Hey Y'all! Greetings from TN - Intro and Feedback on 1st setup

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by YoungMike85, Feb 12, 2019 at 9:30 PM.

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  1. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    Hi all, my name is Mike, and I'm brand new to the world of IP cameras. I have vaguely considered putting in CCTV for the past year, but didn't get serious until recently. This time last year, my wife and I were getting ready to welcome our first child into the home. My wife planned to stay home to care for her and in preparation, I made a few changes around the house to improve security; but nothing serious...we live in a nice subdivision, not high class, but solid middle class new construction and not many issues with crime. So I added a security glass screen door, reinforced the dead bolt strike plates and upgraded the locks.

    I didn't know diddly about cameras then, and it was around that time when I saw an advertisement in Harbor Freight for a complete CCTV system.

    Side note - If you're not familiar with Harbor Freight, just imagine if Home Depot and Ali Express had a baby...it's filled with no-name, house brand power tools that are shipped direct from the same build houses in China where DeWalt and Bosch, etc., make their power tools. SO, it's not a bad place to shop if you're on a budget, and you don't expect your $20 jig-saw to last very long.

    Back to the system. It was their store brand, "Cobra". It was advertised as '4 HD cameras and 1TB HDD DVR' for $249. With a 20% coupon, you could pick it up for $199 pre-tax. Not bad for 4 cameras and a DVR. I was momentarily tempted to buy it. However, in my ripe old age of 33, I've learned 1 or 2 things about impulse buys...they usually cost me more money in the long run after I've realized that my first purchase was crap, and then spend more money to get what actually meets my needs. So, I didn't buy the Cobra.

    Fast forward a year later, and we've got a 7-month old munchkin in the house. Our neighborhood is growing, and so are the incidents of random crimes. Mostly stupid things done by stupid kids. Pulling on car doors, checking for unlocked cars, stealing stuff if they find an open car. Then one day a neighbor is going to work at 5am and catches one of these kids trying to break in to their car. The homeowner freezes, and the kid pulls a gun out and takes a few shots at the homeowner. No one is hurt, but the kid got away and everybody is shaken up. A few weeks after that happened, a neighbor was car-jacked at gun point in his own driveway, just as he pulled in from work - this was at 5:30 in the evening. Oh, and it was a block away from our house. Obviously this is concerning, and I'm looking around at options to secure the house beyond a security glass screen door.

    That's when the wife approaches and says 'Are we gonna get a doorbell cam like our neighbors? I really want one.' I said I would investigate, but deep down I had a feeling that a doorbell cam just wouldn't cut it. I did search on Amazon for CCTV kits. It was like drinking from a fire hose. By now, I've done a few other big projects and I've realized that to cut through the B.S., you can't rely on Amazon or Google - but there is a good chance you can find a forum that knows what is what. And that's how I wound up here.

    I was, and still am, completely overwhelmed by the amount of information there is to learn about IP cams. And I'm not talking about the deep stuff, I just mean the beginner level stuff you need to setup a system like this. However, I'm committed to the journey. Partly for the safety of my family, and partly because I believe in doing something right the first time - even if means taking more time and spending more money than doing a quick google search and buying cheapo crap on Amazon.

    So, with that said, I've pulled the trigger on the supplies needed to setup a basic IP cam network. I welcome any and all feedback - I'm a total noob at this. I was trying to go for high quality components that would be durable and as future-proof as I could afford. I do plan to expand and upgrade eventually.

    Camera:
    IPC-HDW2231R-ZS 2MP
    Purchased from Andy's Amazon store

    NVR:
    Dahua NVR4104HS-P-4KS2 4 Ch

    HDD:
    WD Purple 2TB

    Misc:
    Wall mount, Cat 5e cable, 128 gb microSD

    I know a lot of folks recommend an 8CH NVR, but I don't have a ton of square footage to cover. 3 cams in the front and 1 in the back will be enough for now. If/when I need more, I'll upgrade to a dedicated PC running BI, and of course upgrade the HDD. Also, I probably will add a doorbell cam at some point, but only if it's compatible with the NVR. Last, I've got a lot more work to do on the network side before I can call it day. That said, I don't plan to connect the NVR the LAN until I understand more about security protocols. I'll just have it hooked up to an accessible monitor in the house for now.

