor'easters, hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards. I'm a bit rural so the power does go out often in these events, sometimes for days, rarely for a week. I have a portable generator we run for a few hours at a time to keep the fridge and freezer cold and have running water for a bit (we're on a well), but it doesn't run 24/7. This is an opportunistic time for thieves, generators have been stolen right from people's yards. What are the options to run a system on some sort of back up battery?
Tough to search the power on here, it brings up power outage of the NVR, DVR etc, not the power to your house. Any search hints? (probably something obvious and I'll say "duh")

In case there is some slick system that addresses both these concerns:
Location: New England USA
Setting: Rural 1/2 acre lot, narrow strips of woods 3 sides, parents house other side, dirt road.
Structures: 24x32 house, shed, chicken coop and run, 2 car driveway next to house. Easy wiring, ship lap siding. I built the house myself so I know where wires can run.
Budget: $750, but it's a desired limit not a funds limit, we can reach to get what we want if needed. I grew up next door and we were broken into twice. We have lived here 15 years with nothing so it isn't pressing, but it feels like it is only a matter of time living off the beaten path and all.

Sorry if this has all been covered, I didn't find it if it has.

Thanks for this forum, I've got lots more lurking to do.
 

Old Timer

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I ended up using an couple APC UPS and added a couple of optima deep cycle batteries for extended backup.
I added a couple of battery tenders to help charge the batteries quicker then the UPS will.
The big things is the terminals on the batteries will be hot, so you must electrically insulate them!!

Then I have a generator that will take up through the longer spells.
 

mat200

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Been trying to figure out a system for a while now. I think 6-8 camera POE with an NVR, and maybe a wireless or two to cover an out building. My head is spinning from all the information, options, and systems.

At this point I think I have my desired specs figured (mostly) out but am stuck on 2 things (for now) that I am researching.

1. Operating temperatures. It gets cold where I live. Not frequent, but not unusual to get cold snaps below 0F. I emailed with Reolink about their operating temps and they said their cams would just stop working if it got too cold then would start operating when it got warm enough. There are some brands and models rated down to -22F but that limits my choices. Any tips or tricks on cold weather operation?

2. Backup Power. We have nor'easters, hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards. I'm a bit rural so the power does go out often in these events, sometimes for days, rarely for a week. I have a portable generator we run for a few hours at a time to keep the fridge and freezer cold and have running water for a bit (we're on a well), but it doesn't run 24/7. This is an opportunistic time for thieves, generators have been stolen right from people's yards. What are the options to run a system on some sort of back up battery?
Tough to search the power on here, it brings up power outage of the NVR, DVR etc, not the power to your house. Any search hints? (probably something obvious and I'll say "duh")

In case there is some slick system that addresses both these concerns:
Location: New England USA
Setting: Rural 1/2 acre lot, narrow strips of woods 3 sides, parents house other side, dirt road.
Structures: 24x32 house, shed, chicken coop and run, 2 car driveway next to house. Easy wiring, ship lap siding. I built the house myself so I know where wires can run.
Budget: $750, but it's a desired limit not a funds limit, we can reach to get what we want if needed. I grew up next door and we were broken into twice. We have lived here 15 years with nothing so it isn't pressing, but it feels like it is only a matter of time living off the beaten path and all.

Sorry if this has all been covered, I didn't find it if it has.

Thanks for this forum, I've got lots more lurking to do.
Welcome @Daddymem

"Budget: $750 "

I think your budget could be too tight to get a decent system given your requirements.

If you need low light image capture, you should avoid Reolink - they do very poorly in low light conditions.

btw - more on Reolink reviews here ..
 
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:welcome:

At $750 you're going to have a hard time getting good, quality, night video. Maybe start with a couple of good cameras with low light capabilities and add more over time is a better idea than trying to build a system that won't work well and frustrate you when it doesn't do what you need it to.

Of the cameras listed here the 2231 and 3241 are the least expensive with good night performance. The 2231 is a 2MP varifocal with no audio. If you want/need audio (listening capability) the 3241 is the next step up. It's also a 2MP with a varifocal lens, has audio and also has basic AI functions, people and vehicle detection. The 2231 is in the $120 range and the 3241 is in the $135 range. I have a few of both and they are good values and good performers. The 5442 series, 4MP are in the $175-$225 range depending on lens and features. The 8MP is over the $225 range. All of these are prices per camera.

