Home CCTV system & remote monitoring, a case study.
14th January 2018 at 23:35 #1819313
There have been many questions asked over time about these, are they any good? how much do they cost? Are they difficult to set up? What is the best system for my needs, etc etc.
I used to install these professionally but I was always reluctant to respond to any questions as I was aware that in an area of electrnics that has evolved at such a rapid pace any experience I once had was now 12 years out of date which is like asking James Watt about a problem with your cars ECU
All that has changed as I have now installed a system at the Hôtel using a Chinese kit of stuff available on E-bay, Amazon, Ali-express, Bang-good and probably soon in a Brico near you
So feel free to ask any questions, to keep the initial posting short I will just describe what equipment I have, how it compares to the pro stuff I last installed in 2004 and my overall impressions.
I bought a ZOSI system with an 8 channel DVR control box/recording unit, I will use 6 channels, it came with 4 cameras, all cabling, power supplys, a mouse, CD installation disc and is plug and play, could not be any easier for a DIY novice installation. I chose this particular combo because the camera cables run inside the bracket and can be completely concealed and protected from cutting or disconnection, TBH those are the sort of things that you only learn from experience, many of the cameras have a short lead with the connectors outside exposed to the elements, at the very least you would need to put them in a sealed box, choosing these saved all the hassle.
I bought an additional int/ex dome camera to use in the stairwell behind the front door serving all the flats, this is the only camera whose performance leaves something to be desired but its fine for my use and is small and discreet which was my aim, it can be used outside but you would be very dissapointed especially with its low light and IR performance, maybe its a duff one but it is fine for my use and still far better than anything I installed back in the day.
The price? thats where it gets really interesting, the whole system including delivery for €80 Added to that was €12 delivered for the dome camera and €50 delivered for a 1T terabyte hard drive, pro kit far inferior to any of this would have cost me thousands back in 2004, on my last job I used the first of the digital recorders, it had been time lapse VCR’s before then which were £3000 for a 24 hr recorder initially and fell to £500-£1000 for a 24 or 168 hour one, the DVR I used was far inferior and cost £1000 + vat alone without a hard drive.
Cameras then were £150 for a colour, £100 black & white & the performance was so poor that you needed a colour camera for daytime and a B&W for night and infra red, each one needed an £80_- £100 direct drive or auto iris lens, a protective housing plus mounting bracket, a heater and thermostat for the housing, an infra red spotlight just one camera pair within the same housing would cost me more than £600 + vat + delivery from several sources, now one camera for €15 delivered from China does the job of all that kit and much much better.
Camera resolution has increased exponentially just like cameras and mobile phones, everything is done on the chip now, colour switching to monochrome in low light and then infra-red is all done on the chip, no more seperate powered auoto-iris lenses or infra red spotlights.
Cameras come with 18m leads combined for power and video signal (30m extensions are available for next to nothing) all connectors fitted, the cables are so small that I was able to clip them using my Rapesco 4mm alarm cable staple gun.
You will need a monitor but I had several old flat screen TV’s surplus after the change to HD TNT, you could also use an old computer monitor.
The DVR player I chose the newest one because they have removed the front panel controls and you do everything using the mouse supplied, this meant I can remove the unit from view which makes a much neater and properly secure installation, the downside is that the software is a bit of a new and enhanced user experience so I will no doubt have to download the upgrades as they are released, there is a good argument for choosing one of the older established DVR’s if you are a complete novice.
I failed completely with getting the remote monitoring to work either on my PC or a mobile phone but my French ANother friend soon had that sorted, it was the usual password problems, router config etc etc, now its done it works great, I can call up and view any of the cameras from anywhere although that was never of great importance to me but for absent owners it could be a godsend.
The jury is still out regarding the motion detection but at least having had some past experience my expectations are reasonable, I know what the limitations are or at least what they were, over the next week I will work a lot on the sensitivity and masking of false trigger areas, if I can get it to a reliable level then being able to scan through the hard drive recordings just jumping from event to event will be a godsend if trying to find the footage of an incident.
You do need to have all cameras recording all the time to be 100% sure of capturing everything and just use the motion triggered events as a means to quickly scan through.
