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  1. I'd believe it. I'm in an environment where there are well over 360 (enterprise-grade) drives spinning all the time. Seagate drives seem to have bad models, and it seems to hurt. My failure rate for 500gb drives is quite low: maybe around 3% over 6 years. 1tb Seagate drives on the other hand: closer to 60% over 5 years. I've had good experience with 3tb Hitachi drives, with no failures yet over ~13 months. 2tb Seagate are also treating me well. That being said, I'm not surprised about the 1.5tb Seagate drives being crap. But their newer drives seem to have overcome MOST of their issues from before.
  2. I've learned that you can do all kinds of things to help prevent damage, but in the event of a direct hit, the camera will most likely fry. I believe that the best thing you can do is protect the head-end of your system from lightning chasing back in. I have issues where the cameras don't get hit, but lightning manages to sneak into the cabling and chase both ways. After having 2 cameras and one entire cable run get toasted from this, I started using the MMS-PTZ-UTP (protects UTP video, UTP data, and power) from http://www.minutemanups.com/products/lineguard.php for the few outdoor PTZs that are on copper. There are comparable products out there from other manufacturers, too.
  3. dustmop

    Why did you get started with cctv?

    Honeywell front end by any chance?
  4. dustmop

    More for the Installation Hall of Shame

    I bet if you looked on the roof of that building, you can put a ladder on there and still not reach the top of the brick. More than likely, the handy box is the highest point of entry into the building and thats why that installer did what he did. It may look horrible, but I have a feeling there was a reason. I've encountered that more than a few times. But I use rigid conduit then. I only like seal-tite for the < 1 foot from the box at the top of the conduit to the camera. It's also cheaper to use conduit than that much seal-tite!
  5. dustmop

    Mounting: Discreet or Deter?

    I believe in both uses, but with a heavy emphasis on deterrent. Sometimes unobtrusive/small/covert cameras are more appropriate, but if you have had vandalism/theft/etc issues in the past, you probably want to make it nice and obvious, while ensuring it is the correct camera/mount for the job (vandal resistant) and is mounted where it's difficult to get to from ground level. I have found that rectangular/bullet style enclosures on arms outside draw a LOT of attention, where a smaller vandal dome is less noticeable. Arm mounted enclosures can be moved or ripped off by a determined individual pretty easily, where a dome isn't so easily abused. (The previous is just my two cents, your mileage may vary, etc etc)
  6. dustmop

    Drop Ceiling Camera Mounting

    Actually, I do use fire rated plywood for my strips. We always have sheets on hand, and when we have to cut one down for something, I cut the scrap into strips for camera supporting. Also, there's nothing like having to install a DF8 dome just for a camera that is like 1/8" too long. Or the stupid rules here where the regulators really want cameras in a dome (not just exposed), so you have to stick one of those super-heavy-bludgeon-your-enemy Axis IP fixed cameras in there.
  7. dustmop

    Drop Ceiling Camera Mounting

    All great ideas above me here. I use bolts with wingnuts and toggle bolts for really light cameras/mics/hornstrobes. For larger/heavier cameras, I usually use strips of wood cut to the size of the tile (2 feet x 2 inches), and then either let the camera housing mounts catch those strips of wood (Pelco type cans), or use regular screws and just screw into the wood. I usually cut them about 1/8" shorter than a ceiling tile in width, to allow for easy removal of the tile down the road.
  8. dustmop

    Issues with baluns

    Once? I think I've done it at least 100 times in the last 5 years. I even still make the "ah **** I forgot the strain relief boot, I'm a moron" mistake when I do fiber optic terminations from time to time.
  9. dustmop

    concealed carry vs. robbers on cctv

    It was in Florida, where the law says you do NOT have to back down/flee from your attacker. Also, the part where he "chased" them is very misleading; the entire engagement occurred within the building. He continued firing upon the perpetrators until they fled the scene. According to Florida law (and many other US states), he was within his right to engage with deadly force if he felt the perpetrators were a threat to those around them. Frankly, I wish he would have had much more training with his personal carry weapon, so that he would have only needed to fire twice; once each. So in regard to the fact that it was pretty pisspoor weapon discipline, I agree. And had he hit a bystander, he would have been charged, and rightfully so. People need to understand that just because they CAN carry a weapon, you still need to have proper training and judgement before whipping it out and "busting some caps". Also, carrying subsonic hollow-points, and being well trained and very comfortable with your weapon helps prevent collateral damage. I'm a firm believer that EVERYONE should be trained in the appropriate, safe, and effective use of firearms, and those that wish to carry, should be allowed to after passing a set standard of training (except felons and those otherwise excluded, and also adhering to local/state laws for licensing, of course). But then again, maybe that's just the Marine in me speaking up.
  10. I've actually been asked a few times by people if I had any recommendations for how to do this, but I never have an answer beyond the various mobile dvrs and a dash cam. Two people in particular want cameras in their side mirrors looking back at the doors to the vehicle. Anybody know of a company that provides such a product?
  11. dustmop

    Got a Cisco router? You may want to replace it.