Start out by looking in the WiKi in the blue bar at the top of the page. There's a ton of very useful information in there and it needs to be viewed on a computer, not a phone or tablet. The Cliff Notes will be of particular interest although the camera models listed there are a generation old at this point. The best way to determine what kind of camera you need in each location and where each location should really be is to buy one varifocal camera first and set up a test stand for it that can be easily moved around. Test using that, viewing using the web interface of the camera, during the day and at night. Have someone walk around behaving like a miscreant and see if you can identify them. There is also information for choosing hardware and securing the system along with a whole bunch of other good stuff.

Don't chase megapixels unless you have a really BIG budget. Chase sensor size and bigger is better. To confuse you more sensor sizes are listed in fractions so do the basic math to be sure, 1/2.7 is bigger than 1/2.8 or 1/3. General rule of thumb is that a 4MP camera will easily outperform an 8MP camera when they both have the same sensor size. Reason being that there are twice as many pixels in the 8MP versus the 4MP. This results in only half the available light getting to each pixel in an 8MP that a pixel in the 4MP "sees".

A dedicated PC doesn't need to be either expensive to purchase or to run to support Blue Iris. A used business class machine can be had from eBay and various other sources. The advances made in Blue Iris make it easily possible to run a fairly large system on relatively inexpensive hardware which also makes power consumption low, as in under 50 watts in many cases. The biggest expenses turn out to be hard drives for storing video and a PoE switch to power the cameras and, of course, the cameras themselves.

The three basic rules of video surveillance cameras-

Rule #1 - Cameras multiply like rabbits.
Rule #2 - Cameras are more addictive than drugs.
Rule #3 - You never have enough cameras.

Quick guide -

The smaller the lux number the better the low light performance. 0.002 is better than 0.02
The smaller the "F" of the lens the better the low light performance. F1.4 is better than F1.8
The larger the sensor the better the low light performance. 1/1.8" is better (bigger) than 1/2.7"
The higher the megapixels for the same size sensor the worse the low light performance. A 4MP camera with a 1/1.8" sensor will perform better than a 8MP camera with that same 1/1.8" sensor.

720P - 1/3" = .333"
2MP - 1/2.8" = .357" (think a .38 caliber bullet)
4MP - 1/1.8" = .555" (bigger than a .50 caliber bullet or ball)
8MP - 1/1.2" = .833" (bigger than a 20mm chain gun round)

Don't believe all the marketing hype no matter who makes the camera. Don't believe those nice night time captures they all use. Look for videos, with motion, to determine low light performance. Any camera can be made to "see" color at night if the exposure time is long enough, as in half a second or longer. Rule of thumb, the shutter speed needs to be at 1/60 or higher to get night video without blurring.

Read the reviews here, most include both still shots and video.

Avoid Reolink, Foscam, SV3C, Nest, and all the other consumer grade cameras. They all struggle mightily at night and never get anything useful on video. Here's a link to a whole thread debunking Reolink in particular.

Compiled by mat200 -

Avoid WiFi cameras, even doorbell cameras. WiFi is not designed for the constant, 24/7, load of video that a surveillance camera produces. At best, with two cameras on WiFi, they will still experience dropouts multiple times daily. Murphy's Law says that will happen at the worst possible moment.

Lens size, focal length, is another critical factor. Many people like the wide, sweeping, views of a 2.8mm lens but be aware that identification is problematic with a lens that wide. Keep in mind that it may take two cameras, or more, to provide the coverage you need or desire. Another factor that effects view angles is the sensor size. Typically larger sensors will have a larger field of view in any given lens size.

The 5442 series of cameras by Dahua is the current "king of the hill". They are 4MP and capable of color with some ambient light at night. The 2231 series is a less expensive alternative in 2MP and does not have audio capabilities, no built in microphone, but is easier on the budget. The 3241T-ZAS has similar spcs as the 2231 and has audio. There are also cameras available from the IPCT Store right here on the forum and from Nelly's Security who has a thread in the vendors section.

