Archive for the ‘ Other Security Articles ’ Category

Outdoor Ir illuminator

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Light Up the Night with an Outdoor IR Illuminator

People who aren’t otherwise familiar with infrared technology might not have any idea what an outdoor IR illuminator is good for. It helps to have a good working knowledge of why infrared surveillance devices work they way they do. People who aren’t as knowledgeable about this area of surveillance might make a few mistakes when purchasing an outdoor IR illuminator device.

That’s nothing to be ashamed about. Infrared light is a very abstract concept. It is defined, essentially, as electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength longer than that of visible light but shorter than that of what conventional thinking would define as radio energy. Many individuals would think of infrared as heat, and this isn’t too far off. Most thermal radiation that objects near room temperature give off is essentially infrared energy. This sort of energy is exactly the type that IR CCTV camera systems are concerned with. For that matter, most of the sun’s light is infrared. At sea level when the sun is at its zenith, the sun’s energy is just around 1 kilowatt per square meter. 32 watts of this power is UV and 445 watts is visible sunlight. That leaves a whopping 527 watts of infrared radiation. This is precisely why it is often hazardous to use night vision equipment during the day.

At night, however, the infrared spectrum can be an excellent way to capture images or video when working with surveillance cameras. The human body, at a normal temperature, radiates wavelengths around 12 micrometers. This is bad news for anyone who is trying to commit a crime at a facility that is protected by infrared CCTV technology. However, this isn’t always enough to provide evidence. In some situations, the image might be seriously blurry. Depending on the ambient temperature outside, the surrounding energy emissions might be too dark or too bright to capture an adequate image. This is where an outdoor IR illuminator comes into play.

When working indoors, climate control systems usually keep the temperature within a healthy range. If not, buildings are naturally insulated. Even without extra insulation, a furnace or an air conditioner, indoor temperatures are a lot different than those outside. Exterior temperatures are extremely variable, and they’re also just as extremely difficult to predict. Think about weather forecasting, for instance. When was the last time that a forecast was entirely accurate? Most likely, it never has been. That’s largely because the climate is so difficult to predict. These minute changes and numerous variables are the reason that outdoor IR illuminator devices are installed as part of an IR setup. The outdoor IR illuminator can help to keep things within a more constant range, so that the images captured will be much better than usual.

Granted, that being said, there’s no reason that an outdoor IR illuminator couldn’t be used indoors if it’s designed for both climates. There are indoor situations in which the capture of infrared imagery is disappointing. The illuminator box might be thought of as a flash on a camera in this respect, since it helps the image to show up by providing an addition light source. However, unlike a flash bulb, it stays on constantly. To facilitate this, LED technology or some other solid-state lighting source is generally used. This also helps to keep the amount of electricity used down, considering that the lumens emitted for each watt of electricity is quite high from a solid-state source. The energy consumption can be as low as a few watts, and it seems to be usually around 6-18 watts. This shouldn’t be too much to handle for most businesses, and probably is much lower than most things currently plugged into the outlets of a facility that needs this type of surveillance. To give a bit of reference, many regular FM radio receivers are somewhere around 12-20 watts.

The technology in question isn’t like normal fluorescent, incandescent or halogen light bulbs. For that matter, the light emitted isn’t either, though most light sources give off a bit of incidental infrared energy, but it usually can’t be seen. That being said, people should never stare directly into an outdoor IR illuminator box. While infrared energy isn’t dangerous, it is still not advisable to expose the eyes to any excess radiation.

There might be some people who balk at the term radiation, but it is being used in the same sense that radio waves and visible light are radiation. The radiation from radioisotope materials, like atomic fuels, comprises ionizing radiation. This is something completely different than the place in the electromagnetic spectrum that these devices occupy. Infrared radiation is safe, and indeed, the human body gives it off. That’s how IR surveillance works in the first place. Keeping the safety guidelines about looking into the machine is a generally good idea, nevertheless.

