Unfortunately, the neighborhood we live in has been getting more and more sketchy over the years that we have lived here. A couple of weeks ago a stolen truck was dumped on the curb, and someone stole the amp out of our van not long before that. If you can’t stop sketchy behavior, the next best thing is to document it. Welcome to The Hippie Geeks! If you enjoy this video, be sure to subscribe and leave a comment below!
If you have decided to install a security camera but are not sure what to get, buy the highest megapixel camera you can afford, with the highest framerate and be sure to read the reviews before you hit that order button. The lower the resolution, the worst the image is going to be. Capturing a human shaped blob with no facial features breaking into your car isn’t going to do you any good, and is simply just a waste of money. A higher framerate will give you a better chance at capturing a quickly moving object more clearly. I settled on a four-megapixel, 20 frame per second, power over ethernet bullet camera made by Amcrest. There are some five-megapixel cameras out there, but for the cost this is the one I chose.
You also have some options on connectivity. You can choose wireless, wired or power over ethernet. Wireless is easiest, all it requires is that you have a wifi network set up for it to connect to, and then a power source where it is mounted. While it is the easiest way to get the signal, it is also the least reliable and like any wireless signal is subject to interference and degradation. With a wired connection you are running a network cable from the camera to the router to carry the data, and a separate power cable to run the camera itself. Lastly, you have power over ethernet. This uses special network adapters to send both power and data on the same ethernet cable, allowing you to run a single cable to each camera. As I mentioned, I went with a power over ethernet camera.
A four-megapixel camera gives you an image size of 2688×1520. You will find a lot of extremely affordable 720P cameras on the market, and this is the difference in the number of pixels. You can stack four separate 720P images in the single four-megapixel image with room to spare. What this means, is that you will have sharper images with more detail at longer distances. In our case, the sidewalk is around 25 feet from the front of our house where the camera is mounted, and around thirty feet from where people are turning around in the cul-de-sac. This is a great placement to catch the faces of anyone on the sidewalk or closer, but not quite good enough to pick up the license plates of passing cars every time. The plan is to mount another camera on the back of the bus, strictly for capturing license plates and faces of folks entering the cul-de-sac. That combined with the info from this camera should have us covered pretty well to get documented video of any shenanigans that happen from here on out.
Once you decide which camera to buy, it is time to get everything hooked up. Our cable modem and wireless router are both mounted in our dining room at the back of the house. The computer we will be using to record all of this video footage is in my editing nook in the garage, and the camera is mounted on the front corner of the garage, which means I need to run some cables. I could have used some premade cables, but I didn’t want to risk them being too short or too long, so I bought a roll of CAT6 networking cable and decided to make them myself. I am not going to bore you with the details of making your own patch cables, but I will leave a link in the description below to the video I used for guidance.
As I want to hook up more cameras in the future, I picked a PoE gigabit switch with four powered ports and four normal networking ports. I am going to be running a cable from my router to the switch, and then from the switch to my computer, and the switch to the camera. If you do decide to make your own cables, make sure that you are wiring them up properly as you don’t want to be pushing electricity into the data wires, bad things tend to happen if you do that, so just be careful. I wanted to do this correctly, so I picked up a couple of these drywall mounting boxes, and female to female connectors for the networking wall plates. What this means is that you plug a network cable into both sides of the plug, making it easy to take back apart in the future if I need to change something.
On the outside of the house, I wanted to make sure that the holes wouldn’t allow water into the wall, as that leads to mold and rot. For the connection at the back of the house I picked up a lockable socket cover, and for the garage wall I chose a large plastic conduit box, as I would need the space for more cables in the future. Installing the box on the outside of the dining room I used the existing hole, and enlarged it enough to fit the cable coax, the over the air tv antenna, the phone cable and the networking cable that would be going to my switch. As it was sitting on one of the grooves in the siding, I filled the hole with a bead of caulk. Back in the house I hooked the two coax wires and networking cable into the wall plate, and got it closed up. After that it was time to run my networking cable around the house, and over to the garage. First, I cut the hole out for the wall plate inside the garage near my computer, then drilled a hole thru the outer siding so that I would know where to cut my hole to fit the conduit box thru. I actually ended up using the same hole saw from our Skoolie Door Lock video, which just happened to be a perfect fit. Once the hole was cut I sealed the back of the conduit box with caulk, and then screwed it in place. In went the cable from the router, and then the cable from the camera. Once those were in I closed the box and headed inside to finish hooking up the plate in the garage. I got the ends hooked up on the two network cables, and then got them connected into my six-slot wall connecter. As I mentioned before, I want to make sure this is expandable for more cameras in the future. Once that was done I hooked up the three patch cables I needed. One from the plate to one of the unpowered ports on the switch that would carry the signal from the router, a cable from one of the powered ports that would go out to the camera and a final one from another unpowered port to my computer. After that, it was time to get the camera hooked up.
I had already chosen the spot that I wanted to place it, and as I was using power over ethernet it was extremely easy to hook up. To make sure that the connection is waterproof, you need to slip the cable side of the connecting capsule onto the cable before you put an end on it, but once you do that and get the end on there, it’s simply a matter of connecting it and screwing the two parts together. If all of your wires are hooked up properly, that is all there is to it on the installation side. The important part here, especially if you are making your own cables is to take your time and make sure everything is right the first time.
This is the first video in a series that will cover the process of installing and setting up a video security system. In this video we showed how we chose to install everything and the parts that we used to do it. If you would like to know more about them there are affiliate links to everything in the description below. In the next videos, we will be showing how to set up the recording software, placement of future cameras, and our thoughts about the whole thing after using it for the last couple of months.
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Amazon Associates Links From This Video:
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PoE Switch: http://amzn.to/2snKANw
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