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Home Security System Thoughts


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#1 Alphonsox

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 04:12 PM

My next task is to start putting together a design for a security system for the new build. We're not in a high crime area so I don't feel the need for a super advanced system. Minimum features need to include :-
- Simple to set/reset using keyfob or similar
- GSM Auto-dialer
- Reasonably discrete bell boxes with strobes
- Internal sounders
- Internal intruder detection using PIR sensors (probably not going to use window or door switches)
- External cameras
- External detectors triggering cameras

What have I missed ? Any thoughts or recommendations for a stress free system with minimum false alarms.

#2 notnickclegg

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 04:37 PM

Do you have any pets? If so, I'd be very careful about positioning even supposedly pet-friendly PIR sensors.

Re: window and door sensors, I had these factory installed in our windows and doors, but more so that I could tell at a glance whether all doors and windows are closed at night and when we leave the house.

Jack

#3 Barney12

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 04:39 PM

Do you have a wife? If so in my experience you need to add "find ways to make the wife set it".

My only other comment is internal sounders are often deafening and exceedingly annoying.

#4 Alphonsox

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 04:50 PM

We have pets so I may need to leave the utility unprotected (or use pet PIRs if I can find some that work). My wife and mother are the reason I need a fob settable system.

#5 jsharris

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 04:51 PM

*
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If you're in a low crime area, is it worth fitting a complex security system at all?

I've thought about it a fair bit, but we're moving from an area where there has been a bit of minor household crime (the odd spate of kids breaking into sheds and pinching mower petrol) to an area that has virtually no crime at all, but also has no street lighting at all either (it's is nice to be in a totally dark place at night, except you have to carry a torch all the time in winter).

Where we currently live our neighbour and a house about three doors away have alarm systems. Neither has ever had a break in during the past 16 years, but then neither have any of the other houses nearby. At a guess I'd say we get around a dozen false alarms a year from one or other of the houses with them fitted, more often than not whenever there is a power cut. The things are a blasted nuisance, especially as they are often not reset for an hour or two when they go off.

Where we are moving to, very few people seem to have fitted alarms at all.

I thought long and hard and decided not to fit an alarm but to fit CCTV and make the house and outbuildings physically secure. If I did fit an alarm then, like the ones fitted to the houses near us at the moment, I doubt that anyone would take any notice of it going off, other than getting annoyed by the damned thing. I'm fortunate in that I can place one camera high up (conveniently close to a power supply) that will have a view of all reasonable accessible points of entry to the plot (because of the high retaining wall on most of two boundaries. I'm using a high resolution camera (because I've seen so much poor quality CCTV) connected via a wireless link to a receiver and motion-sensing HD solid state video recorder. That (like the camera) has a couple of hours battery back-up in the event that someone turns off the power. The recorder has a small 7" screen attached, so I can monitor the feed at any time and play back recordings. There are now 6 motion-sensing LED floodlights around the house and garage, so there's enough light for the camera to get a reasonable recording at night.

Rather than use an off-the-shelf camera, wireless video link, recorder etc, I've used the better quality stuff that's made for FPV drones. There are some really good HD cameras (like the Sony Effio HAD range) for a reasonable price (but they need a waterproof housing) and there are also some very good video recorders made for the same market. The wireless link operates at 5.8GHz with good range and wide video and audio bandwidth (unlike many security CCTV cameras the FPV ones often have audio, and the wireless link and recorder accepts audio too).

Edited by jsharris, 09 February 2016 - 04:51 PM.


#6 Alphonsox

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for the thoughts on the camera systems - my only concern with them is their reliability/utility in the rain. I have seen a few system which seem unusable unless things are dry.
As i'm still working on first fix it seems sensible to wire for internal sensors and panels even if they are never switched on in anger. Unfortunately I know little about the quality and reliability of alarm components so could do with a few pointers.
There's no-one around to hear the sounders hence the need for an auto dialler (the family are 1m up the road).

