IP Cam Talk

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Having a tough time trying to build my own system..

wetto

Young grasshopper
Ok dont really know where else to post. Im a new member and ive been looking into getting a home surveillance system. I know i want atleast an 8 channel nvr but for the time being i would be satisfied with a system that only includes 4 cameras. The problem is im overwhelmed with all the choices and specifications. I was originally just going to buy a packaged system but everything ive read so far has told me to build my own. I know i want an IP cam, poe, no mic, IR camera bullet or dome(prefer bullet since it has better angles but can live with the dome). I was going to be happy having a fixed camera since thats what packaged systems often include but id be happy to have a varifocal if my budget will allow.Problem is my budget is around $500 or so. Id like to find good cameras that are under the $100 mark. Upon reading the forums i was going to go with the dahua brand since it seems like its the most praised brand out here. But they seem to be above my price range. I go look at reolink and people trash talk them on here. I look at hikvision and people are mentioning issues about the firmware. Go to vueville and they mention amcrest, look at amcrest here and people are saying its a foscam which is also garbage.

Can i build my own fixed surveillance system with this budget? I just want a clear HD picture day and night.
 

looney2ns

IPCT Contributor
This is the cam to beat at the moment: Dahua Starlight Varifocal Turret (IPC-HDW5231R-Z) There is also a non-varifocal version that is $30-40 cheaper.

You can always start out with just the cams, and put SD cards in them. And record to the cards.
Or you can use SmartPSS (its free) to record to your pc.

Then move up as budget allows.

Don't mount domes outdoors, the dome cause's all sorts of reflection issues. And they get worse as the dome ages.

The above listed varifocal is really hard to beat, as it can be used in a multitude of locations.

Example system:
Cat5e or better network cable to run to each cam.
A POE network switch for the cams to hook to.
Either record to the SD cards in the cam's and use SmartPss to retrieve the Sd recordings.
Or
Use SmartPSS to do all the recordings to your PC.
1 or 2 cams to get your feet wet.

Take a deep breath, and continue reading. Start small, and as you get comfortable, grow your system.
 

wetto

Young grasshopper
Well my plan was to have a monitor centralized in the house where i can view a live feed at all times. But have the nvr located elsewhere. My plan was to have 6 cameras and i simply cant afford to spend $1000+ on the cameras let alone the addition of the poe stuff+ nvr. Ideally id like to have 2 that are premium cameras that could focus on detail and 4 just for coverage. I dont live in the best of neighborhoods. The cameras would also help as a visual deterrent to skip my house and go to the next one.

My plan was to aim for a capable bullet cam since they were advertised as cheaper. Do you have the model number of the fixed camera so i could look into that one? Is hikvision worth considering at my pricepoint or are the firmware issues so bad that i need to stay away from them?
 

fenderman

Staff member
Well my plan was to have a monitor centralized in the house where i can view a live feed at all times. But have the nvr located elsewhere. My plan was to have 6 cameras and i simply cant afford to spend $1000+ on the cameras let alone the addition of the poe stuff+ nvr. Ideally id like to have 2 that are premium cameras that could focus on detail and 4 just for coverage. I dont live in the best of neighborhoods. The cameras would also help as a visual deterrent to skip my house and go to the next one.

My plan was to aim for a capable bullet cam since they were advertised as cheaper. Do you have the model number of the fixed camera so i could look into that one? Is hikvision worth considering at my pricepoint or are the firmware issues so bad that i need to stay away from them?
you dont want a bullet camera...you will spend your evenings clearing spider webs...
if you want to be cheap, spend 130 on dahua starlight turrets (non varifocal) and buy 4 cameras vs 6....saving 200 dollars overall is simply not worth it...you will also get sd card slot and mic which many bullets do not have...
hikviksion has zero firmware issues if you buy international/us version cameras...
start reading ALL the treads before wasting your money.
 

wetto

Young grasshopper
Well just to make things simpler I've settled on the dahua Starlight's. I'm going to start with one varifocal and one fixed. Now it's time to move onto the NVR. I'm assuming Poe switches are universal so they shouldnt have compatibility issues. But I've ran in to the same problems in the NVR selectio as the cameras. I think part of the problem is that dahua doesn't sell to the public. Therefore I have to navigate through Alibaba for reviews or to see what's popular. But the dahua webpage lists many models not seen on Alibaba.
 

