New to Video Security Systems


Oct 26, 2019
Reaction score
The Woodlands, TX and Eatonville, WA
Hi y'all. I am a retired Electrical Engineer (PE, California - don't need continuing education credits for some reason) and I am in the process of completing a summer home I am building in Washington State. I know, it's not summer here any more Dorothy (it was 34 degrees this morning) but my house was supposed to be finished mid-July and here it is now the end of October and.... it should be done in the next few weeks. When I got the quote from the electrical subcontractor, he included the items I requested (security system, Cat 5 wiring for 4 video cameras and 1 doorbell camera) and also the system he wants to sell me, which is an Elan G!, to tie everything together including lighting controls A/V distribution, etc. I told him to just put in the security system (DSC) and wiring for the cameras but as it is now about to be mine, I need to get the bare minimum security stuff running so I can go back to my other house and life in warm and sunny (at least for now) Texas. I looked at the Elan G! (which he and the builder both have in their houses now - they live in the same neighborhood as my house) and it seems pretty slick and expensive. What I really didn't like is the proprietary nature of the software and programming. My career spanned the time from relay control panels with switches and lights to PLC's and DCS systems and I just couldn't imagine being hostage to my neighbor for the rest of the time I own the house. I started researching Home Automation and Control systems and then realized that I really don't need anything that elaborate to start as many feature like lighting controls and remote control of devices like the heat pump system could be done later. What I need right now is a way of getting notification of alarm events from the security system (basically hard wired) and feed and possibly notification from the camera system. So, following the advice of my builder and reading information I (seemingly randomly) gathered from the web, I bought 4 Amcrest cameras. I am now in the process of trying to find the doorbell camera and an NVR/DVR system that I can tie into to get the basics going. I really enjoyed the thread on the Yoosee camera and think that it has all the things I want at a reasonable price (but poor delivery), besides the problem of it defaulting to the early '70's dates when hooked up to a Loris NVR. I don't think this is show stopper and am just about ready to try to find the quickest delivery (sounds like direct from Yoosee). I am thinking about an Amcrest DVR (looking at the NV4108HS) but have not checked the threads to figure out if there is much information here about them. I know I have to configure the DVR with the hardware (hard drives and poe switch) but need to research users opinions of the app and security of information, etc. It seems that many of the better NVR systems have a somewhat steeper learning curve and, although I will probably migrate to a big NVR system once I get my A/V distribution going, I need something fairly quick and dirty for now. I got connected to this forum by doing multiple searches for variations on "POE Doorbell Video Camera". This seems to be the only place that isn't all about wifi and the cloud that I've found and the threads I've read seem very informative so I joined up today. As I don't want anything that is wifi dependent, this seems a much better alternative to the systems that must go through the cloud (like the Ring) of some third party. Something I have no desire to be involved with because I still remember when I owned and controlled my own personal information and couldn't get hacked unless I left my SSN laying around or threw away my sensitive info without shredding. Anyway, I like the forum, have downloaded the files for all newbies and will proceed from here. Thanks for all the help and information already provided!


IPCT Contributor
Feb 15, 2018
Reaction score
Houston Tx
Welcome to another transplant texan, I live just south of houston, Go Astros :)

There is a lot of info below and in the forum take your time.
Most of the posters are very conservative in the approach to problems and issues. They are very security conscious. Also a number of us are retired

Read,Study,plan before spending your money
My standard welcome to the forum message.

Please read the IP Cam Talk Cliff Notes and other items in the IP Cam Talk Wiki. The wiki is in the blue bar at the top of the page.

Read How to Secure Your Network (Don't Get Hacked!) in the wiki also.

Quick start
1) If you do not have a wired monitored alarm system, get that first
2) Use Dahua starlight cameras or Hikvision darkfighter cameras or ICPT Night eye cameras (Store | IP Cam Talk) if you need good low light cameras.
3) use a VPN to access home network (openVPN)
4) Do not use wifi cameras.
5) Do not use cloud storage
6) Do Not use uPNP, P2P, QR, do not open ports,
7) More megapixel is not necessarily better.
8) Avoid chinese hacked cameras (most ebay, amazon, aliexpress cameras(not all, but most))
9) Do not use reolink, ring, nest cameras (they are junk), no cloud cameras
10) If possible use a turret camera , bullet collect spiders, dome collect dirt and reflect light (IR)
11) Use only solid copper, AWG 23 or 24 ethernet wire. , no CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum)
12) use a test mount to verify the camera mount location. My test rig: rev.2
13) (Looney2ns)If you want to be able to ID faces, don't mount cams higher than 8ft. You want to know who did it, not just what happened.
14) Use a router that has openVPN built in (Most ASUS, Some NetGear....)
15) camera placement use the calculator... IPVM Camera Calculator V3

Cameras to look at
IPC-HDW2231R-ZS Review-Dahua IPC-HDW2231RP-ZS Starlight Camera-Varifocal
IPC-HDW5231-ZE Review-Dahua Starlight IPC-HDW5231R-ZE 800 meter capable ePOE
IPC-T5442TM-AS Review IPC-T5442TM-AS-LED (Full Color, Starlight+)
IPCT-HDW5431RE-I Review - IP Cam Talk 4 MP IR Fixed Turret Network Camera
IPC-T5442TM-AS Review-OEM 4mp AI Cam IPC-T5442TM-AS Starlight+ - 4MP starlight+
IPC-T2347G-LU Review of the Hikvision OEM model IPC-T2347G-LU 'ColorVu' IP CCTV camera. (DS-2CD2347G1-LU)

Other dahua 4MP starlight Dahua 4MP Starlight Lineup

My preferred indoor cameras
IPC-K35A Review-Dahua IPC-K35A 3mp Cube Camera

If interested in Blue Iris and other setup items see the following post

Read,study,plan before spending money ..... plan plan plan
Test do not guess