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DIY Home Security Surveillance System - Part 3

Updated: Sep 21, 2019

Planning for Proper Camera & Network Video Recorder is Essential

This is the third in a series of six articles written to arm you all of the required information needed to install a good and reliable camera system while helping to remove any uncertainty associated with purchasing the proper hardware. Simply put, the goal of this series is to help you determine the appropriate system hardware and components to ensure proper protection of your most valued assists.

In this article intend to explain need to carefully plan and layout your system before purchasing your equipment. Planning your surveillance system layout will eliminate many of the error and pitfalls that will occur if you just jump ahead and purchase your hardware. You must give focused consideration of where you will place your Cameras and the Network Video Recorder.

Let’s begin with Camera placement. Your camera mounting points will ultimately influence the placement of your Network Video Recorder. This is due to the fact that the NVR should be placed in the approximate center of your cameras so that your cable runs are somewhat equal distances.

4 Vital Factors Influencing Proper Camera Placement

Two Bullet Cameras Mounted on Eave

So what are the biggest factors that will influence your choice of the mounting points for your cameras? First and foremost, you want to determine if you will be able to easily access your mounting points. If you are able run your cables to an attic you typically can gain easier access to your home’s eaves which can help simply your cable runs. Also while considering your wire runs, you need to make think about ways to conceal your network cabling as much as possible. You can do this by running cable in your eaves, within soffit and under siding corner caps and siding panels, assuming your home is constructed with vinyl.

Evaluating Camera Layout of your Residence

In addition to having the ability to access the mounting point you must also consider whether the intended location give you acceptable viewing coverage of the areas that you need to monitor. You most certainly want to ensure that you have high visibility of your front and back doors, driveway and any windows that are not viewable by neighbors or by someone passing by on the main street. According to the article “Burglar-Resistant Homes” written by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard, “34% of burglars enter through the front door; 23% enter through a first-floor window; 22% enter through the back door and 9% enter through the garage.” Therefore these access points will need to consider when planning the layout of your monitoring areas. The most effective way to determine the surveillance layout for your property is to make a rough layout of your home. Be sure to include roads and nearby residences on your sketch to help identify areas of vulnerability. The monitoring of front and rear doors is vital, as statically, these are the access points for the majority of most forced entries.

Two Cameras Duplicating Surveillance Area

Another factor to consider when laying out your cameras is what I call redundancy of video coverage; having cameras in the viewing scope of other cameras, so that your equipment cannot be accessed or tampered with without the vandal’s actions being recorded. One way to achieve this is by attempting to conceal your live cameras while mounting a dummy camera in plain view. The sight of any exterior camera should the ample to persuade a potential vandal to move on to another home. However, if the vandal determines to damage your dummy camera, the act will then be recorded while the cost of camera loss will be minimal.

The final thing that you will want to do while installing your outdoor cameras is to choose mounting points that will place your equipment at a height of 10 feet or more above ground level. This way a potential vandal will need to take additional time and effort to attempt to damage or disable your cameras.

An 8 Channel NVR will Meet your Surveillance Needs

So you may be asking yourself, how many cameras will I need to purchase? Your layout plan will help you answer this question. Your camera count with vary based on the size and layout of your home and the number of access entry points. The Amcrest Network Video Recorder that I use accommodates up to eight cameras, which should be ample for most home surveillance applications. I have included the NVR model number for your reverence in my list of components, which is included in the description below this article.

Now let’s address the placement of the NVR, the Network Video Recorder. As mentioned previously, you should attempt to place the NVR in the center of your intended camera mounting points to trying to ensure fairly equal network cable distance to each camera. Preferably, the recorder should be placed in area where it can be concealed and perhaps secured. Concealment is important because any savvy intruder will likely attempt to remove or destroy the NVR to eliminate any evidence of his or her intrusion. Finally, you must also consider the number of barriers that you must drill through to run network cable to your cameras. Any location that permits you to minimize drilling of walls and ceilings to run cables is preferable.

In my case I needed to remove a section of wall in my garage to run Ethernet network cable to my attic. Once I had the cables in my attic, it was much easier to run cable to my camera mounting points.

As a side note, when I did my initial installation of my surveillance system I was only installing four cameras. However, I had the foresight to run a fifth cable just in the event I wanted to install an additional camera at some point in time. That decision turned out good because I recently decided to install a fifth camera on the ceiling of my garage interior. I would therefore recommend that you pull additional wire while making your wire runs in the event that you may want to install additional cameras at some point in the future.

The final consideration for the placement of your NVR is whether or not your intended location is near a power outlet. It is great to place the NVR in a false wall, locking cabinet or a closet, but if your concealed location does not have a power source it will not be a practical location.

I trust the information presented in this article has gotten you a little more comfortable with installing your own surveillance system. If you are currently considering the installation of security cameras, I am certain that you will eventually come to the same conclusion that I did; the relatively low cost and minimal effort needed to install a good and reliable camera system is not only a good idea, it is also a very wise investment. The peace of mind I have gained by after installing my Amcrest system is invaluable to me. If you are contemplating the purchase of a good and reliable surveillance system be certain to check out the component list for my system listed below.

Thanks for reading this intro segment on Home Video Surveillance. Be sure to subscribe to this website so that you'll get notice of the additional articles in this series!

My System Components

The following are the components of my current security surveillance system

Optional Installation & testing items:

* Tonor Network Lan Cable Tester (compatible with RJ45 RJ11 RJ12 CAT5 CAT6 )


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