Thats more than enough for now, any questions just fire away.14th January 2018 at 23:44 #1819314
Just to add something important while I think of it, I had always been very wary of the infra red Led’s used in thes cameras and their claimed range, I had used some in interphones and they would only illuminate the person properly if they put their face up to the unit to speak which thankfully they did, proper IR floodlights whilst being invisible or near invisible to the naked eye were actually car headlights with IR visible light filters and cast a beam as well as a headlight would, how could a few LED’s compare with that?
Well LED’s have moved on with all other electronics and coupled with the camera chips sensitivity the pitch black nightime performance of these cameras excepting the dome one is absolutely superb, way beyond my expectations, as good if not better than the best of what I ever installed and the low light capability is far better.
The daytime colour images are much better as well.15th January 2018 at 11:41 #1819332
Why wired and not wi-fi?
Why Zosi and not one of the other 15 manufacturers on AliExpress?
I would lie on top of the stairs and smell the cigar smoke of Castro.15th January 2018 at 12:15 #1819336
I agree that the wi-fi ones are good value and worth the extra €60 but planning and cabling is something where my experience is still valid.
Each wi-fi camera will require a mains connection close by for the power supply, the wired ones have one single transfo beside the DVR which powers all the cameras by the same cable that brings back the video signal so apart from cabling from A-B there is a lot less installation required.
Also the wi-fi signals would have to travel across several metal cloisons and brick walls, the DVR location in my domain does not get a good wi-fi signal from either the freebox or the guest router and for a security system you want to know that the images will get to the DVR and be recorded 100% of the time without any doubt, there are already far too many wi-fi signals in this property that struggle to do what they should.
I was going to buy from Bang-good but the same system was cheaper on e-bay from a French seller, it came by collissimo via Amazon The prefilled Amazon details crossed through by the printer and a second addresse of a site prise en charge filled out, the outer box was Amazon with Amazon tape and the excess paper filler inside was Amazon.
By coincidence I have 2 Polish Amazon workers or contractors staying at the moment.
Why Zosi? All the other systems I saw used cameras withe exposed external cables and connectors, these the cable runs inside the mounting and can go straight through the wall for the BNC and power connectors to be secure and out of the elements.15th January 2018 at 12:47 #1819348
Thanks. I noticed the power supply arrangement close to DVR on the Zosi website. Obviously with CCTV power is essential not like proximity stuff which can survive with batteries.
Have you got the DVR connected by rj45 to the Freebox Router for observation when out and about?
At home are you connected via wi-fi to Freebox or direct to DVR?
I would lie on top of the stairs and smell the cigar smoke of Castro.15th January 2018 at 14:24 #1819355
It was connected by ethernet cable while I was testing it in my workshop, I had to move the DVR to its permanent position and install the outside cameras on the hurry up following an incident, currently its not connected to the router, I have to run the ethernet cable, the 2nd monitor (for my kitchen) cable, and the cable for the entrance vestibule camera under some tin roofs and this is nt the weather to do so.
I did a lot of proximity devices and did development work for a couple of manufacturers, we wanted to make an autonomous battery powered combined reader and lock to replace a Yale cylinder but the problem was a proxiity reader has to be sensing 24/7 and would kill the batterys, the company suggested that you have to press a button to switch it on and then present the keyfob, that would never work.
Modern devices use a lot less current but its still significant, the keyless entry on modern cars will flatten the battery while the owner is on a holiday.15th January 2018 at 14:30 #1819356
At home are you connected via wi-fi to Freebox or direct to DVR?
Not sure what you are asking, the DVR will work stand alone and I reckon most do because the procedure and instructions to set up the remote monitoring are so badly written, my unit has to be connected by ethernet cable, the wi-fi ones might talk to the router by wi-fi, check the connection diagram.
Once connected I can view the cameras on my PC (which is connected to the Freebox by ethernet and wi-fi if that was your question) and also by mobile phone, TBH its once again complicated and a bit daft but you can watch live, for in my property to view the car park and entrance etc I prefer to have a second dedicated monitor set to quad view, the remote viewing software you have to click through menus, OK if you are miles away.15th January 2018 at 15:39 #1819364
OK mobile phone connects to freebox wi-fi and DVR connects to freebox by LAN cable.
When away from home can you access cameras using the Zosi Application?
I would lie on top of the stairs and smell the cigar smoke of Castro.15th January 2018 at 16:41 #1819369
I had forgot that while i am at home the smartphone uses the wi-fi but its the zosi app I use on the phone whether here or away.
