Archive for the ‘ HowTo Articles ’ Category

How to integrate an IP camera with a NAS (Network Attached Storage) Device

Written By:
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Many customers have tried to figure out ways to integrate an IP camera with something different than an NVR. Sometimes they use a computer with enough storage to record footage from a camera, but is there another way to do it without the hassle of logging in to the camera interface and pressing the record button?

The answer is YES! Technology nowadays offers many software interface solutions with the ability to stream video from an IP camera and allow it to be recorded to an internal Hard Drive, but is there a cheaper solution utilizing a 3rd Part Device to record footage? Again, the answer is YES!

This device is called a NAS (Network Attached Storage). There are so many of them in the market offering the ability to connect to cameras and utilize downloadable software from their market place. In this article I will be using one of my favorite NAS devices (Sinology).

This little box offers a lot of features beside the ability to use it as an NVR. It also can be used to host other services. Surveillance Station is a software that can be downloaded to most Sinology NAS devices and interconnects your IP cameras to it.

It also allows you to Monitor real time video of all your IP cameras. It is accessible from almost any computer, including Mac and PC. This great device also offers a free app to watch your cameras.

This software supports our EL Series IP cameras and the setup is very simple. You could also use any ONVIF camera but it will be very limited in features.

How to get the software and how to install it?

To get the software simply login to your Sinology NAS and download Surveillance Station from the Package Center. Make sure your NAS have the latest and greatest Software Updates.

After the installation, proceed to open up the software by going to the Main Menu icon and look for click on Surveillance Station

Synology 1

After you fire up the software, it will be necessary to install a plugin in your PC in order to get the interface of the software. Click on the download link and follow the steps to download the file. The interface will look like this:

Synology 3 pluging

The Next step will be adding your IP cameras. In this demonstration I will be using our IPOB-EL1MPIR50 and our IPOB-TP2MPIR50 (Onvif Camera). Notice that our camera will not displayed as a camera option under camera brand. Make sure for our EL Series you use “Dahua” as the manufacturer. After you type the IP address of the camera, the Model should Auto populate in the field.

Synology 5 Adding Cameras

A welcome screen will appear after clicking Add. Choose any mode you will like to proceed and add the cameras. Click Next to Add the camera information.

Welcome Screen

You can see here that the camera has been added successfully after typing the IP address and Brand. Also you should assign an intuitive name so is easy to search for footage later on.

Camera add

The next option will be configuring your video settings and recording schedule. I will recommend to set the format of the cameras as H.264; this is better for streaming and compression of the file. Adjust the resolution, bitrate control and kbps on the camera accordingly.

Synology 6 Recording

Adjust how often your NAS will save Video. Also adjust how many seconds the unit will pre-record and post-record. Lastly setup how the files will be handle when the archive threshold is reached.

Synology 7 Detection recording

Surveillance Station can record based on a continuous manner, Motion and alarm or when motion is activated.

Synology 8 Schedule

You can also utilize any other camera brand including ONVIF. Here is a link that will show you all of the compatible cameras that work with this unit.

If you want to use ONVIF cameras it is absolutely the same steps but the Onvif Port differs from a standard camera. For this example I used an IPOB-TP2MPIR50 which is purely Onvif protocol.

Camera add ONVIF

You will noticed that the port is 8080 instead. The last thing after adding the cameras is setting up your camera layout. Surveillance Station offers a variety of layouts up to 64-channel view. Also you can configure camera grouping and camera sequence. For more info you can visit this link to learn more.

Live View Layouts

After setting up your layout of your cameras you can go to live view to view your newly added cameras.

Life View

There are many options you can play with while viewing the cameras live. If you go to the left bottom corner you can click the gear icon to see more options. You can click on the + to zoom in at close and utilize the scroll in your mouse to zoom in and out.

Lastly, access your recording at any time by going to the Management Tab and all your recording will show up in the list. Pick the camera you want to review footage and a window will open with a time line.

Recording Access

Although this is a great device to be use as a Storage Device for your IP cameras it can be very expensive when it comes to adding more cameras. Each camera requires a license that is not free. Your unit (depending of the model) will come with a license preloaded in the system. If you need to add more cameras then you will need more licenses per cameras. We recommend to use a stand-alone NVR such as our ELT series NVR. They are excellent for a simple installation, supporting up to 1080p resolution for recording and no licenses are required.