Review - 8MP 1/1.2" sensor full color camera


5442 Reviews

Review - Loryata (Dahua OEM) IPC-T5442T-ZE varifocal Turret

Review - OEM IPC-B5442E-ZE 4MP AI Varifocal Bullet Camera With Starlight+

Review-OEM 4mp AI Cam IPC-T5442TM-AS Starlight+ Turret

Review IPC-T5442TM-AS-LED (Turret, Full Color, Starlight+)

Review: IPC-HDBW5442R-ASE-NI - Dahua Technology Pro AI Bullet Network Camera

2231 Review
Review-OEM IPC-T2231RP-ZS 2mp Varifocal Turret Starlight Camera

3241T-ZAS Review

Less expensive models -

VPN Information Thread
 

Daddymem

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Reolink isn't on my list, I mentioned them because they are who I reached out to ask about operating temperatures. Lorex have cameras that operate much lower so I played Lorex operating temperatures against the Reolink in my email to Reolink. I just wanted to know what the operating temperature range meant in general and randomly picked Reolink to answer.
 

Rob2020

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My four Dahuas just went a week in bitter cold, 4 - 5 degrees and day time warm up to low teens. I was concerned but they never missed a beat.

You budget is light, the good news, that budget will let you get started and up and running and it is easy to expand as more funds become available.

:welcome:
 

JDreaming

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No need to buy a whole new system at once, you can always start off with 1-2 cameras to test the water first. And then add more later on as you learn what you really wanted after learning more about security cameras.

I started with just 1 WiFi camera in the beginning, but after few years the number grow to 9 mainly POE cameras. And I'm stilling thinking about places I can add more cameras. That's why I always chuckle whenever I read sebastiantombs's three basic rules of video surveillance cameras every time. It never gets old.:)
 

Daddymem

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Is there any place that sells configurable systems with blue iris installed on a pc, camera choices, wiring, etc? I thought the store on here did similar, you could pick nvr or blue iris, cameras, wiring, I think it was pretty much everything but the pc.

I Like JDreaming's suggestion. Maybe get a an expandable system start, with a camera for the front and one for the back then expand later. I'm at the point in my life that I don't have a lot of time or energy to research and put a kit together and take on a steep learning curve, I already have enough on my plate. I'm interested in something as close to plug and play as possible like a Reolink system or Lorex would be, but not one of those companies, something I could mix and match cameras and brands in the future. If I had to get a computer separately and work configuring things, I guess I could but I'd rather put stuff together, turn it on and do little to get it working. It would probably be more money this way, but a spread out over a few expansions would be acceptable.
 

The Automation Guy

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If you have a "must not fail" camera and are worried about the cold, there are heated camera enclosures available. I don't think they are cheap however and honestly if this is a typical residential situation, it probably isn't needed. In other words, if a camera stops working for 6 hours a couple times a year, it probably isn't the end of the world in a residential setting.

EDIT - actually I just googled heated CCTV enclosure and the prices aren't as bad as I thought. Of course they are going to be huge and standout visually, but they are available.
 

DanDenver

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I highly recommend heeding other comments in this thread. Start with one or two cameras and go from there. Of course get an NVR that will handle the final count of cameras you have in mind. There is so much to learn. At least I am happy I did it that way. By the time I purchased my 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th cameras I understood what I was looking for. And yes, it made a difference in image quality and my peace of mind from a security perspective.

Also - I used a hardware NVR solution for years. Then I migrated to Blue Iris and that is when the system clicked and really started to work (read: no false alerts! For the love of god may false alerts never haunt me again!). With BI and AI it is 50/50 which alerts me first, the doorbell or BI. But wind, shadows, bunnies do not set off the security system. This in NO way worked that well with my 'leading edge' hardware system. Also, with my old system I was so limited on how to tune it for each camera location. Pathetic. I highly recommend BI.
 

Daddymem

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Is there a checklist somewhere of what you would need to put together a complete BI system?

Cameras + mounts
Cables
POE switch
Computer
Router - if you have a router for your home internet, do you need another one separate?
Blue Iris

I'm trying to put together a rough estimate of materials to see if we can fit it in budget.

TIA
 

DanDenver

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In todays world for security cameras and the layman, there is work and research to be done.
The only way to avoid that is to engage with a professionall security company.
The reason is that each install is so unique. I think your install helps to illustrate that. Needing power backup that can go for days is not common, so there are not a lot of threads on that subject, but as you can see, several people have already made helpful suggestions for you. I use a UPS. But I only get about one hour out of it.

You have mentioned several times in this thread you want something as simple as a ring doorbell but the reliability and feature rich solution of a pro setup, albeit with a very minimal budget.

I think you can achieve your desire to a large degree, but you need to invest the time and energy for this to happen. I know you mentioned you have little time for this, but if security is truly a concern then I think you can make it work with your current schedule.

I would re-read this very thread for starters. @sebastiantombs provided an excellent list of cameras that you can choose from.

