On my old lot there was Beto, a most malicious bad person. A thief by nature. And big and strong enough to be a threat when accused. On the new lot I have no idea what the security issues might be. I have a good neighbor and a good fence but I am a target and need to feel that while I am not at home or during the night that I can keep track of who and what happens here.
So, when Costco had a sale on a QSEE camera system of 8 cameras for the price of a 4 camera system, I bought the system. So far it has been a mixed blessing although I have had it installed for only a week.
The system is a set of 8 cameras, a DVR box with remote controller, and lots of very long cables. They supply 4 60-foot cables with connectors at each end and a similar set of 4 at 100 feet each. It seems that cutting a cable is not a good idea. There is a maximum range for power loss so that chaining cables seems a poor idea. You even get little packages of mounting screws.
The concept of professional software has not yet arrived at QSEE. The QSEE software is self contained. A good idea. The DVR has a nice set of setup programs for which you need an HD TV, a regular TV, or a PC monitor. After setup, you do not need this monitor. The DVD-supplied manuals are comprehensive. One for the DVR operation and the other for remoteInternet viewing anywhere in the world . For remote viewing you will need a router. Today probably a WiFi router. For Internet viewing the router needs an Internet connection. I do not have one of these so I can only view my cameras locally within range of my own router.
Setup requires a monitor connected to the DVR unit. You will need to install the cameras and feed the cables back to the DVR. I suspect that there are systems available with no cables and maybe that is the reason for the special price.
You will need a WiFi router connected to the Internet if you want to watch your system while away from home. At home you may watch it on a connected monitor or from your PC with that same WiFi router without an Internet connection.
I have installed 6 cameras on the front of the RV. I shall install two more. One some time when the aches are gone, maybe next year. This will be on the rear of the RV which is currently a blind spot. The other will be inside the RV atop the DVR in the cabinet to the left of the TV, That is a near-term project. Then I shall know who and when my RV is occupied while I am away.
I have purchased lengths of 1 1/4" PVC tubing. The low-pressure stuff -- not Schedule 40. This is lighter and uses the standard 1" PVC connectors. These tubes can hold 6 of the cables with no problem -- probably all 8 if you want. Not a problem after the feeding cables one at a time -- the connector size is the issue. Make sure that you know where the cables go before you start. The closer you get to the DVR the more critical the planning. I started with all 6 at the DVR and routed the tree from here.
I have a PVC tube from inside the cabinet, through a couple of corners to the driver-side window, and out. I have room AC units in this window so that there is no other consideration of how to get outside. If I did not have the room air units. I would route the PVC tubes to under the dash and out into the front RV grill area.. I have my propane line coming in here for winter heat. If I had done this, the DVR would be sitting on the front dash. In any case, the tubing has about 6 feet inside with about 6 PVC elbows where it goes outside to the aluminum channel that connects the RV roof rubber to the RV side panel -- standard RV construction. There is a groove in this panel for lighting or whatever. I have bought the little slide connectors for pretty lights and drilled a screw into each PVC elbow or "T" on the outside here. Make sure to route the screw with the head inside the PVC elbow. The last thing needed is a sharp screw thread in the middle of the camera cable route.
The tube goes to the front of the RV in that aluminum channel. I have a set of two parallel tubes across the roof at the very front of the RV. Elbows give me the vertical rise and drop to meet my RV channel-mounted connectors. The front T is open on each side of the RV. I have inserted a small piece of PVC with a PVC end cap here. This is for the convenience of making the cables go around the corners during installation. Otherwise I could have used elbows here.
I have taken 6 T's and attached a camera base to each using the supplied screws. Inside each T I have bent the screw to match the tube diameter. Again I am concerned that the cable not be obstructed by sharp screw threads. On the outside of the T I have applied some silicon caulk (remember that I am a dinosaur and the stuff is no longer called caulk).
My harness is a wide "H" shape across the very front of the RV. Again where the RV plastic front meets the roof rubber. It is a set of parallel PVC tubes separated by about 10". Each corner is a T and the bottom is a T. On the roof at the corner and at about 10" from the corner is another T. From these T's are pipe sections connecting the front and back tubes. This double tube construct makes for a rigid harness. The harness is held in place with a slide connector on the lower T's to the RV gutter slide. The driver-side tube extends back to the window tube entrance. The passenger side rear ends at an elbow, similarly slide connected. For strength I may add a strap in the middle of the two roof risers to the gutter and connect this strap with a screw directly into the gutter slide. Winds get pretty rough around here and I do not want my harness to blow away.
I have described my parallel tube bridge from gutter to gutter with about 10" of PVC connecting front and back tubes and 3 T's on each tube on each side of the RV. For the front tube, I have used the camera-based T's. On the rear tube, just regular T's. I have routed three cables to the driver-side cameras on the front harness tubing. I have routed the cables for the three passenger cameras in the rear tube until it meets the first cross pipe on that side where all three then go to the front tube.