Fastb

Known around here
I'm going to start with one varifocal and one fixed.
For fixed, lens size is critical. Eg: Don't use a 2.8mm lens for outdoor. There's a link in this thread for the camera lens size selection. bandwidth calculator ... security camera specific

Now it's time to move onto the NVR. I'm assuming Poe switches are universal so they shouldnt have compatibility issues.
You chose the Dahua Starlight. So get a Dahua NVR. Don't mix-n-match between brands.
Most people don't pick an NVR with built in POE. Much noisier fan. And the cameras live on the POE subnet of the NVR, preventing you from easily surfing into the cam to configure it.
Yes, any POE switch will work with the NVR. Or get a regular switch, and use a mid-span poe injector. Factors affecting choosing the approach include fan noise, power consumption, number of ports, and how the security camera system will fit into your home network. Some folks prefer to keep the cam system and NVR on it's own subnet, away from printer, home PCs, netflix, etc. But in many cases, the extra complexity isn't worth the incremental benefits...

the dahua webpage lists many models not seen on Alibaba.
You'll only see official Dahua products on the Dahua website. OEM versions, with different p/n's, lower price, and cheaper components can be found on alibaba. Even plastic cases, while Dahua cases are metal. And you may get chinese language version, or "converted to English" with buggy f/w. And very questionable support, if any support at all.

I recommend using Empiretecandy, a member on this site. Read up on why (great support, low prices, great reviews, promt shipping, etc):
Where to buy Dahua

Have fun!

Fastb
 

wetto

Young grasshopper
I just received a letter from my ISP saying they are going to be putting a data cap on my now "unlimited" data plan. They will additional data and charge me automatically if i go over their cap. The plan is already at $80 and i dont want to exceed it running 6 cameras 24hrs a day. Looks like im going to have to do a 180 degree turn and now go with a wired dvr.
 

fenderman

Staff member
I just received a letter from my ISP saying they are going to be putting a data cap on my now "unlimited" data plan. They will additional data and charge me automatically if i go over their cap. The plan is already at $80 and i dont want to exceed it running 6 cameras 24hrs a day. Looks like im going to have to do a 180 degree turn and now go with a wired dvr.
Huh? Your ISP has nothing to do with your internal lan network usage...NVR/DVR/VMS is all the same ...you are misunderstanding how ip cameras work...
 

wetto

Young grasshopper
i have no surveillance system. My plan was to get ip cams with nvr but now with this data cap thing i feel like just going to a wired analog? setup. Even if it doesnt use my data at all i think im still going to have to go with a boxed setup. Everyone here sounds like theyre in the business of installing cameras. I dont have the knowledge. Coupled with the fact that the "good" cameras have to pieced together and me having a limited budget doesnt help at all. Its overwhelming trying to see what is compatible and what i need.

Huh? Your ISP has nothing to do with your internal lan network usage...NVR/DVR/VMS is all the same ...you are misunderstanding how ip cameras work...
Ok so my data plan is 60mbits. Ive asked before and i was told that the cameras wont actually use any data unless im viewing the stream through my phone. Youre also saying that the cameras wont use any data?
I want to have a monitor located in my home where i can view all the cameras at once.
How do i calculate how many cameras my network will support or the size of my network?
 
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looney2ns

IPCT Contributor
Unless you remotely view your cameras, while away from home, your cameras nor NVR will not use ANY of your ISP's data plan.
 

Fastb

Known around here
wetto,

It seems you may have fundamental misunderstandings of the system.

received a letter from my ISP saying they are going to be putting a data cap on my now "unlimited" data plan.
That only pertains to data coming into your house, or leaving your house. It has nothing to do with traffic within your house, on your home network (LAN).
For example, sending print jobs from you computer to your printer doesn't leave your house, and doesn't affect your data consumption or your ISP.
Similarly, data from a camera traveling to your NVR doesn't leave your house, and has nothing to do with your ISP.

My plan was to get ip cams with nvr but now with this data cap thing im just going to have to go with a wired analog?
Apples and oranges. ip cams send digital images, unlike analog cams. Neither has anything to do with the data cap thing.
I suggest going with wired ip cams.

i think im still going to have to go with a boxed setup.
Beware of boxed setups. Often they have cams with wide FOV (Field of View). People must be within 10ft to get good facial id. 2.8mm lens will give overly wide FOV, and shouldn't be used outdoors. You'll see "what happened", but not "who did it"
Kits often use bullet cams, which are less ideal than turrets, due to spider webs.

