Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category

What is a License Plate Camera? What is the Best Way to Install One?

Written By:
Thursday, March 20th, 2014

When choosing a camera for license plate capture there are many factors to take into consideration. Not just any CCTV security camera will do the job. Even with the right camera, you may not get the desired results without proper planning, placement and installation.

Florida License Plate

First things first, the “License Plate Cameras” I will be speaking about in this article are not to be confused with the “High Speed Traffic Cameras” commonly found on highways or intersections in many cities today.

Some of the higher end traffic cameras are also equipped with a license plate recognition system. Each time a car passes by the camera it captures an image of the plate. The camera then uses OCR (optical text recognition) to digitize the plate.

Then it stores the plate number as well as the lane the vehicle was traveling in, into a database.

This information can be an invaluable source of searchable, index-able information. As an example, if a child happened to be abducted, the authorities could search the database for a specific license plate number. If a match is found, it would pinpoint the location of a vehicle at a given time.

High Speed Traffic cameras are specifically designed to capture license plates at a high rate of speed, in variable lighting conditions, and are very expensive and costly to install and maintain.

The “License Plate Capture” cameras we will be talking about are much more affordable and are usually set up in a controlled environment, such as a guard gate for a community or front entry to home or office.

A few things to keep in mind when thinking about trying to capture licenses plates are, choose the right camera for the job, choose the right spot for installation and understand the capabilities and limitations of your equipment.

Let’s get started. The first thing we need to do is choose our camera. A standard fixed lens 700 TVL camera might be great for surveillance where you need a good overview of the surrounding area. What we need is a “Varifocal Lens”. That means that you can manually adjust the zoom and focus to a desired area when setting the camera up. This is not to be confused with a PTZ (Pan, Tilt, and Zoom) camera that can be moved and zoomed in real-time. These cameras are zoomed and focused at the time of installation and will always record at the pre-set position.

Many varifocal CCTV cameras have a field of view range between 2.8 to 12 mm. 2.8mm being a very wide view and 12mm being zoomed in to a very tight and narrow view. License plate cameras typically take it a step further with lenses in the 5mm to 50mm range, giving you the ability to zoom in tight on the license plate from long distances.

700 TVL License Plate CameraTP-LP700 License Plate Camera Buttons

Next we need to think about camera placement. This not only means placement of the camera itself but the environment or traffic area where you are trying to capture the license plate image.

You probably don’t want to mount your camera up high on a building that is far away from your target. You also shouldn’t mount the camera perpendicular to the road where vehicles will be passing and always try to avoid trying to capturing license plates on vehicles traveling at high speeds.

In the graphic shown below, the distance from the camera to the license plate will make it very hard to get a good resolution capture, even with a varifocal lens.

You also drastically limit the ability to capture good quality video because, the license plate will only be in the camera field of view (shown as the yellow cone) for only a fraction of a second. This is due to the viewing angle and speed that the car is moving.

picture of the Wrong place for a license plate camera

Depending on the camera and its IR distance, you may not even be able to see the plate at night if it’s too far away.

A bad viewing angle, long distance from the target and high speeds make this a less then optimal installation and almost guarantee you won’t be able to read the license plate if and when you have to.

Shown below is the optimal situation in which to setup and capture license plates.

As we review the setup you will notice we have a good viewing angle, short distance to the plate and a controlled environment with low speed traffic.

Proper Placement of a license plate camera

First you will notice that the camera is pole mounted, at license plate level and very close to the lane of travel. It is recommended that you mount your camera between 5’ and 15’ high and under 35’ away from the plate. Doing this assures that the vehicle will pass by the camera at close range and remain in the field of view (represented by the yellow cone) for a longer period of time.

You will also notice there is a speed bump controlling the vehicle speed allowing you to more accuracy determine where the car may be at a given point in time.

In addition to the license plate camera there is also another camera (represented by the blue cone) mounted on the corner of the guard house. This is part of a recommended 2-part solution. The second camera not only gives you a wider overview of the rest of the vehicle but also covers the license plate camera itself to avoid vandalism or someone attempting to tamper with it.

