Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category

How to Install a Security Camera System in Your Home

Written By:
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

security camera installation

At first thought, the very idea of drilling holes in the walls of your house to run video and power cables for a security camera system might seem a bit difficult and tedious, but with a little bit of information and planning it can turn into an enjoyable and ultimately rewarding project. At times, it is very easy to install a security camera system in your home.

First you will want to find where your roof meets the walls of your house. This will prove to be a great location for your security cameras because it will shield the cameras from the outside elements, such as rain, snow, wind and the sun. Another good reason to place cameras in a location such as near the roof is that not only will it provide you with a good area view of your new security camera system, but it will also reduce the risk of vandalism.

Another really good advantage of placing cameras near your roof is when you are running video and power cables it makes the job that much easier since there is usually a small gap or hole between the roof and the wall where cables can be run. This in turn will eliminate the need to drill even more holes in to your home.

Once you have your location picked out and your cameras in place you will want to double-check the coverage of each camera for an optimal view. They do have special CCTV design software which can help you choose optimal camera locations. There are demo versions of such software that will enable you to import your site plan, add cameras and different walls, choose the coverage you would like, get an angle view of each camera, find the required lens focal length, and even create 3D mock ups. Good planning of your new security camera system is very important and will ultimately save you a lot of time and headaches.

Cabling is another important factor to consider when choosing your properly placed security camera system. The best idea is to use the industry standard when it comes to cabling, RG59 Siamese cable. It is the type of cable that has been used to install many CCTV systems. The RG59 Siamese cable has one video cable and one 2-wire power cable (positive and negative), thus it’s name, Siamese.

Soon you will need to find a point of entrance from the outside of your home to the inside for the cabling. Most homes have some sort of attic which is an ideal location to run your RG59 cables. From the attic you’ll want to designate one area for the set up of your DVR (digital video recorder) and also for your monitor.

Once you have designated an area or a room for the location of your DVR and monitor you’ll want to bring all of the cables to this room from the attic.

If your RG 59 cables came with BNC connectors already attached to the line then you are ready to connect the cabling to your digital video recorder. If the cables came without the BNC connectors already attached then you will need to crimp each end on to the cabling and then connect it to your DVR.

When it comes to the power options for your new security camera system you have two choices. You can run each power line separately into an outlet using pig tails and an AC adapter. Or you can get a power supply box and plug all of the power lines into the power supply box and at this point you would only have one power line that you would need to go to an outlet. Keep in mind though that your monitor will also need power. So at this point you would have all of your lines ran and the power supply figured out so all you need to do is power your digital video recorder (DVR) and your monitor.

A power supply box is very ideal for many reasons and one of them being that your power to the security camera system is centralized to one outlet, and if there was ever an issue it is more easily diagnosed and corrected versus having the cabling ran to different power outlets.

At this point if all of your cabling has been ran properly and you have connected it to your power supply box or to your power outlets, and you have also powered up your digital video recorder (DVR) and your monitor it’s about time to start playing with your DVR and learning the functions of the unit. You can set it to record continuously or set it up where your cameras start recording when they detect motion, or you can even set them up to continuously record between certain times of the day or night. You can even take your new security camera system to another level and look into installing access controls which can help you take your home system to another level of protection.

Another option you have with your new security camera system is being able to view your cameras remotely either from a smart phone or from any computer or laptop with an internet connection. This function may take a little playing around with your new digital video recorder to get it all set up properly but this too is a task that is well worth the effort.

Think about it for a minute. You just got your brand new security camera system all set up and now you’d like to go away for the weekend and not have to worry about the home front. You have everything all set up and you bring your laptop along which you can get an Internet connection from just about anywhere with it. Now you will be able to log into your digital video recorder and view live footage of your newly secured home and you are even able to play back footage from any particular time that you choose. You are now also able to view footage from a particular camera on a wide screen single format or you can choose to switch views to see multiple cameras at the same time.

So this concludes my opinion on setting up a security camera system for your home.


