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First multi-floor bldg.

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Hi, I'm doing my first building. It has 5 floors and it will have between 20-26 cameras. What is the best way to go DVR or PC based system. I'm used to working with DVR but not in such a big scale. The customer's main detail is that he wants to record on a DVD in case anything happens, that way he can have proof right away for the authorities. I also want to ask what cables you can use for long distance. I've used siamese cables but been looking to CAT5e since it is a lot cheaper. I don't know if there is performance drop because of CAT5e. Do you need a specific cable for elevator routing, or can I go wireless? Sorry for so many questions but I want to make a good impresion, this job might get me some local gov. contracts. I'm used to small setups for houses and small businesses, you know not more than 8 cameras and not long distances. I already got the floor designs for the building, since the owner wants the cameras to be as discreet as possible. I've found in-wall, smoke detector, flush-mount or ceiling speaker, and exit sign models, hope you can give me a few pointers there. Hopefully that's all for now, I don't want to take more of your time.





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PC Based DVR = open to all the PC type problems. virus, user screws them up, and ect. But if you "lock them down" you can limit the users options.

Standalone = works good but not as many features that a PC based allows.



- Siamese is the best in my opinion IF your cable lenghts stay below 200ft. Buy good siames, not cheap. Crimp the conectors. If you go beyond that I'd use a mix of CAT5 and siamese.

- CAT5, make sure you use active Balun's or get a passive with a ground loop isolation built in.

- cable runs, 1ft seperation rule to avoid signal problems

- plan your install around the business hours. It sucks to work over, around, and next to the employee's while open.

- provide a layout (after installed) of the camera's by number and location. Don't get fancy, just draw a quick box of the floor, label floor and show camera number(s), camera direction(s). Then provide a detail page with the simple specs on the camera's. ie. brand, model, serial number (if not serialized mark them), cable run type and feet, and any associated baluns. This document will CYA when you troubleshoot and bill later on. It will allow the client to make sense of your bill when it comes in.

- keep cleaning of the camera's in mind as you install them as the client or you will be returning to clean them.

- make sure you don't sell a "great" system and then install equipment that is marked "kmart" as the client is not stupid.

- elevator routing? check with the elevator installer or maintenance techs to see if the evevator has any extra cable pairs on the comm..............use them if available. If not, gotot the evevator company and get a recommendation BEFORE you install. Nice to get thier opinion BEFORE you blow the warranty for the comm in the evevators.

- APC/UPS buy a decent one (provides enough power for 1 hour plus) and run everything on it. ground camera's back to the system and not at the camera install location (ground loop issues).

- copy to CD. make sure you go with a proven DVR that works well for your client. Nothing worse than selling it, installing it, and then the client asks you why you did not buy the "better" model. Sounds like he knows what he is after so get schooled on the DVR's that do this and then go play with them before you buy. Then ask the client if this is what he wants. Biggest issue with saving video is the transfering from.....to a format that works in ALL players, not just the DVR's. I like the memory sticks because they work well and I then transfer that video to another platform to edit and copy to CD/Email.

oh, the more "parts" you install the more failures can happen. ie. Baluns go bad, hubs go bad, ect. keep it simple as you can.


you sound like you are not ready to take on a PC based system yet. I ran one in my office for 6 months before I decided to use them. I'm pretty good at PC stuff now and the features are worth the effort.



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