Archive for the ‘ HowTo Articles ’ Category

Getting Started With The Prime Line

Written By:
Monday, October 26th, 2015

prime-ip-networkThe Prime line of cameras, Network Video Recorders (NVRs) and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are now available at, so it’s time to learn how to get started with one of these new devices.  You will first need to get familiar with the Prime SADP tool that is designed to find NVRs, DVRs, and IP cameras connected to the same router as your Computer.


The Prime SADP tool will let you change the IP address of any device it finds, so you will want to match the network scheme that your router creates.  To figure out your network scheme, you will need to open a DOS prompt in Windows and type ipconfig or open a terminal in MAC and type ifconfig.  This should tell you the IP address of your computer and the Windows command will give you the gateway as well.  The gateway will generally be located at .1 like for example.  You could have a network that looks like that you may find with Comcast and other providers.  An IP camera and DVR will have a default password of 12345 for the admin account, but an NVR requires you to set it up with a monitor and mouse when you first turn it on.  Once you have a password created for your NVR, then you can use the SADP tool to change the network scheme.  Of course if you have a monitor and mouse, you can always change the network information directly in the NVR or DVR.

Take advantage of the Web Service


Once the DVR or NVR is on your network, you can access the web service with your computer to make changes.  Type the IP address in Internet Explorer and run the plugin file to set up the access.  It is good to add the website address to Compatibility View and allow for unsigned Active X downloads like you did with the Elite series of DVRs and NVRs.  Other browsers may work with the Prime series, but not all have been tested at this time.  The web service works different than the Elite series in the sense that only the plugin is needed for the video.  You should still be able to access the Configuration with browsers even if the video plugin will not install.  I was able to access the Configuration section in Chrome in Firefox, but not the video.  I have confirmation from MAC users that this web service will work natively on Safari.

Add a user right away

The most important thing to do first is to add Operator accounts for each person using the DVR or NVR.  Navigate to Configuration > User Management and add some users so you can have access from other accounts.


You can add all the permissions to make the account close to the admin level.  The Prime series has 3 predefined groups of admin, operator, and user which cannot be changed.  However, you can still customize each person by setting the permissions that you see fit.


The last thing that you would want to happen is to be logged out because everyone is using the main admin account.  Too many hands in the cookie jar can create a bad situation and having many accounts will be a proactive response for you to avoid that scenario.

It’s about time!

The next important setting we can address will be the time.  Navigate to Configuration > System Settings > Time Settings so that the time can be adjusted for your time zone.


If it is an NVR, we find that leaving the time zone set to +8:00 Beijing along with manual settings works the best with DST enabled.  Of course you can synchronize with your computer to get an immediate time change to your correct time, and there is a check box to make that happen after you hit save.  With Daylight Savings Time enabled, you need to set it to March 2nd through November 1st so it will change twice a year automatically.  The reason these settings work well for an NVR is that they are general settings that work best with ONVIF cameras.  Some NVR owners may mix ONVIF and private cameras, so these settings are also recommended for that type of setup.

If you plan to use NTP, make sure your server information is correct and check your GMT settings as well.  The Florida Greenwich Mean Time right now is -4:00 and California is -7:00 for example.  You need to have the correct GMT so every 60 minutes it will synchronize time with the server.  If you are using ONVIF cameras, this setting will not carry forward to the cameras as some features do not synchronize. With IP cameras, all encoding and settings are done at the camera level so they may need to be configured prior to plugging them into an NVR.

Adding Cameras

With a Tribrid DVR, analog or TVI cameras are plug and play.  If you have no video from TVI cameras, you may want to check your cabling or power.  Old existing cabling may not be good enough for TVI, so check with our sales team about the cost of RG59 Siamese cable since it will allow for the needed high quality video.

When it comes to adding IP cameras to an NVR or Tribrid, you have to navigate to Configuration > System > Camera Management.


