Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category

How to choose a security camera system to meet the requirements of WA i-502 security camera law

Written By:
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Your Washington Marijuana License is Approved!

This is what over 3,000 marijuana license applicants are hoping to hear. If you live in Washington and are one of those i-502 applicants then that means you. In this article I will be focusing on the Surveillance System requirements for the Washington Marijuana Law WAC 314-55-083 and how you can get your Marijuana License approved per those requirements. At we have the most knowledgeable Security Camera Professionals and have been working with i-502 Marijuana Applicants since the application process has started. In fact, there have already been Washington Marijuana Growers that have had their applications approved with our security camera systems. And, just recently about 20 Retail Marijuana Stores in Washington have had their Marijuana License approved. Guess what? A few of those applicants purchased their Security camera System through us.

So, as you can see, we know the i-502 Security Camera Law.

There are a few parts of WAC 314-55-083 that we pay special attention to. The first is that the minimum camera resolution needs to be 640×470 pixels and the recording device needs to be IP protocol. This part of the law has been a matter of debate and there are many security camera dealers that are scaring applicants into buying expensive IP cameras. We have actually been on top of this issue and have proof from the Washington Liquor Control Board that you do not have to have IP cameras. IP protcol simply means that the device (in this case the recorder) needs to hook up to the Internet. Now, our low-cost affordable DVRs and analog cameras meet the requirements of the 640×470 pixels. Keep in mind that although our DVRs take care of the minimum resolution, if you wnat to really protect your investment and be able to zoom in on detail without distortion, then we do suggest going with High Resolution 1080p cameras and equipment, but it is not necessary to pass your marijuana application process.


Another part of WAC 314-55-083 that we pay close attention to is that all entrances and exits need to have surveillance as well as fence perimeters, windows, etc. The first thing we do to help Washington Marijuana Applicants is we ask for a site plan to help them with camera placement. Since we have had applicants who have passed their inspections you can be confident in our expertise. If you don’t know how to create a layout, you can hand draw your site plan and email it to us. Below is an example I have created. This is not an actual customer’s site plan because we believe in the privacy of all of our customers. I created this just as an example.


An i-502 Site Plan layout Example

In this layout you can plainly see this is a typical Marijuana Grower’s site plan. There are multiple grow areas surrounded by a fence perimeter. There is a required compost area, processing area, quarantine area and office and all have cameras placed in the correct locations. When i-502 inspections first came about, the 4 camera on each corner of the fence were not required. Because we follow what the inspectors are requiring as time goes on, we know that they indeed are requiring this type of camera placement. Also, you will see that each door has surveillance on the outside of the door as well as the inside. Also, inside the grow areas, there are multiple cameras so that there is not one area which cannot be seen by the surveillance system. Also, inside the office you might have noticed an “X” on the left side. This is another important part of WAC 314-55-083, the fact that the recording device needs to be in a locked closet or another type of locking device.

DVR Lockbox

DVR Lockbox – a great way to secure your DVR

The DVR Lockbox is what we recommend to our i-502 applicants as it is a way to secure your DVR from theft and vandalism as well as gaining bonus points in the inspection process. This can be mounted to the wall using DVR lockbox brackets and it even comes with a fan to keep your DVR or NVR cool.

Another important point of the WA Marijuana Security Camera Law is that all cameras need to record 24 hours per day and the recording device needs to be able to record for 45 days. We have a fantastic Hard Drive Calculator to determine how much hard drive you will need for your security camera setup.

Hard Drive Space Needed For D1 Recording

Hard Drive Requirements for 32 Analog Cameras at D1 Resolution
15 frames per second

Hard Drive Space Needed For 1.3 Megapixel Recording

Hard Drive Requirements for 32 IP Cameras at 1.3 megapixel Resolution
15 frames per second

As you can see I have the calculations at 15 frames per second on both examples. The minimum frame rate requirements per law is 10 frames per second and we recommend 15 frames per second minimum for a better recording. The more frames per second you record, the smoother the video will be. We have hard drives from 1TB to 4TB and our full size DVRS and NVRS will hold up to 8 hard drives. The great thing about buying your hard drive from us when you buy your recorder is that we will install your hard drives for free and make sure they are formatted correctly. That way when you receive your DVR or NVR it will be immediately ready to go as soon as you plug it in and connect a monitor to it.