Now, on the topic of infrared visibility, there are those that can see some forms of infrared energy. Under most conditions, people shouldn’t be able to see IR light. Moreover, using such technology shouldn’t ever interfere with normal day-to-day business practices. If one is using an outdoor IR illuminator that projects light at around 850 nM, then people might occasionally see a dull red glow if they stare directly at the box. No one should be doing this anyways, but it shouldn’t’ cause too much alarm. This device is still functioning normally, and it simply emits a bit of energy that is somewhere around the bottom of the visible spectrum for the human eye. Once again, though, anyone staring into these boxes should stop. It is not acceptable procedure to continue to look into one, even though the energy isn’t coherent for a very large distance around it.

Sometimes, there are applications that require complete invisibility. For those types of situations, a 940 nM outdoor IR illuminator should be sufficient to prevent anyone from seeing the same type of glow. This is ideal for applications where there is a serious concern that criminals could actually be able to tell that an illumination unit was being used. Not being able to see the outdoor IR illuminator means that they might be more inconspicuous to the fact that one’s video cameras are working so well.

Speaking of the outdoors, it is probably for the best that outdoor applications are weatherproofed. While these devices are extremely rugged, that doesn’t mean that they can simply be covered in rain and expected to work. Many of the devices are weatherproofed at the factory, and prospective buyers should make sure that they are before making a purchase. However, the device itself isn’t the only thing that needs to be weatherproofed.

Most of these illuminators use AC adapters, or some other power cord, to receive power. If this is compromised, the unit can die. When an outdoor IR illuminator is mounted, it’s generally done on a wall or under the eaves of a building. A hole should be drilled for the power cord, and it can usually be installed in such a way where the cord isn’t even seen. When it’s not seen, it’s not exposed to the elements. Hiding the cord in this way might also score some aesthetic points with designers. Few people want to see a black piece of plastic sitting around in the eaves of a building. It can also be seen as more secure, since some sophisticated criminals might try to go after the surveillance equipment when they’re trying to find a site. Any cord that was present could easily be cut, and this could severely compromise an infrared monitoring site that relied on the device to bring it up to speed.

Take a look at the case that the system comes equipped with. Plastic case that are included with some models makes them suitable only for indoor applications or protected uses outside, but there are more seriously robust options available for those who need them in rough climates. Remember to shield plastic cases from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. It is perhaps ironic that light from the sun can damage something that’s supposed to be providing a type of light when the sun isn’t out and shining.

When mounting an outdoor IR illuminator unit, one should be sure to take a look at the weight. A very heavy unit that’s suspended from a ceiling or rooftop might eventually break free of its moorings. However, it really is quite fortunate that modern solid-state technology makes these devices so light. Nevertheless, the size and weight should be checked beforehand to ensure that disappointment doesn’t set in later on.

Beam spread is a bit of a more esoteric metric to judge different outdoor IR illuminator devices by, but it might be familiar to those that have worked with surveillance cameras previously. An arc defines the area around the unit that is covered by the infrared light it provides. This might sound a bit difficult to understand at first, but it really isn’t that hard. If one held up a light bulb, there would be a sphere of light that surrounded it. What’s being measured is essentially the area that this ball makes up.

If that’s still confusing, the effective illumination range should be a lot more concrete. This simply refers to how far one needs to go before they can no longer be painted with infrared light from the device. The larger this number, the more effective the device is at long ranges. Naturally, there are many variables the influence the actual range beyond simple manufacturer specifications. Weather conditions and such are one of the more understandable facets of this equation though. On a clear night, with proper mounting, the specified range should be a good guideline nevertheless. For those who are truly concerned, they might want to take a measurement of various distances around the point that they install the outdoor IR illuminator at. Points could be temporarily marked on the ground to show where the effective range of the camera starts to peter out. Granted, these marks shouldn’t be permanent, since that would give extra information to would-be criminals.

It is important to remember that illumination at the fringe isn’t as strong as the bright illumination that comes to objects that are directly in view of the device. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem however. Any suspicious activity would probably start in the fringe area, but more than likely move towards the area under direct surveillance. If a parking lot is being watched, for instance, it’s probably most important to capture video of the area closest to the building that the parking lot serves.

Of course, an outdoor IR illuminator’s effective range is only ever as good as the effective range of the infrared camera that it’s paired with. Anyone who is seriously concerned about range should probably look to the camera before the outdoor IR illuminator box. After the camera is fully checked out, then they can progress to the illuminator. However, people should probably shop for a camera with a good range in the first place while keeping the tradeoffs in sharpness and image quality in mind. Different types of security cameras are going to have different properties to begin with. It probably sounds very silly to say that potential consumers need to do research to ensure that their equipment choices are going to work together, but it really is true. It would be most unfortunate to buy an outdoor IR illuminator, and then find out that one has been working with a camera designed to capture visible light the entire time.

