Condominium security cameras

I was reviewing some emails regarding our security and noticed a few recurring problems.  Currently we have Digital Sprite 2.

Cameras are not always functional
Cameras are not covering enough areas
Video is difficult to burn to a DVD
Video is not easily accessible from a remote location
DVR is not large enough and video is often overwritten.

I am thinking we should get a brand new system. That technology is at least 5 years old and we should be able to get much better equipment that is more user friendly and cover what our needs are.
Please advice.
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Tiras25Asked:
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Darr247Connect With a Mentor Commented:
If the unit is out of warranty, you could help the 'DVR is not large enough and video is often overwritten.' bit by doubling the hard drive capacity.

There are general instructions on the web, e.g. about halfway down http://scorpiontheater.com/dm.aspx under the heading DEDICATED MICROS  HARD DRIVE INFO!

It bothers me that they use FAT32, which should limit file size to either 2GB or 4GB, and I'm not sure how they handle dividing them... but upping the drive size to 320GB or 500GB should at least double its capacity.

You'll need a IDE/PATA to USB adapter if you don't have one already.
e.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119152

You should be able to format the new drive to FAT32 in vista/7 by making a shortcut to "cmd", right-click shortcut and choose "Run as Administrator" (even if the user already has Admin rights), then run
Format x: /FS:FAT32
where 'x' is the drive letter of the new drive, as shown in Disk Management.

GUI tool to format USB-connected drives if you don't want to use a command window in vista/7 or you're using XP/2000/NT.
e.g. http://en.kioskea.net/download/download-411-swissknife
Here's instructions on how to use the GUI tool in vista/7
written by detox - Sep 10, 2011 4:54pm BST (as shown on that download page)

 1. run program and find the drive you want to format. but don't format yet.
 2. you must go into 'Disk Management' and 'Delete Volume' of the drive first. SwissKnife will give you a 'Read/Write' error if you don't.
 3. going back to SwissKnife, under the drive info click 'Delete' then choose how you want the drive to be formatted and click 'Create'. should take a few seconds.
 4. After Swissknife is done, the drive will disappear from Windows. Just unplug and plug it back in. and it should show back up as a fat32 partitioned drive.

Of course, switching to a device that uses SATA drives will be a better long-term solution, since IDE/PATA drives are getting harder to find, and they get more and more expensive (compared to SATA drives) over 700GB.
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CallandorConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would recommend a system from www.apexcctv.com - you can buy a dedicated standalone unit, or just add a card, connect cameras to it and add hard disk space.  I've had mine for years and had no complaints - it will address all your points.
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Gerald ConnollyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
have a look at the new camera system from Ubiquiti (www.ubnt.com), although its version 1 and missing some features, it promises to be a cracker and very affordable too.
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Tiras25Author Commented:
Interesting options.  Let me look into these.
 I don't want to put too much money at once into the security system but slowly upgrade.  Start with the actual cameras first, then, storage, software, and then maybe DVR itlself.  This will over time, upgrade our complete system and spread the costs over time.
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CallandorConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The DVR cards from ApexCCTV come with software which is pretty good.  You can start with a card with enough ports to handle your present and future anticipated needs, install in a PC you already have, and add cameras as desired.  You do have to decide whether you are going to go with IP cameras all around, because the cards to handle more than one cost more.
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