How to connect a PTZ to access the OSD and PTZ menus, and how to set presets all at the DVR!

Written By:
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

700 TVL CCTV Pan Tilt Zoom Camera

Right off the bat, when you here PTZ, you automatically think Pan, Tilt, Zoom. Here at we have plenty of options when it comes to PTZs. This month I will be focusing on one of our PTZs in particular, the PTZ-LX700L12X-E. This 700TVL Security Camera is a great choice for a CCTV analog system. The thing I like most about this PTZ cameras is that it is cost-effect as compared to some of the higher end PTZs that we sell. This is a very popular camera and is very easy to install and use. In this article I will explain how to connect a PTZ to a DVR and access the settings.

PTZ Wiring, the do’s and don’ts!

Once the product has been shipped to your address and arrived, you will be eager to get it hooked up and functioning. Let me start off by showing you what you will be dealing with here to make this possible.

  1. The pigtail of the PTZ will look like the picture below.
  2. This pigtail is where you will hook your Siamese Cable. 12V DC power is the first connector in line, then there is the BNC video in the middle (which is where you will run your RG59 cabling from this connector to any video input on the back of your DVR), then the last two little cables on the bottom are the RS-485 connections.

ptz article 8

The RS-485 is the connection you will need from the PTZ to the back of the DVR. This allows you to access the OSD (On Screen Display) at the DVR. This gives you the access to Pan, Tilt, and Zoom functions. My recommendation for wiring this connection would be 18/2. This is a thick enough gauge cable that you could run over 150 feet from the PTZ to the DVR and still access the OSD at the DVR (or from any computer or smart device). Now, the Purple wire with the red tip will be your positive, and the grey wire with the black tip will be your negative.

The connection at the back of the DVR will look like the picture below. Now, the wire used in this picture is a smaller gauge than 18/2, because this DVR is on a test bench where a camera never needs to be farther than 3’ from the DVR. Don’t worry, the connections are the same. At the back of your DVR you will find a terminal connection that looks like this one. As shown in the picture, the “A” is positive, and the “B” is negative.

ptz article 7

The other end of the wire should look like the picture below, just a simple positive and negative wire.

ptz article 6

Again, the cable is not 18/2 but works just the same. Then all that needs to be done is to connect the positive wire of the 18/2 (Thats not already connected to the DVR) to the positive wire of the RS-485 on the PTZ (The Purple Wire with the Red tip). Now do the same thing with the negative connections, black 18/2 wire to Grey RS-485 wire.

The end result should look something like the 2 pictures below. The picture on the right is a much cleaner way of connecting wires using Beanie connectors. This way, the wires will not come apart as they might in the picture on the left.


Before you make any final connections, however, you might want to temporarily connect the wires with alligator clips as shown below for testing purposes to make sure you can access the OSD and PTZ controls.

ptz article 3

At this point, given all the connections are made correctly you should have access to the OSD at the DVR. Before we jump into accessing the OSD let’s make sure you have video and power. 12V power should be plugged into an outlet and the camera. Once this connection is made the camera will begin to pan, tilt, and zoom as a setup feature, making sure the camera can operate properly. The video will be connected through BNC. One end of your Siamese cable to the camera, the other to the DVR video inputs (which ever channel you would like this camera to display, use that video input). Once these are all made we can properly access the OSD from the DVR.


Please make sure you DO NOT have any of the positive and negative wires crossed, this will cause the OSD to not be available and you WILL NOT be able to access it at the DVR.

Now that your PTZ is all wired correctly lets take a look at the OSD!

