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  1. Kawboy12R

    Hard Drive Speed

    I'm not sure how Video Insight allows you to specify storage drives but you might want to avoid RAID 0 and have one drive dedicated to handle 25 cameras and the other separate drive handle the other 25. I'd rather lean on the capacity of the two drives separately than depend on the RAID controller to give you the absolute full capacity of both drives. That'd take a good RAID card but why spend the money when you don't have to? That way, reliability is a bit enhanced as well. A single drive failure only takes out half the cameras instead of all of them, plus if you DO have too-busy issues, if you're on motion recording then possibly only half the system is slowed. With either case though, if multi drive recording is an option and you're getting issues, just add another drive and offload some cameras onto the new drive.
  2. Kawboy12R

    Need help with night time / low light etc. cam

    My personal experience is that people just don't see cameras in a residential setting so most of the time they aren't a deterrence. Many shoplifters either don't really care if there are cameras or are convinced that nobody is watching them. Others will wear a mask or depend on poor night quality of video to get away with it. Others like captainvideo's example also just don't care, but that combination of continued malevolence on the part of the perp and incompetence/bad luck/lack of time on the part of the cops is pretty rare. You can also find examples where visible cameras completely solve a theft or vandalism problem. Most of my problems with crime at home have to do with car surfers looking for an easy score for drugs. Most of these would probably turn around and keep walking if they saw a large easily visible sign in a car warning them to smile for the cameras. Buuuut, large visible signs are a pain to place every time and "here" smashed windows are a rarity, so you may as well remember to lock your car as put up the sign unless you're parking somewhere industrial or out of the way where the noise of a smashed window wouldn't wake people up.
  3. Looks like a bit of fog lighting up from the built-in IR of the cameras. I doubt that that system can turn off the cameras' internal IR but if it can then do it. Then mount some external IR illuminators a few feet away from each camera. That system has no hookups for external PIR alarms so you can't use those instead of video-based motion detection. Talk to your installer and see what he'll do for you. I don't know what you told him you wanted the system to do but that's a very cheap basic system. If you told him you wanted useful night-time motion detection then he shouldn't have installed that system. If you didn't specify and told him you wanted cheap, well, that's what you got. You could always swap out those cameras with good low light cams that can switch off their own IR and use either ambient light or external illuminators. Or, alternatively, you could get another DVR that supported external alarms and install PIRs outside, but that's more wires and installation costs plus the new DVR and doesn't solve the video quality problem. A budget temporary solution might be to just put some cheap driveway alarms up so if someone comes on the property then the alarm goes off in the house. That might drive you nuts though if you've got deer at night, an early morning paper delivery when you want to sleep in, kids playing in the yard in the day, or whatever. Here's one of my driveway cams at night when it's snowing fairly heavily out. The picture is in colour at 1/60th exposure with a streetlight over the deer and two low power LEDs close to the hood of the car. The deer caused the motion event. I basically only get false motion alarms for wind in the trees and shadows. A cam using built-in IR would've been recording all night and had streaks all through the picture.
  4. Kawboy12R

    Need help with night time / low light etc. cam

    Hikvision DS-2CD3445-I is $80ish, can turn off the IR, and would be good directly under a streetlight. Available in 12mm, too, but harder to find than shorter lengths. Get a 12mm and a 2.8mm for $160 plus shipping. You'll get ID shots from the 12 and the big picture from the wide angle. 4mp and pics have noticeably more detail than the 2mp Darkfighter but loses the advantage at night. They're quite a bit better than the older 3mp Hik and 2mp Swann rebranded Hik cams at night. Stunning picture quality for under a hundred bucks plus shipping of about $30 from China for the first cam.
  5. Kawboy12R

    Need help with night time / low light etc. cam

    It will work with an external IR illuminator but shouldn't be required. Usually the more light the merrier though, if only so you can speed up your exposure to cut down motion blur with the minimum of graininess. I make out fine at 1/60th under an LED streetlamp and little else. The 12mm lens length works well at 45 feet or so to my street. Even at 6mm or so it's quite good but poorer mugshots than 12mm. Depends on the FOV you need at that distance. PM me if you want a reliable cheap source.
  6. Kawboy12R

