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Everything posted by robca

  1. Hopefully some of the smart folks here will have good pointers as usual I'm planning to install an intercom system for a pedestrian gate (single house), connected to the phone system (something like the Doorbell Fon system), and a camera to see who's at the gate. I know that I can buy an integrated video intercom, but that usually doesn't integrate with the phones in the house, and can show video only from one monitor. I already have a CCTV system installed, and can display the video from a camera on any TV. I'm looking for suggestions on either a video intercom system that integrates with the phones and can output video, or a weather-resistant camera (ideally with illumination) that can be inserted in a Jbox above the intercom speaker/button, and look like one of those nice, integrated unit found on multi-housing installations Any help is appreciated, Rob [/img]
  2. I'm having some problems getting a Panasonic PTZ camera (CS854) to work with my DVR. According to the documentation the camera supports the Pelco-P protocol, and I got the info from Panasonic support on how to enable it (the manual is unclear on that). Even following the instructions, though, I can't get the camera to properly communicate, and I start suspecting other problems (the DVR works with other Pelco PTZ cameras) Can someone familiar with the camera answer the following: What does the initialization of the camera on power on looks like? Mine turns on, zooms in and out, then auto-focuses. There's no activation of the pan and tilt mechanism (my other camera runs a sort of self test on power on, including panning and tilting). I saw the camera move on a "tour", so I know the mechanism works If anyone is using the camera with Pelco protocols, how did you manage to enter the camera menu? Thanks in advance, Rob
  3. I got a used 120fps, 16ch card, which looks identical to the CAP12016 cards from DVS/DiViS/Viewgate and others. I custom built a Intel-based 945 chipset PC (using Intel D945GNT motherboard, a very good card for the price), Dual core P4 - 925 (3.0 GHz), 1 Gb ram. Basically, as compatible as you can get, according to all the specs The card works, and I can see the camera output when in setup mode (the window where you can set camera parameters like color, motion, etc). But when I execute the main DVR application, I get a "security check error" I tried tweaking everything in the BIOS, and changing drivers, but nothing makes a real difference. I searched for the all the possible FAQ, forums and online resources, but the only reference to that error was a potential incompatibility problem. I'm trying to get another PC to test, but I also thought that asking here might help. Assuming it's not a copy protection feature (because I would expect it to be documented, in that case), what else can I look into?
  4. I don't know for sure, but as a software engineer I see two red flags: one, the software has not been written with an upgrade scenario in mind. Instead of asking "you have a previous version, do you want to upgrade", the setup for the new product is recognized as a uninstall for the previous two, it just launches the standard Installshield uninstall, which in theory should remove everything (and it's good practice to do so) I found that all the settings are stored in a file called angelcam.dat, inside the Windows directory, the passwords are stored in an easy to find registry key (and it's exceedingly easy to replace the user/password combination with a simple cut&paste) and the video files are not removed nor protected (so that if I have physical access to a machine, I can pretty much do anything) It turns out there's also a security advisory, where the web server implemented by Divis is vulnerable to a remote traversal attack (a vulnerability not addressed by the vendor), which together with the above probably allows a remote exploit. If you are using a Divis card, probably it's a good idea not to use the web server functionality I went ahead and upgraded anyway. As I thought, it doesn't maintain the settings, but by doing cut&paste from the original angelcam.dat and the new one, I got most of what I needed back. The already recorded video is not lost, which is what I cared the most about I also discovered that V12, unlike my previous version, does not accept symbols in a password. Even worse, it doesn't tell you when you run setup. So, if for example, you chose a user name of "admin" and password of "foobar!" (no quotes), setup completes, but when you try to log in it reports a "wrong password" error. If, instead, you try to change the password from the configuration program, at least reports that the password is not matching (that was my clue). Luckily, all it takes is to edit the registry key I mentioned All in all, a couple of interesting hours spent on this...