Once your PTZ is connected to the DVR and you can clearly see that you have video, you can begin to access the OSD. First, right click-main menu-login-settings-PAN/TILT/ZOOM. The screen should look like this (Below).

ptz article 2

Basically what we are doing here is configuring the OSD to be operational on a specific channel. My PTZ, as you can see, is on channel 4 so under channel, I will select 4. Select what ever channel your PTZ is connected to, then make sure the protocol is set to PELCOD, and the address set to whatever address you have the PTZ set to. Same thing with the Baudrate, defaulted it will be 9600, but you are just setting these settings to match the settings of the camera, then click save. Once this is done you can right click out of the menus, and double click the channel your PTZ is on. Once you have it blown up, right click, and click PAN/TILT/ZOOM. That should bring up the controller for the PTZ. Go ahead and click the right arrow, left arrow, etc. Make sure the zoom in and out are working. Just play around for a second and make sure the camera is functioning properly. Change the speed that the camera will pan. As long as all those things work you are ready to configure your presets.


To access the OSD of this camera and not the PTZ controller, on this menu you will click the plus sign next to IRIS, and that should bring up the OSD. The arrows are still used to guide through the menus and the plus sign becomes your enter button.

A preset is a spot that the PTZ will stop at when configured and once you get a couple of presets configured you can change between different images of your choice. So you can have this camera on the corner of your home, set preset 1 to look to the right side of the house, zoomed in to the driveway. Then set preset 2 to look to the left side of your house, zoomed out to have a wide shot. If you click on preset 1 the PTZ will automatically pan to the right side of the house, zoomed into the driveway giving you the exact same image you preset before. Now, click preset 2, and the PTZ will pan to the left side of the house at a wide angle as you previously set. This way you don’t have to do all the zooming or tilting to get that perfect image. Do it one time, make it a preset, and let the camera do the rest of the work.

How to set the presets…

Get to the desired shot, click set and another menu should pop up, next click preset and put the number you wish that shot to be as a preset and click set. Right click out of the second menu and do the same thing for each of you presets making them a different number. Once the presets are set to your liking, the way to access them (Call Presets) is as follows: click page switch until you see this screen (As shown below), change the number to the preset you wish to view and click preset. That should be it, it should go straight to the preset you configured earlier, and so on so forth for the rest of your presets. That’s it, that is how easy it is to set up the presets on this particular model PTZ.

ptz article

I Hope this article was of help to you and for additional how-to articles or videos, visit our CCTV learning center.


Mystical Creatures from the CCTV World – The Elusive Wireless Camera

Written By:
Monday, October 27th, 2014

In a future long and far from now lives a very special device that runs on air forever until all eternity ends. This device needs absolutely no wires, it can always be on, and broadcasting the absolute best picture in the entire universe. All you literally have to do is look at the packaging the device comes in and it will go to the exact perfect location for the most amazing shot you have ever seen.

If this sounds too good to be true, that is because it is!  I am really not trying to be cynical here, but I have to.  That is because if I had a nickel for every time I was asked for a device that is close to the description above, I would honestly never have to work another day in my life.  People listen, at this point in time there are several reasons why there is no such thing as a perfect wireless security camera.  One of the biggest reasons that there are no wireless security cameras that are worth anything, is that unfortunately a device that is constantly streaming video wirelessly is putting an enormous amount of data over a network.

In order to do this you are going to need a lot of power.  Well if you need consistent large amounts of power, a battery won’t do.  At this point in time, there is not a battery currently available to the general public that can produce enough power.  So as you can see, a wireless camera that produces an image that is always up and running, (the definition of a security camera is a camera that is running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty five days a year with reasonable images produced) is not a feasible option.  The reason I can say this is because, just ask yourself, “does my wireless network or even cell phone connection always work?”  I am pretty confident that there are less than a handful of you that can honestly say yes!

Do you want a device that might work when you need it, because I sure don’t.  I don’t want to take a chance of having something similar to the poor family in the state of washington whose security system failed.  I know this is kind of an extreme example, but it is given to drive home a point.  I was always taught a long time ago, that if you are going to do something to do it right, not half way.  This same philosophy goes when you are installing a security system.  Yes, there are companies out there that have “Wireless” cameras, but they still require a power outlet and they produce a substandard picture.  With these cameras you are going to more than likely need to get a power source installed closer to the camera’s location.  If you are going to pay or even do it yourself, dragging a Siamese Cable or even Cat 5/6 cable to the same location is way easier than dragging Romex power cable.  It is safer too!