    Need help with night time / low light etc. cam

    Found how to turn off the IR. It's under Advanced Configuration, System, Service, Hardware, and uncheck Enable IR Light.
  7. "Vehicle" means what? Car? Minivan? Cargo van? If it's a minivan or larger, that makes things much easier for wiring and size. After that, I'd look for a hybrid non-mobile NVR with analog and IP connections. That'll give you hidef recording options alongside traditional analog cameras and vastly improve your potential camera selection. Handheld minicams often have great zoom, image stabilization, and versatility. You'll easily be able to hook up analog cams with either BNC or RCA connections, plus add some megapixel cameras if you want. Use a pure sine wave inverter to power the AC from the vehicle's DC or your battery pack. Mount the DVR and battery pack in, say, something inconspicuous like a dog carrier. They're available in plastic so they're hard to see into but still ventilated. Add padding to protect the DVR from vibrations. The biggest problem, besides battery power, will be covertly mounting PORTABLE cameras, particularly ones capable of useful detail at 100+ yards. One decent option would be waterproof cams or housings mounted behind a radiator grill or other existing venting or driving light housings in the front. Make the cables easily accessible and labeled at the DVR end so you can at least move the DVR housing and some of your cameras quickly. An amber flashing light bar on the roof might disguise a little bullet/pinhole camera or three mounted near or in it. Clunky but easily removable but not as protected as a few cams mounted in windows. Mount a 12v DVD monitor in the front for viewing/focusing and you're set. I'd add a battery isolator to the vehicle and hook into it to "help" the standalone batteries in the DVR housing and/or a second vehicle battery to assist the DVR housing. The isolator (common in RVs, boats, and ambulances) will allow you to charge two batteries safely but draw one battery down to empty while protecting the other one to still allow starting. Most of the worst fiddly stuff is for your longterm dream of 8-10 cams combined with the easily portable part. For now, other than that, just mount a regular SOHO DVR (sounds like even an all analog one would work for now with your present cameras) with PTZ capability in a dog carrier (or whatever- if it's hot and you leave it unattended, some jerk will probably break your windows to make sure there isn't a dog in it) with a pure sine inverter and some extra padding to protect the electronics from road vibrations and you're set. BNC and RCA video connections are easily interchangeable and just about universal. If you're swapping cars and are crippled by Toyotas (and others) that have cig lighter ports switched off with the key, add alligator clamps (fuse the positive one) and some wire and run power direct from the battery out the edge of the hood closest to the windshield, around the corner post, and in the door. Simple easily portable way to tap into the battery of multiple vehicles. There are other more tamperproof methods but 6" of exposed wiring isn't the end of the world if you can't modify your vehicles AT ALL. Adding a fused wire from an free unswitched port (some have power when the key is on, some don't) on the fuse panel to the back of the cig lighter plug will easily make it available at all times if you prefer. Most can use a blue female bullet connector (14-16ga) on the back of the cig lighter power port for power and use a male spade connector to tap into the fusebox on the hot side of an unused fuse port. Get handy with it and you could easily do it in 10 minutes and switch it back when you're done. Easy even on rental cars if you're switching vehicles often for whatever reasons. For max versatility, put some connectors on the power wire to the DVR and have three different options for powering it. Carry a wire with your current cig lighter end, another with the alligator clamp setup, and another with a fused spade connector to tap into the fusebox without changing the wiring to the cig plug. Use the cig lighter when you can, the spade direct to the fusebox when you can't, and direct to the battery with alligator clamps if you can't find an unused always hot slot in the under-dash fusebox.
  8. Kawboy12R

    Need help with night time / low light etc. cam

    Hikvision Darkfighters are superb in low light. You'll have to use day mode to disable the internal IRs (an IR cam shining on a glass window renders it useless) but they're VERY good even without the help of IR. I just got mine but I don't see a way yet to turn off the internal IR in the dome version. With the help of an external IR floodlight they're stunningly good for the money in pitch black. With varifocal lens they'll go to 12mm which is decent for watching a car that's not TOO far away on the street. $300 plus shipping if you don't mind getting one direct from China. I just picked up a DS-2CD4526FWD-IZ to try and it puts my older Axis P3364VE Lightfinders to shame. They used to set the bar in the HD network camera under $1000 range for night performance. Huge jump in performance for the dollar and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it over an older B&W low light analog camera. I used to have one just for the same task you're using it for- low light IR-free viewing through glass. The only advantage mine had over this Darkfighter dome is that I put a 5-50mm varifocal lens on my other camera. You might look into whether or not Hikvision is making a Darkfighter-technology box camera with interchangeable lenses if you need more than 12mm focal length. For indoor mounting viewing through a window it'd be the bees knees.
  9. What is powering the cameras? You'll need either PoE injectors, a PoE switch, or power via the barrel connector. Plain old ethernet doesn't supply power to run the camera, just listen for data coming from it.
  10. Kawboy12R