Infrared surveillance can work in scenarios that involve monitoring an area in almost total darkness, and in fact, well-designed systems can work without any visible light. This has made them quite popular for those hard to reach places, so to speak. With the appropriate application of an outdoor IR illuminator, these cameras can become even more useful. While there might be a few bugs to work out at first, once everything’s set, LED technology should ensure that the system is maintenance free for years to come.


Video Surveillance Systems

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Many business and homeowners are turning to video surveillance systems for continuous monitoring of property and premises during those times when they can’t be physically present. Today’s systems are generally easy to install and use, eliminating the need for expensive professional expertise or the downloading of additional software.

video surveillance systemsCameras are available in both wired and wireless configurations. While wired systems are regarded as somewhat more reliable and trouble-free because of the lack of reliance on batteries and routers, wireless solutions offer some interesting benefits.

There are no wires to hide, and these systems be operated through an existing local area network. Cameras designed for outdoor use will withstand wind, rain, snow and temperature fluctuations better than their all-purpose counterparts.

PC-based Systems

Among the most popular choices are those systems that can be monitored using any of the more common Web browsers on a remote PC. They don’t require having a dedicated PC onsite, saving money and the hassle of maintaining and securing yet another device. These video surveillance systems assign a specific IP address to each camera, so you’ll always know exactly what you’re viewing when you’re at home or on vacation. You won’t have to guess where an intruder has entered because Camera A points directly at a particular door and has sent you a picture as he enters the building.

Each camera also has its own email address preinstalled. Choose models that have preinstalled motion detectors that email you only when someone enters a sensitive area of your home or business. Footage can be viewed in real time or can be stored and then viewed later.

Images are emailed to you in .jpeg format for fast downloading to your computer, no matter if you’re using a Mac OS, Linux, or Windows. Industry standard automatic configurations allow each router and computer to determine the optimum settings for your system, reducing endless the endless tweaking and resetting required for capturing the clearest images.

Choose a video surveillance system that operates in both daylight and in low-light environments. Vandals and thieves don’t normally strike at night. These are an excellent security solution when it’s not convenient or cost-effective to a security on duty around the clock.

Business Security

Business owners choose remote cameras keep tabs on sensitive areas in real time, tracking employees’ movements in and around sensitive areas such as operations and financial offices. Video surveillance footage can provide a completely different story than that recorded by business computers that can’t furnish real-time reports.

Using video surveillance technology to monitor a business’ premises is the modern-day equivalent of Management By Walking About popularized in Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellent more than 20 years ago.

*A company’s LAN access to run its security cameras is one of the most underused capabilities today, one within the reach of even the smallest business.

*It’s inexpensive, and keeps a visual record more reliable than the blurry inaccurate memories of onsite personnel.

*Digital Video Recorders, or DVRs, document activity in shipping areas, loading docks, sales areas (especially point-of-sale terminals), public areas to monitor loiterers who may be shoplifting, and truck and customer parking areas.

There’s a good chance that nearly any business can become the target of a disgruntled employee or customer rampaging through a store or office, destroying property in retaliation for a real or imagined slight. At the same time, a video surveillance system can reduce vandalism to outdoor furnishings and landscaping or detect a criminal lurking in an ill-lit and remote parking area.

Home Safety and Security

Homeowners with families are also immersing themselves in the capabilities afforded by video surveillance cameras.

*Nanny cams and outdoor security cameras are the most common uses for this technology in the home.

*Expand your horizons and monitor what’s going on both inside and outside your home — what the postal carrier is doing when he or she is delivering the mail, the neighbors’ filching water or gasoline or the lawn care company’s activities when you’re away from home.

You can monitor your home while on vacation, spot a burglary in process, call law enforcement while the crime is in progress and watch the criminal’s reaction when he’s caught in the act. Once your property is known as having video surveillance capability, potential criminals will give your home a wide berth in the future.

