How to Build a Computer for Cctv Surveillance

The high price of most commercial CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) surveillance systems has led to the development of PC-based software that can turn your computer into a powerful CCTV system. The ability to use standard USB cameras eliminates the need to purchase expensive security cameras from DeluxeSurveillance.com. If you are willing to do a bit of work, you can build your own computer for CCTV surveillance that costs a few cents without paying for the assistance of a professional. Your custom-built CCTV system can be configured to your individual specifications and needs. Even advanced features such as motion detection and online video streaming are possible with modern software. Choose the computer that will be used to monitor and record your CCTV feeds. Although the PC should have been built in the last 10 years, it does not have to be incredibly new or powerful. A second-hand computer is fine, just make sure you have enough available disk space to fit your video recording needs. If you want to remotely view your cameras, you must connect them to a broadband Internet connection. Find a safe place to install the computer system. You want it to be out of the way and in one location an intruder would be unlikely to notice. If it can be easily seen, one can simply steal or destroy the computer, and all its evidence would be lost forever. On the other hand, you want the computer to be as close to the cameras location as possible as long as you will have to run the wiring for them. Mount your USB video camera (s). You can only use one camera or as many cameras as your software will support. Regular USB webcams are perfect for surveillance duty. You can use USB extension cables to connect cameras up to five meters (16.5 feet) from the computer. Also, you will want to consider a USB signal booster to ensure a quality video feed. If you want to have multiple cameras at the end of your USB cable, a USB hub can be used to split the signal. Install your surveillance software. You can choose to purchase commercial products such as the Digi-Watcher webcam security package, or use a free or open-source solution such as the Dorgem project available from Sourceforge (see Resources below). When choosing your software, keep your individual needs in mind, such as how many cameras you are using if you need remote access from another computer and if you need time scheduling functionality. Unless you want to record non-stop video images, software with a motion detection feature will keep your system recording periods of time when nothing changes, saving valuable hard disk space. TIP Checks Several webcam makers make models that record in high definition, are weatherproof, have wireless functionality, or can see in the dark. Depending on what interference levels are to your location, you may be able to extend your USB cameras beyond the maximum of five standard meters. You can use an external hard drive, a CD or DVD, or another computer to back up your video recordings on a regular basis. A battery back up system is a good idea in case the power goes out. ATTENTION close Do not place regular webcams in off-weather environments. Rain and extreme temperatures can destroy cameras that are not specifically designed to be placed outdoors. Never use a laptop for a surveillance system. They are not designed to run for long periods of time. UNIT YOU WILL NEED Webcam computer desktop (s) extension cables Surveillance software USB (optional) USB hub (optional) ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ryan Bauer is a freelance writer located in Ozark, Missouri. He has written numerous articles and books including “How to improve your credit score from 100 points in 100 days.” Bauer is a mechanical automotive technician and computer savvy.

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