Here are a few license plate camera recommendations from TechPro security products and


How to Connect HD-CVI Cameras to an HD-CVI DVR

Written By:
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

HD-CVI is a brand new CCTV technology that delivers High Definition Video over Standard Coax Cable. In this article, I will explain various options on how to connect your HD-CVI Cameras to your HD-CVI DVR. All of the products I will show are available at

The first option is the one we recommend the most.

HDCVI Wiring Option 1

As you can see in Option 1 this configuration utilizes Siamese Cable with a Distribution Box. The great thing about HDCVI (High Definition Composite Video Interface) as stated above is that you can achieve up to 720p resolution over Analog Coax Cable. To power the HDCVI cameras in this configuration you will need a distribution box. The one in this picture is a 4-channel distribution box. The 18-2 wire coming from the Siamese Cable connects into the distribution box and the other side connects into the female power lead, which then plugs into the power port of the camera. To see and record the video, you will connect the RG59 part of the Siamese Cable to the HDCVI Digital Video recorder (DVR) via a BNC Connector into the video input jack. The other side of the cable will connect to the BNC port on the camera via another BNC Connector.

In the next option, you will see the same sort of configuration except with a power plug instead of a distribution box.

HDCVI Wiring Option 2

In this option, you will use a 1amp minimum power supply to run power to one camera. If you have multiple cameras, either you can use separate power supplies or you can use 4-channel Output Switching Supply if you are powering up to 4 cameras, or an 8-Channel Power Supply for powering up to 8 cameras. In this configuration above for power, you will need a male power lead to connect to the power supply, attach the 18-2 wire from the Siamese cable, and attach the other end of the 18-2 into a female power lead. Then, just plug the power lead into the power port on the HDCVI camera. Keep in mind you will do this for each camera, even if using a 4-channel power supply. For video, the connections are the same as in option 1.

The next option is the simplest option but not highly recommended (although it does work and is good for novices).

HDCVI Wiring Option 3

In this option, we use a Plug and Play Power/Video Cable. There is no special wiring involved. For power, just plug the power supply into the power adapter of the plug and play cable, and then plug the other side of the cable into the power port of the HDCVI Camera. For Video, connect the BNC from the cable into the Video Input on the HDCVI Digital Video Recorder, and attach the other end to the BNC port of the camera.

In the next configuration the diagram consists of the same setup as above except with a distribution box as the power supply.

HD-CVI Wiring Option 4

In this configuration showing how to connect an HDCVI Camera to an HDCVI DVR, power is generated through a power distribution box. To send power to the camera using a plug and play video/power cable as shown above from the distribution box, you will need a female power lead. Connect the two wires of the female power lead to the port in the distribution box and connect the other end of the female power lead into the power port of the plug and play cable. Then, attach the other end of the plug and play cable to the HDCVI Camera. For video, plug the BNC from the cable into the HD-CVI Digital Video recorder and the other end into the camera.

In the next option, we move on to using Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet cable for video and power transmission.

HDCVI Wiring Option 5

The great thing about High Definition Composite Video Interface (HD-CVI) is that video can be streamed through either Standard Coax Cable or Ethernet Cable. In the above diagram, the power starts with a plug-in power supply. In order to go from the power port on the power supply to the Ethernet cable, you will need to use a passive video and power balun. The power supply plugs into the power port of the balun and then the Ethernet Cable plugs into the RJ45 Jack of the Balun. Then the other side of the Ethernet cable is plugged into the RJ45 jack of the camera side Balun, and the camera’s power port connects to that balun. For video, The BNC from the Balun connected to the power supply is connected to the HDCVI Digital Video recorder and since the Ethernet cable is already plugged into the baluns, you just need to connect the camera’s BNC port to the other Balun.

In the last option in this article, we use the same configuration except with a distribution box.

HD-CVI Wiring Option 6

In this configuration, things get a little tricky. Instead of just plugging in the Ethernet cable using RJ45 Jacks, you will be working with the raw wires that are inside the Ethernet cable. You will use two of the wires for power and two wires for video. Whichever two wires you use, you have to make sure you use the same two wires on both ends.

For the power, connect the first pair of wires to the distribution box. On the camera side, connect those same two wires to a female power lead, and then attach the power lead to the power port on the HDCVI camera. For video, use another pair of wires from the Ethernet cable and attach both ends to passive video baluns. Connect one Balun to the HDCVI DVR and the other to the BNC port on the camera.