*Nine out of ten home security systems are used for deterring property crimes such as burglary and vandalism.

*Four out of ten systems are used for deterring and detecting violent crimes such as robbery, assault, abuse, rape and murder.

Video Monitoring of the Elderly

On the other hand, video surveillance has a more benign and caring side. While 24/7 surveillance of a loved one is not really something most of us want, it’s comforting to have surveillance cameras located in critical areas within the home.

*Place one in plain sight in the kitchen to alert you to Mom’s or Dad’s daily eating habits and safe kitchen practices.

*Place a camera in the hallway outside the bathroom or bedroom to ensure your parents’ ability to perform daily living functions and alert you to possible health issues.

Video surveillance capabilities inside the halls, lobbies and elevators of a senior-citizen housing complex serve the same purpose. Residents retain a high degree of independence, but still benefit from concerned oversight. For example, security personnel can be alerted to the presence of suspicious loiterers presenting mugging or robbery threats. At the same time, residents who fall or become ill in public areas receive medical assistance more quickly than if they were unmonitored.

Law Enforcement and Insurance Companiesvideo surveillance systems

Law enforcement agencies are turning increasingly to video surveillance systems to monitor public disturbances such as looting and vandalism.

*A police force may be overwhelmed during the initial stages of a riot and the identification and prosecution of the instigators may prove difficult or impossible without surveillance footage.

*Building owners’ surveillance cameras often provide valuable information and evidence that help put malefactors behind bars.

*Footage can be useful when filing insurance claims after a disturbance.

Location Considerations

While many cameras are located in plain sight in these situations, it’s often better to select units that can be hidden behind something else if you’re using them for security surveillance purposes. They can be located behind paneling or a wall surface, inside home furnishings, or in out of the way corners of the workplace. This cuts down on criminals’ finding cameras’ blind spots and capitalizing on them, or even inactivating them or destroying them before breaking in.

Commercially installed video surveillance systems offer the benefit of expert analysis of specific requirements and camera placement. Blind spots are eliminated, or identified and resolved.

Owner-installed PC-based remote monitoring capabilities need to address similar concerns. Select one of these inexpensive solutions that includes up to 64 cameras with individual discrete IP and email addresses and motion-detecting functions.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical considerations must be observed. Video surveillance technology is a valuable tool in deterring crime and ensuring the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens.

Hiding a video camera and recorder in a public area to protect it against damage is one thing. Secreting a hidden camera in a public restroom or locker room is quite another thing. When pondering the advisability of placing a video surveillance system in the home of an elderly parent, his or her wishes need to be respected. Compassionate monitoring should not be equated with micromanagement and interference.


The choice between professionally installed technology and a do-it-yourself PC-based system is often determined by a variety of factors, with cost lying near the top of the list. In a challenging economic environment, even the most cash-strapped business or homeowner can take advantage of inexpensive, and highly reliable security video monitoring.

video surveillance systemsVideo surveillance technology offers big dividends in the form of securing sensitive business data, safeguarding cash receipts during the course of the business day, reducing pilferage in stockrooms and loading docks and deterring vandalism. Even small businesses can take advantage of low-cost video surveillance solutions when they opt for Web-based camera images.

Homeowners can take advantage of PC-based video surveillance as part of a comprehensive home security program or as an additional security layer when they’re away on vacation.

Simple PC-based video surveillance plays an important role in safeguarding the well-being of an elderly parent who lives in another city or state.

Small senior-citizen housing facilities provide enhanced security to their residents when video surveillance systems are in place. Injury, illness and crime are addressed quickly and appropriately.

Law enforcement agencies and insurance companies benefit from the use of home and business video surveillance footage when solving a crime or settling a claim.

Proper placement of cameras is crucial in the success of these systems. Purchase as many cameras as your budget allows, and then locate them to cover areas with controlled access to sensitive areas of operation.

Choose a system with both day and night capabilities.

Video surveillance can’t replace human security personnel completely. On the other hand, a system that incorporates at least some video recording capability has the advantage of providing a sharper record than the memories of flustered and perhaps biased employees.



