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Are AC Timers Worth It For IP Cameras Should They Be Used?

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  • Are AC Timers Worth It For IP Cameras Should They Be Used?

    IMHO, I think AC Timers should be used and virtually are a required accessory for IP Cameras that are in places that you won't be able to get to for hours/days/weeks.

    I say this because you can get AC Timers relatively cheap as low as $4.00 U.S. from Walmart and other places and they at least allow you to always know that your IP Camera will be forced to reboot at x intervals, when/if they ever get hung up and become inaccessible remotely.

    Of course the downside is that while the IP Camera is rebooting ("Powering down/up") it can't capture anything during those timer cycles you set.

    Curious what others think.

    After seeing this subject posted about here in the Forum many times. I wonder if others use or have thought about using AC Timers or currently use AC Timers to force reset their IP Cameras at locations they can't get to on a moments notice. When/if their IP Cameras become inaccessible remotely.

    For those camera owners that do use AC Timers with their IP Cameras. How often do you power cycle your IP Cameras?

    Don

  • #2
    Where I work, when we sell IP cams, they are all on PoE. We include a zwave appliance module and use that to power cycle the PoE switch either regularly or as-needed.

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    • #3
      Of course the downside is that while the IP Camera is rebooting ("Powering down/up") it can't capture anything during those timer cycles you set.
      You shouldn't really have to worry but I have noticed a couple of "low end" IP cams that do not always survive a scheduled reboot or a reboot due to a power issue.

      That really should not happen though. I have had only two models of low end (well low cost) IP cameras do this over the last 3 years.
      - Pete

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      • #4
        Before I added a timer to power cycle a camera, I would have to take a serious look at what is happening. In my experience intermittent network connectivity issues can usually be resolved and are usually symptoms of underlying issues with wiring, switches or access points. I have had 14 IP cameras at my house for over 2 years, not once has a camera had to be rebooted except when applying firmware updates or changing the IP address. If you have cameras that require a regular reboot to keep the connection alive, and you have determined it is not network related issues, I suppose a timer would be a solution. Obviously a far better solution would be a camera capable of keeping a connection alive. Out of curiosity, what cameras are you using that wont stay connected and how are they connected?

        Also +1 on POE. I have a managed POE switch, so if I ever did have to restart a camera, I could power cycle the port or the entire switch. Another BIG advantage of POE is the ability of putting the switch on a UPS, keeping the cameras alive during a power outage.
        Randy Prade
        Aurora, CO
        Prades.net

        PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

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        • #5
          Out of curiosity, what cameras are you using that wont stay connected and how are they connected?
          One camera is a PT Foscam; which stays connected and just trashes itself doing more than one thing requiring a reboot. I have JTAG'd it and watched the software seemingly go into blind loops for no apparent reason. That said I have removed it as it was a PITA to leave it online.

          I also have a Panasonic PT IP camera that has been online for some 10 years with no issues what so ever. Here my tinkering has been not to play with the high end Optex cameras (as nothing ever happens to them) and tinker with a few low end cameras.

          I did recently (over the winter) have one outdoor camera have issues relating to the shutter where only a reboot would fix it. I am not sure though if this was a software or mechanical issue (it would get buried in the snow).

          I am currently using a Tycon managed POE 24 port midstream injector. The managed pieces mostly involve POE. Easy peasy POE management.


          Yup here over the years have migrated from coaxial / Siamese cabled cams to balun powered analog cams to POE initially SD IP cameras to most current POE HD IP cameras.

          Here too maintaining the analog stuff (Leviton Omnitouch & CCTV hub - HAI Subpanel) and legacy serial HAI Leviton Omnitouch CCTV screens by combining IP camera feeds to one analog converter and vice versa putting some analog CCTV cameras to IP (well a long time now). The newer HAI Leviton IP connected touchscreens just need to have the IP of the streaming CCTV cameras configured in the console interface (configuration software called PCA (PC access).

          Yup; dumb analogy; but true; is having to reboot HS every night / morning on a schedule because it doesn't run more than a few days. I do not do this but many folks here do this today.
          Last edited by Pete; June 15th, 2014, 10:15 AM.
          - Pete

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          • #6
            All 14 of mine are Vivotek IP/POE and our climate here in Colorado can go from -30 to 100 degrees. I had 7 at my office and have installed 50-60 others for friends and family. Since I started using them in 2012 none, not one, has required a reboot or failed to connect on power-up. I have one WiFi model that wouldn't reconnect when the router was restarted, but that was solved by updating the firmware on the router.

