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Thread: Please recommend a proximity sensor, some lighting and video

  1. #31
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    I give AARP discounts.


    I hope your Holidays are Happy.
    Oh good; I've been a member for over 20 years.

    You have a great Holiday season too Don.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  2. #32
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    I have been playing around a bit with the Swann DVR, and I am wondering whether either of you might know why the DVR seems to have difficulty maintaining a good picture. Here is what happens:

    The cameras I have came with a small monitor (everything is Swann), and they work just fine when connected to that monitor. They also work fine with the DVR at least part of the time, but sometimes the images get washed out. Doing a complete reset of the DVR will sometimes make everything fine again, but not always. The issue has something to do with the DVR getting confused when the cameras self-adjust to ambient light and/or motion. So, is it possible that I need a different (older) kind of camera for the older Swann DVR? As an aside, I did manage to find an FTP link for downloading the software that lets me access the DVR over my local network.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  3. #33
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    You need a (1 only) 75 ohm termination.

    If not the Video is not 1 V p-p.

    Check the AGC level.


    Sounds like you are having fun.
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  4. #34
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    I have been playing around a bit with the Swann DVR, and I am wondering whether either of you might know why the DVR seems to have difficulty maintaining a good picture. Here is what happens:

    The cameras I have came with a small monitor (everything is Swann), and they work just fine when connected to that monitor. They also work fine with the DVR at least part of the time, but sometimes the images get washed out. Doing a complete reset of the DVR will sometimes make everything fine again, but not always. The issue has something to do with the DVR getting confused when the cameras self-adjust to ambient light and/or motion. So, is it possible that I need a different (older) kind of camera for the older Swann DVR? As an aside, I did manage to find an FTP link for downloading the software that lets me access the DVR over my local network.
    We get what we pay for (sometimes, if we are lucky). I've been using consumer grade cameras and DVR's for a few years, and kind of accepted the results. The place where I work just had some professional equipment intalled; very high quality. The difference between the images on this equipment looks like watching a Superbowl game on a High Def TV vs my mickey mouse cartoon images. Absolutely unbelievable.

    I don't remember if you said your system is with wireless or wired cameras, which could make a big difference in the signal recieved at the DVR, and what about ambient light? Do the images look washed out when the sun or other light is shining on the camera(s)? Not all cameras are able to compensate sufficiently (auto iris)
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  5. #35
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    A lot of the cheap low light cameras do not have optical filters so that the IR is detected better in low light.

    Sunlight will wash them out, because the IR content in sunlight is high.

    A good camera will have a daylight sensor and switch in to B&W at night, and use IR only.

    AGC is about all you can do in the software, tweaking Contrast helps also.


    Buy a $20 camera and you get a $20 camera.
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  6. #36
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    A lot of the cheap low light cameras do not have optical filters so that the IR is detected better in low light.

    Sunlight will wash them out, because the IR content in sunlight is high.

    A good camera will have a daylight sensor and switch in to B&W at night, and use IR only.

    AGC is about all you can do in the software, tweaking Contrast helps also.


    Buy a $20 camera and you get a $20 camera.
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    Last edited by BobL43; 12-19-2013 at 01:42 PM.
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  7. #37
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    A good camera will have a daylight sensor and switch in to B&W at night, and use IR only.
    These cameras definitely have that and do that, and everything is fine while they are connected directly to the small monitor. But then when I connect them to the DVR, is seems the DVR is doing some kind of additional switching of its own that is washing things out.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    You need a (1 only) 75 ohm termination.
    What is that and where do I put it?

    My overall suspicion is that I bought a worn-out DVR (bad video), and the goal here is to try to isolate the actual problem.

    Edit: I just found and ordered a 75-ohm terminator for the DVR's second video output (BNC).
    Last edited by leejosepho; 12-20-2013 at 04:18 AM.
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  8. #38
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    The terminator is built into the monitor. It is just a 75 ohm resistor normally.

    Just use a T and see how it looks with the Monitor and the DVR connected at the same time.

    You can use a ohm meter to measure if the DVR has a terminator built in.


    Are you using BNC or RCA Phono connectors ?
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  9. #39
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    These cameras definitely have that and do that, and everything is fine while they are connected directly to the small monitor. But then when I connect them to the DVR, is seems the DVR is doing some kind of additional switching of its own that is washing things out.


    What is that and where do I put it?

    My overall suspicion is that I bought a worn-out DVR (bad video), and the goal here is to try to isolate the actual problem.
    In that case, plug the camera's cable into a different monitor that accepts video input (usually a yellow "RCA" jack) and a BNC to RCA adapter if needed. Lots of TV's these days have them, and then you need to select "Video: as the input on the TV.

    lots of bad images look fine on a tiny monitor, but terrible on a regular screen.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  10. #40
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    Just use a T and see how it looks with the Monitor and the DVR connected at the same time.

