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$2M House Install (est. 1925)

looney2ns

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Hi Guys,

I own my own camera company - and have been doing great - I have some experienced guys on the team and there hasn't been any job we haven't been able to tackle yet...

However, this one threw me for a loop today.

House was made in 1925 - it's essentially a fortress, it's made of solid limestone. Interior is all plaster walls. To my knowledge - there are no hollow cavities for me to go down. Has a very weird, old, roof/gutter set up - So, where I would usually mount cameras on soffits - the soffits don't really exist, they are made of gutter, so I can't drill/mount there.

I thought of Parapet mounts... but this is a beautiful house, and lets be honest - they'd look terrible hanging off the roof like that.

Anyone tackled a house like this before? Where did you mount the cameras?

Home owner wants them to be as minimally noticeable as possible - so running an elaborate run of Conduit is out of the question.

Once I get the wire into the attic - there's plenty of runs to chase into the basement and go from there. It's more so getting the cameras mounted that is the issue.
Consulate with a local seasoned Electrician, I'm sure they are used to retrofitting house's like that without (much) damage.
As @mat200 mentioned, take a switch plate or two off, and have a look inside the wall along side the box. I'd be surprised if it's not plaster and lathe on 2x4's, thus you have the wall cavity to use. I would NOT be mounting cameras at the "soffit" if it can be at all avoided. Way too high for ID purpose's. Wall Mount, and camera mounted at 7 ft, painted to match, would not stand out much.
At some point, all the wiring in the house was surely updated. I'm sure it's not still Knob and Tube.

You may have to damage some plaster, and if so, check around see if there is anyone left that has the skill to repair it.
 

J Sigmo

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And, check the stone. Depending on what kind it is, it may drill cleanly and without danger of fracturing. Limestone is often prized for construction because it does "work" easily without fracturing. You may be surprised at how easily a good hammer drill with a good bit, or a regular drill with a diamond abrasive type bit can drill into or through it.

If you can access the back side of the stone for running the wire, you may be able to drill a relatively small hole, big enough to run CAT6 cable through, with relative ease.

If you use a good mounting box (I love the PFA122 for mounting Dahua turrets) designed for the camera in question, you can run the CAT cable through a small hole into the back of the box and then make up the camera connections inside of the box. The box will also need to be mounted, which means another four small holes partway through the stone so anchors can be placed. This will result in an excellent look to the installation and allow you to place the cameras exactly where you really want them to be (low, for better face recognition, as @looney2ns mentions above).

While this will technically damage the stone, the holes will be completely hidden behind the mounting box. So while the cameras are in place, there will be no apparent discontinuities in the stone surfaces for a clean look. If and when the cameras are removed, they could fill the holes with a color tinted grout mixed to match the color and texture of the stone if need be. The PFA122 boxes come with a thin foam on their back that will squeeze against and make a seal to the surface to which they're mounted. If the stone is rough, you can use a thicker piece of closed-cell foam to guarantee a good seal without needing to use any adhesive that might be difficult to remove later if the cameras are removed.

As looney mentioned above, if you consult with an electrician or carpenter with experience with these surfaces, they may be able to do the work quite easily or offer tips on how to go about it best.
 

J Sigmo

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That is a classy-looking mount. :)

Does it provide a waterproof area in which to make up the connections? Or would you need to drill a larger diameter hole into which the connectors can be stuffed, and then find a way to waterproof and seal the hole up around the wires?
 
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dudemaar

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I like the pfa130-e look with turrets. Only disadvantage is you have to remove camera first before you can open box.
543E8BF6-FE3D-4421-BB86-CF3A363E168B.jpeg
 

looney2ns

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That is a classy-looking mount. :)

Does it provide a waterproof area in which to make up the connections? Or would you need to drill a larger diameter hole into which the connectors can be stuffed, and then find a way to waterproof and seal the hole up around the wires?
Yes, plenty of room inside for connections, still only need a small hole for the non-terminated Ethernet
Garage cam mount..jpg .
 

mat200

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FYI - another junction box to consider is the PFA121 / PFA122

The reason I like those boxes is that the BASE is the same - the lid is different ( iirc PFA121 for 4 screw bases, and the PFA122 for 3 screw bases ).