            I am certainly not a shill for Vivotek, but when something just works, I tend to stick with it. And the image quality is very good.
            Attached Files
            Randy Prade
            Aurora, CO
            Prades.net

            PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

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            • #7
              Very nice Randy.

              I like to tinker.

              I have two automation worlds in my automation sand box; one that works 24/7; never touching it and one mostly for play and tinkering (lately weather stuff). I cannot connect 20 plus hardware devices though to the Leviton HAI OPII panel.

              I see it appears you utilize a 2.8mm lens on that camera. (maybe even a 2.4 mm lens).

              Here I too have settled on the use of a 2.8 mm lens for the outdoor cams.

              I have read only good things about the Vivotek IP cameras.

              I have cams that look at cams that look at cams.

              One outdoor IP cam is under a sappy tree and deliberately exposed to the "weather"; in an effort in trying to break it.

              Yup; like CO ....one last trip to Estes, great times. Watching herds of Elk all night by the house, snowing all night and waking up to some 3-4 feet of snow; then playing bocci ball after clearing out the driveway and temps being 70 F.
              Last edited by Pete; June 15th, 2014, 11:39 AM.
              - Pete

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              • #8
                You may want to try a different option if your IPCameras are needing to be rebooted. I'm using "lip stick" cameras with the AXIS 241Q's and haven't had to restart any thing in years. I got good cameras and $10 Harbor Frieght cameras and all of them have worked without any intervention since I've installed them. If you want to "reboot" all of your cameras you can simply log into the video server and restart that. Check these servers out. They can be bought for a good price on eBay.
                -Rupp
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  Yup; the analog SD cameras today just go and go.

                  They have less "moving" parts and are limited being maxed out at the top of the analog resolution spectrum.

                  The move towards miniaturization of a little computer next to the camera lens brings us to the world of high definition video resolution being able to see and do a bit more with the camera.

                  Already here but a bit high priced yet is the 1-network cable POE camera that has PTZ, Zoom, analog alarm triggers (via power and NC/NO switches) with super high resolution.

                  As you mention Rupp, the analog camera to an Axis 241Q CCTV server functions just fine; relatively simple with "tried an true" methodologies that simply just work.

                  Lately here doing a "grey" versus "color" comparison. The details are relative to what you want to see. The storage of HD is "cheaper" with grey versus color. This going into the multiple streaming stuff. Here events are recorded to media while concurrently recording. The events are based on analog triggers versus triggers based on analytics of the video (old fashioned in me). Kind of like a Tivo box. An event triggers a "rewind" to the beginning of an event; then a save of the event. This does in itself use much less space than say the recording of multiple streams of cams to media 24/7. Only sort of pay attention when a coyote happens to trigger all of the cams at 3-4 AM in the morning.

                  Yesterday watched an ancillary video where the Coyote walked up the driveway, took a left at the front door, triggered all of the outdoor lights, followed its own path around the entire house (seeing this on cams), then left on the same path that it started on the driveway.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Pete; June 15th, 2014, 12:30 PM.
                  - Pete

                  Auto mator
                  Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.500 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04 64 bit Intel CPU - Mono 5.18
                  Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.531 (Linux) - ARMBian Ubuntu 18.04 64 bit Arm CPU - Mono 5.20

                  X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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                  • #10
                    That one is actually a 3-9mm variable at 3mm. It is an IP8335H. At 3mm it has an 85-degree horizontal FOV. My favorites are the 5mp (really 4mp) fisheye that have a 180-degree FOV. They have geometric distortion correction built in, providing electronic PTZ for broad coverage. Since I record the full image, I can apply the PTZ after the fact on recordings. I have 3 FE8172V cameras. Below are the original image, a corrected panorama and a corrected range - resized for attachment. All of the image manipulation is electronic - no moving parts. The panorama and range images are 1920x1080, the original is 1920x1920. I record at 8FPS and at full resolution.
                    Attached Files
                    Randy Prade
                    Aurora, CO
                    Prades.net

                    PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

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                    • #11
                      Very nice Randy!

                      Wondrous what a little computer board adjacent to the camera lens board can do. Now thinking too they are being combined.

                      The old days of analog cams just had little 3-4 wires between the shutter pieces and the camera lens board. The Speco lens board assembly (legacy) is truely gargantuan compared to the tiny little CCTV computers built into a camera today.

                      The new ones has a tiny ZIF cables which is a bit more than 4 wires doing a heck of lot more with even less moving parts. They even have little CMOS batteries today and do function self sufficiently using a little board no bigger than maybe 3" in diameter.

                      Well too now built in SIP such that you can just call your camera with a phone; what a neato idea. (old technology but new to me to play with).
                      - Pete

                      Auto mator
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                      X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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