    Edit - Thanks all for the feedback. I read the cliff notes before buying this gear, and will read it again. And again. And spend much more time on the wiki. Also, I completely agree about situational awareness; not making yourself an easy target; etc. The problem is, most of my neighbors don't get this. And habitually poor habits have put a big mark on our neighborhood. We're working on it, but it will take time to rectify.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 2:05 PM
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  2. JNDATHP

    JNDATHP Getting the hang of it

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    D5DF5398-80F6-4807-A07D-5A77E4A1C84D.jpeg

    Okay, to help with your situation, as others have said, read the the wiki at the top of this page.

    I installed cameras before finding this site and have wasted money and time. Our system is better, but could still stand for improvement. Some of my cameras are a little too high but have helped them by using varifocal cams and zooming in, if you will (still don’t know all the right terminology).

    I will say this: our Blue Iris system is on a recurring extended support plan, I’ve learned so much from this forum (we now use a VPN and have no open ports), and the WAF is at an all time high as a result.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. tangent

    tangent IPCT Contributor

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    It sounds like you're on the right track, but the 4 channel NVR is a little cringeworthy. Refurbished PCs aren't that expensive and in a pinch you could always just record to microsd cards.
    You may eventually want to add a camera with more zoom, zoomed in on the street for license plates.
     
  4. looney2ns

    looney2ns IPCT Contributor

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    Random thoughts:
    There are no such things as "safe" neighborhoods.
    First thing you need is a good monitored alarm system for the house.
    Cameras are mostly like cops, they are helpful after the fact.
    When seconds count, the police are minutes away.
    Find a local NRA instructor and you and your wife take the "Don't be a victim class".
    Follow John at Active Self protection, here: Active Self Protection
    And on facebook.
    In the Wiki, study the Cliff Notes. 4 camera's won't get you very far. And as @tangent mentioned, you could of bought a refurbed PC for Blue Iris instead of the NVR for about the same.
    Lock your car every single time you get out of it.
    Park it in the garage where it belongs, not in the drive.
    House Locks are worthless if you don't use them.
    Keep garage door's closed. Don't advertise.
    Situational awareness, pay attention to what is happening around you.
    Don't walk around outdoors with your head buried in your cell phone.
    A "GOOD" camera properly covering the front door is much better than a door bell cam. None of them are ready for prime time.
     
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  5. looney2ns

    looney2ns IPCT Contributor

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    This is what my "doorbell" cam see's at night.
    Front Door 2019-2-12 10.09.23.136 PM.jpg
     
  6. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    Besides only having 4 channels and not running BI, what are some other limitations of using this NVR?
     
  7. JDJ

    JDJ n3wb

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    Do you already have an alarm system installed?

    If not, please consider getting one ASAP.

    A properly installed and functioning alarm system should alert you the second it is triggered, 24 hours a day.

    Security cameras provide great benefits. I like being able to observe my entire home perimeter before going outside. I like having the chance of catching evidence-quality face pictures. I like the fact that my cameras, and those of my close neighbors, seem to have an observable deterrent effect. I like the fact that there are a lot of criminals currently in prison solely because they were caught on someone's home security camera.

    But I count on my security system to trigger sirens if an entry point is breached. I rely on its half-dozen loud sirens to alert me even when I'm in view of my camera monitor, when I'm sleeping, watching a loud show, using my loud exercise machine, etc.

    (As a side benefit, my home security system's smoke detectors are there in case I leave something on the stove, or my clothes dryer or some other thing decides to catch on fire).

    Consider asking your police department if an officer can look over your home for vulnerabilities. Many police officers are happy to provide this service and can offer expert advice (which I cannot, as I am certainly not an expert on these things).

    A police officer or other security expert could also help you to formulate a plan in the event that your security system is triggered.
     
