Recently one of my neighbours told me there had been an incident where someone was seen trying van doors along the street late at night and combined with the habit of numerous people attempting to turn their cars round on my driveway with seemingly no ability to successfully do so or any apparent awareness of their surroundings I decided it was probably a good idea to get security cameras to keep an eye on the place!
I started looking into it and decided that network type cameras were the best idea because I already have a suitable server to store the footage and a long time ago started running substantial amounts of CAT5e cabling all over my house because due to having thick stone walls WiFi from a normal home router really wasn’t an option. Since I needed to install three separate wireless access points to cover all the indoor areas and so needed to run cable across the house anyway. With (at least some!) of the cable run in it sounded like the best solution.
At this point I should probably point out that I know nothing about what is the best camera, I can’t say for sure if what I bought were actually the best option but they seem pretty good so far but your mileage may vary.
So after a bit of searching I found that Hikvision cameras get good reviews and are generally quite well regarded so when a couple came up on eBay for a decent price I went for it. The model I bought was the DS-2CD2055FWD-I.
Hikvision DS-2CD2055FWD-I 5MP Camera
This is a 5MP camera which supports power over ethernet according to the 802.3AF standard but also come with a connector to allow the unit to be powered from a standard 12V wall adapter with a barrel plug. These cameras have an on board micro-SD card slot so can record both internally and to a network drive/DVR.
Because I didn’t have proper POE set up I decided to use a passive POE injector/splitter set from eBay, these are available for a couple of quid and allow power from a barrel connector power adapter to be merged with 100Mbit data onto a standard CAT5e cable. They have limitations but for low power over short distances they’re quite useful and let me keep the power supply safely inside.
These aren’t weatherproof so I suggest if you’re using them tuck them somewhere sheltered or waterproof them. Or just buy a switch with proper POE support!
Ok so once you having network and power to the camera next you need to start configuring it. From a computer attached to the same network you need to install the Hikvision utility SADP which can be downloaded from here:
This will scan your network for active cameras and display them in a list. just click the check box on the camera you want to configure and enter a password – make a note of this password – you will need it to make further changes to the camera later on. Then you can set up the IP parameters for the camera. More details on this process can be found here:
The rest of the camera configuration is generally as per how you want it for your specific use, the interesting bit comes when you try to get it to connect to a network drive as there seem to be a few issues.
Hikvision cameras don’t seem to have a good implementation of network drive access, the main problem being that if presented with a network drive of over a certain size (no-one seems to know what size but it is in the order of 100’s of gigabytes rather than terabytes) the camera fails the initialise the network drive. Creating a network folder with a quota doesn’t work either, windows devices will show the quota limit as the drive space but the Hikvision camera will still show the total volume size. We need to limit it in a more low level way!
The best solution I found under windows was to create a virtual hard disk in the machine you want to be the server. This is done by opening the windows disk management tool and selecting action -> create VHD then you just choose the appropriate size and where you want to save the virtual drive file. If you choose to create a fixed size a file of the full drive size will be created at the chosen location. I created a fixed size VHD of 200 Gb on my storage drive and this seemed to work well but a dynamic would probably work fine. The new drive will be shown in the drive list and should be initialised, right click on the new drive and initialise it as MBR. Do the same again but this time create a new simple volume of the full drive size and format it.
Once the new drive is created it will be shown in windows explorer and look just like any other drive. Next you need to share the drive over the network which in my case involved creating a second account on the server (or whatever PC you’re storing the data to) with limited access to do anything to the PC. Then the new drive is shared under this user account on the network. The username and password are needed to allow the camera to connect so make a note of these.
Next navigate a computer on the network to the IP address you configured for the camera and when prompted log in. Go to the configuration tab and under “advance configuration” select storage. and go to the “NAS” or possible “NET HDD” tab depending on version. Enter the IP address of the server and under file path enter the the network folder you shared earlier but prefix it with a forward slash. For example if you shared the drive under the network name Video then enter “/Video” without the quotes in the box. Mount type will usually be “SMB/CIFS” then username and password as you configured earlier for the user account on the drive.
Not shown in this picture is the “test” button next to the password, click test and hopefully you will get a message telling you testing succeeded.
Next you go across to the “Storage Management” (or possibly “HDD Management”) tab and with any luck the drive you just added will be listed. Click the check box and click format.
Once that completes it now has a network drive to write to!
Other points to note:
The camera will keep as much footage as it can in the space it has but will remove older footage once the space is full. You can have multiple destination drives but the camera will write the most recent data too all of them with the smaller spaces retaining less far back so you can have a camera with say a 16Gb SD card internally and a 200Gb network
5MP footage takes up a lot of storage space so I recommend creating a separate virtual drive for each camera if you spare the space!
You might notice if you use Chrome that you cannot get a preview from the camera – this is due to the camera using old plugins that are no longer compatible but if you search for a Chrome extension called IE Tab and install it adds a new button next to the address bar. Click the new button and go to the camera login again and you should find you get a preview!
There is a guide to get up Hikvision cameras on Synology NAS systems which might also be helpful for other network shares : https://us.hikvision.com/sites/default/files/tb/quick_start_guide_of_hikvision_ip_camera_synology_nas_connection_v1.1_0.pdf