In this section, you can Add, Modify, Delete, Quick Add, Custom Protocol, and Activation.  If you have an NVR with a built in POE switch, it will create a network.  Therefore, if you are setting up you cameras as static to connect to that network, you will need to set them to 192.168.254.X so they can be found by the internal switch.  The advantage to a built in switch is that video traffic will not reside on your main network, and should provide faster access without the congestion.

This concludes the getting started with the Prime Line guide.  If you need further assistance with the setup of your NVR or Tribrid, call our knowledgeable tech support team at 866-573-8878 option 3.



NAT and Port Forwarding

Written By:
Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

NAT and Port Forwarding
What is NAT and what does it do?
NAT is Network Address Translation. There are different types of NAT, but we’ll stick to the easy non-technical explanation of ‘Many to One’ NAT.
Your router is a Gateway, or ‘door’ to the Internet. There are two sides to the router, the External (WAN) side and the Internal (LAN) side.
Your computer should be connected on the inside (LAN) with an Internal or private address.
Your computer will only communicate with IP addresses that are on your same subnet. (Address range)
Everything on the outside of the router uses different IP addresses and Subnets – the router allows you to communicate with other devices in other subnets.
OK, so what does all of that mean?
Your computer can not communicate with another computer that does not have an address in the same ‘subnet’.
The router ‘translates’ different subnets for you, allowing you to communicate outside of your subnet.

NAT serves three main purposes =
1. Provides a type of firewall by hiding internal IP addresses.
Even though your computer shows an address of – when you browse the Internet – your address shows as something entirely different to any Internet computer.
Your routers’ External address is what shows up. This is also called ‘IP Masquerading’. This helps keep your computer ‘anonymous’ on the Internet.

2. Enables a company to use more internal IP addresses.
Since they’re used internally only, there’s no possibility of conflict with IP addresses used by other companies and organizations.
A company using a hundred computers or more only needs 1 Internet address. Internal address ranges are hidden from the public and are not part of the Internet address scheme.
This is where the term ‘Many to One’ comes from. Since the router is the only connection to the Internet, it’s address is the only one visible to the Internet. 100 or more computers using that router show up as 1 single address to the Internet (Many addresses to One address)

3. Allows a company to safely set up a device on the Internal Network for access from the Internet.
Using ‘Port Forwarding’ allows a company to set up Internet access to a device on the LAN. The porting guides the incoming signal to the correct device. The benefit of this is the Internet user sees only your ‘Public IP Address’ (your modem or router) and can not see your ‘Internal IP Address’ so they have no direct access to the device other than through the software they are using to access it. (IP Masquerading again)
So, in a nutshell – NAT allows you to ‘see’ other IP Subnets while keeping you anonymous to those other networks.
Now you have a very basic understanding of what NAT is and does, and hopefully, you already know how to set an IP Address on your LAN so your device can communicate.
So how do you set it up to be accessed from the Internet? This is where ‘Port Forwarding’ comes into our picture.
When you are accessing your device from a remote location, in 99% of all instances, you will actually be accessing the router or modem. The router then guides your incoming signal to the correct device on your LAN. The only exception to this rule will be when your device is set with an Internet IP Address and exposed directly to the Internet. This is always risky – and this is why Internet Security companies make the big bucks. Putting a Windows based computer directly on the Internet with no protection is an open invitation to bad things happening, and bad things WILL happen within a very short time. We tested a PC connected to the Internet with an External address – in 45 SECONDS we had been infected with SQL Slammer virus. (This PC was running Microsoft SQL with listening ports set to defaults) So protecting your computer from the Internet is important, to say the least. This is why you need a router to ‘mask’ your computer and hide it.