#7 SteamyTea

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 05:12 PM

As most of these cameras have quite wide angle lenses, do you get the definition to identify people properly?

When I ma taking pictures of the beach for my erosion hobby, if there is a family with small kids, I say what I am doing and tell them that it is a wide angle lens (18mm) and at the distance I am working at (20 to 25 m) they will be pretty blurred even with an uncompressed 10Mb image.

Edited by SteamyTea, 09 February 2016 - 05:13 PM.


#8 joe90

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 05:17 PM

I think CCTV cameras are very good in public places to catch law breakers etc but I think on a house all you have is a video of the scrotes in balaclavas stealing your belongings. I am going for a basic system to put anybody off and let them find a place without an alarm. If they really want to get in they will, it depends if they think you have something really worth stealing.

But then again I am going to keep geese!!!

#9 jsharris

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 05:35 PM

I'm lucky, in that a 70 deg field of view will "see" the whole front and side of the plot where anyone could reasonably get in, so I can retain reasonably good resolution. I doubt we're looking at scrotes in balaclavas, as dressed like that they'd attract attention anyway in this village. The night time risk is relatively low, because having no lights anyone out and about is either driving a vehicle with lights or carrying a torch so they don't fall into the stream. People tend to notice strange vehicles that stop at night here, too, as I had a couple of phone calls when we had contractors working on the site to report them arriving at odd hours.

The CCTV is mainly to help identify any wrongdoers, as even the best alarm in the world isn't going to stop them out here; it would take the police at least 30 minutes to get here, assuming that they actually treated it as a priority (which is unlikely). The likely very slow response time is one reason I decided that physical security was the best deterrent, with CCTV to (hopefully) help identify anyone that tries to get in. The camera seems to work OK in the rain, as it's got an overhanging rain screen and the glass is at an angle to the lens, which seems to help.

#10 notnickclegg

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 05:48 PM

View Postjoe90, on 09 February 2016 - 05:17 PM, said:

I am going for a basic system to put anybody off and let them find a place without an alarm. If they really want to get in they will, it depends if they think you have something really worth stealing.

This is definitely a viable approach. In the end I decided against and all-singing all-dancing system because I didn't want the hassle and complexity.

If you want something even simpler than that, a dummy box will put off at least casual opportunistic attempts at entry. It must, however, to look like it's active!

Jack

#11 joe90

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 05:51 PM

View Postnotnickclegg, on 09 February 2016 - 05:48 PM, said:



This is definitely a viable approach. In the end I decided against and all-singing all-dancing system because I didn't want the hassle and complexity.

If you want something even simpler than that, a dummy box will put off at least casual opportunistic attempts at entry. It must, however, to look like it's active!

Jack

Just make sure it's got a flashing red LED on it !

#12 jsharris

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 05:56 PM

The problem with any external box, dummy or otherwise, is that most of the scrotes will know the foam gun trick (ladder up to the box, drill hole with cordless drill, fill the box with expanding foam then wait ten minutes for it to go off and silence the sounder).

#13 SteamyTea

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 06:05 PM

On my DSLR I think 70° is about 30mm. That is with a sensor size of 23.7mm x 15.6mm. 10.2 Mb
The Sony Effio HAD has a sensor somewhere between 12mm x 12mm and 9mm x 9mm. all the Sony stuff seems to be 480k.
Any chance of posting some images up so we get an idea of how good it is. Just seems very low res to me.

#14 billt

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 06:13 PM

I agree that alarm systems are pretty pointless. Where we are no-one would even hear a sounder let alone investigate. In urban areas they seem to be universally ignored and are merely a nuisance. Maybe a properly monitored alarm might be of some use, but you won't be able to diy and the rental costs will be significant.

Modern HD CCTV cameras are quite good enough to be able to read number plates and recognise faces.

You can choose the lens to suit your use. My drive camera has a 12mm lens, the door camera is 2.8mm. I also have a PTZ camera with a 20:1 zoom lens. None of these were expensive.