The Zosi software on my PC probably talks directly to the DVR but my ANOther tech friend also has it on his home PC and can view me pottering around scratching my head, if I change the password he will lose the priveledge so he must be connecting to and through my Freebox on the net, when I have re-connected the LAN cable i will give you a password to use for a few days to espion me
The remote viewing is the least impressive bit but it does work if you have a friendly ANOther to set it up, you will be fine Loopytechyman in any case the hard work is done, all you need is a username, password and the IP address.15th January 2018 at 17:34 #1819380
mikejParticipantJoined: 21 Jun 2011Location: Dordogne sometimes and Kent the restTotal posts: 5287
The problem with all of this is that living in a Thunderstorm area, I have to disconnect the phone when leaving the property for any length of time, once you have replaced the lightning protection module in the CU a couple of times its just not viable to replace it anymore, so no chance of monitoring the house from a distance.
WFIPFLL15th January 2018 at 18:10 #1819392
teapotParticipantJoined: 10 Jul 2008Location: ToursTotal posts: 2372
Worth fitting a lightning conductor?
Raising the standards of swimming pool knowledge and technology.15th January 2018 at 18:21 #1819396
Keep it coming chance, it is all useful as I still have to cover the CC TV aspect. I have tried to avoid power connection on sensors. But at moment 4g routers is my folly of the moment.
If I get my 4g router working I’ll save €30/mth on ADSL+ abonnement. That’s a lot per year. HOW MUCH!
I would lie on top of the stairs and smell the cigar smoke of Castro.15th January 2018 at 19:23 #1819410
Still mucking around with the chocolate teapot video motion detection, rain falling in front of the lens seems to set them all off except on minimum sensitivity, done a lot of masking of movement areas, trees, vehicles etc, even headlights from the rocade 1km away, reflections from my sunroof, all sorts, its better than it was, one camera is almost stable but probably wont detect a human. the others dependant on the final setting might detect vehicles arriving and leaving, its better at night because I have PIR bulkheads and when they switch on its exactly what the motion sensor is looking for, a big change in light levels.
One camera triggers repeatedly all the time, yet the human eye cannot detect anything that could be causing it, might be a duff CCD chip or supply line interference, will swap it with another and if it is the camera i will use it in an area where motion detection is not needed.
if I were still in the game I would probably know that the technology is useless except perhaps on top of the line branded DVR’s and should be disabed and an external sensor used instead, its sole advantage is that if it works you can quickly replay just the times in the day when there is activity in the field of view, otherwise even at max playback of 16x it will take 30 minutes to review 8 hours, multiplied by 4 or 8 cameras and you can see the benefit, if it works and is not constantly triggering.
The floodlight seems to be triggering the motion (set for 60 seconds) but it triggers it again when the floodlight switches off, if the log shows pairs of motion triggered events at 2 minute seperation and nothing else then I will have cracked it for night-time surveillance.
The DVR programming is poor because the motion triggereing should record the set time (15, 30, 60 seconds etc) before and after the event (there is a buffer) but it only does after the event or probably non event, nothing is lost though as all the cameras are recorded 24/7 and by setting the time search parameters you can copy the whole event to a clé USB.
The disque dur has used about 65gb and I think maybe 35gb recording the 4 cameras for the last 24 hours so should be good for a month of recordings, we will see but thats plenty enough for me.15th January 2018 at 19:30 #1819411
Re power failures, yes if your router is off then you cannot view remotely, I can confirm that the recordings will re-start when the DVR reboots so at least they got something right. I never had a power failure in 12 years here but have had 2 recently, nothing trips out though and everything comes back on line when the power is restored, the DVR, the Freebox so I could still remote view, that is not important to me though, being able to view recordings and motion trigggered events remotely might be but i dont think it can do that.
Loopski, where I have mounted my unit is above where I have my spare car battery and charger ready for use when it needs topping up, the PSU’s for the DVR and cameras are 12vdc so it would be very simple to remove the PSU’s, keep the battery on trickle charge and run the system from that, you would then have a big reserve capacity if there is a mains power failure, I would have to do some current measurements to see how much autonomy.15th January 2018 at 19:51 #1819414
teapotParticipantJoined: 10 Jul 2008Location: ToursTotal posts: 2372
How about a UPS for backup and if the camera won’t play ball a microwave sensor about £10 off Ebay?
Raising the standards of swimming pool knowledge and technology.