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Author Topic: DCS-2230 pre-purchase questions  (Read 6090 times)

slickster

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DCS-2230 pre-purchase questions
« on: March 05, 2012, 11:23:13 PM »

I've been contemplating the purchase of one of these cams to monitor the front entrance of my home from behind a window. This would make active IR pretty much useless at night because it would reflect back from the window glass. However, passive IR might work in this situation. I understand that this cam does have a low light passive IR capability, so perhaps you guys could fill me in on this.

Because of some bad experience with some other cams, I also need to know just what functionality is built into the cam's firmware and what is only available through external software running on a PC to which the cam is connected. Except for config setup I am planning to use this cam connected only to a router, but without connection to a PC. I also would like to send recorded clips directly to an FTP server without the need for a connected PC. This would allow remote access to those clips with a PC or smart phone.

I would appreciate any help on these questions before I commit to this not-so-cheap IP cam. Of course, some sample day and night pics would also help.

Thanks.
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slickster

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Re: DCS-2230 pre-purchase questions
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 03:17:53 PM »

The active IR and passive IR (PIR) have totally different functions. The active IR is for illuminating the camera's near field of view at night. During the day, the DCS-2230 uses an IR cut filter to filter out the infrared light so that it will not distort the colors. At night, the filter is removed, allowing the camera to sense the infrared light, which produces a fairly clear black and white image in very low light situations.

The PIR is for sensing motion caused by live bodies (e.g., humans). It senses the infrared radiation given off by bodies as they cross the field of view. You can use the PIR to trigger events in the same way that video motion can trigger events (video motion is motion sensed by the camera's image sensor, as interpreted by the software).

I'm not certain, but I believe the window will block (reflect back) both the active IR and the PIR. In other words, mounting the camera behind a window to see outside will interfere with both the low light capability of the camera and the PIR motion detection. The video motion detection will not be too badly affected provided you have some outside lighting.

Thanks for clarifying that passive IR function for me. I think you're right about it being ineffective behind the window. So where does that leave me in detecting movement? Maybe only by using changes in the video pixels but that would be affected by every cloud or shadow change, leaving more false alarms then real ones.

Quote from: caseydoug
I mount my camera outside, above the front door. It is under a porch and is well protected from the elements (besides, it doesn't get too cold here). However, the motion detection, both video and PIR, leaves something to be desired. I get lots of false alarms, particularly when it is windy and rainy. That is partly because the shrubs and trees are moving, but also I think because of reflection from the wet pavement and because of air movement.

I would be pretty much in the same shoes, though I don't have easy access to electric connection under my porch and I don't want to drill for any new electric outlets.

Quote
Regarding your other questions, you need a computer to configure the camera, but after that the camera will send recordings to an FTP server or network storage without the use of a computer. Pretty much everything can be done with a smartphone or remote computer. You can even change the configuration with your smartphone (with the exception of the video motion detection settings). I believe I posted some samples before on Megaupload, but that site was taken down. I then posted some more at another site, but you will need to search -- I don't remember where I posted them.

This sounds pretty good but you did not mention if the cam can still record on its local SD card and send email while also send clips to FTP. Not to mention if you also happen to view the video stream remotely while all those other things are going on. This would require several streams going at the same time.

I remember when this Megaupload came up and that you mentioned something about uploading the pics again somewhere else, but I must have missed your notes about the actual uploads again. I'll try to find that post of yours.
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slickster

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Re: DCS-2230 pre-purchase questions
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2012, 11:22:20 AM »

Funny, I have a distinct memory of uploading some videos to tinypics dot com, but now I can't find them either. Right now I don't have anything recorded in HD, which would give you a good idea of the quality. I have some video clips at 640x360. What exactly do you want to see?

I didn't find any upload from you either after that magaupload site was taken down by the FBI. You probably meant to but never got around it. It happens to me too sometimes.

I would be happy with any clips you've got. Besides, with limited bandwidth, the 640x360 res is good enough. I am especially interested how good is low light sensitivity without IR but perhaps some outside lighting.