Everyone here sounds like theyre in the business of installing cameras. I dont have the knowledge.
Lots of non-installers here. I'm not an installer, like many others. Instead, lots of hobbyists here. But more importantly, lotsa knowledge here, and folks willing to help.

"good" cameras have to pieced together and me having a limited budget doesnt help at all.
piecing together and budget are somewhat unrelated.
Kits are inexpensive, but you get what you pay for.
Kits I see in Costco, for example, are often analog (poor image, outdated), or TVI (a crossover technology). These are less expensive than IP cams, with some compromises made. But they have a place - and may be suitable for your application. TVI is simpler to set up, networking-wise.
Read this post for details:
IP vs HD Analog (AHD, CVI, TVI)?

wetto, more info is needed for better guidance. Eg:
- budget
- indoor cams or outdoor
- purpose of system (watch kids in yard, identify people walking to you front door, home security, etc)
- What experience/expertise do you have?
- number of cams you think you need?

Fastb
 

wetto

Young grasshopper
wetto,

It seems you may have fundamental misunderstandings of the system.
:facepalm:



That only pertains to data coming into your house, or leaving your house. It has nothing to do with traffic within your house, on your home network (LAN).
For example, sending print jobs from you computer to your printer doesn't leave your house, and doesn't affect your data consumption or your ISP.
Similarly, data from a camera traveling to your NVR doesn't leave your house, and has nothing to do with your ISP.

-That makes sense, how do i know how many cameras my network will support?
These are the components i have: Router Modem


Apples and oranges. ip cams send digital images, unlike analog cams. Neither has anything to do with the data cap thing.
I suggest going with wired ip cams.

-I want wired ip cams for their better quality and mobile notifications as well.

Beware of boxed setups. Often they have cams with wide FOV (Field of View). People must be within 10ft to get good facial id. 2.8mm lens will give overly wide FOV, and shouldn't be used outdoors. You'll see "what happened", but not "who did it"
Kits often use bullet cams, which are less ideal than turrets, due to spider webs.

-I was literally in costco looking at their owl and lorex analog? system and it looks pretty shitty tbh.
-The lens size is going to be a grey area for me, If i had the money of course i would go with a varifocal. There is areas around my home where i would possibly want a wider angle though, such as overlooking an alleyway to see if people are dumping crap. Or one camera capturing the cul de sac i live in and other one focusing on the street its connected to. Atleast this is what im thinking in my head. However i dont have the cameras in hand to see if one with a bigger lens would do the job.



Lots of non-installers here. I'm not an installer, like many others. Instead, lots of hobbyists here. But more importantly, lotsa knowledge here, and folks willing to help.
-Maybe i went to far with that comment. Just a little frustrated. I appreciate the help

piecing together and budget are somewhat unrelated.
Kits are inexpensive, but you get what you pay for.
Kits I see in Costco, for example, are often analog (poor image, outdated), or TVI (a crossover technology). These are less expensive than IP cams, with some compromises made. But they have a place - and may be suitable for your application. TVI is simpler to set up, networking-wise.
Read this post for details:

IP vs HD Analog (AHD, CVI, TVI)?

wetto, more info is needed for better guidance. Eg:
- budget
- indoor cams or outdoor
- purpose of system (watch kids in yard, identify people walking to you front door, home security, etc)
- What experience/expertise do you have?
- number of cams you think you need?


-budget $500 to start,I thought i settled with the starlights even though theyre rather expensive. I guess what im saying is id like to have a running system with 2 or more cameras for $500 already.
-all outdoor cams
-Monitor activity outside the home, maybe one inside (later). Record any suspects commiting crimes. Ive had my home broken into, Hit and run when parked on street. I wouldnt say lots, but there is questionable shady people that will walk by the neighborhood time to time.
-I dont have any experience whatsoever with networking or surveillance cameras. I can install my own wireless devices, i can problably build my own pc (havent tried to), I can usually troubleshoot any errors with computers or electronics, I am a "mechanic" by nature, i like to tinker with things. Physically installing the cameras is going to be no problem. Im sure there is a tutorial as well for setting up the cameras. I just dont feel confident at all in what im doing when i have to purchase from a chinese supplier and have no experience with cameras.
-I think an 8 channel nvr would suffice, I think 4 cameras doesnt give me enough coverage. Hoping to have 6 eventually.
 