  5. I have a 16ch 120 fps Divis Dvr card that I have been using with 11.06.00 software for some time. I'd like to update the software to the new V12, but when launching setup it asks to completely remove the previous version. Is there a way to upgrade from V11 to V12 without losing the settings? I can definitely remove and reinstall, but I was hoping to avoid the tedious task of reconfiguring everything (schedules, motion masks, etc) Any advice from the Divis users that upgraded software before? Thanks in advance, Rob
  6. The "one shot autofocus" is 0021A06 Funnily enough, I was testing that just earlier today
  7. If you are not afraid of messing around with communication software, there's a way to send commands to a CS854 camera. The Panasonic protocol uses different up/down/left/right commands for the menu and PTZ(unlike Pelco protocols), so many DVR programs can't send menu commands, as they are not configured to use different commands for the menu and PTZ... I spent some time looking over a few programs (Geovision, Avermedia, Chance-I/DivisDVR) and none can easily accommodate the different command structure. I'm creating a configuration file for the Divis DVR program just for the setup menu (so that you can configure a camera called "Panasonic menu", set the menu, then switch back to the standard Panasonic and use it as a PTZ camera). BTW: the Divis DVR configuration file for the Panasonic has some mistakes, I'm also fixing that part. I'm assuming you have a RS232 port connected to a RS485 converter. Download a program called Realterm from Sourceforge (freeware, open source, available as easy-to-install binary). http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=67297 Run the program, in the "Port" tab, select port# and communication speed (all other parameters can be left on the default setting: 8 bits, parity none, 1 stop bit, hardware control none), and open the communication port (if the "open" button is depressed, that means the port has already been opened by the program. Assuming your camera is set as camera #1, go to the Send tab, and enter: \x02AD01;GC7:0021940\x03 In the box, then press "send ASCII". That opens the Panasonic menu. Sometimes you need to send the command a couple of times in order for the camera to receive it the command format is: \x02 sends ASCII 02, standard for start of transmission AD01 selects camera #1 (change it to your camera address, as per your dip-switch settings) GC07: is the command prefix 0021940 is the "open menu command" \x03 is ASCII 03, end of transmission here are the other commands to move in the menu structure: 0021941 menu off 0021942 cursor up 0021943 cursor right 0021944 cursor down 0021945 cursor left 002194A item select (to open a submenu/select an item) 002194B item select2 002194E item select for Special2 menu So, for example, cursor down for Camera 1 would be \x02AD01;GC7:0021944\x03 and can be sent using the Send ASCII button hope this helps
  8. I have been happy with a Divis DVR (Chance-I) card. The drivers are rock solid, the program has good functionality and the remote access functionality is much better (for my needs) than a Geovision. Chance-I updates the program relatively frequently, and there are many OEMs/distributors for those cards. There's also an SDK for added customization I custom built my PC, using an Intel motherboard with the 965 chipset, integrated graphics (less money as you don't need a separate video card and more importantlymore stability, as the Intel drivers tend to be less "cutting edge" in terms of functionality, but much more solid and reliable; video drivers are the #1 cause of PC instability under Windows). Seagate DVR-rated hard disks, and the best possible power supply you can afford, plus lot of fans. You can easily mirror the HD, for added redundancy (and the HDs are so cheap, that using 2 hardly breaks the bank). PM me if you need more info (I'm a PC guy, dabbling in CCTV as a hobby )
  9. I never managed to get any of the CS854 to work with Pelco P. I did manage to get it to work with my Divis DVR card, though. The INI file in the original Divis program is incomplete, though, and I'm slowly adding functionality, based on a version of the Panasonic protocol I found online. Avermedia and Geovision also seem to support the CS854 (I looked at their configuration files to help me figure out how the Panasonic protocol worked, before I found the full Panasonic specs which, btw, are pretty complex compared to the Pelco)
  10. robca