Monday, January 9th, 2012

Charge Coupled Device (CCD) and Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) both have image sensors that are used for capturing digital images, but it is the technologies that are different. They each have their own set of strengths and weaknesses that give way to various applications. It is not as if one is superior to the other, but when you speak to vendors who only specialize in one of the forms of technology they will tell you that they feel otherwise. Throughout the last five years, there have been a lot of changes that have happened from both forms of technology. There are a lot of projections in regards to the demise of the technologies that have been proven false time and time again. Both forms of technology have a bright future, but there is still a need for the framework to be enhanced in regards to both of the CCD and CMOS imagers for their strengths and opportunities that they are going to be able to offer.


Light is converted into an electric charge that can be processed into an electronic signal through both of the imagers. Within a CCD sensor, each and every pixel’s charge has to be transferred through an extremely limited amount of output nodes, which at many times is only one. It is then converted into voltage, buffered, and sent as an analog signal from off the chip. This allows all of the pixels to be devoted to capturing light, while the output’s uniformity, which is crucial to the quality of your images, is high. On the other hand, a CMOS sensor is designed where each and every pixel has its own conversion from charge-to-voltage. The sensor will often include the use of amplifiers, noise correction and circuits that are digitized, which allow the chips to output bits of digital information. This allows the design complexity to be increased, while the area for light capturing is reduced. Uniformity is lowered because each pixel is actually doing its own conversion, but the chip could be built to need a smaller amount of off-chip circuitry for its basic operations.


Left: CCD ---Right: CMOS

During the late 1960s and early 1970s both of the CCD and CMOS imagers were invented. It was DALSA founder Dr. Chamberlain, who was also the CEO, which developed both of the technologies. CCD originally became the more dominant of the two technologies. It was due largely in part to the fact that it gave more exceptional imaging with the technology that was available. The imaging sensors used in the CMOS technology ended up requiring more uniformity and had smaller features beyond what the silicon water foundries were able to deliver at that time. It wasn’t until the 1990s that lithography was developed so designers could begin making their case for the CMOS imagers once again. There was now a renewed interest in CMOS that was based on the expectations of lower price consumptions, a camera-on-a-chip integration, and lower costs for fabrication due to the reusing of mainstream logic and fabricating for memory devices. Even though these benefits are only possible in theory, it will take a lot more time and money to be able to put them into practice at the same time as they are delivering a higher image quality. There is also going to be an additional process for adapting these changes into effect for the original projections.

When the imagers are designed properly you are going to get exceptional imaging performance from both the CCD and the CMOS imagers. In the photographic, scientific, and industrial applications CCD has provided the benchmarks for the performance in the highest image qualities while at the expense of the quality of images, which is also measured in quantum efficiency and noise. If you look at the CMOS imagers, you are going to find more integration, a lower dissipation of power and a smaller system size possibly. However, they often have tradeoffs that are required between the quality of the image and the cost of the device. There is really no clear line between the different types of applications that each one can serve. The designers of the CMOS technology have devoted a lot of their time and efforts into achieving high quality images, but the CCD designers ended up lowering their pixel sizes and the power requirements for their power. You are going to find a low-cost and low-power cell phone camera in the CCD technology, while the sensors in the CMOS technology are going to offer high-performance cameras for professional and industrial use, which directly contradicts all of the earlier stereotypes. The producers that have succeeded in producing the crossovers have years of experience rooted deeply in both of the technologies.

CMOS vs CCDAt the chip level the costs are very similar for both the CCD and the CMOS. Early on the proponents of CMOS were claiming that the CMOS imagers were going to be a lot cheaper. They were supposed to be able to produce the same type of high-volume wafer processing lines as the mainstream login or the memory chips, but this has not been the case. The CMOS designers had to develop specialized, optimized, and lower-volume processors that are mixed-signal fabrications in order to accommodate the requirements for good imaging. It was very similar to that of the CCD designs. It has become a very slow and expensive process to be able to provide the processes at a successful lithography node that is smaller. There is an advantage to those who have a captive foundry because they are able to maintain the attention needed by the process engineers.