NOTE: Sinology is not a Techpro Security product equipment. If you need any support or help configuring the software after the cameras are added, you will need to go to for more information.


CCTV Installation and Wiring Options

Written By:
Thursday, July 24th, 2014

CCTV Installation and Wiring Options

Today there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a quality CCTV security system. You may decide to go with a traditional analog system, HD-SDI, HD-CVI or even an IP network based security products.

One thing all of these options have in common is you will probably have to run some sort wire to the cameras. Yes, there are some “Wireless Security Camera” solutions available on the market today, but if you do some research you will find that there are a lot of limitations to wireless security cameras. Most CCTV professionals would probably not recommend a wireless system in an environment where up-time and security are critical.


I do want to mention that it is possible to reliably transmit video wirelessly using a device such as the TP-LocoM5 – Wireless Access Point/Bridge as seen here at

But even then you would still need to have a power wire run to the camera or a local power source near the camera and it only works with IP Cameras.

That being said, we will be talking about a fully-wired system in conjunction with a storage device such as a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) or NVR (Network Video Recorder).

When installing a completely new security system you may want to have the video and power wires come from a single location located near the storage device (DVR or NVR) as shown below.

Analog, HD-SDI and HD-CVI cameras will need two wires run to them. One for video transmission and a set of power wires in order to power the camera. You could run a coax wire and separate power wires but most CCTV professionals choose to use “Siamese Cable”. Siamese Cable is a manufactured coax cable with a set of power wires attached to it. The power wires can be split off from the coax in cases where your power source may not be in a close proximity to your recording device.


IP cameras use digital video transmission over CAT5 or CAT6 cable. In most cases you run your video and power to and from the camera on the same CAT5 or CAT6 wire, assuming you are using a POE (Power Over Ethernet) power source such as a POE injector or POE Switch.

Some NVRs come with built in POE,  but in most cases it is recommended to use an external POE switch like the POE-8MB1G from When using an external POE switch all of your CAT5 or CAT6 will run directly from each camera to a POE switch that is connected to your local network. Then you simply connect your NVR to the network and you are all set.


Most IP cameras also come with an additional power wire if you choose not to use POE and power them with 12v or 24v power as shown below.


If you are going to power your IP camera with 12v /24v power  you will still run all of your CAT5 or CAT6 from the camera to a Non-POE switch (usually significantly less expensive than a POE switch) but you will run an extra set of power wires from a power source to each camera.



Now it’s time to run your cable. The following will cover 2 popular scenarios.

Scenario 1: Running your cable through your attic and mounting your cameras to the soffit. This is a common installation option, provided you have access to your attic and your soffits are also accessible.

First you have to choose the placement of you recorder and power supply. Some people simply have them located in an office or a room within their home.  Others prefer having them in a more secure location such as in a lockbox, hidden in a closet, or even in the attic itself.

The image below shows the recorder and power supply inside a room of the home. Power and video wires run up the wall into the attic to the location where the camera will be located and out a small hole in the soffit were the camera will be mounted.


Scenario 2: Another option is to run your cable through an exterior wall and then use conduit on the exterior of your structure to run your cables from one camera to another. This is a great option for those who do not have an attic or limited access to one.


Mounting Your Cameras

Once you have run your wires to the desired location you can connect your camera. In some cases where the cables are coming out of the soffit it is possible to connect your wires together and tuck the connections up into the hollow area of the soffit, then mount the camera directly to the soffit.


In situations where you’re running your wires through a solid concrete or brick wall that the connections cannot be tucked into, it is common to mount a junction box.


Junction Boxes and Conduit
Junction boxes are particularly useful when running your cable through conduit on the exterior of your structure as they serve as a weather proof container protect your power and video connections from the elements and also provide you with a flat surface to mount your cameras to.


First you will pull your wires through the access hole on the back of the junction box. Then mount the junction box to the wall. You may have to drill a hole in the junction box cover big enough to feed your camera connections through. Next, connect the camera to the power and video connection(s). Then screw the cover on to the junction box. Now you can mount you camera to the junction box. See the diagram below.


When used on a soffit, a junction box will sometimes be helpful in order to lower and drop your cameras below obstructions such as deep fascia boards as shown below.