Other important items for your camera system of course will be power and cables (although the law doesn’t state the requirements for these, they are indeed necessary to run your equipment.) We will include these when we work up your quote based on your site plan that you provide to us.

Also, if you ever need help configuring your security equipment, we provide free tech support for the life of your products. We will walk you through every step of the way from programming your cameras to record 24/7 to viewing your security camera system remotely from any computer or smart devices.

So, just to sum things up, we have become experts in helping i-502 Marijuana Applicants pass their surveillance requirements. All of the applicants we have designed systems for and purchased from us have been approved. If you want to see what what our system costs for your specific needs, send us your site plan to Make sure you provide your name, telephone number, zipcode and any questions and our 1-502 specialists will work up a quote right away.


How to Set Up a CCTV DVR

Written By:
Monday, July 7th, 2014

The first thing you should do when you get a CCTV DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is to make sure it’s setup correctly. Before you can do this, you’ll need to make sure that you have a monitor and a mouse connected to it. The mouse is located in the accessory box that came with the unit. Now you’re ready to turn the DVR’s power on using the switch located near where the power cable connects to the CCTV DVR.

Once you are able to see the windows where your live camera feeds will be, you should also see the startup wizard pop up. This menu has some settings that aren’t essential to initially setting up your CCTV DVR for the vital functions, so you should cancel out of the menu by clicking on cancel and then selecting the OK button.


Canceling the startup wizard.

In order to be able to make setting changes to this unit you will need to be able to go to get into the DVR’s menu system. Right click anywhere on the screen and then select Main Menu. At this point you will need to log into the unit. By default the password you’ll need is the same as the username. For example – the password for the admin user name is admin. You will get a virtual keyboard when you click in the password field.


Log in interface.

The first thing that you should do with a new CCTV DVR is make sure that the time and date are set correctly for your time zone. This is done by going to the general page of the DVR’s menu system (Main Menu>setting>general). You will set the time and date along the top portion of this page. Click on save in the upper right and then the ok button in the bottom right in order to confirm your setting changes.


General page.

The second thing you should do is make sure that the DVR is recording video in the manner that you desire. A hard drive will have to be installed in the unit before any video will be recorded. At this point you need to decide if you want to record based on motion or continuously.

Recording based on motion – This means that your DVR will begin recording when it detects motion. In order to get this set up this correctly you will need to visit three pages in the DVR’s menu system.

1. Go to the record page (main menu>advanced>record). This page needs to be set up so that all the dots are set next to schedule for any channels where you have a camera connected. Any channel that does not have a camera connected should be set to stop. Once you’re done making adjustments click on the OK button to confirm the changes.


Record page.

2. Go to the schedule page (main menu>setting>schedule). In the top left corner of the page you will first need to select all for the channel and then near that setting you will need to select all for the days of the week. At this point you’ll need to make sure that just the top box under MD is white. None of the other boxes should be white in any of the four columns. Click on the OK button to confirm these changes.

schedule MD

Schedule page set up for motion detection.

3. Go to the detect page (main menu>setting>detect). In order to configure this page correctly, all you need to do is click on the default page. Make sure that the enable box is white and then hit save.


Detect Page.

Continuous recording – This means that your DVR will be recording all the time. In order to get this set up this correctly you will need to visit two pages in the DVR’s menu system.

1. Go to the record page (main menu>advanced>record). This page needs to be set up so that all the dots are set next to schedule for any channels where you have a camera connected. Any channel that does not have a camera connected should be set to stop. Once you’re done making adjustments click on the OK button to confirm the changes.


Record Page.

