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                   Sunday, August 3, 2008 - 5:15AM

CCTV motion detection - camera #1

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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CCTV camera #1 (the cemetery road cam on the backyard post) caught this last night, at least proving the motion detection recording will work (click for video).


Click for video

I've been having a time getting all four cameras working with a PC-based DVR system. So far the el-cheapo DVR systems have been total junk (not that I'm surprised). For now I have two computers running webcam software to each monitor one of the feeds, which leaves two of the cameras offline and only 1 fps recording on the other two. (I haven't been able to get the software to see all four cameras at once). The USB device I ordered earlier was a piece of junk - not so much the device, but the software that came with it. Oh well - it was only 20 bucks, so I'll keep it as another gadget for the toolbox in case I find better software that can run all of the channels on it. I finally just ordered a standalone four-channel DVR which should be here tomorrow. So after 2 weeks, I may finally have this whole thing running. The motion detection capabilities are nice, meaning the DVR won't record unless there is movement in the camera view. This is good for saving hard disk space and wear-and-tear. You can also tweak the sensitivity of the motion triggers on each camera, and add blackout areas for things like trees waving in the wind.

I have noticed a problem with the security post that is going to require some changes. Large moths are being attracted to the dusk-to-dawn lights, and whenever they fly in front of the camera, it triggers the motion detection recording. So camera #1's folder is full of pictures of big moths flying by every five minutes (right). I will probably have to convert the 12v lights to motion-sensor operation, which means I can remove the 110v floodlights and make the entire post circuit low voltage. That will save me from having to keep worrying about meeting code, not to mention digging the 13-inch trench and getting the installation to pass state electrical wiring inspection. With the system running on 12 volts, the conduit can just rest on the surface and be covered with mulch. I'll probably bury it just under the surface in a 2 inch deep trench - that's a job I think I can handle on a Saturday afternoon.

Lightning casualty

We had a decent storm roll through here on Saturday morning at around 5:30AM (hence my messed up sleep patterns today). Daylight arrived halfway through the storm, putting an end to any long exposure possibilities. I ended up setting up at the Capitol for video for the off chance that the dome would get hit. For the most part, lightning was rain-embedded and I didn't get anything worth posting. During that time, I saw several strikes hit in the general direction of my house (to the north). When I got back home, I discovered my cable modem dead and the internet gone (which takes with it my VOIP service). It looks like the modem was the only device damaged, as everything else (VOIP box, wireless router and the computers) seems to be OK. So looks like a new cable modem can be added to this upcoming week's purexpeditions. I'm using the aircard for internet in the meantime.

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