I then have mounted a camera at each of the 3 on each side. The cameras have a power cable connector and a data cable connector matching the cable runs to the DVR. There is about a foot of connector cable from the camera. I have fed this down the cross tube to the back tube. This seems a good idea since that foot needs to go somewhere and cramping it in the T sounds like a bad idea if you could even do it. So now the front harness has 3 cameras on each side of the RV. One camera at the gutter and two on the roof with one very close to the drop down. The drop down is an elbow. It seems that maybe I should have placed a T at this corner and placed one of the cameras here. I may reroute these in the future but right now I am tired. The problem is the camera mount. The camera rotates on its base 360 degrees. It rotates on its connector to the base 360 degrees so that the cameras can be rotated to the proper "up" position. The camera pivot is 180 degrees from one side, over the top to the other side. This is my constraint: from the roof of the RV, the camera cannot look down. If I mount the second camera to the upper corner elbow instead of the first cross tube, I have more flexibility although this still leaves the inside roof cameras with no ability to look down. The cameras do have a wide angle so that the center cameras looking across the front lot do not need much down -- but the side-looking cameras do need a little more down that I now have. Moving the camera to the corner on its T seems a good idea.
Note that I have used no glue on my connectors anywhere. This permits me to reconfigure as necessary. It also permits some water to enter the tubing. I have no idea where but it get there. This is not good. For this I have drilled a few small holes on the lower parts of the harness tube on each side. I did not like the surprise the first time I moved the inside of the RV tubes and all of the retained water spilled down my arm to the RV carpet.
I now have a cable from each camera routed back to the PVC tube next to my DVR. All of my excess cable is sitting here still on its plastic carrier piece. I have left slack along the way inside the tubing so that I can make minor adjustments upstairs without having to reroute the 6 inside the final tube.
Connect each camera cable to the back of the QSEE DVR. Turn on your monitor and software to see your configuration. Mine worked the first time and I was happy. But right now you see the cameras in some order on the screen and it is probably not the order in which you want to see them. Rearrange the cable connectors on the DVR rear until you see the images in your preferred order. Do not accept the QSEE software option to reorder the screen images! If you do, you must redo the order every time you turn on your monitor.
You can use the software options to do many things here. Right now I just want to watch my cameras and will worry about recording and blocking and whatever when I am happy.
I have no dedicated monitor for the QSEE. I could use my HD TV but I have a 2 DVD's and a BLU-Ray connected to the TV -- there are no more ports available and I really do not want to switch back and forth. I may invest in a dedicated monitor in the future.
Right now I use my PC to watch the cameras. Using the QSEE remote viewing software, I fire up a web browser, and set the PCP/IP address to that of the QSEE DVR. they tell you how to do this. I can do almost everything from this remote viewing software that I can do with the dedicated DVR software program.
I prefer the Firefox browser over Google or the Windows IE. I have installed the NoSquint Addon to Firefox. The QSEE software program does not permit resizing the camera screen image. NoSquint overcomes this deficiency. I can make the QSEE camera image go from the quarter screen to fill as much of my screen as I want. I could use their full screen option but then I could do nothing else on my PC.
These people may make good hardware. I think so far it is good. But their software leaves much to be desired. The first problem is that they warn you in several places that you may not just power down the system. You must issue a remote command to the software for a shutdown. This is a serious problem where I live where the AC power gets interrupted every time it rains or there are strong winds or someone somewhere along the highway runs into a power pole. I figure at my first opportunity to buy a UPS for the DVR (and my TV stuff). A UPS has built-in voltage control better than the regular "stick" things. If you invest in a UPS, make sure to not buy the APC brand. I lost a couple computers to APC before I learned.
Not adjustable. You have whatever their window creates is or full-screen. It would be nice if their software camera images automatically resized with the browser window. I can do this with my photos with software that I wrote -- it is not difficult. The Firefox NoSquint Addon solves the problem but the problem should not exist.
The software involved here is through a WiFi router, maybe remote. They have used their own script program rather than using straight HTML. Their software people apparently lack the expertise of their hardware people. That is as diplomatic as I can word it. I understand why you would want to write script rather than HTML but script writing requires some level of expertise as does any computer programming.
When you log onto the QSEE IP address the first time, the program asks you to download from the DVR a driver program for your PC viewing. This driver program crashes on a regular basis. It will crash every time your PC goes to sleep or hibernates. It will crash if you change certain options in the QSEE configuration utility. And it will not restart itself after the crash. You will need to log off Windows and re log on to force the program to reload and restart. And this is just for viewing. And sometimes you must restart Windows. On a scale of 1 to 10, this rates a 2.
Apparently their software people having nothing to do (maybe they should spend their time improving software quality -- this would be good). Rather than use any of the available AVI Windows compression routines, QSEE has supplied their own. So all of your recorded files have been compressed with their own algorithm. Maybe this makes their disk files unusable to any malicious spy routines but they now require you to download their decompression routine. It downloads just fine to an EXE file. When executed, the EXE file appears to do something useful. I am not sure what. Every time I go to the Config option to view the recorded files, I get a new request to download the driver. No matter how many times I do this -- and each time it appears to work without any error indication, the recording will not display and I shall be asked again when I enter the option to watch the recorded displays. In other words I can watch what is going on right now., I can record what is going on. I just cannot see what was recorded. For security, this product does not work. I cannot prove who or what has happened. I can only see for myself while it is happening at any one time. On a scale of 1 to 10, this rates a 0.
This makes the QSEE product totally useless if you want to prove that someone or something has done done anything at all.
I need to contact Costco since QSEE does not appear to have a support option here.