2. Go to the schedule page (main menu>setting>schedule). In the top left corner of the page you will first need to select all for the channel and then near that setting you will need to select all for the days of the week. At this point you’ll need to make sure that just the top box under regular is white. None of the other boxes should be white in any of the four columns. Click on the OK button to confirm the changes.

schedule reg

Schedule page set up for continuous recording.

Now your DVR is set up to record correctly in the manner of your choosing. It’s best to be certain of this before you need to rely on your recorded footage. The best way to be certain that your DVR is recording properly is to retrieve the footage. Next we’re going to take a look at how to retrieve the recorded video.

Being able to review the video footage that your DVR records is one of the essential functions of security camera system. It’s a good idea to become familiar with how this is done as soon as possible so that you know how to do it in case a crime occurs. Additionally, reviewing the recorded footage occasionally is also the best way to make sure that your DVR is functioning exactly the way you want.

In order to review your footage you will first need to go to the search page of the DVR’s menu. To get there you’ll need to first right click anywhere on the screen and select Search. Once you’re on the search page you will first need to select one of the blue days on the calendar in the upper right corner (the blue days are the days that have recorded footage).

The tabs located directly below the calendar are where you can select how many cameras that you would like to play recorded footage at the same time. Once you have selected the number of cameras that you’ll be working with, you’ll need to select the particular camera or cameras from the drop down menus located directly below the tabs.


Search calendar.

As soon as you have performed the above steps then you should pay attention to the segmented bar along the bottom portion of the screen. Portions or all of it will become colored, depending on whether you are recording continuously or based on motion. The color key along the bottom of this page will indicate the type of recording that you have for the specified camera and day. This bar’s numbered segments indicate the hours of the day. This allows you to click along this bar and select the time of the recorded video that you wish to review. As long as you see that at least parts of the bar are colored then you know that your DVR is recording footage.


Search bar.


Microsoft SenseCam – Improving Health Through the Use of Cameras

Written By:
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

The continuous increases in trends of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions have public health officials desperately searching for alternative avenues that can assist with prevention efforts. There have been various changes that have occurred recently, but drastic results have yet to be seen. The Food Pyramid has been revamped and has become MyPlate, to display a more relatable diagram to the average citizen. Prevention efforts have taken many routes in forms of exercise groups, community weight -loss programs, and even logging caloric intake into food diaries and journals.

Despite these concerted efforts, there have not yet been results that public health officials wish to see. However, the increases in technology have contributed to numerous advancements and breakthroughs in the medical field. Perhaps now is the time for another breakthrough to occur; this time, in the form of cameras.

Cameras are extremely useful and might prove even more beneficial to the health care industry than before concerning prevention efforts. The Microsoft SenseCam is a camera that is worn around an individual’s neck via a lanyard. It is designed with a wide-angle, or fish eye lens, which is able to monitor more field than a typical lens. The lens captures still images in a series, and can then be looped together to create a log of the day. This particular camera is meant to track the daily activities of the wearer, and allows playback through a USB cable connected to a computer. The wearer does not have to monitor the camera or provide supervision, as there is no viewfinder on the camera for playback. The camera contains sensors that can detect things such as light changes or motion changes, which triggers a photo to be taken. The camera is also designed to take a photo every 30 seconds as well, regardless of whether the sensors were triggered or not. The camera contains a hidden SD memory card, which disables the user from accessing images until the USB is utilized.


One particular area of healthcare where this camera may be advantageous is nutrition and dietetics. Nutrition and diet plays a significant role in the chronic health conditions that many suffer from. Dieticians currently rely on patients to make accurate self-loggings of caloric and nutrient intake through food journals and diaries. Patients may be self-conscious of just how much they are eating, and may under-report intake. Patients also may have a lack of knowledge on just how small a portion size should be, and could be under or over reporting portion sizes and servings.

