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I've used Slackware for about 5 years now in a number of cctv setups. Initially I used ZoneMinder - which has an impressive feature set, but personally I find some of their design decisions a bit of a pain. The interface is too slow for my needs, and storing the footage as individual jpegs linked to a database index might have it's advantages, but it's not to my taste. When I started to build slimmer machines based on Atom boards, I moved the whole thing to ffmpeg and later on to motion (which uses ffmpeg for recording video files). I find the motion package to have all the features I need - yet it is really light in terms of CPU requirements. On an Intel Atom D550 machine I can run up to 6 cameras - depending on FPS and resolution chosen - with motion detection enabled. I use USB webcams - some of the higher end ones have pretty amazing auto-focus and low light performance. One of the biggest hurdles is the USB bandwidth problem - with cameras either saturating the usb bus, or worse, some of them demanding all the bandwidth to themselves and no allowing another usb camera, for no reason whatsoever.
I use VLC to access the stored video files directly - having a fancy, cctv specific interface would be nice - but I haven't found anything suitable for my needs.
More info on my trials and tribulations building a CCTV system based on fanless Intel Atom boards, Slackware (could be any other distro really, just my personal choice) and usb cameras for installation on buses here: www.open-t.co.uk/iroko
I was trying to figure out how I can use the auto power thing, the M3 thing, on a solar panel constant-trickle-charged car/truck battery at the house. Or maybe use that as a backup for when the AC power goes out during a storm or whatever...sort of like an UPS.
Any ideas if this might work and how to implement it? Keep in mind I'm no programmer and can't even bash script anything, but I can get around on a linux system fairly well with nudges in the right directions and a little help often, heh.
I'm not sure I follow what your goal is. If you are designing a cctv system to be installed in a vehicle - the M3 auto power supply is excellent and satisfies all the requirements of such a setup. However, if you are building a cctv system to be installed in a building with regular power, I would use whatever normal power supply comes with whatever computer case you are using.
The setup I use at home uses the same Jetway metal case I used for the bus system (mainly because it's compact and I like it, but you can use any computer case), and I use the power supply that came with it. I have also connected the whole thing to a UPS, which protects against data loss and keeps the system going for a while in case of a power cut.
I hope the above answers your question. If it doesn't, you might have to be a bit more specific.
What I want to do is keep the system, not so much the camera, hidden as well as possible from anyone that might break in while I'm away. This way even if they take the camera itself, hopefully they won't find the case with the hdd and the jpg's and mpg's that were taken of them as they stole/broke things.
So, let's say I find a good hidey hole for my case, I somehow figure out a way to run normal house electricity to it without it being obvious. Now, I *could* put a UPS there also (though that would possibly make hiding the whole thing a little harder but not impossibly harder). The problem with the UPS is that it will shut down after a short time (depending on the UPS of course), leaving me with zero anything being put on the hdd as thieves ransack my home.
Instead of the UPS, use a small solar panel connected to a car/truck battery as a backup if the power went out. This is the same principle as running the system in a vehicle only there's no 'key' or 'starter' involved, only the sudden loss of regular house electricity.
If there were a way to let the solar panel truck battery be the UPS, the solar panel could keep the 12 volt battery charged easily enough to keep the system running since there will be nothing but the hdd and the cpu running off of it (a solar panel or two, could be put together to keep the battery charged easily enough I think, so long as the cpu and the hdd don't use more than the battery(ies) and solar panels can keep supplied at a constant rate). Most people don't think twice about seeing solar panels anywhere as most people don't need, want, understand or use the things and are rarely stolen, so these will be no problem as I can see to be placed not too far from the 'system' it's powering during a power-outage.
The biggest 'problem' I see with this setup is getting the system to use the solar panel setup as the UPS if the normal house electricity went out. I just don't know how that works or if it's possible or what, and I guess that's what I'm trying to ask (yeah, I know...I suck at getting the question(s) out as they *should* be, but I've always had that problem and I'm doing my best here, heh).
First, I apologise to other forum readers for diverging quite a bit from the topic of this forum.
I agree with trying to prevent the potential intruder(s) from taking away the actual cctv footage - that is a common requirement for cctv systems. However, I think you are going about it in a slightly over complicated way. First you will either have to have the system close enough to the solar panel - or run a (potentially) long cable to it. Secondly, we are talking regulators, controllers, charging circuits and all sorts of other electronics to make the charging and switching between the two power sources work correctly. Then, there is the issue of space. A car battery is fairly sizable - as big as some of the medium capacity UPS's. So, space wise, I'm not sure you would be ahead that way.
I would say that the problem can be sorted a bit easier in few steps:
1. Fist, make sure you install the cctv system in a fairly inaccessible place. Work out what is the most likely route of entry for an intruder, and keep the cctv system away. Basements and lofts tend to be the furthest places away in a house in terms of ease of access (unless you have a basement or a loft with windows/access doors). Also, you can always hide it a bit - so that it would take a while for anybody to actually find where it is.
2. I have screwed my system down to a large object (a heavy table in my case). Find something solid, like a wall or a large piece of furniture and screw the metal case down. Intruders will rarely want to hang around your house for that long - sitting around cutting or undoing solid bolts or screws is unlikely to appeal.
3. It is possible to configure motion to send away images once motion is detected. These can be emailed or uploaded to an FTP site - so by the time the system is removed or disconnected (if that is the case) - the important footage is already saved offsite.
4. An UPS is already designed to do everything you are asking for. It contains a lead-acid battery (just like a car battery, just smaller), and the right circuitry to switch the supply to the battery in case of power loss. I run my system on a small UPS (APC Back-UPS 350) of just 210Whr - and it currently shows it could run for 47 minutes in case of power loss. Just buy a bigger one, and you should be able to run an Atom motherboard system for few hours off the UPS - if you really need to.
Personally, I think the combination of above measures should provide adequate protection for most circumstances. Of course, it is all relative and it is possible to keep on adding more belts and braces in order to make the system even more tamper proof. The above are just some relatively simple to implement solutions.