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Off-Grid Solar and Wind-Generated Power for Security Systems

Topic: Solar + Security Systems

Most common cameras LOVE Solar!

If it says 12v, solar is the way to go.
With the aid of solar panels and a battery bank, ensures the system is cost-free day and night, year after year.

Sure, there will be times when something simply fails due to age or other occurrence, but for the most-part security systems are stand-alone requiring little user-input, once installed.

One of the rare repairs a security system will incur will be hard drive replacement.
There are two methods typically used to record video and audio using hard drives. The usual preferred simplest method requiring the least amount of user-input is to set the DVR toredundant mode recording.

The downside to this method is that the redundant mode restricts the duration in which one can turn back the pages of time for later-viewing.

The Redundant Mode method wipes out the oldest feeds to make way for the new day's feeds.

Although the drive will become full and hold no remaining capacity, in round-robin fashion, the drive is recycled automatically.

If all variables were to remain constant, if you started with three months of recorded feed on a hard drive, there will always be three months of feed.

Most modern DVR's allow for multiple hard drives to be added to the unit, which allows for increased recording durations (ie. maybe 7 months back-recording instead of just 3).

Recording time and quality of recording will affect how quickly a drive becomes filled (among other variables, such as whether or not audio is also being introduced into the video recording, whether highsaturation and other quality-control settings, etc.).

Another common method to recording audio and video using a hard drive, is write-once (and then pull and replace the drive with another).

This method is preferred if longer coverage periods are necessary, each drive consisting of a few months of feed.

With this method, the drive would be labeled with the dates of coverage for easy retrieval later.

The write-once method allowed me to pull video/audio feeds for various years, simply by locating the drive that covered that period.

The downside are of course the expense in purchasing hard drives every 3 - 5 months (depending on how recording is set up, the number of cameras being used, etc.).

A funny story about the latter method is that once I had accumulated several years of camera feed, only to lose everything once the DVR was sold.

So this loss never happens to you when opting for this method of recording, heed the following advice.

WARNING: Most DVR's are proprietary, and use specific proprietary codecs. This means that the hard drives from one dvr may very possiblynot be accessible in any other DVR.

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And yet another method to record video and audio using hard drives is the most user-intensive, that being a software-based PC.

Just as there are many types of cameras and microphones, the same applies with the types of software-based systems.

If building a DVR from scratch, some of the programs you may come across will be "Zoneminder" or "MythTV", some may even utilize "VLC (in the capture mode.

Although a bit of a hassle to setup these types of units, the functionality is unmatched in contrast to a plug-and-play unit that is typically purchased at the stores containing a very limited selection of available settings controls.

Zoneminder, for instance, has so many controls and features, that it would take years to learn about, let alone try every one of them! Invariably a software-based PC DVR can be hit and miss (especially if you have young adults or visitors that want to hop on the computer to watch an online video or play a video game. Simply using the computer for any other means can really mess the DVR function of the PC's set resolution designed for the recording software.

Below is seen a small DVR that handles 4 microphones and 4 cameras.

The unit is requiring some soldering to remedy some mishandling of the video connectors.

DVR's typically utilize BNC connectors which can become loosened from the motherboard over time. Re-soldering may be inevitable due to the simple fact that the steel connectors are literally soldered to a plastic board with metal "traces".

Security SystemKenny Hendrick Off-Grid HoKenny Hendrick Off-grid Ho

This photo shows a camera and microphone concealed in an old re-purposed Verizon Modem/Router. The microphone is installed directly behind the green sticker, and the camera is seen in the lower-right of the router box.

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Two young people at about 2am.

Nothing bad came of the early morning visit. Both ran off into the darkness after I whipped open the door to greet them.

Kenny Hendrick SolarSolar and Security by Kenny Hendrick

However, it is EXACTLY due to this visit that I shortly thereafter decided to begin upgrading the security system to higher resolution units. A greater impetus is the fact that my aging eyes no longer are attentive to the unclear video put out by the cheaper cameras.

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A downside to the higher-resolution units are that using the higher-end cameras consume more drive space to record the video feeds.

As a final note for this page, neverever allow your cameras to see direct sunlight. If you catch your cameras getting so much as a glimpse of direct sunlight, irregardless of whether or not it is from the rising or setting sun, alter the camera's direction. In the course of my over half-a-century on this planet, has the spotted history of cameras becoming ruined in this exact fashion. Direct sunlight may cause a permanent rainbow in the lense components, or cause a camera to become wildly speckled, or worse.


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