Through this Microsoft SenseCam, dieticians and nutritionists would simply upload the images captured and replay it back to give direct feedback to the patient concerning nutritional intake. This would decrease the amount of self-reporting error in health efforts relating to nutrition, and allow for patients to look even more accurately at their lifestyles in order to make healthier changes. Dietary analysis would become even more accurate, and intervention efforts could become more on target.

SenseCam Example

The camera can also be used to analyze and gauge sedentary lifestyles, which is a major contributor to chronic health conditions as well. If researchers are able to gain more insight into these particular lifestyles, better approaches could be taken to address this growing health concern. These “wearable cameras” have already shown previous recordings to be wrong concerning sedentary lifestyles. Other devices such as accelerometers mislabeled standing postures, while the SenseCam correctly classified them as non-sedentary.

This camera could also be beneficial concerning patients with memory impairments, as shown in a study conducted in Cambridge by Steve Hodges, Emma Berry, and Ken Wood. This study demonstrated that the SenseCam could stimulate and rehabilitate autobiographical memory of a patient who was diagnosed with severe memory impairment. Researchers have claimed that participants who wear the SenseCam and then review images of the day, experience a flood of emotions, feelings, and thoughts. These findings could help those with severe memory impairment, as after reviewing their day, they may recollect more vividly experiences and memories. If this were so, quality of life for those suffering from memory impairments would improve. Researchers have speculated as to why these “wearable cameras” could produce such results, and they have noted that the images have a perspective of that of the viewer, which allows the viewer to remember the memory just as they experienced it. A research participant was analyzed with a functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI), and while viewing images from the SenseCam, the brain was activated in regions related to autobiographical remembering. This demonstrates that the SenseCam does indeed lay foundation for better memory recall compared to that of a journal or diary, and could be a breakthrough for those suffering from issues with memory processing and recall.

The healthcare field already currently uses cameras in a multitude of situations of testing, diagnosis, and treatment. As technology increases and improves with more and more developments, the health care industry will find even more ways to put cameras to work to improve health conditions. The Microsoft SenseCam is already showing promising results, and if advancements to the camera are continuously made, it will play a role in the treatment of a variety of health care aspects. With the Microsoft SenseCam, those who suffer from dietary conditions will be able to correctly log their intake, and display it back to their healthcare professionals. Even those who simply want to improve their diet will be able to use the camera, and perhaps applications will be used to connect image data to nutritional content to have an overall dietary assessment. Sedentary lifestyles will be able to be analyzed more accurately and public health professionals will be able to suggest ways in which patients can become more active. Those suffering from severe memory impairment will be able to view these images from the Microsoft SenseCam, and provide a clearer picture of their day-to-day activities. This could improve their relationships and overall well-being. Cameras will continue to play a role, and perhaps have an even more significant role, as the future brings better and more efficient technology.


How to complement your CCTV security system with various accessories

Written By:
Friday, June 27th, 2014

Buying a CCTV security system is a big thing and should not be taken lightly. Knowing which DVR or NVR to purchase is vital, and knowing the cameras you need to do the job is of equal importance. This being said making sure everything is up to your standards of operation can mean you need some accessories. These are all steps in creating a custom security camera system package. Go to to get started and once you’ve figured out the right recorder and cameras to do the job, start thinking about the things that will make it easier, more efficient, and less stress on your end.

Once you have the basics figured out, we can get started on getting you a package to meet your needs. There are more than a few accessories that can maximize the way you use your system starting with video storage. This comes in extremely handy when you need to go review footage. Personally I don’t see the point in having a full security camera system without a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or in simpler terms a hard drive. Why have the nice recorder and all the cameras if you can’t go back and view footage if needed. Say you have this system recording your home and while you’re away someone breaks in. Now, what good is that system if you can’t go back to previously recorded footage to help the police find the perp. This is why you need a hard drive. Well we have you covered with a variety of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, and also a 4TB drive. 250 GB being the least amount of storage and 4TB being the most amount of storage.

