Hints and Tips

Sometimes I write up some tips or hints. I've collected some here for your amusement.

Here are some hints



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Choosing Security Cameras

Security cameras are a popular home add-on. They can help keep your property safe and even save money on your home insurance. The biggest issue when installing these is the multitude of choices available.

First, you can go with a professional. You'll pay $100-$500 per camera. Installing your own system can be as low as $200 Total.

So, how hard is it to install a system? If you can hook up a DVR player in your living room, you can install a camera system. The first thing to do is decide how many cameras you'll need. Ourdoor cameras cost more but if you're installing the camera under a big soffit you can get away with an indoor if it'll stay dry. Walk around the outside of your house with a pad and sort of "map out" where your cameras will go. It's great to have on on the front porch, back porch and outside areas. It's even better if you can have a camera looking down each outside wall. This decision depends on your own preferences.

Once you have a number (you can always expand later), you'll need to decide how you'll communicate with your cameras. There are basically 3 different types.

  • Wired with a DVR - A single wire is pulled to each camera (power/video) which feeds to a DVR to record and control your cameras
  • Wireless with a DVR - Each camera sends its video to a DVR but all you provide is the power
  • WiFi with no DVR - Each camera needs power but records internally.

IP Cameras

The WiFi gives good quality and is the easiest. A camera can be installed wherever power is located within 15 or so feet. Just plug it in and go. Each camera has its own IP (Internet Presence) or digital address. You view it by typing that address into your web browser. This can also be viewed over the internet from your phone. The recording is kind of hit or miss. This is best for watching your house from the phone and not from a security program on your local computer. It's also about the cheapest. You buy cameras as you need them and can add more later. They can "pan and tilt" (move around) and cost about $45 each on sale. Here's an example from my house.

Note that there's a relatively new line of cameras by Wyze (wyze.com). These cameras only need power, work through your home wifi and feature motion sensing and recording. There are two models. The fixed camera is only $20. The pan and tilt camera is only $39. I have several and they're wonderful. View them on your phone. Definitely worth checking out.

DVR Cameras

The most secure system with the most features involve a DVR. That's a console that takes in the video signals (via wireless or cable) and process them. The DVR also contains a hard drive to record your video. This unit is installed inside your house. The only difference between the types is how the video gets to the DVR. Some DVRs will handle wireless AND wired connections. The best of both worlds. Of course you pay for this convenience.

Wireless Cameras to your DVR

This woulds be a great option if you have lots of cameras spread out. Each camera will work over 100 feet or so. All it needs is power. So, for instance, you have an unconnected garage you want to cover, it's perfect. Just plug in the camera in the garage and let it talk to the DVR. Quality is not as good as a wired system though.

Wired Cameras to your DVR

This will give you the best quality and is very flexible. Each camera is mounted and a wire is run from the DVR to the camera. These wires are called "Siamese Cables" since each wire contains power and video. Plug it in at each end and you're cruising. The wires can span about 300 feet. From your house to your fence or outside wall, the wires can be buried a few inches deep. A big advantage to this is that you can install a modest priced system and upgrade parts later. For instance you can install a $300 system with so-so cameras and then install a better camera next year.

Here's one to look at

This is a four camera system. It can used wired (around the house) or wireless (at the garage) cameras. It comes with a 1TB hard drive (they don't always) and the price is decent.

This particular system is $199. You can pick an 8 camera system if you need to. With this system you can get rolling right away. Here's where it lives:

Click Here

Good luck and have fun with your cameras.