Here is where I started my formal research. I followed all the guidelines for setting up a PC. I would not characterize this activity as ‘easy’, however it was satisfying once completed. My BI setup with about 17 cameras has been not only reliable, but useful in targeting human activity:

Here is a good thread covering some of the basics of setting up BI. But there are so many on this forum I encourage you to poke around and check out others:

If you are willing to invest some time researching and installing, I think you can achieve a system that will be useful for you. Note these systems can get to be a little addictive!
 

Daddymem

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Thanks. I've been digging through the forum and my head is spinning a bit. I'm trying to figure out the minimum to get up and running...then I will get into setting it up...then eventually adding features and cameras.
I'm thinking 4-6 4MP starlights from Andy's upcoming sale.
There are some links in the wiki and other guides for the POE and suggestions for computers and a WD purple drive.

I'm not looking for Fort Knox. It isn't a high crime area, but we are off the beaten path a bit. Dead end dirt road, I can see my neighbors, but it is a woody area. I don't have a high-end home full of valuables to protect. Our cars are basic. I'd just like something that would capture what happens if something happens. In the 45 years my parents lived next door, there were 2 times their house was broken into, both times druggies looking for a quick haul. I see the quality difference between the consumer stuff like Lorex or ReoLink and the pro cameras on this forum. I'd like to get the better quality, but honestly, I have to weigh the complexity and cost of a BI vs simplicity and lower price of a consumer system for my application. I could get away with a consumer system, but I'd like to get a better setup if it is in reach. I also don't want alerts for bunnies, deer, racoons, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. Ideally someone with bad intentions (porch pirate, kid looking to cause trouble) comes up to the property and sees cameras or a light or alarm raises their attention to the fact that they are on camera, and they decide to move on. But should someone decide to break in, steal something, or cause damage, I'd like to have a recording that can be used to identify the person and not some useless blurry blobs on the screen. I have been here for 15 years and had no incident, but am I due for something to happen soon?

I just got a generator that can power most of my house so I can keep the camera system circuit powered to capture generator pirates. A UPS can extend the time the system could be up.

So for now, I would like to price a system by picking out components and if we can work the $, jump on the sale.

Does this schematic cover the basic needs? I'm confused on the router, is it the one I have or a separate one for the system?

SETUP.jpg

I hope that makes sense.
 

DanDenver

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Here is a great diagram of an ideal comnfiguration for BI
It was created by @TonyR
It uses the dual NIC approach which is recommended. I bought a second NIC just last week, but have been unsuccessful in getting a subnet to work.
Maybe another cup of coffee!
51AC2FD9-DE9C-41E2-8BC4-5D8405B721D9.jpeg
 

Daddymem

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Here is a great diagram of an ideal comnfiguration for BI
It was created by @TonyR
It uses the dual NIC approach which is recommended. I bought a second NIC just last week, but have been unsuccessful in getting a subnet to work.
Maybe another cup of coffee!
View attachment 145710
The "PC" and "OTHER" in the above are the home equipment? Laptops, Alexa, Google, phones, tvs, etc?
 

DanDenver

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I also don't want alerts for bunnies, deer, racoons, squirrels, chipmunks, etc.
If this is important to you, I suggest you have AI somewhere in your equipment chain.
It can be:
x) in each individual camera
x) deployed in a container that BI makes calls to
x) deployed as a windows service that BI makes calls to
x) located in a NVR
x) any combination above that you prefer

Current offerings for AI for BI are Deepstack and SenseAI. I use DeepStack and will move to SenseAI this spring. SenseAI is the newest offering.

In camera AI works well also. I don’t go that route as there is exponential improvements in the field of AI right now and I am convinced that I will need new cameras in 5-7 years to be able to run the latest generation of AI offerings. Running the AI on my PC makes it centrally located and easy to upgrade to any offering that may or may not be coming down the road in the future.
AI works well, but is being improved upon all the time and I want to take advantage of the improvements. I still get the random alert from a shadow, cat, etc.

Until I got AI on my system it was truly the most annoying experience. I would get alerts all day. (Security) Life became more about reviewing all the alert footage once or twice per day. I quit looking when the alert actually arrived as they were all false and there were so many!

With AI well over 95% of that noise is eliminated. Now when I get an alert even my wife pays attention. Which is funny because with my first system, an NVR, she tapped out of the alerts after 30 days since all the alerts were driving her crazy.
Being me, I persisted for 4 years like that. I will never go back to such a basic system.
 
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