There are fewer components and less power that is required to operate the CMOS cameras, however, they are still going to need companion chips in order to have the optimal image quality. This process results in a higher cost and helps to reduce the advantages that are gained from lower power consumption. The CMOS devices are a lot more complex than the CCD devices, so they are going to cost a lot more to design them. The fabrication processes of the CCD tend to be a lot more mature and optimized. As a result, it is going to cost less to fabricate and design a CCD over a CMOS imager, in regards to a high-performance application. One of the most dominating influences of the device cost is the wafer size. The larger the wafer size is, the more devices it is going to be able to produce, which means the cost per device is going to be significantly reduced. The majority of the CMOS foundries are going to offer a 200mm device, whereas, the CCD foundries tend to offer a 150mm device. The majority of the captive foundries are going to use 150mm, 200mm, and 300mm for the production for the CCD and the CMOS devices.

CMOS AnalogBeyond the pricing issue, you also have to worry about the sustainability potential. CMOS was priced below their actual costs in order to win business because they were trying to pursue a high volume and commodity applications from a limited base of various businesses. For some of those businesses, the risk that they took ended up paying off and the volume that was produced was enough to maintain a margin for viability. There were some businesses that ended up having to increase their costs, but others ended up going out of business completely. Some of the venture capitalists find high-risk startups to be interesting, whereas, imager customers are going to require a long-term support and stability plan.

There have been problems with the arrival and development of the on-chip integration, but speed is one of the areas where the CMOS imagers are able to demonstrate a considerable amount of strength. Cost advantages have been difficult for everyone to realize, but they do have a relative ease of use in the output structures that are parallel. In terms of industrial applications they are going to have great potential.

The CCD and CMOS imagers are going to remain complementary to each other. It is not so much a matter of the technology, but rather the choice is going to depend on the vendor and the application that they choose to use. There is one company that is going to remain technology neutral when it comes to the two options available to them. Teledyne DALSA’s is one of the few vendors that are able to offer real solutions with both of the CCDs and the CMOS technologies.

Even though there are a lot of differences between the two imagers, it is always going to remain in the hands of the vendor to decide which product they want to offer consumers. Everyone is going to have a different opinion of which imager is going to be the best one for them, but there is really no clear and definitive answer as to what the best option is. Take the time to go through what each one has to offer and try to make the most informed decision that you can, based on what exactly it is that you are looking for.


24 Vac Power Supply

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

There are several different types of CCTV (Closed Circuit TeleVision) power supplies.  Currently in the digital video security industry there are two basic types of power that are used; 1.) 24  Vac and 2.) 12 v DC.  Most digital video cameras utilize a low-voltage power supply so there are not as many potentially dangerous factors to be concerned about as there is if they used full household Alternating Current (AC).

Even though in the security camera industry today we basically only have two power choices from which to choose, there are a few options for power that will greatly affect your decision in the buying process. With video being integrated into many aspects of our daily lives such as phones, access control, and even mobile usage it is easy to get confused about your power source. Traditionally, CCTV cameras were 24V ac, but about 15 years ago 12V DC cameras started to become popular due to their low cost. Currently, dual voltage cameras are replacing 24V AC only cameras, helping to alleviate the stress of worrying about whether or not your power source is compatible for your camera.

One important note so as not to cause confusion: Using either of the two doesn’t affect the video transmission, only the power. (i.e. Bumping up the power on the power supply will not improve your transmission.  Transmission of the digital video signal from the camera to the DVR is an entirely different issue.

You can run 500 feet of video line using either voltage easily if the camera is powered at the source. However, when using this distance for power as well, you might not be able to get the proper amount of power to your camera when using 12V DC with a camera that has a large current.

BY the nature of physics and the material, DC voltage sent a long distance becomes susceptible to degradation or voltage drops which are directly proportional to the distance the DC voltage is sent.  24V ac on the other hand is not affected (at least for our applications) like DC voltage is.

A camera’s power consumption is usually referred to in milliamps (mA) or amperage (A) if it is large enough. A camera’s consumption is generally around 200-400mA. Things like mechanical filters, infrared LEDs, and internal heaters will jump this number up considerably. Trying to power a 1.2A camera with 12V DC with low amperage over a long distance or with devices that require a high amperage is unfeasible as there will be too much total resistance in the long cable run that adds up to a substantial voltage drop resulting in camera failure.