Quote from: caseydoug
If you put the camera behind glass, you can probably reduce the sensitivity of the video motion detection to eliminate false alarms from clouds and shadows, but then you might miss the burglar as well. Besides, you would be losing a major feature of this camera, the day/night capability resulting from the infrared illumination. There are alternatives (e.g., external IR illuminators connected to the DO port), but that still involves running wires from inside to outside the house. Getting access to power on your porch may be easier than you think. I am using an outlet inside the house, extending the cable on the low voltage side of the power adapter, and just running it through the wall. So long as you are working with low voltage, you don't need an electrician.

It's not so much the 120V I am worried about as just going through the wall when I am not going to keep this house a couple years more. That's why I was looking more for a mobile installation. Come to think of it, I do have a motion sensor installed under my porch about 20 years ago, with low voltage wire running through the wall to an electronic "dog barking" X-10 device made by Heathkit. Perhaps I could repurpose that for this cam, huh? That thing still works quite well.

Oh, I was also wondering how your cam handled the few really cold winter nights we had here for about a week this winter. It was in the 20's, if you remember.

Another thing: isn't you cam installation relatively easily defeated by a burglar by knocking it off with a pole?

Quote from: caseydoug
You can do some of these things simultaneously (there are several streams going at the same time), but there are limits. For example, the stock firmware allows only two "events" to be set up, so you couldn't record to SD, send an email, and record to FTP at the same time. The beta firmware supports three events, so you could do all three of these things. Also, you can't send the same video clip to both email and FTP. One of those events would have priority, and the clip would then not be available for the other event. However, you could, for example, send a low resolution video or a series of snapshots to email and record an HD video to FTP, since they are not the same media. One sort of cool thing I discovered is that you can send a snapshot as mms using an email to mms gateway, and it arrives at your smartphone almost instantly. The down side is that false alarms can cause this to get annoying (and expensive if you don't have unlimited texting).

Hm, these things all sound pretty good. I wonder how you configured your installation. Any remote FTP or NAS storage?

Thanks again.
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slickster

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Re: DCS-2230 pre-purchase questions
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 09:50:47 PM »

I have some clips already recorded, but the IR is on. I'll post those, and record without the IR when I get a chance.

Man, these clips look really sharp! And they are not even the highest res?
By the way, were all those visitors legit, or perhaps just casing your home? It doesn't look good from here in Bellevue. ;-)

Quote from: caseydoug
Couldn't you pull a second wire through the same hole? Use the first wire to pull the second. If you have a security device that works, why cannibalize it? Also, if the external motion sensor works, would it be possible to feed that into the DI input on the camera? Again, I recommend extending only the low voltage side of the adapter if you intend to put it through a wall. Much safer.

I don't think I have to cannibalize the existing system as I might be able to use the same motion detector for both purposes with a relay. I am looking into it already.

Quote from: caseydoug
It basically worked fine. As I said, the front porch is pretty well protected, with a roof extending out about 8' and a glass wall on the south side. I doubt that the temperature close to the house got down much below freezing, plus the camera generates some of its own heat. The specs say the camera's storage temperature is -20 to 70 C (-4 to 158 F), and its operating temperature is 0 to 40 C (32 to 104 F). The only moving part, I believe, is the IR cut filter. I would have more concern if the camera had mechanical PTZ. I'm not saying that keeping it outside won't shorten its life, but it seems to have weathered this winter well enough.

The main downside, as I mentioned earlier, is that the motion detection does not work as well. In cold weather, the PIR is much more sensitive, as it detects the difference between a body and the ambient air.

OK, you've convinced me. I also noticed the higher motion sensor sensitivity in cold weather but fortunately mine has an adjustment screw for that which I can desensitize a bit during the winter months.

Quote from: caseydoug
I suppose so, but by that time, the camera has already recorded the burglar's image and stored it in a remote location. Besides, the reason for having the camera on the front porch in the first place is that a burglar will typically go up and ring the bell to see if someone is home (pretending to sell magazines or whatever), and if no one answers, he will attempt an entrance at a more secluded location. Having the camera here will record that person close up, and also act as a deterrent.
Yes, remote storage anywhere on the internet, and NAS anywhere on your LAN.

Well, from the sound of it, your vicious little dog may also act as a good deterrent. ;-)
OK, I think I am almost sold on it but I might wait a bit to catch it on some really good sale, under $200.
Thanks for the great info.
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blogs

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Re: DCS-2230 pre-purchase questions
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2012, 06:19:23 AM »

I will try to take some at night without the IR, but this should give you a pretty good idea.
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