One of the frustrating things I have noticed is the introduction of a new starlight+ turret with a 4 screw base. Which has really messed with my plan to replace another turret mounted on a wall mount / junction box for 3 screw base.

note - Lorex does carry both the PFA121 / PFA122 in 3 colors each.
 

J Sigmo

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Unless I'm misreading the diagrams, the problem I'd have with the PFB203W would be that there is no real seal for the area where the cam connectors "live", nor for the wire hole into the building. So I'd need to seal the actual cable connections and seal around the wire hole through the wall.

We get high winds and have those annoying paper wasps who would build nests inside the mount and perhaps inside of the walls if they could fit between the wire and its hole.

Some RTV would keep them out of the house, but not out of the hollow area in the mount where the wire connections would live.

Regardless of the mount, they'll likely build nests behind the balls of turret cams. They just love small spaces with small openings. Electrical boxes are a favorite for them. I've had them build nests between the hatch and body, and in behind the gas filler doors on our vehicles. When they build one in a bar-b-que grill, at least you get the satisfaction of just "pre-heating" the grill at a high temperature! ;)

That PFA130-E looks like it has the same rubber seal grommet thing as the PFA122, but as you say, you'd have to remove the camera to open the box and get at the connections. They do look nice, though!

The 122s are larger, but they seal and allow me to pre-mount the camera assembly to the cover of the box so all I need to do is mount the cover while up on the ladder. If I need to get at the connections, I can remove the cover and when I replace it, the camera is still aimed the same way.

I do prefer the looks of those other two mounts, though. Less massive.
 

J Sigmo

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FYI - another junction box to consider is the PFA121 / PFA122

The reason I like those boxes is that the BASE is the same - the lid is different ( iirc PFA121 for 4 screw bases, and the PFA122 for 3 screw bases ).

One of the frustrating things I have noticed is the introduction of a new starlight+ turret with a 4 screw base. Which has really messed with my plan to replace another turret mounted on a wall mount / junction box for 3 screw base.

note - Lorex does carry both the PFA121 / PFA122 in 3 colors each.
If you bought a 121, could you steal its cover and use it on your already-mounted 122 base? Then you'd have a complete extra 122 setup.

I was looking at one of the new 4K starlights, but they do have a four hole mount if I recall correctly. So I'd be in the same boat if I wanted to try one where I already have a 122 box.
 

mat200

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Unless I'm misreading the diagrams, the problem I'd have with the PFB203W would be that there is no real seal for the area where the cam connectors "live", nor for the wire hole into the building. ...
Hi @J Sigmo

I used silicone caulk to make a "n" shaped seal for where the wall mount connects to the wall. Has been working well.
( "n" -> I really wanted to say upside down U.. so the water will not drip into the jointing area )

If you bought a 121, could you steal its cover and use it on your already-mounted 122 base? Then you'd have a complete extra 122 setup.

I was looking at one of the new 4K starlights, but they do have a four hole mount if I recall correctly. So I'd be in the same boat if I wanted to try one where I already have a 122 box.
Yes! exactly what I am thinking for my next setup.. this way I can just swap out the lid and mount a camera with a different screw base ;-)
 

looney2ns

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If the cable connection is properly sealed with Dielectric grease in the fitting, and then wrapped with Amazon.com: coax seal tape as it should be in any mount, its' fine.
Then I use either rope caulk, or Duct Seal for the gap between the eyeball and mount.

The picture of the cam mount I posted has been installed for two+ years, we regularly get rain driven by 20-40mph winds or higher.
I have taken this mount down to examine how things are doing connection wise, and it's perfectly fine.
As @mat200 said, caulk around the mount where it meets the building, leaving the bottom open for any water to drain.
I used duct seal behind the mount instead of caulk, and it removes without problem.
The inside of the mount is slopped towards the back, so any water that does get in, will drain out the back.
A little RTV silicone in the hole with the wire entering the house, and let it setup before cam mounting, will seal that hole without problem.
 

J Sigmo

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Good positive sealing is definitely a must here. Not just to protect the electrical connections, but also to prevent ingress of air, water, sand, bugs, etc. So we'd want to do all of the things you mention if using one of those mounts. They really are attractive, IMO.