A quick test to see if you’re having problems due to voltage drops is simply to take a volt meter and measure the voltage at the camera under load (while it’s connected). A common problem attributed to voltage drop is where the camera works fine when there is low consumption but at night, when the IR LEDs turn on, it stops working completely. Problems can also include hum bars, video distortion, and other symptoms which are often mistaken as a bad camera. The solution is to go with a 24V AC camera which minimizes the voltage drop problem by using higher AC voltage.

One possible cure, as noted at the beginning, is to purchase dual voltage cameras. These cameras can be powered with either voltage by simply hooking it up to that power source. No adjustments for power or polarity are necessary as the camera itself automatically accepts whichever form you are using. You only need to consider these options when you are trying to set up a camera over 300’ and with a draw of 300mA or more.

Keeping all of this in mind, it is clear to see that you will want to use AC power whenever you have a long distance to travel or if you are using a smaller diameter wire that may not allow your 12V DC camera to get the proper current it needs to work. Also remember that in the U.S. the wire gauge number represents a larger piece of wire as the gauge number decreases. The easiest and best solution is to look for dual voltage cameras so you no longer have to worry about it.


Voice Activated Recorders

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Voice activated recorders are exactly what their name implies; they are audio recorders that record when activated by a sound.  Voice activated recorders may be used for a multitude of tasks such as securing witness statements, oral note taking, recording college lectures, etc.


Security Camera King features two different digital recorders that can be voice activated.  They are Product #s DPR-N88 and DPR-N308.  In the following article we’ll describe how voice activation works and look closely at each recorder offered for sale by Security Camera King.


But first, let’s talk a little about voice activation and recording.  First, voice activated recorders have a microphone and a speaker.   The recorder has the microphone wired to a small Integrated Circuit (IC) chip that is basically a listening device with a relay.  Should the microphone pick up a sound (any sound will cause activation if loud enough, not just voices) the IC sends a signal to a relay which controls the on/off function of the recorder.


As mentioned earlier, voice activated recorders can be used for many things.  If they are being used for covert recording the voice activation feature can save a lot of storage space and power allowing the recorder to record more and run longer.  However, one important point to address is that these types of recorders often must be tested in their user location to see if the recorders pick up is strong enough to activate the recorder as needed.


Also, most small recorders including voice activated recorders often have to be tested by trial and error in getting the device’s microphone pointed in the proper direction and placed in the proper position to record conversation.  Sometimes the microphone has to be placed just right to pick up the targeted sound.


Product# DPR-N88

This is a 576 hour digital phone and room recorder.  It can be used as a stereo recorder and it has a built in FM radio with a recording feature as well.  The 576 hour record mode is the recording time available when set in LP mode.  The recorder has a backlit LCD display.


It can record in several formats including WAV, ACT, MP3, and WMA.  It has one output for an earphone jack and also one input for an external microphone jack.  It comes with its own built in rechargeable Lithium battery.  The size is small and sleek, 1.3 inches x 4.4 inches x,5 inches and it only weighs about 3 ounces.


The following is a list of some of its features:

  • Stereo recording with built-in stereo microphone
  • FM radio with recording function
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Ear protection function
  • Scrolling display
  • Built-in tools – Autotimer, stopwatch, alarm clock and calendar
  • 3 default folders for storage
  • Voice activated recording
  • A-B segment repetition
  • Ear microphone included for telephone and mobile phone recording
  • High fidelity amplifier
  • High quality speaker
  • Line IN input
  • Audio input
  • 3 recording modes, SP, LP, HQ
  • High Speed USB 2.0 connection
  • Multilanguage display.


Product# DPR-N308

This recorder offers all the same features at the DPR-N88 above but it also have a touch pad key layout and a rugged aluminum case.


The following is the list of features (same as above):

  • Stereo recording with built-in stereo microphone
  • FM radio with recording function
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Ear protection function
  • Scrolling display
  • Built-in tools – Autotimer, stopwatch, alarm clock and calendar
  • 3 default folders for storage
  • Voice activated recording
  • A-B segment repetition
  • Ear microphone included for telephone and mobile phone recording
  • High fidelity amplifier
  • High quality speaker
  • Line IN input
  • Audio input
  • 3 recording modes, SP, LP, HQ
  • High Speed USB 2.0 connection
  • Multilanguage display.


If you have any additional questions or concerns about these voice activated recorders contact one of our security experts either via “Live Chat” or telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday 9AM – 6PM EST.