DVR Hard Drive

Getting into Video Transmission could make your life much much easier. The best way to sum this and keep it short and sweet is this. Wouldn’t it be nicer to run cheaper cable and still get the same quality? Well this is possible through the use of a Balun-V, look it up on It is very handy how its used. You can buy Cat5 Ethernet cable and run power and video from an analog DVR to an analog camera all on one cable. Same concept as PoE (Power over Ethernet) being able to run power over a network cable for IP cameras. You will need a pair of these Balun-V’s per every camera you purchase. Connect your BNC from the camera to the Balun along with your power connector, then your Cat5 will run from that balun to the second balun which will then connect the BNC from the Balun to the DVR. This allows you to buy Cat5 which is cheaper than Siamese cable. We also have a Balun-TP216, which is a 16 channel passive balun transceiver, simply put you can do the same thing as a Balun-P up to 1000 feet of Cat5. Video Transmission is a great tool when saving money or for installers who get a job with existing Cat5 cable, now you don’t have to run new wire.

While we are on the topic of cable another thing to think about is our pre-made plug and play Video/Power Cable. If you know how much of a hassle it is to make the cable yourself and didn’t want to have our warehouse guys do it for you then a plug and play would be your best bet. It is a pre-made cable that come in the lengths of 3’, 25’, 50’, 100’, 100’ w/ Audio, 150’, and 150’ w/ Audio. Now say you needed an abnormal footage like 35’ or 80’, you could order cable by the foot and we will pull the footage you need along with the male power lead (PT-4), the female power lead (PT-3), and all the connectors. In this situation you can elect to have us make the cable for you or ship it all to you and you can make the cable. We have the same offers for Cat5 and 6. We carry Cat5 and Cat6 100’ pre-made patch cables along with 7’. Same goes for network cable in the sense of odd footages we will pull it for you and you can elect to have it made or not. We also just recently just added something I believe to be quite unique to our inventory. A roll of 500’ Cat5 Siamese cable with 18/2 power cable. So for all of your cabling needs whether they be camera related or not we have more than got you covered.

One of the neat things about some of our cameras is they can see at night. This is possible through the use of IR (Infrared), although this is a great thing some cameras do not have the IR built into the unit but can still see it. There are a few cameras that can not do either, but that’s besides the point. The cameras that are able to see IR just not produce it are still a great tool. We offer an IR Illuminator, this is not a camera whatsoever, all it does is produce the IR for the camera to see. Best way to explain it is as follows, the IR illuminator works with the camera at night the way a flood light works with the human eye at night. People walking by in the dark will still see darkness, but that camera will see everything in its sight. Two different illuminators are currently in stock and they offer either 100’ of IR or 300” of IR. Don’t let that cameras ability to see the IR go to waste, get the proper accessory and it could be a huge benefit to you.

This was merely a brief introduction to the accessories that are available to all our customers, give one of our sales experts a call at 866.573.8878 and let them help you find the right product. Or if you feel that you are capable of figuring it out go ahead and visit our website anytime, If you run into any questions while browsing, such as how a certain accessory would work with your current system feel free to chat one of our expert tech support agents and see if they can shed some light on your issue. So whenever you’re ready go to our website and start your search under the “Security Camera Accessories tab”.


Weather Affects Surveillance Cameras

Written By:
Friday, June 27th, 2014


As the years progress, so does our technology every year…non-stop. More and more people are beginning to install home security systems for their safety. Whether they are hard-wired from home’s electric system, they protect people against burglary and able to monitor inside or the outside of the home or business.

Extreme weather, climate changes, drastic changes from high or low temperatures, either over a short or long period of time will and can affect the operated reliable electrical device like any other device.

Electronics such as surveillance equipment and cameras ranges through a certain operating temperature because different types of weather has its effects on various components in the surveillance camera.

Various Weather Elements

There are various weather disruptions based on the area of environment. If you are aiming to install a very well positioned security system through out your business or home for safety outside the perimeter, I suggest you get cameras that are well suited for the environment that surrounds you in order to get no failures or disruptions from your surveillance system. There is rain, ice, snow, heat, and severe winds that can all penetrate a surveillance outdoor camera and disrupt all its functions.