So, how does your remote query to end up connecting you to a device with an address of The answer is ‘Port Forwarding’. My favorite analogy to describe a router is to think of it as a Hotel. The Hotel has a ‘Street Address’ – the same as your routers ‘Internet Address’ The rooms in the Hotel all have different numbers – the same as computers on your LAN.
When you send mail to the Hotel, you send it to the ‘Street Address’ of the Hotel. If you don’t have a room number or customer name – the Hotel does not know where to send that incoming mail. You can’t add an Internal IP Address (room number) to an Internet query, so you’ll need some other kind of information for the router to direct your incoming signal. Ports provide that extra information for your router.
Setting up Port Forwarding is pretty easy when you have all the necessary information.
You will need the IP address of the Router to access it for programming.
You will need the IP address of the device you are forwarding to.
You will need the port numbers required by the software.
The hard part is figuring out where to go on the router to get it set up. You will find that different models of routers sometimes use completely different terminology for the same thing. To set up port forwarding on your router, look for ‘Advanced Configuration’, ‘DHCP’, ‘NAT’, ‘Applications and Gaming’, ‘Virtual Servers’ or ‘Pinholes’ depending on the router model and manufacturer.
Sometimes they actually call it ‘Port Forwarding’, but you’ll usually find it hidden in one of those other sections.

On a Linksys router – look under ‘Applications and Gaming’

Here you can see the information requested –
Application = call it what ever you want, but use something descriptive in case you have to come back for a service call a year later.
Start = The starting port or lowest number port in a range.
End = The ending port or highest number port in a range.
(If you are only forwarding two ports, 80 and 37777 for instance, then create two entries instead of a range – Start Port = 80 / End Port = 80 for the first one and Start Port = 37777 / End port = 37777 for the second one. Avoid using a range when the port numbers are so far apart. In this case entering a range of Start Port = 80 / End Port = 37777 would work, BUT you would be opening over 37000 ports. That is a security breach just waiting to happen.
IP Address = the Internal IP address of your device.
Enabled = Turn it on !
Save = Always look around for a ‘Save’ or ‘Apply’ button – if you forget or miss it – the router may ‘dump’ all your hard work and you’ll have to do it all again..
While you are logged in to the router, try to find the WAN status or Internet Address. This will tell you if you are connected directly to the Internet or if you are routing through another device, such as another router or a modem that is also routing. (A modem with only one network port can still be a router, handing out a private address range.)
If you see an address there that falls into the “Private” range of addresses, then there is another device between your router and the Internet performing NAT and you’ll need to Port Forward that device as well. When you have more than one router to pass through before you get to the Internet, then you also have a situation called Double NAT or Triple NAT, where each router is translating for it’s unique subnet. When you have a double or triple NAT situation, then you also have to do double or triple port forwarding to route your incoming signal back to your device.
In my next article, I will show you how to discover Double NAT and Triple NAT situations, and how to map your way through them to establish Port Forwarding. Happy Networking!

Check out the 2nd Article in the Series NAT and Port Forwarding Part 2



How to turn on and off an IP camera using Smart Devices | Getting more of your Smart Devices

Written By:
Monday, January 19th, 2015

smart bedroom


Many of you are installing cameras inside and outside of your homes and there are many times where you wish you could turn off your camera (at least the one in your bedroom) with the push of a button. Maybe by just giving a verbal command or simply pulling out your smart phone and using that to turn the camera. With “Smart”  items coming out for your home that are basically interconnected with your network, this is possible. I recently got a customer asking why there were no solutions to do this with his security system and after a brief pause I got a Eureka! moment. I figured that I already have some of these items and I can add them to my system. There are some items that you will need to accomplish this task. We are going to showcase some items that you will need and optional ones that will help you make your Home a Smart Home. Just follow this easy document on “How to turn on and off an IP camera using smart devices”

Items that you will need:

Single port Power Over Ethernet Switch POE-1G



Belkin WeMo Insight Switch


ivee – Sleek Voice-Activated Smart Clock [Optional for voice Command]



The main items would be a Single port PoE Switch POE-1G which will power the camera via an Ethernet cable and that would get connected to a Wemo Insight Switch.