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  8. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    All of these things are great ideas. Like you, and others have said in this thread, there are more things to consider than just cameras in regards to home security. I completely agree. I feel that cameras can sometimes have a deterrent effect, but sometimes not. All of the things mentioned in previous posts have the potential to deter crime, but nothing is perfect. I have no illusions about how secure my home can be. If someone is dead set on getting in, they will. A camera will deter some would-be thieves, but not others. An alarm, even if loud enough to alert the neighbors, may deter a stupid kid at night; but a seasoned daytime cat burglar will do a smash and grab and be gone with cash and jewelry in less than 3 minutes.

    I am not going to stick a camera under the eave of my porch, thump my chest, and proclaim victory. I will be making more improvements, including:

    1. Security film window laminate - slows down a smash and grab; potential to stop a smash/grab if thief doesn't want to keep smashing and smashing and smashing...
    2. Remove the emergency pull cord on the garage door opener - thieves have used this trick to break into a garage.
    3. Add entry alarms on doors and break sensors windows, wire them up to 2 or 3 120 dB horns aimed at the neighbors
    4. Add motion sensor floodlights at all 4 corners - hardwired, led
    5. Turn off the remote power function to the garage door opener when I'm out, or when home for the night
    6. Leave front and back porch lights on, all night, every night
    7. Landscape lighting installed in the front yard
    8. Get to know neighbors better, get contact info, watch for suspicious activity.

    All in all, I don't think our house is any more or less vulnerable than our neighbors. We don't advertise any wealth (none to be advertised, lol), we don't leave our cars in the driveway overnight. We always lock every door, every time, and we never post about big purchases or vacations on Facebook. Compared to our neighbors, I am confident that we have good habits regarding security. We can always improve, and that's part of the reason I'm here. Great suggestions, and thanks for taking the time to point all that stuff out!
     
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  9. looney2ns

    looney2ns IPCT Contributor

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    Motion alerts will be subpar for one. Meaning, lots of false triggers.
     
  10. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    I plan to record continuously, will this still be an issue?

    Also, I wasn't planning on connecting this NVR to my LAN at the moment. Meaning, I will not be using it to send push notifications to a phone in the event a motion alert is triggered. Thoughts?
     
  11. looney2ns

    looney2ns IPCT Contributor

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    Good for you!
    Loud sirens are best utilized indoors, make it painful for perp to stay in the house. I wouldn't want to put my neighbors in the position of responding to an unknown situation at my house.
     
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  12. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    Good point. And painful it will be! 1 horn at 120 dB is just awful...but 2?! I feel like Tim "the Toolman" Taylor...ogh ho ho hoooo
     
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  13. tangent

    tangent IPCT Contributor

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    The way that's worded doesn't sit right with me. You should get an alarm system which in my book is not the same as "entry alarms wired up to some loud ass sirens" which sounds more like a dollar store redneck electronics project. Something like a Honeywell Vista 20-P or DSC PC1832 or PC1864.

    Many areas have alarm ordinances that impose requirements on how alarms work, how loud they can be, and how long the siren can sound. This is done to reduce false alarms and recoup (through alarm permit fees) the cost of responding to false alarms.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 3:42 PM
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  14. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    LOL...busted! I was planning to redneck rig a solution with my own off the shelf parts...haha! I'm kidding, just a bit...I would do my due diligence before asking my cousin Cletus for his help ;-)

    I haven't done much research on proper alarm systems, or codes related to their installation and/or specifications. My limited research thus far has led me to believe that monthly services from ADT and the like are essentially junk in that they use off the shelf parts and the "monitoring" part is nowhere near as effective at getting a quick police response as they would like you to believe. So, at this point, I wasn't planning to go that route, but to install something similar sans the monthly fees.

    Thanks for pointing that out, and posting those other systems. I will definitely look more into that.
     
  15. tangent

    tangent IPCT Contributor

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    Check out the permit/alarm requirements in your area.

    You can get fairly cheap monitoring from geoarm and alarm relay that will work with most alarm systems.

    Something like a ring.com alarm system is also an option with cheap monitoring. It's cheap and simple but less versatile.

    ADT is a bit of a rip off, but people would rather pay $40-60/month than more upfront for the installation. The alarm installers also like the reliable income. ADT installers are franchised and while there are many Awfully Dumb Technicians there are some good ones. Generally a good independent local alarm company will be better.
     
