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Security Camera FAQs



Q: What is the difference between a wired and a wireless camera?
Q: How do hidden cameras work?
Q: How far can a wireless hidden camera transmit?
Q: How many wireless cameras can you have in one location?
Q: Will a cordless phone interfere with wireless cameras?
Q: What is an Infrared Camera and how does it work?
Q: Do color cameras work with Infrared lighting?
Q: Do the cameras require extra wire to run the signal back to the VCR or TV?
Q: How do I record what the camera "sees"?
Q: What is the difference between a DVR and a VCR?
Q: How many hours will a DVR record?
Q: What is a DVR card?
Q: Can I plug one of your cameras into my computer for watching and/ or recording?
Q: How many cameras can I hook up to one TV?
Q: What is a varifocal lens?
Q: What is a fixed lens?

 

Q: What is the difference between a wired and a wireless camera?
A:Wired cameras have a video cable that runs from the camera to your recording or viewing device such as a DVR, VCR or monitor. Wireless cameras have a built-in transmitter that sends the video signal to a receiver. You can also make any of our cameras wireless by using one of our transmitter and receiver kits. You simply plug the output of the camera into the transmitter which will then send the signal wirelessly to the receiver. The receiver connects to your recording or viewing device. Keep in mind a wireless camera still needs power at the camera/transmitter location. Wireless only means there is no video and/or audio wires running to the TV, DVR or VCR.

 

Q: How do hidden cameras work?
A:
A small board camera is built into an everyday item. The camera can be wired which means it is connected to the DVR or VCR using a cable. The camera can also be wireless, in this case the camera transmits a signal to a receiver that is connected to the DVR or VCR.

 

Q: How far can a wireless hidden camera transmit?
A:
Most standard wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 300 feet line of sight and high-powered wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 2000 feet. Longer distances can be achieved by using higher powered transmitters or high gain antennas. We offer a number of wireless transmitters to fit your needs.

 

Q: How many wireless cameras can you have in one location?
A: Most standard transmitter and receivers sets have 4 channels so you can have up to four wireless cameras in one location. You can view all cameras at once using four receivers or you can use one receiver and switch to each camera. You will only be able to view one camera at a time if you only use one receiver.



Q: Will a cordless phone interfere with wireless cameras?
A: Cordless phone that operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency can cause interference with standard 2.4 GHz transmitters. Interference should be minimal and usually occurs if the phone is between the camera and receiver. Our newer 2.4 GHz digital transmitters and receivers are not affected by cordless phones, microwave ovens or wireless routers since they use frequency hopping and digital pairing technology. They also penetrate walls and vegitation better than the standard analog 2.4 GHz systems. Here are the links to the two systems we carry KW2400 and KW2400RS.

 

Q: What is an Infrared Camera and how does it work?
A:
An infrared camera uses infrared light instead of the regular lighting spectrum in order to produce better images in complete darkness or low light conditions. The infrared LED illuminators on a camera work much like a flashlight but the light produced is invisible to the human eye. However with most infrared cameras you will see a slight red glow if you look directly at the LED array. How far you can see in darkness is dependant on the number, size and nanometer (nm) rating of the LED's. Most infrared security cameras use LED's in the 840nm range since they are the most effective. Some use the 940nm LED's which are completely invisible but produce far less light than the 840nm type so they require a lot more LED's to light up the same distance. When choosing a camera keep in mind that the light given off by the LED's is similar to a flashlight in that the closer the object the brighter they will appear on you monitor. So if you want to be able to see someone or something clearly at 30 feet it's best to go with a camera that has an IR illumination of 40 feet or more.

 

Q: Do color cameras work with Infrared lighting?
A:
No, color cameras have image sensors which are designed specifically for the visible light spectrum. When you see a camera which is described as Color Infrared Camera it has a dual imaging chipset which will automatically turn B/W at night or low light conditions. This allows the camera to provide a full color picture in daylight or adequate light conditions and switch to B/W to make use of the infrared illuminators to give you a usable B/W picture in low or no light conditions.