The Belkin WeMo Smart Switch communicates with your  IOS or Android Device to turn the power on any 15 amp 120V AC device on or off. This can be used to to control lamps, Christmas lights or anything that will use a 120VAC power source. We will be connecting the PoE single port switch to this device allowing us to power the device or turn it off, but I always like to push things even further. Why not add a Siri like device to operate not just this but any other Belkin WeMo Switch or Nest Thermostat devices? Well for this we need a device called ivee which doubles as a Smart Clock that connects to any smart device. I found myself needing to change my alarm from time to time and found this smart clock that also allowed me to turn up or down my temperature using my Nest Thermostat as well as turn on of off the lamps or even open or close my front door making my life a little bit easier since in times I forgot if I set my alarm correctly and also if my front door dead bolt was in the locked position, a simple command to the ivee from the comfort of my bed allows me to do this as well as allow me to turn off the camera in my bedroom when I decide I need some privacy.

There are so many things that can be done with this type of device that people do not realize it. For example you can add a command to enable one of these Smart Switches and on this smart switch you can have a relay that will accept any high or low voltage device, lets say you want to turn off a non smart device such as a fan. If you are a techie you can have this device restart a router or any network device that does not have the ability to be accessed or the manufacturer failed to add a shutdown feature to it.


One big project that I will be integrating this would be to add this as Do it Yourself Pet Feeder where I will be ordering one of these and dismantle it and use it to operate a stepper motor that will have an auger drill with a hopper that will have a “V” shape. This will enable me to command Ivee to feed my cats in the morning while I get ready to go to work relieving from doing so as well as giving me the ability to feed them once I get home.


This gentleman here has a Feeder for his fishes, You can see how it works. You have a drill that will be used as an auger and a hopper that will have the feed. You can time the feed for my cats I would say 3 minutes or so for each cat once it has does its thing it should turn off , a simple time that resets itself should do the trick for this now keep in mind that for indoors you need to enclose this device so that any children or pets do not mess with the device since it does power using alternate current. As well as adding fuses to protect the circuit.




Smart Home Devices should not only allow you to enjoy Media but assist you with the smaller tasks that take so much of your time. Having these devices will enable you to view you home from anywhere in the world, open or close your front door when ever you wish to do so, like when you are at work and all of a sudden something breaks in your home there is no longer a need to call in off because you need your washing machine fixed , you can simply have the Handy Man work on the washing machine while you view him or her on your Surveillance system and allow him entry using your Smart Lock. Since I have cameras all over my interior and exterior I can monitor anything that happens in my home as well as allow anyone entry. Another example is if you are renting your Home or Apartment,there are times where landlords do not know they are not allowed into your apartment or home, knowing if your landlord is coming and going at times they are not allowed will help you in a situation where the landlord or any individual has entered without your consent.

So next time you are buying or have an item laying around look at what else you can do not just what the manufacturer designed it for, Keep in mind that these and any hack can lead to voiding your warranty but if you are aware of this and the item is already out of warranty go ahead and learn , Trust me you will enjoy it. One big example is when I helped a Customer use an Auto tracking IP camera to track deer and other wild animals in here property and have the video footage go to her webpage as well as her Youtube account. She was happy with her setup as well as I was happy after I had completed this task. 😉



How To Wire an Access Control Board (DX Series) – PART 1

Written By:
Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Many customers have contacted us to help them with their access control needs and sometimes it can be cumbersome to explain. In this article I will show you How To Wire an Access Control Board. I will use our DX Series 2 Door Access control Board (ACP-DXEL2), a Proximity Card Reader (ACR-DXRF01), an electronic door strike (ACDS-DX1500SE), 22-8 wire and a power supply with at least 3 or 5 amps.

In this article I will cover the steps to wire the electronic door strike and access control reader to the board and test the system.

Note: In order to make the system work, our Free Access Control Software needs to be installed in your PC. You will need to program the Access Control Board in the software, create a user, and assign at least one card to that user. Also, it is necessary to create at least one zone in the software to properly identify in the logs which door has been triggered.