Lets just say you do decide to go with the wonderful wireless camera solution, now you need to be concerned with the fact that the signal has to be of good enough quality so your DVR can record the image.  Now if you are like me and live in an area that the houses are made primarily of concrete block and metal studs, I will have to say good luck getting the signal at the corners of your house even if you centrally locate the DVR.  Now lets say you are one of the blessed ones that has a structure where the signal isn’t degraded too much to reach the corners, do you want a device that someone can simply walk up to and unscrew the antenna… effectively stopping communication?

Now if I have just crushed all your hopes and dreams of having a camera system in your house, please don’t worry, there are options that actually work.  Generally speaking there is always a way to get a camera to a location.  Now it may entail a little work, like you may need to cut a hole in the drywall to help fish the wire down the wall.  This is nothing that can’t be repaired to look like nothing ever occurred.  I have wired many security systems in my life and know that “where there is a will there is a way”.  Some people only want to do the easy route, but the easy route is not the best route.  I have been able to wire an already-constructed, four-story house and have all the wire concealed.  Now mind you that there was a lot of repair work to be done on the drywall, but the system was secure and virtually tamper proof with the wiring. Yes, I know this is not something that every consumer will want to undertake, but in cases like that you should hire a professional to get you the best solution for your project.

If you absolutely can not find a way to get a wire from one point to another there are options, but you are going to be in a more advanced camera system.  Such as an IP (Internet Protocol) camera system.  This is due to the fact that you do not necessarily need to get a wire all the way back to the recording device with these types of cameras.  All you need to do is attach the cameras to a network and have the recording device on a network.  This can be accomplished with even using powerline ethernet adapters and using your structures power grid as a network jumper.  These generally aren’t the best way to achieve the end result, but it will provide you with a solution to help you to accomplish your goal.

Please don’t be discouraged that there is currently no camera on the market that can just be put up into a location and need nothing else ran to it to give you the sense of security you are looking for.  There are always solutions for every situation, you just may need to be a little more creative to accomplish the goal.  Remember this is for your protection and security and the only one you are short changing is yourself and your family!


Introducing the 4 channel 1080p HD-CVI Mini DVR

Written By:
Friday, October 24th, 2014


When you hear the word DVR you automatically think of Digital Video Recorder. Well, what kind of DVR? Cable companies like Xfinity use DVR technology intergraded with cable hardware so you can view hundreds of channels and record up to 4 broadcasts at the same time (of course monthly DVR service fee applies).exfinity The security camera industry uses DVRs to record video and audio data to internal hard drives. It is safe to say that there are IP security cameras that can blow away the traditional analog security camera system, but it really takes a lot of configuration, networking equipment and sometimes big money. Now you have the new HD-CVI systems like the 4 channel 1080p HD-CVI Mini DVR. In this article I will go over the on-board accessories and what you can do with them using the proper configurations with both hardware and software. First I will talk about the inputs:

hd-cvi-2mp-1080p-indoor-outdoor-ir-bullet-camerahd-59881big The 4 channel 1080p HD-CVI Mini DVR has 4 HDCVI video inputs which accept 2 megapixel resolution HDCVI cameras like the CVIOB-EL2MPIR50 that is one of my favorites. These HDCVI cameras are motion detection 100% compatible giving you a great way to not only save hard drive space, but add more days to your recordings. This unit can do wonders when configured correctly; you are able to configure detailed settings in the OSD and at the HDCVI DVR.

Also, the max run on the video feed is a block busting 1600 FEET.


Motion Detect Example: You can install a 2MP HD-CVI Bullet Camera (CVIOB-EL2MPIR50) at a door entrance that requires a person on the other end needing access through that door. You can not only get that camera feed from the door when the motion is triggered, you can also give the authorized person access from anywhere on site or off site. The configuration is simple all you have to do is have the proper alarm inputs and outputs configured properly both hardware and software.