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  16. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    In your opinion, what is the value of paying for a monitoring service?

    At this point in my research, I just don't see the value in it. Of course, I've only scratched the surface and have nothing more than soft evidence consisting of the anecdotal and hear-say varieties to back that opinion up. Essentially, what I've read boils down to this: Say the alarm goes off. Nothing happens for 15 seconds; apparently many companies give the benefit of a doubt for a false alarm. After 15-30 seconds of alarm, they then call the homeowner to verify. At which point, 1 minute after the alarm has been going off, the police are alerted. If it's not a life threatening emergency, it's unlikely to expect a police response in under 10 minutes. Which is more than enough time for a trained burglar to get everything they came for and be long gone. So, in that scenario, what good did the monitoring do? Bad guy still broke in, your stuff is gone, and you paid $15/mo or more for...what?

    I'm not trying to be argumentative. This is my current understanding of monitoring systems. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly change my opinion and re-open the search for monitoring services. The goal here is to be smart, and keep the family safe. Anything that actually does that is worth investigating.
     
  17. tangent

    tangent IPCT Contributor

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    You can certainly self monitor, but you won't be available to monitor the system 24-7-365. Alarms do generally have entry delays to allow you time to enter a code. Sometimes there also a 'dialer delay' before it contacts the monitoring company and then there's the time for verification that may occur plus however long it takes the cops to arrive. You'll learn a lot more about how alarms work if you read the users and installation manuals for an alarm or two than if you google "are alarm systems a rip off" which will certainly help you find plenty of ADT horror stories.

    If you have an alarm armed to stay mode (you're home and asleep for example) and someone breaks a window (assuming you have a glassbreak sensor) it will go into alarm immediately. If they go through a door set as an entry door first the entry delay would start. If they break a window and then open a door a cross zone event will occur indicating it's less likely to be a false alarm. Some alarms can be set to a night or instant mode where all zones even the entry zones will alarm immediately, but that can be a recipe for false alarms. If you set off a panic button or enter a duress code the panel will also alarm immediately.

    If a burglar is brazen enough and fast, you're right they could probably be gone before they police show up. I'd rather give a burglar the impression that if they break in they won't have much time before they need to GTFO. If you're self monitoring, maybe you're in a meeting when it happens and you don't get the notification or can't call the police yourself. If you try to call the cops yourself for your own alarm, you'll probably need to call the non-emergency number for your city/county. If you just call 911 you might reach the wrong police department. There are plenty of more dangerous scenarios that aren't hard to imagine where paid monitoring is better than self monitoring. If you self monitor, at a minimum buy a yard sign from a know company off of ebay.

    As I said before check out your local laws. Sometimes they expect you to have a permit even for an alarm that's just a noise maker.
    EDIT: looks like nashville does require alarm permits. They even require you to display an alarm permit window decal (which I have mixes feelings about, but at least your alarm permits are pretty cheap)
    Nashville > Codes Administration > Construction and Permits > Alarm Registration
    https://www.nashville.gov/Portals/0...er_10.60___BURGLAR_AND_FIRE_ALARM_SYSTEMS.pdf
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 11:00 PM
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  18. YoungMike85

    YoungMike85 n3wb

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    Thank you, tangent, for taking the time to post a great response. And you are true to your name...I came here looking for IPC info, and went off on a tangent and learned something about home alarm systems! You've given me a lot to think about, and I will definitely be re-considering alarm systems in general, and monitoring services as well.
     
  19. tangent

    tangent IPCT Contributor

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    FYI, as I read it Nashville's alarm ordinance requires a permit even for a non-monitored 'noise maker' alarm. I skimmed it quickly, but I didn't see a requirement for only licensed installers to install an alarm which is nice for the DIYer and it was surprisingly permissive regarding voice dialers (but don't do this).

    Generally users with a poor understanding of how their alarm works are responsible for the majority of false alarms. It's also good to understand what will and what won't set it off. For example if you have an alarm system without any motion or glass break sensors the alarm won't go off if someone breaks a window or glass door and doesn't slide it open.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 11:13 PM