In conclusion, there are many different options to connect the HDCVI DVR to an HDCVI Camera. We highly recommend the first two options for best picture resolution and clarity. Plug and play cables are easy, but the clarity isn’t as good as standard coax cable. For more information on HDCVI, visit our “What is HD-CVI” page on our website at


How to use the Alarm Outputs on your Security DVR

Written By:
Monday, March 17th, 2014

The DVR is commonly used or mostly used as a recording device for Video surveillance, some DVRs have Audio Inputs (almost everyone now days), but your unit also may come with extra outputs to execute actions like turn lights on, unlatch doors, open the garage of your house, etc.

These outputs are located in the back of your DVR, and can be NO (Normally Open), or NC (Normally Closed). The NO output (Normally Open) means the initial state of the output position before activation, in this case there will be no continuity between connection points while the output is not activated; once the output is energized, there will be continuity between both connection points. Normally Closed output has the inverted effect, meaning there will be continuity between connection points while the output is inactive, and once the output is active it will be no continuity between the connection points. Keep in mind that these outputs are no power supplied, meaning they don’t supply power from the contacts, so you can use them as contacts to control external powered circuits; also, this contacts have certain tolerance, from 0.25 to 2 Amps, depending on the model of your DVR and the type of voltage you are using.

For example, if you want to unlatch a door at your office, you will need an external 12VDC Power Supply, a 12VDC Electrical Strike, and 18/2 AWG cable. You will have to mount the Electrical Strike at the door, run 18/2 AWG cable from the Electrical Strike to the location of your DVR, connect one wire of the 18/2 cable to one of the connection points on the NO output of your DVR, and the other wire to the negative side of the 12VDC Power Supply, and run 1 wire (preferable red) from the positive lead of the 12VDC Power Supply, to the other connection point of the NO output you are using from your DVR (see figure 1)

DVR Alarm Outputs

These outputs can be used for different applications like turning lights on or off in front or back yards, operate garage doors, temporarily deactivate or activate sensors like motion detectors or door switches. Best of all, these output can be program to interact with the cameras, for example you can activate an output every time the camera motion detection is activated, so if the camera detects movement, automatically will activate the output, and if you are trying to protect an area (for example, your backyard) you can connect a 12VDC relay to one of the outputs of your DVR, to energize a loud horn, so it will scary anything away, or if you may want to allow your pet to get into certain area of your house ( example given, the screen patio, or Florida room) you can have the output deactivate the motion sensor or the door contact of your alarm for this area, so it won’t activate the alarm.

Because of the low amperage resistance and the limited voltage capability of these outputs, they cannot be operated on circuits of more than 24VDC, and cannot be operated in AC voltage. The good news is that if you need to control an AC powered circuit with one of your DVR outputs, you can do it by using an External 12VDC or 24VDC Relay that can handle AC voltage on its contacts. The connection is a little bit more complex, but you still saving money by using the outputs on your DVR, instead of buying expensive controllers.

For instance, if you want to control the garage door at your house, the first thing you need to do is check the garage door controller manual to find out if the openers are 12VDC, 24VDC or 24VAC operated control circuits. If they are 12VDC or 24VDC operated circuits, you can used a 12VDC or 24VDC External Power Supply, and the same circuit show on figure 1, but you will replace the Electrical Strike for the points of connection for signal input at your garage door controller. If you garage door uses 24VAC for the control section of the garage door, you will need to get a 12VDC Relay that can handle AC voltage on its throttle, and a 24VAC Power Supply, to supply the voltage needed to control the garage door (see figure 2).

DVR Alarm Outputs

One of the most interesting applications I have seen using these outputs, is the utilization of one of these outputs to control the activation and deactivation of an AC system inside an office, where the AC unit will activate only if the camera see motion detection on the entrance of the building, and will give a deactivation signal after certain amount of time, by programming the temporizer in the thermostat of the unit, or if the DVR comes with the option, give certain amount of activation time to the output.

Some DVRs are also equipped with Alarm Inputs, which give you the option of adding devices to activate alerts and buzzers on the DVR, or you can redirect these inputs to activate an output, every time the device connected to the input of the DVR (example, motion detector) activate this input.