    Capture card with digital zoom

    According to what you write (1/3" CCD, 6mm lens), you have a 120ft field of view at 150' (I used this lens calculator, found by entering "CCTV lens calculator" in a search engine http://www.ismrep.com/lenscalc.html) If so, even assuming the best possible outcome from a TV signal (~600 TVL horizontal), with the best possible digitizer (DVR card), you have 5 pixel per feet covered. If you digitally zoom that image, a feet is still only 5 pixels. That's all the information you can capture in the best case of an ideal world. In real life, it'll be worse than that, so let's say you have 2 pixels or so to recognize a face The digital zoom cannot extract information that is not captured to start with (unlike what Hollywood likes us to believe) If you want to recognize something at 150', you need a good zoom lens. Or moving the camera closer You simply can't cover a wide area with only one camera, and hope to also get details... one, or the other.
  11. Nice to know there's 2 of us Yes, I have TX- and TX- connected to yellow and green (don't remember which is connected to which, I know that reversing the wires prevents transmission). I have another Pelco-compatible camera, and it works well, so I know that the PTZ controller in the DVR and the RS485 converter work. I have termination on. I tried both configurations (dip switches 2, 3 and 4 all up or all down), and the only one that seems to be working is all dip switches down. Which one works for you? What do you mean with "2 wire mode": full duplex or half duplex? I didn't yet my DVR has a "Panasonic protocol option" and using that I somehow managed to kinda sorta get the camera to PTZ, nothing else (no presets, no menu, etc). According to Panasonic's support, the trick to get Pelco to work is using switch 6 of SW1 on instead of switch 8. So, for example, if you want the camera to be ID=2 as Panasonic, you set SW1 with 2 and 8 on, everything else off (as usual, first you set the communication speed, power cycle, set 2 and 8 on, power cycle again). If you want the camera to be ID2 Pelco, you do the communication speed settings, power cycle, 2 and 6 on, everything else off, power cycle. That should get you Pelco P ID 2. Have you tried that? My problems are compounded by the fact that the camera is used and a bit temperamental (sometimes, when power cycled, doesn't initializes properly, so I'm never sure) Did you try the "switch 6 instead of 8" for Pelco?
  12. robca

    New Home System Design Recommendations Needed

    As a person who installed a decent home monitoring system (9 cameras) based on a Divis DVR card, I came to the conclusion that the answer to "standalone vs PC" heavily depends on your familiarity with PCs. I custom built a PC exclusively for DVR use, sourcing the most cost effective components (and recycling an old case), with special focus on stability (Intel motherboard, with integrated video) and reliability (good power supply). Then I installed the cleanest Windows installation, no extra drivers, no other application. The PC is used only for DVR, like a standalone DVR would be (bit unfair to compare a standalone DVR with a PC used for web browsing and game playing, when it comes to stability ). If you know how to manage your PC (and how to remove all the un-needed components), a dedicated PC is as stable as the DVR software running in it (and I found the Divis DVR software to be rock solid). If all of the above is true for you, a PC-based solution is superior to a standalone, and cheaper in the long run. My whole PC cost me ~$350, using online dealers and good timing, and I can easily add disks, backup and customize, etc. My PC has been running non-stop since December 2006, when a windstorm knocked off power, to September 2007, and I have managed it remotely from Boston (the house is in Seattle), when I relocated there for work. I added the DynDNS updater, and locked down the PC, behind a firewall. The remote client is awesome and if Ineed more access, I can always remotely connect to the system using the remote desktop client, and do anything If, on the other hand, you are not a computer guy, probably a standalone is more likely to provide reliable service. For me, PC-based solutions are vastly superior, easier to customize and manage, and more secure (there's nothing inherently secure about standalone devices, you rely on the security developed by the OEM, and in my experience that's not very good, as it's not their main focus... at least on a PC you have inspection tools and ways to secure them that are well understood, even if PCs tend to be a bigger target due to how common they are. But as long as you lock it down and don't browse the net from it, a PC is very secure)
  13. robca

