Archive for the ‘ HowTo Articles ’ Category

How to Troubleshoot Analog Security Cameras

Written By:
Friday, December 6th, 2013

Frustrated Man

Help my camera is dead and I don’t know what to do!!!! Relax the Camera is not going to cause a cascading failure and blow up the whole system or burn the house down. You will need a multi meter to verify voltages and amps.  Depending on where your cameras are located is how you may want to proceed. If the cameras are easy to get to the first thing I would do is break out a ladder if needed and get up to the camera.

If your camera has IR or infrared cup your hand around the camera to trick the sensor so it thinks it is night then see if the IRs do come on.  If they do good, I know the camera is getting power. I would still test power output regardless if IRs comes on.  The infrared does not need much to power up so there could still be an issue.  If this camera is a DC then you should get at or above 12 volts DC. Should the camera be AC the reading should be at or above 24 volts AC.  11.7 volts is close but not enough 23.9 volts is close but not enough. The voltage must be at or above the required amount. It has been my experience that “almost” in voltage needed is not enough. Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.  The camera may give you a video feed during day but as soon as the Infra-Red led come on the camera will act very strange, or the camera will act strange to begin with.

Now at this point let us say you have less than required or no power at the camera.  You now need to go to your power supply to test it also taking the camera down at this point is advisable. Check the connections on the coax cable. Twist on BNC connectors is convenient but they do get loose if they move or shake for whatever reason they will make the camera have grainy or lines or a waviness to the image produced. BNC Twists are an unreliable connection. I like them for bench testing since they are so convenient. For installation I avoid them if I can. In the early days of computing there was a phenomena called chip creep. Ram chips would get hot and cold and slowly work themselves out of the slot on mother board. It is logical that the same would happen with the twists over time.

Crimp on BNC connectors and compression fittings are the best. Some people will swear by crimp on BNC other people will swear by compression BNC. In either case they typically do not become loose preventing video loss or poor images. For both types of connectors you need the specified tool to install the ends. Pliers will not get the job done they will only create a problem.

Now that we have the camera in question down it is time to go back to the power supply and do some testing. Check output on the channel of the power supply is do you get 12vdc or 24vac. If we get the full output needed at power supply connect camera directly to power supply and DVR. Does the issue go away in day and night mode? If it does then you now know something is going on the cable.  If not we know for sure the camera is not operating correctly. This could be from any number of reasons. To prevent the cameras from going bad a surge protector is always recommended. If you can get a battery backup and conditioner, the conditioner cleans up feedback or interference on the power side that can cause cameras to act very strange.

For cable issues there several ways to go about determining what to do next. First is how long of a cable run do you have? Coax cables have limitations on distance. The common cable RG59 which most people use for CCTV has the highest attenuation or signal loss. It is never recommended to use RG59 above a distance of 1000 feet. Some people do not recommend to use RG59 over 750 feet. Having a cable that has an impedance of 75 ohms is crucial. If the impedance is outside of that you will get more signal loss.  If you are using RG6 this coax cable has lower attenuation so you can get more distance before running into problems. Normally you can get up to 1500 feet. RG6 is recommended for use between 1000 – 1500 feet. As there is a price difference I would not use RG6 unless distance required it. RG11 is the thickest of the cables used. It does have the lowest attenuation of all coax cable. You can get up to 2000 feet on a home run.  With all cable bending and pulling cable can and will damage the cable. Using a lubricant helps in preventing damage from pulling. When it comes to bending any cable you cannot bend, twist, or roll up cable tighter that the radius of the cable itself. If you do, get a new piece of cable because you just damaged that cable. The cable may work but the longer the run the more likely you will have a bad video feed. Once you bend the cable that far you put a kink in the wire and add to the resistance. Another issue I have seen is failure to ensure there are no jagged edges for the cable to get caught on or sliced into. For example running cable in an attic there are old rusty nails and screws everywhere. If a screw gets in contact with cable you can inadvertently add an extra ground the “POOF” no more video or you get static if you’re lucky. Sometimes it just is not possible to measure resistance on a cable run end to end that is why I say take the camera down so we can isolate the issue.

With the steps I have outlined you should be able to troubleshoot your system when issues arise. I can tell you that most issues in CCTV arise from to long of cable runs with the wrong cable type. Power is especially problematic as the thinner the wire the higher the voltage drop at distance.