Just like the Domestic Burglar and Fire Alarms now days that come with Video and Audio Inputs, to connect cameras and microphones over the Alarm system, like Comcast Home Security Systems, the DVR gives you the option to connect no only Surveillance Cameras, but Motion Sensors, Door switches and contacts, microphones, and it gives you alerts every time one of these devices is activated.

Our DVRs come with these particular outputs, and one of the biggest advantage we have, is the ability to control these outputs over the network, so you can execute actions anywhere you have your computer or laptop, and an internet connection. It is also available in the Apps used on your smart-phone, so these outputs can be controlled anytime, and anywhere with a touch of the screen on your mobile device.


Reasons why Security Camera King is a step above the rest

Written By:
Thursday, March 13th, 2014
CCTV Forums

My name is Daniel and I have worked for SCK going on 2 years now. I am the self-proclaimed lead technical support person. I have by now heard just about every problem a person could have or might have had with their equipment. The biggest complaint I get from customers after purchase actually has nothing to do with our products. It has to do with our competitors. The lack of quality or features is not topic of discussion as you may think. Complete lack of support is… If you have purchased CCTV equipment from other vendors you know what I mean.

On a daily basis I have people asking how to do setup recording to remote access and everything in between. Here at Security Camera King, to help those that have not purchased equipment from us, the webmasters of the universe have setup an online forum.

In the forums you can ask about anything when it comes to cameras. I have many dealers and customer that have become very good with cameras and try to help out. Just the other day I had a new customer ask about remote setup. Then another customer answered him. It’s great, I chime in with a few more tips and the new customer now knows what he or she needs to do to fix the issue. That is what we do for people that post on the forums that have purchased nothing… We will not short people on information. We have people asking for help on what type of system to use per environment. From relatively simple installations to apartment complexes, government buildings, local police, retail store fronts, bridges, horse farms, wild life preserves, beach front property, restaurants, manufacturing facilities, manufacturing processes, gated communities, parking lots, pharmacies. We help out with getting the right camera the right DVR or NVR per your environment. Not only can we make recommendations we also do installations locally, so we know what we are talking about. I can give you tips on how to pull cable through conduit and not have it bind up. Also we can help determine the best method for power, which is the most important to get good quality video footage. How to crimp you BNC fittings can be tricky until you do a few, so I can tell you how and show you a video. If you have ever done a CCTV installation you know how frustrating it can be not being able to ask the little questions. We want you to ask those questions, and we really want you to buy the right items the first time not the second time.

When you purchase a system for Security Camera King you get more than just the warranty. A warranty should be standard at any place you do business with. We will repair or replace defective equipment. It goes without saying that if a company cannot warranty their product clearly they area fly by night operation that should not be used. Some companies will still charge a service fee for warranty. At Security Camera King we will not do that. That is just not good business. All we ask is you return the item to us. Then we will promptly repair or replace the item and then we will return the device to you. If that’s not fair I don’t know what is.

I have prospective customers call all the time. They do not call sales first for one very important reason. People want to know just how fast they can get a hold of support for help. I have about 2-3 people a week on average that tells me as soon as I answer the phone I am going to buy from you because I get to talk to a live person. How awesome is that!?! It’s almost like you don’t get to talk to live people anymore when you need help. That is just the tip of the iceberg. With the technology we have access to we take support to the next level. I can remote into your computer on your local network. Once inside I can help set up remote access by getting the DVR or NVR configured to use your current IP scheme. I can change the DVR address or I can configure the router to match the DVR. If there are IP cameras involved it is better to setup a subnet that the cameras can use out of the box, and I can do that too. I can get port forwarding setup on router or modem. Now you can access the unit I can get window IE to operate with DVR for viewing. There are several hoops to jump through on the Internet Explorer, but I can get it to work. If for some reason the browser does not cooperate, I still have another trick up my sleeve. I can install TechPro SS remote viewing software for you instead. Configure the software and generally customize it to your liking. Another feature people need help with is motion detection. I understand how the pre-record, anit-dither, latch and latch record all work together. The pre-record is how far before the motion event is the DVR will record. The anit-dither is how long the camera must see motion before recording. In practice they effectively cancel each other out so recording starts when motion is detected. The delays can be adjusted to get say a person walking in the middle of the picture instead of on either side. Email alerts with snap shot pictures I can configure so you can see what happened. All the features and setup details that make the CCTV DVR system just amazing I can and will help with.

