*Recording Additonal Cameras On a CCTV System*
By: 2manytoyz
30 July 2009

When I bought my DVR, I thought 4 channels would be enough. Now with recent crime in my neighborhood, I need to record video of some other locations. An 8 channel DVR is twice the price of a 4 channel. It was hard enough justifying my current setup with the boss at the time. So for now, I've cheated a little. Many years ago I had a single channel time lapse VCR connected to an 8 channel switcher. Cameras could be selected or bypassed, and the dwell time could be adjusted. The VCR eventually died, but the switcher still works great. It draws less than 1 Watt (measured with a Kill-A-Watt meter).

So what I've done is connected 3 cameras to 3 channels on the DVR. The 4th channel is connected to the switcher. I can connect up to 8 cameras to the switcher. This allows 3 channels to be recorded constantly, the 4th channel will record about 5 seconds of each camera on the sequencer before moving to the next camera. I put the less critical cameras on the switcher. The amount of time between camera views is easily adjustable with a twist of the run time dial. But 4-5 seconds seems to be adequate. Adding or removing cameras to the sequence is as easy as flipping a switch up/down.

An LED indicates which camera is being viewed. A label maker is an easy way to identify each channel.

BNC connections on the back are typical.

An example of the sequence. Note the top right image. Sidewalk leading to the front door being recorded.

This is a shared channel, so it flips back & forth with the garage view every 5 seconds.

At any point I can flip a switch and lock the sequencer in on one channel, or manually step through them if I need to do a quick check of the perimeter. More cameras have been added since these images were taken. This setup can record a total of 11 cameras. 3 constantly, 8 sequenced. It's not perfect, but it's a good use of old hardware until I upgrade my system.

Now there is new software (free) that will allow multiple CPCAM brand DVRs to be accessed simultaneously. It's available for download at http://www.cpcamglobal.com/support/. Up to 4 4-channel DVRs can be viewed at once. The IP for each DVR is entered into the software, allowing it to load the video from each DVR, giving the user up to 16 camera views at once. The downside is if you wish to hook a TV directly to the output of the DVR to maximize the viewing resolution, you have to pick one of the 4 DVRs, or have 4 TVs. The image quality on the computer is very usable, but it still looks better on the TV. A true 16 channel DVR would allow all 16 images to be viewed on a single TV. The downside of a 16 channel DVR is having to pay for it all at once. A 4 channel DVR is 1/4 the cost of a 16 channel model, and it's easier to justify $300 than $1200+, at least in my case.

So you have options. Even if you start with a basic 4 channel DVR, you can still view/record more than 4 cameras. Either with a switcher, as I'm using, or by adding extra DVRs and using the new software.

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