Fastb

Known around here
how do i know how many cameras my network will support?
Cameras don't consume a lot of your LAN bandwidth. But to be sure, these threads will let you estimate b/w
Network Bandwidth Usage
Calculating Bandwidth
Bandwidth & Storage Calculator

I want wired ip cams for their better quality and mobile notifications as well.
Apples and oranges. wired ip cams will give nice image, compared to analog. Mobile notifications, unrelated, is a feature of the NVR to send emails or push notifications.

monitoring activity outside
Get camss with IVS, so you can use "tripwire" and "intrusion". Theyy work much much better than basic Motion Detect (MD)

I think an 8 channel nvr would suffice
Price difference between 8 and 16 channel is minimal, and future-proofs your system. Many, many people end up using more cameras than they initially thought the needed.
Right now, decide if you want a poe-nvr, or an nvr with external poe injector.

The lens size is going to be a grey area for me,
Picking lens size, to get the desired FOV can be a bit tricky. Which is why varifocal is nice.
The starlight varifocals are awesome, especially for night time viewing. Maybe for your alley?
Try this site:
Camera Calculator / Design Software
Enter your address, google maps will show your house. Put a camera on the house, enter lens size, you'll see the FOV

id like to have a running system with 2 or more cameras for $500 already.
Do-able.
Don't forget the NVR doesn't come with a hard drive - you buy that separately. Check this forum for best brand - purple, I think. The NVR will likely support two drives, so after you add more cams, you may add a 2nd HD. I gave a link above for a "storaage calculator", so you can see how many days of recorded video you'll have, based on 2 cams and X TB of storage.

Fastb
 
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wetto

Young grasshopper
I just read through all the threads. Im just as confused about lan bandwidth as when i started.
I tried using the calculators.

Ideally i wouldve liked to compare cameras a little more but its hard to since i have to flip through several pages to look at different and non existing video samples. Assuming im going to stick to the dahua ipc-hdw4231EM-AS, this is what i came up with for the bandwidth usage for the camera. I dont know how much "low,medium,high" quality affects the image quality and in turn the bitrate so i just chose medium as default. I was told each camera should not exceed 10mbits in bitrate in earlier posts. Storage under "medium quality" for 6 cameras,24hours a day for 5 days comes up to 2.2tb and 40 megabits, If i go to high quality its 3.2tb and 60megabits. Okay, now i get that part, but what i dont get is how much my "LAN" supports.

I tried using the online map thing, it doesnt show that camera under the predefined settings. If i do it manually it automatically selects a different value for "a" when i adjust value "c", under the site it tells me that the dahua ipc-hdw4231EM-AS has an angle of view of 110 degrees for the 2.8 lens and 87 degrees for the 3.6 lens. I made my own little sketch with paint using the 87 degree field of view(3.6mm lens) to sort of map things out. I have 4 cameras mapped for outside so far. The 3 red dots indicate doorways into the house. I might add cheaper mini cameras there especially for the front two doors and one or two inside the home in the future. The area outlined in blue is a carport, it is enclosed in all sides except for the front where the camera is aiming east. The north side of the home is relatively inaccessible. The south side of the home lined in yellow is also, but id like to keep that area monitored since its facing the street.

I was under the assumption that for the best results i should use the nvr as the camera manufacturer. I know nothing about nvrs, im just looking for something that can be compatible with that camera. (8ch or now 16ch if theres not a big price difference). Poe switch or not? I dont know, so far the only difference ive read is that integrated poe is louder. I was also unaware that they didnt come with hard drives.

Im already looking at $260 for 2 cameras. Where do i continue?
 

wetto

Young grasshopper
This is the cheapest 8ch NVR4108-4KS2 im looking at (also available 16ch).
Followed by 8ch NVR4108-8P-4KS2 which is twice as much.
They both have basically the same details, except that the more expensive one has poe description of:
PoE: 8 ports (IEEE802.3at/af) (4Mbps is recommended per channel). Anyone care to elaborate on the 4mbps per channel part? Would there be a difference in purchasing the cheaper one without poe and purchasing a poe injector?


The more expensive one also says "mobile surveillance"" in the title while the other does not. But theyre both saying they support ios/android in the details.
 
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