How to Setup a License Plate Capture Camera

Written By:
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
TP-LP700 License Plate Capture Camera

I often get asked how to best capture a license plate from a vehicle with a camera system. I generally tell the customer that it is done with magical leprechauns, the tooth fairy, and a dash of pixie dust! Then when I get serious I will go into the long explanation of the proper setup to capture the image. With license plate capture there are several things that need to be considered and in place to be able to capture a license plate on a vehicle. You need to be between a certain height and angle, need to be focused on a concentrated area, need speed control of the vehicles, and need the proper camera.

The Right Height and Angle

With any camera, the right angle and height are very important when trying to achieve specific shots. A license plate capture camera is no different, and actually it is more important than most. There are several schools of thought as to what is the idea height and angles for this application. The one that I have found works the best, is to ensure the camera is between thirty six inches from the driveway up to ten feet. The height of the camera plays a big role in how clear the image will be, if the camera is too high and the vehicle has some sort of plate cover on it, you can get an image that is too distorted to make out.

If you think about it, most vehicle license plates are between twenty inches and forty eight inches from the driveway surface, so you don’t want to create a crazy angle to try and capture a license plate from. Another important thing to remember is how far off the lane of travel the camera is situated, this plays into the angle created on the capturing of the image. Typical rule of thumb is to have the camera as close to the lane of travel as possible. So the closer to the curb the better!  Now, I know you are asking yourself, “what if someone comes up and vandalizes the camera?” Well, the way to help protect this is by having a camera that watches over the location of the license plate capture camera.

Focused Area of View

Another big factor in license plate capture, is not trying to do everything with one camera. In order to properly capture a license plate, the camera needs to be focused on one lane of travel. So, if you are trying to capture multiple lanes of travel you will need as many cameras as lanes you are trying to capture. A good rule of thumb is to have a camera per lane and a camera that gives overviews of the area. The overview camera will give you the description of the vehicle, while the license plate capture camera will get the license plates. If you try to do too much with one camera you will fail at doing anything useful except get a description of the vehicle. It may cost you a little more upon initial setup for the extra camera, but what you will gain with useful information is priceless!

Speed Control

A very important factor to be considered is the speed the vehicle will be going. If you have a vehicle that is traveling at a high rate of speed and you expect to capture it’s license plate you better plan to spend some very very big dollars on a camera. Now if you are realistic and have an area where a vehicle has to slow down or even better stop, you will be in tall cotton. The most ideal way to capture a license plate from a vehicle is to have an area where the vehicle will have to come to a complete stop. Whether that is at a stop sign, a severe speed bump, or a gate that has to open does not matter, as long as you can get a vehicle to stop. The next best solution is where a vehicle has to slow down extremely, ideally under ten mile per hour or so. Now if you do not have the ability to slow the vehicles down, you are going to have to look into the cameras that most interstate systems use which generally cost in the thousands of dollars per camera.

Proper Camera

Barring needing a specialty high speed camera that interstate systems use, you can generally find a good camera with a reputable company. The right camera will depend on several things. The first and foremost is the distance from camera to target. Why this is so important is because you need the right lens to narrow down on your target. If you are at thirty feet and trying to use a 2.8mm – 12mm varifocal camera and narrow the shot down to a eight foot by eight foot area, you will fail. This is because at a thirty foot distance to target and the camera zoomed all the way to it’s 12mm setting, your area of view is going to be over ten foot by eight foot. This generally will be too wide of a shot to capture a clean enough image. I personally would suggest going with a 9mm – 22mm lens for anything over twenty feet to about forty five feet. For any shot that is from about fifteen feet to about one hundred and twenty five feet you should use a camera with a 6mm – 60mm lens. If you are unsure of the millimeter lens that you will need, you can always use the lens calculator on Security Camera King’s website.

If your project meets all of these requirements, your license plate capture should occur with minimal issues. With every job and every location there are different obstacles that will be needed to be overcome, no two jobs will ever be identical especially when it comes to license plate capture. The best thing you can do for yourself is to survey the area, taking lots of pictures and measurements. Find any possible available power source and possible areas to burry conduit to get to the camera location. Keep in mind to always obey local codes and pull the necessary permits. The last thing you want to have happen is an inspector/ code enforcement officer to flag the site and cost you time and money.


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