Looking for help building a home video surveillance system

Discussion in 'IP Cameras' started by ipcam17, Jul 17, 2017.

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  1. ipcam17

    ipcam17 n3wb

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    Hello, I would like to update my big box store video surveillance system with something custom-tailored to my needs, but unfortunately I don't even know where to start. I am a systems engineer with over 15 years of experience in the IT field, so the technology aspect is not a problem, but rather the camera selection - lens sizes, apertures, etc. I cannot even figure out how many cameras would be needed to provide adequate coverage.

    I figured the best way to start would be to create a sketch diagram of my property, which identifies the potential entry points and areas of interest. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the diagram and if any additional information is necessary.

    Unfortunately my house can be accessed by foot from 360* degrees since there are no fences anywhere, and I have woods (conservation land) behind my property. On the bright side, there is only one street that I need to worry about.

    Over the years I've had two minor security incidents. I found footsteps once on the side of the house going to the end of the patio deck - clearly someone was looking for something or scoping out the area. The second, and more recent one, we had eggs thrown at our cars on multiple occasions, presumably from a slow-moving vehicle.

    I am sure I missed a bunch of information so please feel free to ask questions and let me know what I missed.
     

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  2. looney2ns

    looney2ns Known around here

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  3. ipcam17

    ipcam17 n3wb

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    Thank you, I had a feeling the Dahua Varifocal Turret would be recommended since it seems to be the camera of choice on this forum. I must say, I really like it's performance based on what I saw in the various threads..I did quite a bit of reading on it. My two concerns are the cost (a bit high, but doable), and more importantly, I am not sure how I feel about buying a gray-market product from China... I can only imagine the hassle with returning or exchanging one of these should the need ever arise. The firmware management seems a bit of a nightmare also. With that said, I am still considering it. It looks like the prices vary between $130 and $180 on Ali Express, and all sellers claim the cameras are the "English version".

    Thank you for the mounting location height tip also. This will definitely help with some of the challenges I am experiencing with my current system, along with the much better image quality, of course.

    I am still torn on the number of cameras I would need. I played a little bit with the calculator you shared, but unfortunately I can't quite figure out how to use it, and the Dahua Varifocal isn't listed in the drop down selection, but I can probably input the necessary parameters manually. I was sort of hoping that someone with more experience here can look at the sketch I provided and give me a recommendation, or at least a starting point. My house in not unique by any means...it is your standard, cookie-cutter, raised ranch style house.

    Lastly, and I am hesitant to even bring this up, but what about Reolink? I know they are not very well regarded on this forum, and I know they won't provide anywhere near the image quality that the Dahua would, but I couldn't find any evidence of how bad they actually are. I searched the forum and read every thread that even mentions Reolink, but didn't find any substantial information. The only reason I bring them up is because of the price point (<$60/camera) and I can back my purchase through Amazon and a US credit card, such as Discover.
     
  4. looney2ns

    looney2ns Known around here

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    Many folks have purchased from BEC & Empire Technology on Aliexpress with good luck. A rep for both companies is active here @EMPIRETECANDY as well. There appears to be a very small percentage of real problems with the Dahuas, as long as you purchase the International versions, and not the China Region versions.
    If the exact model number can be found here: Network Camera - IPC-HFW5100-IRA, IPC-HFW5200-IRA, IPC-HFW5100D - Dahua Technology then it is an international version, if not found it's a China region version.

    Turret style has many less issues, than the other styles.

    There is a video tutorial on how to use the calculator, upper left corner.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  5. randytsuch

    randytsuch Getting the hang of it

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    I started with one varifocal camera, and tried it in different locations. Figured out where I wanted to mount the cameras, and if they could be fixed focal. Then I bought the rest of the cameras. Of course if you just buy starlight varifocals, you don't have to worry about focal length, but you still want to test the locations.

    It really helped me to actually see the camera image from where I thought I wanted to place it. Also day vs night makes a difference, and angle of the sun can make a difference too.
    Mount the camera on a 2x4 at the height you want, can put the 2x4 in a bucket of sand if needed.

    By the front, sliding and side doors seem to be the obvious places to install cams. How many others depends on you budget. You can start with a few, and add more later too. People also like to cover where ever packages are dropped off.

    Randy