    Software for BNC camera

    Talking from experience , I would first check to see what quality of video you can get from the camera. Get a BNC-to-RCA adapter, and connect your camera directly to a TV or monitor with a Video-In input. What you see on the monitor, is usually the best video quality you'll ever get (if anything, the DVR card will slightly degrade the quality due to digitalization artifacts). If the image quality is poor, well, focus on what can be done on the camera to improve it. If the image on the monitor is dramatically better than what you get from the DVR, you can look for an online manual... but I would not raise my expectations too much if the card/software is not original
  14. First of all, thanks for all the pointers on my gate video intercom question, incredible level of details. I will go the route of building my own box (probably I'll end up with a box inside the gate wall, with just a flush panel covering it). I'm pretty good at building stuff, and have all the necessary tools to make a flush panel with speaker holes, button and a plexiglass window for the camera. I'll also find a way to integrate a light (or IR illuminator), and use the DP28SW to turn the light on. I don't think I want to go with a relatively high-end camera like the ones you suggest, so the choice is between a bullet camera with a wide-angle lens, or a board/pinhole camera. And it would be easier to fit a board camera than a bullet. Do you have any suggestions for a board camera with a wide angle lens, with decent low-light performance? Ideally color (I know I can get much better low light with B/W, but I still prefer color images) Thanks again, Rob
  15. I just received a used Panasonic WV-854b PTZ camera, unfortunately lacking the mounting base (and that means no wiring harness). I plan to contact companies specializing in servicing Panasonic cameras, but I also wonder if anyone here has either the pinout of the connector (not in the manual, that only has the pinout of the wiring harness) or a suggestion on where to get a wiring harness Thanks in advance, Rob
  16. Thanks for the suggestion to use the brass innards to build my own box, I might be able to combine it with a cameras as well. And thanks for the "reliability report" on the Doorbell Fon, good to know it's been working well for you. I'm assuming you are adding the optional electric strike controller (DP-28SW) to drive the strike In general, I agree with you that a separate bullet camera would provide more flexibility and higher quality. The reason why I was thinking of having an integrated camera/speaker unit, is because it's a "well understood user interface", so tho speak, especially those units with lights coming up on the sides of the camera: the visitor pushes a button, lights come on, and they speak into the unit, with their face toward the camera. Given that my gate is on the side of a wall, I'd be forced to put the camera not in line with the speaker, and the risk is that the visitor will face away from the camera. I also looked at the Channel Vision units, but they seem much more expensive for the same functionality. Any experience with Channel Vision?
  17. robca

    WZ16 camera and rainbow color noise

    To close the loop on this, I tried the WZ-16 camera with a Techwell-based chipset (DiViS) and it works pretty well both in day and night mode. There seems to be a problem with the BT878 chips, as far as I can tell
  18. I was looking for a weather-resistant bullet camera (or dome) with a 4-9mm lens, auto iris, >=480 TVL resolution and better than 0.1 lux sensitivity, to monitor a ~30x30' courtyard. The camera is under a small roof, so not completely exposed to elements and, due to space consideration, I cannot use a box-style camera with an outdoor housing. I ended up getting a WZ16 camera, even if I didn't necessarily need the built-in IR (especially because it tends to cause lot of motion detection at night, and I have enough illumination in the courtyard to get by without IR). The camera works well in day mode. When in night mode (and you can see the IR LED coming on, and the mechanical IR filter click in place), the image shows pretty bad rainbows (see picture in the attached file, also available ) The image is perfect when in daylight mode, and perfect when in full IR (no other light source). In night mode, any source of non-IR light causes the rainbows. Where it gets weird, is that the problem only appears with DVR cards (I tried 2, one a GeoVision, one a cheap clone, which has much worse issues, and the one used for the picture). If you connect the camera directly to a monitor, it shows a normal B/W image in night mode Ian at ExtremeCCTV has been great and tried to pinpoint the problem, to no avail. The dealer even sent out a new camera (thanks to ExtremeCCTV advance replacement warranty), but the problem is still present (alas, the new camera serial number is only 8 units away from the previous one: I was hoping to get one from a different batch) Given I'm having the problem on 2 completely different DVRs (and those work just fine with many other day/night cameras), I have a hard time accepting the fact that the cameras "work as expected", even if they show fine on a monitor (that monitor can display pretty much anything with a pulse ). I saw similar problems on this forum with a KT&C camera, and in that case the manufacturer found a manufacturing problem that caused the issue. At this point, I'm inclined to return the camera (unless anyone here has a suggestion). Did anyone else saw rainbow problems? How was the problem solved? Any suggestions on what to buy instead? No IR, if possible, to avoid all the IR issues (insects, false alarms, etc). Specs as at the beginning of the post
  19. robca