I know some of you are asking wow all these guys do is I can I can I can!!! There is a very good reason for that. We are veteran owned and veteran operated. Also I am a veteran that happens to be an employee. “I can’t” has no place in our beliefs. We bring that determination to taking care of all past, present, and future customers.


Other Uses and Applications for Video Surveillance Systems You May Not Have Thought of

Written By:
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

various uses cctv

Litigation/Mitigation – a very important application for a quality video system. Everyone thinks video surveillance systems are for crime prevention, but their uses go far beyond that of normal CCTV use. One very interesting application is Litigation/Mitigation.

We live in a time where people are quite quick to sue. It seems like they are just looking for reasons to file suit. A properly laid out and installed video surveillance system can go a long way towards protecting you from these unpleasant situations. We have seen this many times.

Are the employees following safety rules? We did an install at an ice plant. That sounded odd to me, but several of the delivery drivers were getting extra product loaded on their trucks and selling it at a discount to select customers. Recorded video from the cameras stopped this, resulting in the arrest of several drivers and a warehouseman. At the same ice plant, several months later, a new employee, who had just gone through safety training, violated several rules, got tangled in machinery and was killed. This happened on camera. The video recording allowed management, OSHA, family and attorneys to see that the employee was clearly at fault, therefore no legal problems. Without the video, the outcome would have been decided in court. Another situation where good video saved the day was when I had a system at a Mercedes dealer where a customer did not see that she was too close to a delivery truck, hit it and came back into the dealership screaming that the truck had hit her. One look at the video confirmed what really happened. At two separate large auto dealerships, elderly women got out of their cars in the service lane and fell down. Both were slightly hurt and immediately started lawsuits for slip and fall. The videos showed that one caught her dress on the door latch; the other just fainted before she took a step. Both lawsuits were dropped. These could well have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. Big bad car dealership vs. sweet little old ladies, who wins? Another odd one was at a bagel shop in Boca Raton. Elderly gent fainted, fell and bumped his head. His son the attorney immediately sent notice that he intended to sue for slip and fall. A copy of the video was forwarded to him and he was never heard from again.

Employee training and control

A video system gives management the ability to be many places at one time. From inside a factory to each of 16 convenience stores. Or more! No travel time wasted. You can verify that the people are treating customers properly, that sales are being processed right, that the time clock is not being abused. Do you need additional employees, or are they just standing around? Are they treating themselves to free food and drinks? You can stop that in a hurry! See a customer that needs help and isn’t getting it? Call the store and tell staff to go see that lady in the yellow dress. If you have a problem employee, you can counsel them, showing the video of his mis-deeds. If the behavior continues, he can be terminated, no repercussions. “We have it on video!” is a very strong bit of evidence. One of my favorite uses is when you see an employee going the extra mile, maybe cleaning up somebody else’s mess or going a bit extra to help a customer. Call him into the office. He will think he’s in trouble for something. Show him the video, tell him that you really like his attitude, shake hands and watch his head swell. End result – happy employee, but one that also knows he is always being watched. And everybody in the shop will know immediately the same thing.

Guard replacement

A camera system can replace guards. Your system can be connected to an alarm central station, which can receive a signal when inappropriate motion is detected after hours. The operators can go on line and see what is happening. Don’t see anything? OK false alarm, make a note. See a kid wanting to steal a battery? Send a guard or the cops. See 4 guys with AK-47′s, getting ready to steal a truck? Send the army. The advantages are big. Responders will know exactly what is waiting for them. Much safer for them, better results for you. Oh, cameras don’t cause lot damage, don’t insult customers, don’t show up drunk, not show up, or steal. And, you will have recorded video of what really happened, not “He said, She said” We will be happy to help you set up your system to accomplish these goals.

CCTV systems can, and will, pay for themselves in many ways. Crime detection and deterrence, management control, liability mitigation, employee training and control, time saving, all of which are a cost savings. Protect yourself, install the proper system! Call us and we will guide you to improved security and piece of mind.