Attached Files



#15 Barney12

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 06:21 PM

Those images are a better quality than my HD cameras. Which make and model are they?

#16 SteamyTea

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 06:54 PM

Yes
I am impressed with them.

#17 jsharris

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 07:30 PM

View PostSteamyTea, on 09 February 2016 - 06:05 PM, said:

On my DSLR I think 70° is about 30mm. That is with a sensor size of 23.7mm x 15.6mm. 10.2 Mb
The Sony Effio HAD has a sensor somewhere between 12mm x 12mm and 9mm x 9mm. all the Sony stuff seems to be 480k.
Any chance of posting some images up so we get an idea of how good it is. Just seems very low res to me.

You can't really compare video camera sensors with a DSLR, as the limiting factor is invariably the composite video link and the recording system, few of which allow better than 576i (in fact, I don't think any of them are better than this, as that's right on the limit for PAL composite, rather than component, video transmission, I think).

The camera I have is this one: http://www.surveilzo...r-camera-cc1526 The Effio V. It has better line resolution that the recorder, which is a standard 576i one (so the same resolution as standard definition TV). That is massively better than some of the cameras around, that struggle to get over 400 line resolution in practice, and there are still lots of surveillance CCTV cameras that are around 400 to 500 line resolution, so poorer than the PAL composite transmission method used allows.

I've not found too any transmitters or recorder capable of handling high resolution, probably because they all seem wedded to composite video, with its inherent limitations.

Having said that, those images billt has posted are pretty typical for decent CCTV now, You can get a LOT better images than those if you record at the camera, rather than remotely, as then the full capability of the sensor can be used. My old car camera recorded pretty good video at 720p (1280 x 720 images), the new one records at 1080i (1920 x 1080) and is noticeably better, but the files sizes are larger and there's no way to transmit video at that resolution - it downscales to 576i PAL to send it out of the composite video cable, so you need to retrieve the µSD card from the camera to get the recording at the full resolution.

I'm reasonably content with 576i video and recording, but am on the lookout for an affordable 1080i system, Given the boom in drone FPV flying (which is really pushing this stuff) then it won't be long before we have affordable HDMI type wireless video links that are robust enough to work in this environment. It's clear that the cutting edge for camera, wireless transmission systems and recording seems to be with the many FPV drone flyers. Most use two systems at the moment, a low res (typically 576i) for FPV flight control and an onboard Go Pro or similar to shoot HD video and record it on board, Some are even flying with stereoscopic video, fed back to eye independent FPV goggles, to get better depth perception in their virtual pilots seat.

One thing I noticed was that the first camera transmitter I bought (which was one very widely recommended by FPV flyers) had a range of at least a mile, on the ground! No way was it legal, and a bit of digging around revealed it was kicking out 250mW into the antenna, The new transmitter I've got is the same model, but without the power amplifier,and that delivers a legal 25 mW, which still seems to have perfect range for my purposes, It also runs on a bit under 50 mA, so a fair bit less than the 250mA the transmitter was using. The nice thing with the FPV systems is that the are channelised, with up to 40 channels available in the band, In practice this means you can run around a dozen to twenty systems in close proximity .

#18 Alphonsox

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 07:38 PM

I'm currently looking at a wired POE system for the cameras. The IP cameras can deliver true HD for central recording without resorting to composite.

#19 SteamyTea

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 07:51 PM

Yes it is hard to compare video and still photography.
Much of this is to do with the way that we already have a 'map' of the image and filter out things that have not changed. We are generally only interested in change to survive.
This is what video compression does, it only stores/transmits the changes. It is also their downfall when it comes to making a high res still for identification purposes.
The university I was at used a video camera to take the still images for the ID card. The quality was hopeless. I could never identify students from their pictures.

#20 TheOccupier

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 09:13 PM

Decided to try this Kickstarter option as a fairly cheap solution. http://blinkforhome.com/
Still waiting though it should suit my needs.