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RESET 24 - Wiring and cameras for your pool house


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(I didn't see where you may have started a threat on this..)


Suggestions for connectivity between your new pool house and main house:

Simplest would be to go wireless (which I know you do not prefer).  If you end up going this route, I would suggest getting a point-to-point wireless bridge.  Luxul and other companies make these products.  They include a pair of WiFi radios with focused antennas (instead of typical omnidirectional antennas) and outdoor enclosures.  Put an Ethernet switch on each end and treat is as a transparent "wire" between the two locations.

If you do trench and pull cable, I'm sure you know the "rule of thumb" to always pull at least two of every cable, every when you think you only need one.  If you plan on pulling Ethernet and coax, then at least two of each.  Go for the highest rating (cat 6E ?) and highest quality cables.  Material cost is a one-time thing but the labor and effort is something you want to last many many years and not have to re-do in the future because of an "oops".

Because a pool house to main house is probably a relatively short run, and is only a single point=to-point connection, I would strongly advise running at least a pair of fiber optic cables also.  With only one run, the fiber cost will be reasonable (versus wiring a large port of a house, etc.) and there is so much versatility.  Even if you don't use it initially, you have the potential to push anything through a fiber - unlimited video, audio, data, etc. and not have to use any compromise solutions like video-over-IP or HDMI/CEC-over-IP, etc.

For security and IP cameras, books have been written but I would advise considering only cameras that are ONVIF compatible so they can be used with many different front-end apps, applications, or NVR (network video recorder) systems.

FOR NVR, (to keep everything in-house and not pay monthly cloud or hosting fees), the two programs I have used are Blue Iris (for the PC), and Security Spy (for Mac).  Both of these are awesome with lots of configuration options and many different ways they can be used.  Both of them will give you the "live video multi-camera display in a grid" on your computer that you are looking for.

Last thoughts - SD definition cameras are still cheaper than 720p or 1080p HD cameras.  If you are going to use a lot of cameras (4 or 8 or more) consider carefully if you really need all of them to be HD.  with SD cameras you will save a lot of money on the cameras, and have less bandwidth (and less storage) to handle their streaming output.

Finally, I would advise paying a little extra to get cameras with H.264 hardware encoding built-in.  This will reduce the bandwidth over your LAN and allow the NVR software applications to handle more cameras simultaneously as a lot of the initial video processing is offloaded to the camera itself.

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H265 is about to land on the CCTV front, Honeywell are saying 20% better compression but that's conservative IMHO, they are also going up to 32 channel on their IP range of NVR's so should be an interesting 12 months..

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as long as there seems no official post for the podcast episode, my thoughts in some other areas beyond the OP...

* coordinating between what contractors do and what you are doing for optimum efficiency
* what happens to the pool house in the winter? do you have to drain the plumbing etc?
* give some thought to how much of the 'pool house' is walled in -vs- just roofed-over space to protect activities from sun and rain (protects the tv and alexa etc too)
* I didn't hear you say barbecue, will that be done in the vicinity? and if so, does it need some consideration?
* pool automation - the more it can be automated the less chance 'grandpa' will get tired of it and fill it in (or at least will extend the time before that happens)
* there are many pool technologies, seems like a possible topic for for one or more "RESET" episodes

I wish you the best of luck with this project, it sounds fun and I look forward to hearing more as it proceeds.

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  • Dave featured this topic

Edited the title and moved the post. Thanks for starting it, you guys are fast to listen to that show!

Awesome posts guys.  Thank you for your feedback. Let me start with Neal.

Contractors and coordination all worked out as for what I want to do with the tech stuff.

Going to winterize the pool house but also has separate heating and cooling to heat it to a moderate temp.

No built in kitchen. Every built in kitchen we saw in our house hunting (3 yrs worth) was unkept and dirty, moldy) We have an area for a grill but also will keep a grill up close to the house. I don't want to walk down to the pool just to do burgers. We grill in wind/rain/snow etc. It's covered by the house.  I think I should start that vlog and show you guys the plans.

Considering all "pool tech" but will probably keep it simple as for chlorinating, etc.

Spivr. Excellent recommendations. I will pull two of each. Trench is a short run from house to pool house. Even if i did a point to point radio I would pull the cable but I really don't think i'll do wireless.  Fibre? Hmmm, I could do that. I'll have to shop it and see what the costs are. Feel free to leave me links on what you guys recommend. 