Ice and Snow
Cool temperature weather which will be factored as snow and ice affect outdoor surveillance system cameras in optic and mechanical disruptions. An unshielded camera can be damaged by ice. If there is moisture around an outdoor camera below the temperatures drop below freezing, the frost that is formed by that moisture and temperature can form on the cameras lens and disallowing the viewer to see any activities going on outside besides the crystalline patterns from the snow. If you have a powered moving camera such as an auto tracker the ice that has been formed by the past moisture from rain or sleet can cause the camera to lock in place and prevent movement from occurring.

Heated Cameras
Heated cameras are a very reliable method to go with when it comes to outdoor surveillance cameras. It prevents ice related disruptions. These heated cameras have a built in temperature sensors and heating elements to make sure that the camera never goes below a certain degree in temperature. This type of technology will obviously be of more cost and possibly more expensive to install in your home. But even though these types of cameras are able to process heat through severe cold conditions, the heat the camera generates for such an extend period of time that the heat may be insufficient to keep the camera at its temperature from freezing and continuing to process and work and may occur many power failures.

There is also a normal operation of surveillance cameras which produces certain amount of heat to keep it functioning. The use of these cameras such as video compressions can raise the temperature of a camera past it’s point making it very challenging for it to function at its normal rate. The positioning of a camera can affect the cooling airflow within the camera to allow it to perform regularly. To prevent heating of your cameras also recommend not to install cameras near heat conducting materials outside.

Weather-Proof Cameras
There are weather proof surveillance cameras to endure rough and harsh, crucial weather conditions. Their thermal designs are designed so that outdoor surveillance cameras can operate under extreme temperatures for an extended period of unusually high, low, and harsh rains or winds. These cameras have a less risk of damage under these harsh conditions which will help and save in replacing and repairing costs it may need on previously used cameras.

Weather-Proof Housing
Weather proof housings on cameras are able to be used on outdoor network cameras from prevention of damage caused by rain and dust, occasionally against solid objects thrown at the housing or liquid.

Cameras in Cities
Cameras that are placed in outdoor locations, big locations such as towns or cities to monitor stores, alleys and even traffic and crossings all are more vulnerable than most cameras installed at local homes. These cameras are always being exposed to many threats for a surveillance cameras. The heat and all the different types of weather it must go through may cause the camera to break down or cause it to erode away and begin to fail to function and begin to restart and shut off on its own or damage the lenses. Constantly, the variety of birds cause it to move from the direction it’s purposely recording by flying and landing on the camera. Just a variety of ways for a camera to break or malfunction in a city with all the dust and all different weathers it goes through.

For outdoor installations, it is recommended to not have so many issues with the weather affecting your cameras to be positioned in a sheltered location even if they are weather resistant. Under shelter the lens of a camera can be protected from most types of severe weather such as rain or snow or heavy winds which all affects the clarity through lenses to view. You may even have it installed underneath a homemade shelter such as a plastic flower pot you may have made by cutting a piece and drilling it to the wall over a camera or possibly a box made of wood covering completely the camera except the lenses. All this will help shield weather resistant, weather proof cameras and non-weather proof cameras from these harsh conditions which will affect the video quality.

In summation, all outdoor surveillance cameras that are placed outside for security will come in conflict with the weather often more than a couple of times. Severe weathers may occur for more than a whole day and suiting how well and where your cameras have been installed will affect its video quality and function. Weather such as very low temperatures or dry heated areas and even locations that receive very heavily strong winds will cause a surveillance outdoor camera to erode or damage the lens. So to avoid many damages being done to a camera by weather I suggest to cover a camera with some kind of homemade shelter or install them outside under shelter or a more pricey factor but money well spent can be buying weather-proof cameras or cameras that include housings as protection to stand up against severe weathers.