Lets look at the components we will be using:

2 Door Access Control Board – DX Series

2 Door Access Control Board - DX Series

Weather Resistant Access Control Reader – DX Series

Access Control Reader - RF01

Fail-Secure Electronic Door Strike – DX Series

Electronic Door Strike - Lock fail secure

If we take a closer look at the access control board you will noticed certain labels on each of these terminals. On some access control boards you will have two reader inputs per door terminal and a push to exit input as well. These two reader inputs are there if you want to use a reader to exit the secure site of the room without using a push to exit button.

The first setup I will do is the wiring of the power supply I will be using. I’m using a 12V 5amp power supply and from there I will be using a distribution block to run my power to some of the components. It also keeps it clean when explaining the wiring.

This is another diagram that shows where each device goes where:


Looking at the diagram we can see that there are two reader ports in this board per door. You can also see the outputs (Door Strikes, Mag-locks) and other ports such as Ethernet and the fire controller port.

I will explain the wires on this RFID reader. These readers have 7 wires. Each wire is colored and is important to know where each of these wires go where.


These are the wires that we will need to connect to the access control board. The last two cables can be connected together and connect to the LED port of the Board. Having these two cables together will basically make the “beep” and the light work the same as the sound. In other words if the sound is 2 beeps then the light will blink 2 times along with the audio.

The red and black cable are very important to be connected correctly and not crossed, otherwise it will damage the equipment and the access control board. The green and white are the data cables (Wiegand). These should be connected correctly so when cards are scanned through the readers it sends the data to board and therefore access is granted or denied.

Power connections to the board and outputs are easy. Lets take a look at the power terminals and relay terminals from the access control board. Depending on the output you use, the connections to the relay terminals could be different.

Power-Outputs wiring

If you noticed from top to bottom, the board has different inputs. The top port will be the power input for the board itself.  You will need to run a jumper cable from the 12V (positive) port to the COM port; this will allow the relays on the board to operate.

Also if you pay close attention to the power supply, you could also run the 12V (positive) cable to the COM port directly.

Let’s take a look at the connections of the electronic door strike. Usually strikes are Normally Open (NO) devices. Normally Open devices (NO) require power to change its state. These devices sometimes are referred to as Fail Secure, as they require electricity to unlock.  For this demonstration I am working with a Fail Secure Strike, which means that if the power fails, the strike will stay locked.

Lock fail secure

This particular strike comes with 2 cables which have no order in how they are connected to the board and power supply. To connect the electric strike to the board, simply run one of the wires to the (NO) port of the Access Control Board, and the other one to the negative port of the power supply. That’s all there is to it.

You could test the connections manually if you login to the board through the web service. You can download this Web Configuration Tool to find the board in the network and enable the web service of the access control board.

After you have set that up, then you can access the access control board by its IP address. The default username and password is abc for username and 123 for password.

Once you have access to the board you can click on “Open Door” to activate the strike and test your connections. You could also configure certain things like door delay, add cards, change the board’s time, etc.

NOTE: The connections in the board are labeled properly. Reader ports will have RD1 or RD2 depending of how many doors the board supports. Also The board outputs will be labeled as well. These can be labeled as DR1, DR2 etc. There are also other ports and these can be for push to exit buttons and door contacts.

If you would like to have access to the board remotely, the only possible way will be accessing a computer on the network where the board is connected.

At this point if you have followed everything in here you should be confident that the system will work after you configure the software. I will be making a Part 2 of this article that will explain how to configure the software, add departments, personnel and upload those settings to the board.


How to extract recorded video footage from a DVR over the Internet

Written By:
Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Techpro Security Products brand DVRs have a long list of pragmatic features and none of them are more useful than the ability to view your security camera footage from anywhere in the world. This is accomplished when the DVR and the network where it has been installed have been set up to correctly work together. This feature gives you the capacity to view both live and recorded video from a computer. There are a few different ways that you can do this. In this article we are going to examine performing this function through the Web Service, which uses Internet Explorer. This is probably the easiest method to set up and does not require you to install software. This is a great way to extract recorded video footage from a DVR over the Internet.

