Anyone Tried This? Wireless Camera With I/O To Alarm Panel?

I have a farmer customer who wants cameras and photo beams around his fertilizer bins which are located across the road from his offices. I have no problem shooting the cameras back to the office using 5.8ghz radios but I need to also activate his alarm panel if an intruder breaks the beams.

Could I connect the beams to the I/O of the cameras to activate recording, then the DVR would trigger its alarm out to activate the alarm panel so the central station could notify authorites?

I've never done it in a commercial system, but yes you can do it. My main concern would be the camera/radios going down without knowing. If possible, I'd have another output trigger a "trouble" notification on the alarm panel when the camera disconnects. That way you can be notified before the beams trigger but nothing happens.

Probably not a good idea: False alarms with beams will likely be high. Maybe not a big problem for video recordings, but a big one for a central station.

The situation might change if they can monitor the video through their station too.

Video Verification is a possibility.

Yes, but you're still essentially paying on a per-event basis.

Video verification helps to reduce false alarm fees to the customer for police dispatch for non-alarms, but it doesn't solve the problem of poor detection system.

Hi Jason, I wonder if insects would keep breaking the beams on a rural property and therefore trigger lots of alarms? I haven't used beams so don't know whether insects might be a real problem or not.

They have multiple parallel beams. Do you mean if they stuff themselves into the IR like a camera?

Most higher end alarm panels will allow for a 'customised zone type' that should include a 2 zones triggered within a given time frame rule - then set up beams to guarantee such with a real person. Ethans' idea for supervision is a must as well. Check out Optex and Protech for a wireless beam solution - you may be able skip the camera input/output and its associated uncertainties.

My experience has been that PE beams are one of the most reliable types of outdoor detection when installed correctly. Over the years, I have used nearly every type of outdoor detection technology (buried cable, microwave, dual-technology, fence detection, video motion, etc.) and still find myself coming back to PE beams when I need something I can rely upon.

I have never heard of insects being a problem, but wildlife such as deer and large birds will definitely trip a PE beam.

I typically use a stack of multiple PE beams mounted at multiple heights (8" off the ground, 18" off the ground, etc.) If it is a higher security application, I configure the beams in an "OR" configuration, where tripping any of the beams will cause an alarm. If preventing false alarms is of greater concern, I configure the beams in an "AND" configuration, where multiple beams must be tripped simultaneously in order to cause an alarm. The downside of the "AND" arrangement is that an intruder crawling down low would probably only trip the lower beam and would go undetected.

There are also configurations where the breaking of any single beam sends a "trouble" alarm, while the breaking of more than one beam simultaneously sends an "intrusion" alarm.

I am always leery of relying on unsupervised wireless links of any type, and suggest that you use a transmission system that is supervised, or notify your customer of the risks associated with an unsupervised system.

Video Loss alarm count as supervised?

I guess I should've mentioned that the customer is only interested in protecting from large trucks and tractors from entering the bins and not so much concerned with someone grabbing a 5 gallon bucket every-now-and-then. With that being said, I'm wondering if the stacked quad beams would be the way to go? Cameras are a definite, just looking for the notification. He currently has OPtex beams that are sending alarms around 3 times per week which he insists are "false alarms." Video Verification will also be added. So, I need to know the best option to notify Central Station to take a look around.


My first instinct would be to put a separate alarm panel with a GSM/cellular communicator on the fertilizer bin side of the road. This would give you a reliable central station connection for the alarms. You could continue to use your wireless link to the main office to transport the video to the DVR in the main office.

If the bins shown in the photo are the only thing you are trying to cover, outdoor dual-techs (such as ProTech) would probably work well. I would mount on the ceiling joists pointing inward. Before doing this, I would want to determine if there is an issue with birds roosting in the ceiling joists - this would definitely give you some false alarms.

He did mention pesky owls and animal prints in the fertilizer piles.

And yes, the bins are it. He doesn't want a lot of the surrounding area covered as tractors may come and go late at night in the nearby field.

I would install PE beams on the ends of the concrete walls as shown below. Could use a single-beam, or a multiple-beam stack for greater security. Would suggest the use of some type of metal guard to prevent the beams from being hit by tractors.

You might want to check a company called Xandem; we have used them for all sorts of applications that work as claimed. For most of our customers that have had PE beams and motions that have caused false alarms, not a single false alarm from the Xandem units we have installed. I also should mention that birds, cats, dogs, wind, sun, dust, and/or insects have NOT caused any false alarms!

Good Luck and Aloha!

This seems like a good application for camera analytics, particularly analytics that can differentiate between people and vehicles. Does anyone have practical experience using analytics in applications like this? I ask because I have an application where I need to differentiate between people and cars.

HI Jason,

I work for MOBOTIX.

Just to give you an option if you have not chosen the camera system yet. Any MOBOTIX camera can acccept the inputs from the Photo Beams and communicate back to a device called MXEXTIO which is a network device and can be located back at the alarm panel wired directly into a POE Switch. Alarm would be accepted by the camera, camera then communicates over wifi to MxEXTIO and it triggers its output to the alarm panel. This scenario is easily doable and you get the added benefit of video verification and SD card recoding so no DVR needed.

Just a thought.