We get 80+ mph winds many times each winter at my house, and I live in a somewhat protected location shielded by a hill that is upwind blocking the prevailing wind direction. At my son's house, he recorded wind speeds well over 100mph on a regular basis before his anemometer self-destructed. Seriously, we've been looking to put a weather station in at work, but we will need to get some sort of professional-grade Mount Washington-rated system to get an anemometer that can handle the typical winter winds here. ;)

On the hills where we have water tanks and radio/cell towers, it blows a lot harder. A few years ago, a cell tower blew over at one of our water tank sites. We happened to be there doing some maintenance on telemetry for that tank when the cell tower guys were there. They said that they had over 10,000 of those towers all over the US, and this was the first one they'd seen fail.

They said it had to be a defective weld, but we showed them that the failures were not at weld points, but out in the middle of the steel tubing near the base. The problem is that the relentless gusty winds simply caused the metal to fatigue from repeated, constant flexing.

They insisted that there was no problem and installed an identical tower.

That tower failed the following winter. It didn't just fall over, it snapped off and blew completely over the fence on the far side of the fenced-in tank site and ended up a few hundred feet away, partway down the other side of the hill. They then gave up on that location.

The freaking wasps here find the smallest of openings. Most outdoor electrical boxes, such as behind a motion light, outdoor electrical outlet or the like, have wasp nests inside when you open them up. You have to be careful!

With the PFA122, I don't need to use grease or wrap the connections. They're effectively the same as if they were indoors. And I like that because it makes rework, swapping, repairs, etc., easy.

The "front" seal is formed where the cable from the eyeball enters the box, made by the split rubber seal plug. The back of the box is sealed against the wall or soffit by some closed-cell foam, and therefore, the cavity in the box is effectively "inside of the building". You can use some RTV or other caulk to seal the back of the box against irregular surfaces if needed. The key feature is the rubber seal plug that squeezes down on the cable coming out of the camera body, and also seals into the hole in the front plate of the box. That plate seals to the box with a silicone rubber gasket. It's pretty snazzy as far as weather sealing goes.

With the PFA122, I can open the box without even removing the camera from its cover, and even after a few of our winters, the insides are pristine and dust free. From the connectors' point of view, they're in the same environment as all of my indoor connections. So I can disconnect and reconnect things without dealing with the tape or goo, or fear of wasps attacking me when I'm up on the ladder - well, at least from them coming out of that electrical box.

I get enough of needing to cut open, unwrap, and de-goo electrical connections working on radio systems up on towers or on high voltage connections for our 440V 3-phase motors, etc. ;) So when I can use an electrical enclosure setup that actually protects the connections so they don't need to be goo-ed and wrapped, I really do appreciate that.

But these boxes are big and chunky, for sure. It would be neat to have a mount like what you're using, but have the "sealed container" feature in which to make up the connections like we get with the PFA122 and similar boxes.

It seems like they could make a mount that looks like the PFV203W but give it the same rubber "stopper" as we get with the 122 and 121, and some sort of seal at the "building side" and that would be great. But it might have to be bulkier and defeat some of the good looks. For a rougher surface, you would still need the RTV or some thick closed-cell foam to conform and really make a tight seal at that interface with the wall or soffit, etc.
 

nbstl68

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I really like the gargoyle cam idea a few posts back!
 
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Did you end up finding a way to install this? I’ve done a couple homes similar construction near Chicago. bomb shelters I like to call them. There’s always a way. Just have to get creative. If it’s in this guys budget I will travel to help w install and or design. I subcontract tricky installs sometimes for high end guys around here that are definitely better at marketing than myself.
 

CastleSurveillance

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This job is currently on hold. He currently has us doing a gate/entry system - but I’m waiting on him to get a lock Smith to open the old gate system since he doesn’t have the keys and I really don’t want to break it off the limestone.
 

Shadeth

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That is honestly a pretty sweet house for $2 million. Must be in one of the more sane parts of the country. I don't even want to know what that might cost on the West Coast where it cost half a million for a mundane cookie cutter home.
 

CastleSurveillance

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That is honestly a pretty sweet house for $2 million. Must be in one of the more sane parts of the country. I don't even want to know what that might cost on the West Coast where it cost half a million for a mundane cookie cutter home.
This is Metro Detroit. We have a lot of things we're known for - but over inflated house values aren't one of them (thank god)
 
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