By Ryan Temple
Today’s world is becoming a more dangerous and scary place to live. Burglary, vandalism, and violent crime run rampant in some areas, and often the police presence required to mitigate the threat in residential areas leaves a bit to be desired. But there are options available for homeowners to protect themselves and their families from this threat, and to help police identify and apprehend perpetrators.
There are companies out there who want to charge consumers an arm and a leg to install a state-of-the-art CCTV or digital surveillance system in the home. But fortunately, you don’t have to be one of those people who get taken advantage of. By installing your own digital surveillance system, you can save yourself thousands of dollars, and end up just as secure as your neighbor who paid handsomely for the privilege.
Installing a home surveillance system is a good weekend project. While there will be some manual labor involved, if planned out properly, your project will go smoothly and you will be on your way in no time! Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Identify what you need to watch. Maybe you need a camera to watch your driveway, your back yard, your pool, and your front door. Maybe you just need to watch your baby’s nursery. The point is, identify how many areas you need to keep an eye on. This will give you the approximate number of surveillance cameras that will be required for your system.
2. Identify where you need to position your cameras. Now that you know how many cameras you will need, you have to identify where you are going to mount them. This can be accomplished using a floorplan or drawing of your property layout, and perhaps a ladder and digital camera to take some photos of where cameras will go, and what you would like them to see/cover. This should also give you an idea as to what materials will be needed to perform the installation, such as mounting hardware, cabling, etc.
3. Identify what kind of cameras you need. Now that you know how many cameras you need and where you intend to put them, you need to put that info to use in identifying the kind of cameras you need. Is the camera being placed indoors or out? If you are placing the camera outside, it needs to be able to withstand the elements, so you need a camera that is weatherproof, or you will need a weatherproof camera housing to protect the camera.Is the area being covered always well lit, or is there little or no light available at times, and do you even need coverage during those times? If you need coverage in near or complete darkness, you will need a camera that is either low-light sensitive or an infrared/night-vision camera.
4. Identify what type of viewing and recording system you need. Now that you know how many cameras you need, you already know how many channels are required on your recording/viewing device. Further, you need to identify about how long you need to store recorded video. For example, is this your permanent residence, or a vacation home or cabin, where you might not be there but once every few weeks? These will all be important when buying your system.
5. Identify where the viewing/recording unit will go. Once you know where you want to place your DVR or other recording device, you can easily decide how much wiring you will need to install the system, and get an idea where and how the wiring will be run.
6. Decide which installation materials, hardware, and accessories you will need to install. How long are your wire runs going to be? Will you need to run your power separately, or together with the cable? If you run them together, you can save a great deal of headache by using Siamese coaxial cable, which consists of a shielded coaxial cable, bonded to a two-conductor power line.If you run your own cable, you may need BNC or RCA video connectors and power connectors for the cameras. Also, depending upon how many cameras you need, you may use individual power transformers (similar to a cellular phone charger), or go for a distributed power box instead.On the mounting side of things, you may need mounting brackets, housings, and other additional hardware (screws, nails, etc).
Once you have accurately identified what you need, it’s just a matter of calling our friendly and helpful sales team for help choosing the right product, or making a visit to our online store to place your order, anytime day or night. You’ll have your product in just a few days, and be ready to move forward with your project.
At this point you should have a pile of information and hardware at your disposal. Here is a quick checklist of everything you should have:
* A Viewing/Recording System
* Power Transformer(s) for the Cameras
* Cable(s) (Video and Power)
* Connectors (unless you have pre-made cables)
* Camera Mounting Hardware and/or Housings
* Instruction Manuals for all of the above.
* Spare parts (in case you make a mistake)
Additionally, it can be a big help to have a “field monitor” on hand when installing your cameras. A “field monitor” is a handheld video screen that you can connect directly to the camera while on the ladder, and will help you get the camera in just the right position before you come down. This will save you tons of headache and hassle as you install your surveillance equipment, and will help ensure a good install on the first try.
Before you install, here are a few other things to know:
1. Know the laws regarding surveillance in your jurisdiction. For example, it is illegal in some jurisdictions to record video AND audio. In others, it is necessary to post that surveillance is taking place. If you don’t already know what the laws regarding surveillance are, consult your attorney or your local law enforcement agency for more information.
2. Know the building and fire codes for your jurisdiction. Some states require special types of cabling to be used (such as PLENUM), where others require such installations to be handled by a licensed electrician or installer. Other areas may require you to have some type of building permit to install surveillance on your property. It’s best to check with your local building inspector to find out for sure.
3. Know that all your equipment works before permanently installing it. Some folks make the mistake of not testing the equipment right out of the box, only to find that they installed a camera that was damaged in transit on the peak of their roof, and it takes several hours more to take down the bad camera, and again to reinstall it after a replacement is received.
Finally, remember, SAFETY FIRST!! Don’t get into an install that you are not physically capable of, or that you lack adequate knowledge or experience to perform. Be especially cautious working around other electrical wiring and utility connections. Having great security is worthless if you’re dead.
Ryan Temple is the Director of Operations for PC Surveillance.net. PC Surveillance has been serving integrators and manufacturing customized Surveillance Systems throughout the US since 2002. You can read more of Ryan’s articles at the PC Surveillance Company Blog Ryan can be reached at email@example.com