Why Home Security Should Be At The Top Of Your List

Written By:
Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

About Security by Casey Sardos Imagine you’re leaving work early and upon arriving home, surprise burglars who are making off with your prized possessions. They are just as equally surprised that, with-out a second thought, they pull the trigger and release the bullet that kills you. All because you got home early. This happens more often then you would think. Now you’re thinking, “How can I possibly protect myself from this?.” In order to do so, you have to learn about security and various ways security can prevent this from happening to you and your family. Security is a word that is widely used as a method to protect yourself from harm or harm to others. There are many different reasons you would want to protect yourself and your family from the various criminal acts that can occur in our world today. The information provided below will give some insight into different methods that can deter crime, those who would commit criminal acts, and grant you and your family with a means of protection from a nasty situation that an easily spin out of control.

One of the many ways that you can protect your household from crime is to invest in a security system. A security system can be made up of many different components ranging from door sensors to security cameras. Determining your budget, location, and the crime levels in your area can give you a starting platform as to what you truly need for appropriate home and family protection. Lets start with the basics, the alarm systems. This is a great first step in protecting your home from burglars and preventing crime from happening. An alarm system is made up of many different sensors that can be attached to windows, doors and walls. The door and window sensors are put in place to track if someone enters from and door or window entry. Not only will they let you know if an intruder has entered, but they will also let you know if the kids or the dog have slipped out the front door while your making dinner. Now this is important part to any security system because doors and windows are the most common entry points. The only downside to a window sensor would be breaking the window, ban act that will not trip the sensor. That is why they offer motion sensors that track any movement in a specific area and can complement what the window sensor lacks. You can also place sirens and strobes so that he intruder will flee the premises before they draw to much attention or can cause permanent harm to yourself or your family.

Purchasing an alarm system is a very good way to start a adequate security system in your home and is one of the most effective ways to prevent crime from occurring. To take your security system to the next level, the next step would be to purchase a security camera system. There are many options available to consumers, so deciding on a system for your home may be overwhelming. You need to take into account the camera placement in and around your home, how many cameras you need, and what camera system offers all of the latest features. Many camera systems can be installed yourself, whereas others will require professional assistance to ensure the system is installed properly to get the cameras up and running as soon as possible. The most important thing you should do is to research what system would be best to suit your needs. Once you have found the right system, you need to consider the best places to put the cameras. You would want to cover every entry point on the exterior of your home to ensure that if there is someone breaking in you can see who it is and what they are taking. Its also good to install a camera in the front door area so that if your not home you can see who come by or even make sure the package you are expecting has been delivered. If you have a camera facing the driveway you can also prevent car break-ins. The next thing you want to consider would be an inside view for your children or personal items. The reason for an inside view: the best crimes are usually done right in front of you. Security camera systems can help you to prevent crime from happening and also help figure out who committed the crime.

Security camera & alarm systems are great at prevent crime but sometimes that isn’t enough. A lot crime happens in public places such as; schools, grocery stores, and street. Personal protection is one of the only ways to protect yourself out in the world and also when you system fails at home. If you want to start small then consider buying a can of pepper spray. Pepper spray has been around for quite a while and is an excellent method of protecting yourself, should you get attacked. If pepper spray doesn’t seem like enough, a stun gun is another way to put someone down safely or even scare them off. They work by using a high, but safe voltage, that when touched to the skin delivers a shock through the body that will stun, and then stiffen the muscles. This will cause the attacker to drop to the ground, allowing you to get away safely. Just the noise that it creates will make the attacker think twice about going for your wallet or handbag.

The most efficient way to protect yourself from any attacker or intruder is to purchase a firearm. Despite the current controversy concerning firearms, if you train yourself as to the proper use, cleaning, ways to store it in your home to prevent accidents from happening, and to learn to respect the weapon, then a firearm will only provide protection. If you are going to own a firearm for your own personal protection, then the firearm to consider would be a pistol. They come in different shapes and sizes, and talking to someone with knowledge and experience will help choose one that fits yourself and your current situation. Before you purchase your firearm, you should take a course that will teach the proper care and usage to give you have a better understanding on how weapons work. Once that is done, you should purchase your firearm and corresponding safe that it will be placed in and take it out to a gun range to understand how to fire it and how to safely handle it when doing so. Doing all of this will help you to respect the firearm and better understand what sort of power you now have in your hands. Lastly, keeping it safe from children and others that do not have knowledge and experience with it is the most important step. You want to keep it unloaded in a safe or a locked gun case and hide it that only those who are able to use it can find it.

Following these steps and talking to knowledgeable people in the industry can help you figure out how to protect yourself from intruders and attackers and keep yourself and your family safe.

by Casey Sardos


Set up on Ultimate Mini-series DVRs

Written By:
Wednesday, August 14th, 2013