    I hope the backlash they receive from this teaches them something. And they better not screw with the commercial/enterprise grade hardware! For SO/HO hardware, DD-WRT or bust!
  12. dustmop

    Best HDcctv camera?

    For when I do have IP cameras in the system for testing purposes, they only show up in our VMS. Going forward we have looked at single monitor stream decoders or just going to several LARGE format monitors per station and doing monitor walls. In either scenario, we would leave probably 1 or 2 analog monitors per station simply for PTZ control of the existing analog PTZs. This would let us draw our 9780 down from the monster it is to probably just a few bays, along with taking out most of the UTP hubs for the twisted pair. We don't envision adding IP PTZ cameras to the gaming floor or money areas in great numbers for a long time yet, and even if we do, we're looking at possibly just adding some 360 degree cameras to get better overall coverage. IP fixed cameras will definitely be added soon, however, as latency is really a non-issue on a fixed camera, and the benefits (tables and money areas) are fantastic. A virtual matrix for fixed cameras also seems like a decent compromise for a transition phase, but I'd have to see some pricing before making a decision to go that way or just use the existing analog matrix until the cameras are replaced with IP. We also looked at some of the IP PTZs that also offer analog outputs, but the amount of cabling required for that makes me cringe, and not many cameras offer both. I know you are at least familiar with the system I have here, but we don't actually use Pelco controllers; we currently utilize a USB controller that plugs into the workstations. The VMS software uses a Moxa ethernet-to-serial interface box (such an awesome piece of hardware), where one Moxa port is assigned a COM port for each workstation. Then you just wire it into the back of the CC1 like you would for a normal Pelco controller. This results in a latency on the order of maybe 30ms while it passes the data from workstation to server to Moxa, to Pelco; in other words, you can't tell at all. Also, in our VMS here, we have a feature called "follow me", where you can make what your doing on one workstation automatically show up on a specific monitor. Normally used in situations where you want to show security or the gaming authority something, without having to tell them what camera to pull up. You just do it and it shows up to them automatically. You could set it up to where it would just control your analog monitor locally and put up the PTZ you want to control. So I'm sure something could easily be written if Honeywell or whomever doesn't already offer something like this. I'm lucky in that my manufacturer takes my input and requests rather seriously. EDIT: We don't actually use the "Follow Me" feature here, so I just set it up and tried it to see if it would mirror changes on the digital review/spot/VMS/whateveryouwantcallit monitor to an analog monitor, and it sure does! Looks like at least I have a solution for us for the future.
  13. dustmop

    Best HDcctv camera?

    I've played with some Axis cameras in the past, most recently the Q1755, and I love them. While I wish the Q1604 offered 1080 instead of 720, I think it's time to find one to play with. I can think of a few places here that a camera like this would help.
  14. dustmop

    Best HDcctv camera?

    I'm in the same boat as you, except that EVERY camera here is done over UTP (parking lot cameras are on fiber). The thought of a PTZ that isn't easily compatible with our switching matrix/every monitor AND has noticeable latency makes me shudder. For fixed cameras, latency is a non-issue, so going IP and with whatever resolution is required makes great sense (think face cameras, gaming tables, number plate recognition). So with a rather LARGE system that is compatible with both analog encoders and IP cameras (manufacturer will add support for unsupported cameras on request, and quickly), the transition to IP is much easier to accomplish than to HDcctv. Add decoders to most of the existing monitors so they can decode IP streams, then leave a handful of monitors on the old analog matrix for use with the analog PTZs to eliminate lag. You can still display all analog cameras on the digital streaming/decoded monitors, but they will have a noticeable latency, hence leaving a few analog monitors. IP PTZ lag is getting to the point where we could tolerate it in our line of work thanks to multiple video streams. As more and more IP cameras are added and old analog replaced, eventually the analog matrix and the analog encoders would simply dwindle away and disappear, freeing up rack space for more DVR/NVR units to record the IP cameras with. And with 7 racks full of analog switching and encoders, that's a WHOLE LOT of recording. Also, the system I use is only limited by network bandwidth and disk i/o for the number of IP cameras you can record. What was that limit on HDcctv DVRs again?
  15. dustmop

    Pelco IPS cable

    I don't have any Spectra III here to try it on, so I'm afraid I can't be of much help with this. Maybe someone else here can be of help (I'm looking at you survtech)