This feature gives you access to almost all of the settings that you would be able to adjust from the DVR directly, as if you were interacting with it through a monitor and mouse connected to it. You will also be able to see the live views from any of your cameras that you wish to monitor. In addition to having all the functionality of interacting with the DVR directly, connecting to the DVR through the Web Service allows you to download recorded video footage from your DVR directly to your computer.

Now we’re going to take a look at the process of getting this recorded footage from your DVR to your computer, which is fairly straight forward. Once you are logged into your DVR through the Web Service you will see a series of buttons along the top of the screen that includes the button that is marked as “search” (as shown in Image 1). Clicking on this button is the first step in being able to view your recorded footage.

Image 1


Once you have the “search” page pulled up you will first need to pay attention to the top center portion of the page. This section is labeled as “parameter”. You will need to select the date and time for the “begin time” and “end time” that will encompass the time frame of the recorded video that you are interested in reviewing. Next, you should select the camera that you want to view from the drop down menu next to where it says “channel”. This is located directly below where you entered the times and dates. You should also make sure that you have a check mark next to where it says “main stream” in order to get the highest quality of playback possible. Image 2 shows a general example of how this section should be set up.

Image 2


Once the “parameter” section has been set up correctly, the next step is to click on the “search” button in the upper right corner of this page (as shown in Image 3). Once you do, there will be a list of video events that will show up in the bottom portion of this page (as shown in Image 4). In order to view the video of any these events, you simply need to double click on them. This list can only hold a maximum of a hundred events. If you exhaust this list and haven’t found what you are looking for then you will need to adjust the search parameters on the top of this page to begin searching the next block of time.

Image 3


Image 4


While you are watching one of the recorded video files you will notice that there are some controls, located along the bottom of the interface, which will allow you to view the footage in the manner that you’d like to see it (as shown in Image 5). From the left, you’ll notice there is a slider bar along the bottom that will allow you to jump to different portions of the video file. As you continue this process from left to right on this bar you’ll next see the play, pause and stop buttons – the functions for these buttons are pretty straight forward. The last two buttons as you arrive at the right side of this page are the slow and fast forward buttons. Both of these buttons have multiple levels – the slow button allows for a maximum of 1/8th normal speed and the fast forward allows for a maximum of eight times the normal forward speed.

Image 5


If you ever have the need or desire to extract recorded footage from the DVR, you’ll see that this interface also offers a simple way to accomplish this process. Once you have viewed a particular video file or group of them, you will need to go back to the playback screen by clicking on the “search” button along the top of the initial Web Service screen again. Once you’re back on the playback screen, you’ll need to locate the file again and click on it, so that it has a blue bar. Then you’ll need to click on the download button in the upper right portion of this page (as shown in Image 6). When you do this it will open a browsing window, in order for you download the recorded video file to the location that you desire.

Image 6


Before you actually download the video file there is one setting that you should make sure is set the way you want. This setting is in the download window and it’s marked as the “save as type” (as shown in Image 7) and it affects the type of format of the video that will be downloaded. The DAV format is the better option to select for this but it has a draw back. The good thing about the DAV file type is that it is very difficult to modify or falsify any portion of these files. The downside of video files that are formatted this way is that they will not play on most of the standard media players on a computer.

Image 7


There is an easy way around this issue. You will simply need to use the player/converter that comes on the disk which is included with your DVR and it can also be downloaded though our website. This program will allow you to play the DAV file in its original format and/or convert it to an AVI format. The AVI format is a format that will play on almost all standard video players that are available on a computer. If you should ever need to get footage to the police or an insurance company, then it is a good idea to get them a disk that has the original files in a DAV format and include the player/convertor program so that they can choose how they view it.