ONVIF Cameras. I am using Synology for my NVR right now which is very ONVIF friendly.  It's a dedicated 4 bay NAS just for this purpose. I have a couple of ReoLink and Amcrest cams right now but they are mounted in the basement. Still have yet to put anything up around the house. Was thinking of doing it this way for the pool house.

The H.264 built in is a good idea. Another one I'll need to research.

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Re: Synology NVR - certainly a reasonable choice.  For a small system, their Surveillance Station is probably ok, but I haven't used it myself.  I just think running directly on the NAS means you don't have the scalability of multi-core Intel processors for doing the video heavy lifting, only the embedded CPUs.  That means you can't scale it up by replacing the computer hosting the software as easily as you can with a general purpose computer.

I also don't like the idea of being locked into a paid application (when you need more active cameras) that is proprietary yet not on the big "two" platforms (Apple or Windows).    I would just stick with Synology for the disk storage but use another computer for the actual "smarts" of the whole NVR setup.

Lastly, the plan to put a TV outside - this is something to really think about.  There are specialized flat-screen TV's designed for outdoor use around pools, bbq, back-yards, etc.  They aren't sold by the big box stores so many people don't know they exist.  There are significant issues with using a regular TV outside; one might be willing to ignore the potential for damage and the screen being unusable, but the electrical and safety issues deserve to at least be considered.  (Obviously, TV's designed for outdoor use will be more expensive, but the price delta isn't as crazy as it used to be.)

If you are interested, I can dig up the reference to some articles that talk about it and the products.

(As full disclosure, I would like to clarify that I do help consumers with home automation installs and integration, but somewhat uniquely, I don't sell any products directly - only my services.  So I don't push one brand over another because of profits, commissions, distributor incentives, or anything other than my own experience and preference for having the optimal solution for each particular situation.)

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Cool thread. Our pool and automation are done and functional. Pool house next. We're waiting a year of using the pool before determining how, what and where things will be placed. It makes all the difference as we're already learning we don't even sit in places we thought we would, etc. most pool houses we've seen are merely a living room space with TV, restroom and shower.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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CAT6A is the highest standard cabling you can get before having to move on to TERA jacks. If you need copper pull it, but if not there is not really much difference in cost between fibre and CAT6/A especially if you are going to go the whole hog and use proper gel-filled cable. Splicing will be an extra cost but is not bad these days.

As for the camera's I was recently at a Demo day of Synology and if the camera's support multiple streams then the NVR v8 software can switch streams on motion detection, so, for example, it records 720p normally, and will flip to 1080p when motion is detected, it also switches if you look at the camera in full-screen mode through the app

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The Extralis ADPro series have done the stream switching for a while, they've been bought by Honeywell (who hasnt lately) so hopefully they'll start doing the same thing, we have a customer that wants constant record and then switch to main stream once movement is detected..

I also want the HIP cards in the ADPro's to be put into the Honeywell kit as they get some crazy assed compression, as in 6+ cameras 300 days out of 4tb...

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Although many IP Cameras have built-in motion detection, I usually prefer to let the NVR (Blue Iris or SecuritySpy) handle it.  The reason is that with either of these packages, you can define virtual cameras that receive the same video as a real camera, but without pulling the stream twice from the actual camera.  (The NVR software internally duplicates the stream).

The advantage of this is you can define different motion detection masks, schedules, and triggers.  For example, the motion detection mask during the day may be defined as a very small tight area, while the late night mask is defined with a wider area but perhaps more tolerance (to avoid false trigger by wind, insects, etc.)

It takes more host processing, but massive cpu power, memory, and disk options in general purpose computers are relatively cost-effective anyway.

Another benefit of letting the NVR handle all the intelligence is that you can treat the cameras as relatively "dumb" devices and choose based on image sensor/price or even physical appearance (to some people that matters most).  If you swap cameras, all the hours you've spent tuning motion and other knobs and dials isn't lost having to start over.

The NVR handles logging, archiving, creating image snapshots (if desired), backup to other FTP or NAS, and more so you don't have to navigate the matrix of camera features that are different from each camera manufacturer s/w or firmware.

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