    Cameras close to beach

    I'm pretty unhappy with my WZ-16 camera. While the lens is varifocal, the IR beam is pretty narrow, so it reduces the usefulness of the wide angle lens. I have lot of IR glare, no matter what I do to shield it (moving the rubber gasket somewhat helps, but it's a nightmare to get the lens cover properly screwed-in, with no glare or dust reflecting like crazy when in night mode). Integrated IR (as I discovered on the forum, alas only after buying one) attracts insects, and triggers random motion events at night. Also, that camera doesn't like BT878-based DVRs (rainbow artifacts in night mode), but works well with a Techwell-based card. To be fair, the camera is great in day mode, and ExtremeCCTV has a great advance replacement policy and prompt support All in all, though, would not consider another WZ-xx camera
  20. Thanks! You are right. What led me on a wild chase was a FAQ I found (of all places) on a Brazilian DVR distributor (they implied that message could be due to corrupted drivers or hardware problems). All I had to do was to match the right version of software for the card (took a bit of trial and error) I'm actually very happy with my PC: I used a Intel D945GNT board (which I got for a song from Newegg, as it was an open box), Pentium 925 (dual core 3.0GHz) and 1Gb of RAM (btw: always use 2 DIMMs, as newer systems can access RAM in interleaved mode when 2 identical RAM DIMM are installed; a pc with 2x512 Mbyte DIMMs is much faster than one with a 1Gbyte DIMM). I can run a 16 cameras, 120fps card with the processors hovering at 30-40% when motion is detected on multiple cameras at once (sw compression card). The integrated Intel GMA video is more than fast enough. 2 SATA HDs (with one 40 Gbyte mirrored partition and the rest devoted to video), a 450 watts power supply (with 2x80mm fans) and 4 case fans complete the PC. I'm using Windows Server 2003, as it's easier to manage remotely, can support mirrored partitions as boot disk (in case one of the disks fail, the PC can still boot), and overall has fewer moving parts than Windows XP (costs much more, but I had a unused license anyway) I did look at the ASUS P5L-VM, but I preferred the Intel board for 2 reasons: the Asus doesn't have a RS232 serial port (only a header on the motherboard, but it was impossible to locate the proper cable) and the intel board is a miniATX with 4 RAM DIMM (vs 2 for the ASUS) and 4 PCI slots (vs 2 for the ASUS). Overall, a better choice for my needs (the Rs232 port feeds into a RS 485 converter for a PTZ camera.
  21. robca

    WZ16 camera and rainbow color noise

    marzsit: I tried different types of RG59, RG6, Cat5 with good quality baluns, and direct connect to the card... hard to imagine it was the cable (but very valid point) Survtech: I have a scope at home (currently traveling). Will hook it up and check. Good idea. I have another day/night camera connected to the same DVR, and it switches just fine to B/W mode, so I can compare the 2 signals
  22. robca

    WZ16 camera and rainbow color noise

    I think I found a camera that works for me, so that part of the question is not relevant anymore. Just curious, though: has anyone else seen rainbow problems on Geovision DVRs with WZ-16 cameras? As a matter of fact, has anyone every tried a WZ16 with a Geovision DVR card?
  23. I'm currently using a GeoVision GV-600-4 system, and need to add 2 cameras, so it's time to upgrade. The GV-600 was a great learning experience, and over time I upgraded the cameras and started relying more and more on that system when I travel. I'm a PC guy, so my first thought is to go with a better DVR card (Aver or Geo), given that I can assemble a PC rather easily, and mostly from components I already have, so the cost of the PC itself is almost negligible. Reading hundreds of messages on this forum, I saw a spike of interest for the ICRealtime DVR roughly a year ago, not much lately. Is the consensus that the ICRealtime stood the test of time? Is there a new "king of the hill" contender? (in the low-to-mid-end, I'm sure a GE system would be a good choice, just not easy to justify) Or should I stick with PC-based?
  24. robca

    WZ16 camera and rainbow color noise

    Following up on my question. Any opinions on the Weldex cameras, esp. model WDBAC-3585C? http://www.weldex.com/index.cgi?m=catalogue;t=1;c=5;i=58 Is there any day/night bullet camera (i.e. switching to low-light B/W mode when needed) without integrated IR?
  25. I have a GV600-4 card running 7.05 software, properly set for remote viewer, on a broadband connection. Currently using only 2 cameras, set for 720x480 NTSC resolution. When I launch RemoteViewer and connect, the 2 cameras show in a very small 320x240 window inside the bigger RemoteView window. Shouldn't the cameras show as 720x480? I couldn't find any setting (either on the TCP/IP server or the player) to change that. I know I could use the GeoHTP server and the Web UI (or, even better, Rory's viewer), but I'm a bit paranoid about running the GeoHTP server, even on a port different from 80 Thanks, Rob