    Help with Camera ID...

    http://www.dynacolor.com.tw/prodDetail.asp?id=295 This appears to be the AvertX HD810 and has a rather unique design so I'm guessing Dynacolor. Try plugging AvertX and Dynacolor into YouTube and looking at some samples. Look for detail in areas of shade in otherwise brightly lit areas to test the quality of the dual shutter WDR and night shots when it's as black as possible. It's hard to judge whether or not the video samples have ambient light to match your locations or even have their in-camera settings set optimally though.
  11. Kawboy12R

    More for the Installation Hall of Shame

    More like hope of the somewhat mythical "deterrence" instead of evidence.
  12. Outdoor shots at night with no and low light. Faces and vehicles from the front with lights on. 15 to 50 foot distances.
  13. Have a nice camera setup waiting for them. You can make them famous. The one day notice certainly explains the aiming. It was good of you to get something up that quickly, although definitely frustrating that it didn't work as well as you'd hoped. That certainly sucks. It's better to not be stolen from at all but it's REALLY satisfying to catch someone on camera and have an image good enough to identify a complete stranger and get a conviction. Getting everything right is a bit like stalking and bagging an elusive trophy. Trust me.
  14. Good luck. As others have mentioned, there's no detail left there to enhance. Not enough pixels on the plate (too far away and the camera's field of view is too wide), the IR obscured most of the letter detail from reflection off the white parts of the plate, the IR glare on the building caused the cam to adjust the exposure for it and not the shadowed distance detail, and your DVR threw out most of what little detail WAS actually there when it compressed the original analog signal. Look at the huge blocks that show in the darkness. That shows a LOT of lossy compression and a shallow colour depth (not enough bits per pixel when compressing and saving) Even buellwinkle's supersecret CSI program can't fix that. A wide FOV like your camera has is normally useful for showing what happened (not who did it), but that one's image is so bad at night that you can't really tell anything besides that you had a visit from three people in a car. Can you even tell if they stole anything from the video? Decent saved evidence in the daytime, useless at night. I bet that you can't read a plate from more than mayyybe 20 feet away from the saved video under great conditions in the daytime. Point that camera a bit more to the left so the wall isn't screwing up the exposure with the glare and add another specialized zoom camera pointed at a choke point for plates and you'll be much happier the next time someone robs you. You'll also want a camera at every entry point. Most important of all, TEST THE SYSTEM, particularly at night, and see if you can get a clear picture of faces and plates from the recorded evidence. With analog cams, unlike network cameras, live view is much better than the saved footage. If the saved evidence isn't satisfactory the system needs fixing. As others have said, modern hidef network cameras are great. They tend to grab much more detail and make even an amateur's installation job much more effective with wide FOV cameras. Add some specialty cameras at choke points for closeup mug shots of everybody entering and leaving your doors and 90% of your ID work should be good. Control the lighting, the shot (angle and chokepoints), and the Field Of View (zoom).
  15. Tom, I respect your experience and knowledge, but I've seen no evidence to support your claims that that site does anything but do what it says it does- a general Internet port scanning. If you can tell us what software you use to detect a port scan from them or otherwise prove your point, please share. I'm not sure if typing is hard for you or if English isn't your first language, but if it's typing then perhaps you could try voice recognition software so that you can share easier with us. There are also online translation tools. Full sentences and more detail would be great. The only valid reason for me not linking to that site is if it did some port scanning or malicious attack when a user clicked on it. If someone can prove it then I'll remove it, but I've had no malicious connections here that I can tell. I'm not saying that my firewall, router, antivirus, and antimalware protection is perfect and would necessarily protect and/or alert me to everything but I've detected nothing strange here from when I first clicked it 'til now. That's why I linked it- no harm detected, no harm known, and my system is equipped to notify me. I'm not a network engineer or IP guru by any means but this ain't my first rodeo. I'm of the opinion that sunlight is the best antiseptic. Folks needs to know about their vulnerabilities. That includes me- if someone is gathering information about my system I want to know about it. If I'm wrong prove it and point me in the right direction to learn about it and stop it. Also, if someone has a spare camera that they don't mind port forwarding and leaving with a default password, maybe they could point it at a picture of a one-fingered salute and see if it gets added to the site. That way they'll know they're number one.