Wired outdoor security camera setup?

Discussion in 'The Chatterbox' started by James_P, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. James_P

    James_P Well-Known Member

    Hey all,
    Anyone well versed in them? I’m looking for a good dvr setup with minimum 4 or 6 cameras. Good quality with night vision and won’t break the bank.


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  2. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    I work with cameras off and on regularly with my normal job - I'm an IT consultant. The cameras are much the same across all the brands for the basic units.

    Just pick up a 'name' brand kit, and you won't really have any problems. I'd avoid Night Owl, not because they're bad, but because they don't believe in actually giving support. I have two customers with Night Owl units and lost passwords, and NO won't even respond to my calls or emails.

    Some things to keep in mind. The cameras are (mostly) waterproof. Their connections are NOT. At a minimum, get some of the self-sealing electrical tape to wrap around the connectors, even if they're under cover. Most kits come with 50 foot cables per camera. You can buy 100 foot 'extensions'. Do it. It's much easier than buying cabling and making your own; just the connectors can be $5 each for good ones. The cameras may be good for 100 feet of vision during the day. They'll only be good for 30-40 feet at night, as the IR LEDs simply aren't that powerful.

    If you think you'll want 6 cameras, you'll need an 8 camera DVR. They come in 4, 8, and 16 for the low end residential/business cameras. (I think I saw a 12 once).
    Don't worry so much about the cameras. You can buy the DVR, then pick the cameras you want, and the DVR's will generally support them.

    If it's for a small area, don't try POE - it runs the price up considerably.

    To give more detailed suggestions, you'd have to say what it's for. (House, small business, indoor, outdoor, both, etc)
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  3. James_P

    James_P Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the info! It’s for my house. I want to put them under the soffit. I have a one story home

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  4. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    The home depot or lowes in your area should have a 4-6 camera system that will do the job. They are not that hard on tne bank account and give decent coverage. No worrys about set up..it's easy.
  5. chevyguy

    chevyguy Well-Known Member

    Heat shrink tubing would work better than waterproof electrical tape for waterproofing your electrical connections.


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  6. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    Not really - I've found that heat shrink tubing does a lousy job of getting into the small grooves on a lot of wires. Heat shrink is fantastic at covering connections without adhesive, just not so good at conforming in very small areas. The self-melding electrical tape conforms a bit better. Not standard electrical tape, but the melding stuff. You can use plasti-dip too :)

    Going through the soffet on a standard home, you should be good with the cheap wires that come with the sets. Best Buy, CostCo, Wal-Mart, Fry's, Micro Center.. You can use pretty much any 'name brand' with reasonable results for not much money. if you want more cameras, just buy them and another roll of cable. Mostly plug-n-play. A far cry from the systems we had to build 15 years ago.
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  7. markjnewcomb

    markjnewcomb Well-Known Member

    I have a setup at my house. Here were the things I found out and considered while planning the system and learned after it was already set up.

    Wireless cameras still require electricity, I found out it was easier and cheaper to wire the cables then to run electrical outlets to each "wireless" camera. I used cable with the DC power supply built in.

    Good definition cameras with a high frames per second rate make a huge difference.

    Adjustable zoom lenses make a huge difference.

    What is stopping someone from disconnecting/breaking one camera and them breaking in? Is every camera watched by another camera?

    What is stopping someone from breaking in and then stealing your DVR? Is it well hidden and protected inside the house?

    IMHO, internet and cell phone connections are a two-edged sword. While they allow you to see what's going on, they also open up the possibilities of others seeing, too. If you do "open up" the system for remote access, then I also suggest that you enable a remote source to hold your backups.

    Most of the systems I have seen use too few cameras that are tryinbg to cover too much area. Don't cheap out on the number of cameras.

    Hope that helps some.
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  8. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    @markjnewcomb has good points, but especially for a first system that you're trying to use to keep an eye on things, don't worry about getting too fancy. In fact, a DVR with good resolution, but cheap cameras, is better than the other way around. You can always change cameras as the need grows.

    Don't worry so much about frames per second. People keep pushing that, but in reality, most cameras can capture someone moving across their field of view with _five_ frames per second. Thirty plus frames per second is just a good way to fill up your hard drive. (you find this out on the professional camera forums, or by experience). Also, really high resolution cameras are only useful if you're trying to catch a license plate from 80+ feet. For the immediate area around a house, which is less than 30 feet, standard cameras do fine. Covering fields of view are good if you're really concerned about theft and destruction of the cameras. This is rare when the camera is 10 feet up. Most people concerned about cameras just cover their face. (Fun seeing someone in a ski mask wearing shorts and a t-shirt going over a fence.. in Houston)

    The best point is about the adjustable lenses. If you have a camera you're going to point at something specific, such as a mailbox, from a reasonable distance - definitely get a camera you can use to lock into that location. Most cameras have a fixed field of view. Another type is the fisheye lens cameras. They're distorted, but you get a wide view from a single point.

    If you were going to do a commercial installation, or a high security home installation, you'd want two cameras per corner, plus one to two cameras per indention in the house. So, if it was a square house, you'd have eight cameras. If you have a room sticking out, you'd want to add another camera at that corner, covering the blocked range between one camera and the next. Then you'd add another at each door, at least 4 feet from the door. Maybe one showing the approach to the door as well.

    For a starter system - don't worry about it. Even if it turns out that the system itself isn't good enough, you can reuse the cables and the cameras. I've re-homed several tiny DVR's replaced by upgrades.
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  9. James_P

    James_P Well-Known Member

    Thanks for everyone’s input!

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