This unit also can hold (2) 7200 RPM 4TB internal hard drives for ultimate recording.


This 4 channel 1080p HD-CVI Mini DVR also provides 4 audio inputs for real time listening and recording. This feature is perfect if you want to set up 2-way audio communications in a warehouse or at a big company property or just wanting to listen and record audio for future evidence. The connection is simple first you will need powered microphones for the audio inputs and an amplified speaker for the audio output for the listening part, remember all audio can be configured for recording.

The RS-232 is the on board serial port (serial communication transmission of data) for old school configurations. Ordinary COM (Debug), keyboard connection and transparent serial port (COM input and output via network )image4

USB inputs are used by the control mouse to maneuver through the DVR’s menus.

The RS485 port is not needed to use to control our HD-CVI pan tilt zoom cameras like the 720P HD-CVI PTZ with 250 Ft IR. This camera is priceless having the ability to record 1.3 megapixel images while having the ability to zoom in on a perpetrator for real time action. A great benefit of the HD-CVI DVR is that there is no need to run extra wires when wanting to add a CVI PTZ because the transmission is all done through the coax RJ59 cable.hd-cvi-ptz-20x-1_3mp-720p-with-250-59599big

The RJ45 is a 10M/100M/1000M self-adaptable Ethernet port. This connection is what the HDCVI DVR uses to establish the link to the inside and outside world using a router. Without this technology we would not be able to communicate using our PC, MAC or mobile device whether it is an HD-CVI, analog or IP security system.

Alarm inputs is my main focus in this article. Using this feature in the HD-CVI Mini DVR combined with the alarm outputs can create a complete secured location. The alarm relay is 30VDC 2A,125VAC 1A (activation alarm).

Example: You can configure this unit’s alarm capabilities to alert you when sitting at an office environment so when a person walks through a first door or detected by a beam detector it can trigger a sound using a buzzer. This will direct your view to a monitor configured to bring up a camera in that area so you can then use the DVR’s interface or web service to let them in, or you can even use your compatible mobile device to see who is at the front door and give them access.

maglock diagramimage2IMG_6225

This set up would involve an analog door sensor or beam detector, a single 12V relay, a maglock or a normally closed door strike, 12V power supply, high grade alarm wire and a 4 channel 1080p HD-CVI Mini DVR. The configuration is simple: First you wire and configure the power supply to the relay and then you wire and configure the DVR alarm inputs and outputs to the (output) MAGLOCK and the (input) to the sensor. The next step is to set up in the GUI ( Graphic User Interface ) at the HDCVI DVR.

First, if using the unit’s interface you can click on the setup tab and then click on the event tab and go to the alarm page. There you will configure the alarms inputs and outputs. You start out by enabling the channels and setting the type, antidither, record channel, delay, alarm out, latch and tour remember to hit save after the configuration.



USB outputs that uses thumb drives for backing up settings and events.


Alarm outputs, like I mentioned previously in this article, give you ultimate access controls right at your finger tips. Imagine if you had control over door security when a burglary or an in-house crisis arises. You can really try to control the situation if you can restrict access to doors leading to potential victim’s right from your PC or a mobile device.


Video BNC output can be configured using the spot out matrix control. You can display desired video windows and tours with out seeing the configuration menus. The HDMI and VGA outputs will display the HDCVI’s full menu functions but you can still configure these monitors to display a tour.


The audio output is used to configure a speaker for listening purposes.

In conclusion the 4 channel 1080p HD-CVI Mini DVR can be used for many many configurations. It is a cost effective unit and at the same time performing at optimal peaks using the inputs and outputs of this new technology would put you ahead of the game.

You can read more about this HD-CVI DVR in the manual here.


NVR Setup Options – Modems, Routers, Switches

Written By:
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

In the following article I will show a few of the configuration options that are available when setting up your NVR on your network. These options include using modems, routers, and switches.