 

Q: Do the cameras require extra wire to run the signal back to the VCR or TV?
A: Yes, most of our cameras only come with a 2ft or 3ft starter cable. You need to buy the length of cable you need. We offer cables with power and video and cables with power, video and audio in 25ft, 50ft, 65ft, 100ft and 150ft. Most security cameras today come with a BNC video out connector so we always include a BNC to RCA adapter if needed.  Another option is to buy bulk RG59 or RG6 cable and make your own cables. To make your own cables you will need to purchase twist-on or crimp connectors for the video inputs. If using crimp connectors you will also need a proper crimp tool. Making your own cables is generally done by professional installers but anyone can make them with a little practice.

 

Q: How do I record what the camera "sees"?
A: To be able to record what your camera sees you will need some type of video recorder. The most common item available to most people is a standard VCR. This device can be used with most security cameras, however it is limited to 6 or 8 hours recording depending on the size tape and speed setting. Also a standard VCR cannot be set to record only when there is motion even if you have a camera with motion detection. A motion detection camera requires a time lapse VCR or DVR to make use of the motion signal that the camera produces. DVR's are quickly replacing VCR's for recording since they have many advantages such as multiple camera inputs, motion recording, view all cameras at one time or individually, remote viewing, easy searching and no tapes. With motion detection you have the ability to record only when there is motion so you don't need to watch hours of tape to find the event you are looking for.

 

Q: What is the difference between a DVR and a VCR?
A: A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) system records high resolution digital images to a hard disk drive (HDD) and eliminates the requirement of maintaining VHS tapes. Since the video images are stored digitally, the image quality will not degrade overtime, as would a VHS tape when recorded over multiple times. The time-saving search capabilities of a DVR will enable the user to locate the desired video clips via user defined parameters (camera, event, time/date, etc.) versus the fast forward and rewind functions of a VCR. Other advantages of a DVR include multiple camera inputs, motion recording, view all cameras at one time or individually and they can be accessed remotely from anywhere in the world using the Internet.

 

Q: How many hours will a DVR record?
A: The amount of time a DVR will record for is based on a number of factors. The size of the DVR hard drive, the number of cameras recording, the quality setting (highest, high, medium...), the compression method and the number of frames per second it is recording at. For Stand Alone DVR's a frame of high resolution video will be approximately 6kb to 10kb in size so one camera recording in Real Time (30fps) continuously will use about 16 to 20 GB per day. This usage can be considerably less by adjusting frame rate, quality and using motion detection recording.

 

Q: What is a DVR card?
A: DVR Cards or video capture cards enable the user to convert their computer into a Digital Video Recorder. The DVR Card(s) is typically installed in an available PCI slot of a computer. DVR cards are bundled with video surveillance software which allows the user to record and display multiple cameras simultaneously from the camera site or a remote location. Keep in mind the performance you get will depend on your computers speed, memory and video card.

 

Q: Can I plug one of your cameras into my computer for watching and/ or recording?
A: Most cameras produce composite video for use with analog monitoring and recording equipment. Therefore to use your computer you will need a PCI video capture card or similar USB device to view the images. We do carry such devices however the performance you get will depend on your computers speed, memory and video card. If you have a fairly new computer you should get good results. Most capture cards come with software which will allow you to view, record and playback images on your computer screen as well as over the internet.

 

Q: How many cameras can I hook up to one TV?
A: You can hook up as many cameras as your TV has inputs. Most TVs have 2 inputs but when using a quad you can hook up four cameras.

 

Q: What is a varifocal lens?
A: A varifocal lens is one where the focal length of the lens can be varied. This lens may be effectively used as a wide angle, standard, or telephoto lens by varying the focal length of the lens.

 

Q: What is a fixed lens?
A: A fixed focal length lens cannot zoom. The focus is fixed. A fixed focal length lens usually allows more light to pass through the lens at a given focal length than a varifocal, or zoom lens. This can be important in low light situations.


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