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Paddock (Security) Cameras

Another potentially boring wiki

This project was instigated by Terri, she wished to keep an eye on the animals, especially when they were due to give birth. I am convinced this was a good idea, much better doing a head count from the settee when the rain is pouring down.

Register for Youshop http://www.nzpost.co.nz/products-services/online-shopping/youshop, this will give you much more choice of suppliers

Initially I bought a Swann 4 camera and DVR system from Dick Smith whilst they were on sale (this is before I knew of Youshop). An important point for me, 4 channels are not enough, seriously look at a 8 camera system, but do not buy 8 cameras to start with. My system had 450 lines cameras, these are good enough for general security, but higher quality is required for detail, such as number plates.

check out Amazon in the states and http://www.cctvfocal.com in China for good deals on Zmodo systems. Zmodo is a Chinese brand with good reviews on Amazon. Postage will add a fair bit to the cost, especially from the states, but still far cheaper than systems bought here.

Installation of DVR and cameras

The Swann system enables your cameras to be monitored over the internet and on Smartphones. Most systems allow this, but do check.

The DVR was sited close to the TV (to monitor the cameras, RGB input useful) and within reach of the ADSL Router by Ethernet cable for the internet. The cameras are hard wired and supplied with 4 off 18 metre cables to power the cameras and get the signal to the DVR. The cables were run up the inside of a fitted wardrobe and across the roof space, to the eves of the house. Initially, 2 cameras monitored the top paddock and the spare 2 watched our drive entrance and parking area.

Ensure that the DVR can control at least one PTZ (pan tilt zoom) camera. This requires RS485 connection.

Connecting the DVR to the internet

This a brief explanation of the rigmarole to be able to view your cameras over the internet. There will be detailed instructions in the DVR manual and hopefully in some form of English (this is not guaranteed with Chinese devices).

Physically, an Ethernet cable is connected between the DVR and your Router. Your router should support UPnP ( recent models are OK) to give you a fair chance of getting it to work. Next step is to configure the network page of the DVR as per instructions. Your router will require some fiddling also, its easier to work on the router with a laptop connected by Ethernet. If you have a static IP address the router set up is easier, but most NZ homes have a dynamic IP, which means the address changes every time your router reconnects to the internet and you have to work round this. Again your DVR or router manual should give guidance. Believe me the whole process can age you severely.

Pan Tilt Zoom

The two paddock cameras were very restricted in their fields of view, so I bought a PTZ camera with a 27 times zoom from a Chinese supplier on Sella for $500. I cannot now find his products, so not sure what's happened. There are plenty of choices on Trademe, but I cannot vouch for quality.

The cameras and DVR have been a godsend, apart from watching the animals in bad weather, the ability to observe on the internet or phone when away from home or abroad is brilliant and very reassuring. We actually use the internet at home instead of using the TV.

To be continued.

I am currently working on a remote solar powered camera, feedback if it works

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