    ...


    Are you using BNC or RCA Phono connectors ?
    The cameras and monitor have RCA connections, and the DVR has BNC. So, I have added an RCA/BNC adapter at each connection on the back of the DVR. Also, and as mentioned in my above edit you might have missed, I have ordered a 75-ohm terminator for the DVR's second video-out connection.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    ...plug the camera's cable into a different monitor that accepts video input...

    lots of bad images look fine on a tiny monitor, but terrible on a regular screen.
    I have yet to try a TV, but yes, I do understand about resolution and such.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #41
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    The cameras and monitor have RCA connections, and the DVR has BNC. So, I have added an RCA/BNC adapter at each connection on the back of the DVR. Also, and as mentioned in my above edit you might have missed, I have ordered a 75-ohm terminator for the DVR's second video-out connection.


    I have yet to try a TV, but yes, I do understand about resolution and such.

    After looking at the DVR-4 manual the DVR looks like it has 75 ohm terminators built in on its 4 Inputs.


    Where are you looking that the video looks bad ? On Output #1 of the DVR-4 ? Are you terminating into a 75 ohm monitor Input ? The 2 outputs are made to drive (1) 75 ohm load.
    Last edited by DonL; 12-20-2013 at 05:02 AM.
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  12. #42
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    After looking at the DVR-4 manual the DVR looks like it has 75 ohm terminators built in on its 4 Inputs.


    Where are you looking that the video looks bad ? On Output #1 of the DVR-4 ? Are you terminating into a 75 ohm monitor Input ? The 2 outputs are made to drive (1) 75 ohm load.
    Here are the docs for my DVR: http://www.swann.com/downloads/drivers/dvr4net/

    The DVR has two video outputs, and neither is labelled as "1" or "2". In the past, I have had a cable connected at each output even though I have only been using one or the other...and I have just now done a test by connecting both DVR outputs to the dual-input monitor, and that definitely improved the DVR output (less washout). So, I am assuming the 75-ohm terminator I just ordered for one of the DVR outputs will do the same. Overall, however, it still seems the DVR and cameras are competing for control of adjustments related to ambient light during low light. For example, and with everything connected, I typically have to do a factory reset of the DVR to get a good picture, but then passing my hand (about three feet away) in front of a camera in low light will again put the DVR output into a washed-out state even though the same does *not* happen when the camera is connected directly to the monitor.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 12-20-2013 at 05:31 AM.
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  13. #43
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Are you using the 12 Volt DC adapter that is made for the DVR ? I think you bought it used ?

    Are your cameras powered separately ?

    If you can see a difference with both output connections connected, You may be onto something.

    But why you should have to do a factory reset , tells me that you have other problems also.

    You might try changing the DVR Sensitivity settings to Low.

    If the Video signal is distorted the DVR may not like it. Does it do the same on all cameras ?

    You could also be looking at a freeze frame, and the IR is washing out the video.


    Have fun.
    Last edited by DonL; 12-20-2013 at 09:54 AM.
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  14. #44
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    Are your cameras powered separately ?
    Yes, and yesterday I played around a bit to see whether cable length made any difference. Overall, it seems the 60' cables are fine, but I do wonder whether the cameras need a while to warm up or whatever. Yesterday I first had some raster lines that eventually went away after I had swapped cameras and cables around a bit, then that problem never came back even after I had put things back as they had been.

    If you can see a difference with both output connections connected, You may be onto something.

    But why you should have to do a factory reset , tells me that you have other problems also.
    Since the DVR has no power button, I have experimented a bit with whether to power the cameras before or after powering the DVR and/or before or after even connecting the cameras to the DVR. Overall, it seems a factory reset after everything is connected and powered is how I get the best results.

    You might try changing the DVR Sensitivity settings to Low. If the Video signal is distorted the DVR may not like it. Does it do the same on all cameras ?
    Switching cables and cameras has not made any difference even though the raster lines eventually went away while I was trying all of that. My IR reception is a bit grainy in the dark, and I had to lower the motion sensitivity in the dark to keep that from going off even when there was no motion to detect.

    Are you using the 12 adapter that is made for the DVR ? I think you bought it used ?
    Yes, I bought it used, and what is that adapter? Do I need to be using some kind of Y to put both outputs into one?
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  15. #45
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Sorry, I screwed up on my post.

    That should have been 12 Volt power supply adapter.

    The one that supplies power to the DVR.

    Next time it gets hosed you should try to kill power to the cameras and see if that helps.


    The DVR hard drive can crash if the DVR is not shut down properly. If it is writing data its outcome is not good.


    The cameras should not need to warm up, but the power supplies that come with them are normally underrated. Even more so if the camera has IR LEDs on a long cable run.


    Have Fun.
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