It is important to remember that there is more than one way to setup your system. The configuration that you choose will depend on the specific hardware you have and the physical environment where the system will be installed.

First, here is a brief overview on each of the components you might use in any one of the following situations.


The modem is basically the link between you and your ISP (Internet Service Provider). The type of modem you have will depend on your ISP and the services they provide. In some cases you may have a DSL modem or if you get your internet over coax cable, the same as cable television, you would have a cable modem. In the following examples I will refer to cable modems.

The cable modem below is pretty simple. First you have the power in the green area. The blue area is the coax connection for the internet service and in the purple area you have the connection to a device such as a computer or your NVR.

This is all good unless you have more than one device in your home that you want to have access to the Internet. These days most people have multiple devices in the home that need to be online such as computers, NVRs, tablets, phones and game consoles just to mention a few. That’s where the ROUTER comes into play.

Wireless Router
A router like the one shown below is basically like a splitter for the internet. Instead of plugging one device into the modem, you plug the router into the modem, then plug your devices into the router. Most routers also have some built-in configuration options for things like a security or port forwarding.

Wireless Router

Using a wireless router like the one above will now allow you to wire 4 devices directly to it via the RJ45 ports in blue and it will also transmit a wireless signal so that any device with wireless capabilities within range of the signal can also connect to the internet.

Modem / Router Combo
Today it is also very common to find a Modem / Router (All-In-One) combo similar to the one show below. This simply eliminates the need for both a stand alone modem and a separate router. Many internet service providers will give or rent you on of these devices as part of your internet access package.

Modem / Router Combo

You will notice in the above photo, the yellow RJ45 ports that allow you to connect up to 4 devices. But what if you want more then 4 devices hard-wired into your network? That’s where you could add a Switch or HUB to give you more ports.

Switch (Hub)
Below we have a Switch or sometimes referred to as a Hub. It looks pretty similar to a router or even a modem. The difference is a hub is just that, a “HUB”. It does not connect to the internet or distribute a wireless signal. It has no settings or configuration options. It simply adds more physical connections for devices on your network.


The example below shows that by adding an 8 port HUB to the existing cable modem/router we can now hardwire up to 10 devices to our network.

This becomes especially important when working with IP Network security systems due to the large number of devices (NVR & cameras) that need to be connected to the local network.


POE Switch
POE stands for “Power over Ethernet”. This type of switch will act as a HUB but can also supply power to POE compatible devices such as IP security cameras, without the need for an external power source or extra power wires. This makes for a much cleaner installation as your power and video will all run over a single CAT5 cable.

POE Switch

Now that you are familiar with some of the most commonly used components we will go over some typical NVR / IP camera network setup options. Although it is possible to power your IP cameras with traditional 12v DC power, most people choose to use a POE switch as mentioned above. The following scenarios will use a cable modem/router combo and a POE switches.

Basic NVR and IP Camera Setup

The image below shows a typical setup using an NVR, 8 IP Cameras, an 8 port POE switch, and a modem/router combo.

First you will run a CAT5 cable (shown in red) from each of your cameras to a port on the POE switch. The POE switch will supply power to the camera and act as a HUB to connect them to the local network.

Then connect your POE switch to an open port on your router.

Next you plug your NVR into an open port on your router. Now your cameras and your NVR are all on the same network. Also with some minor configuration (port forwarding) the NVR can be accessed from remote locations because it is plugged into your modem/router. Remember your modem/router is the connection between your internal devices and the outside (Internet).


In the example above we used all of the available ports. We are using 2 ports on the modem/router for 2 computers, 1 port for the NVR and 1 port for the POE Switch. But what if we already had 4 devices hooked up to our modem/router, leaving us without any available ports? Where would we get the extra ports needed for the POE switch and NVR?

This is where we could use a simple HUB to add more ports to our network.


The image above shows that by adding an 8 port hub (shown in yellow) we are able to connect our 4 computers, the NVR and POE switch. You will also notice that there are also 5 extra ports to add more devices or for future expansion.