Subscriber Discussion

PTZ Spotlight?

My wife and I have a warehouse in a somewhat secluded area where random people come to hang out in the parking lot after dark. There was a burglary a few months ago and a couple of lazy attempts on several units here as well. I have a good detection system and video setup, so we know whenever people get anywhere near our building. I call the police when someone is there, and they have made some drug-related arrests, caught a couple "looking for some privacy" in the deputy's words, etc. However, the police are often slow to respond, and so people are frequently long gone by the time someone shows up. While I would prefer to have the police show up to check out what a suspicious person is doing, I primarily would like to just make them know that someone is watching and make it uncomfortable for them to stay there so they won't come back or tell their friends that this is a great place to hang out or break into.

I'm working on hooking up some loud PA speakers and setting up a system to remotely connect to them, but I was also thinking that it would be great to have a spotlight I could control remotely so I could just light up a car if it parked back here. This is as much for entertainment as practical value. Any suggestions?

All right, I ordered one of these Golights. The budget model was only $128 on Amazon and should be sufficient for my purpose. I ordered a model with a wired remote, so I can connect the wiring harness to some relays. I have some Vivotek VS8401 encoders hooked into my system, and they each have four digital outputs which I can activate manually through the configuration page. I think I can use those to remotely control the light. There's probably a way to turn them on and off through my VMS (Exacq) but I have never messed with them before so I don't know yet. I'll post again if I get this figured out.

Here's a short clip of the light Brian K recommended:

I was curious about speed of travel, but it does seem fluid enough to track a human.

The beam width is a little narrow, but I have a feeling it would be unnerving just the same.

(radiation guy image) This is scarier in their brochure than the lazer pointer on the camera to me lol

May look kind of cool/scarey if a dude is walking across the lot and lights turn on when he walks into a certain area, and then when he gets out of the lights beams, he walks into another area and another set of lights come on while the other lights go off.

Wouldn't that mostly just look like motion sensor lights? I do think that if you could do a remote controlled light that would be more intimidating than fixed lights going on and off.

You can get an IP PTZ with 2 way communcation connections and alarm relays for your lights. (Audio in and Audio out) for your loud speaker. And then run a few spot lights through the relays on the PTZ pointing in different directions. This way you can manually turn the lights on or off as you please through the cameras web GUI or even have them turn on based on the cameras motion. Depending on how many relays the PTZ would have, you could control multiple lights if you wanted. This way you could control the audio and the relays all through the cameras web GUI and not have to mess with making your own software or using 2 different softwares. Granted the spotlight is not moving around like the PTZ but this may be a more practical method. May look kind of cool/scarey if a dude is walking across the lot and lights turn on when he walks into a certain area, and then when he gets out of the lights beams, he walks into another area and another set of lights come on while the other lights go off. Almost like its out of a movie. You can have all kinds of fun with relays.

John - I'd create my own GUI. Depending on the camera you could probably very easily wrap a live feed from the camera into a page that also had Up/Down/Left/Right and On/Off controls for the light into a single web page.

Why not just mount a spotlight on a pan/tilt positioner like the Pelco PT570 or larger series?

Brian, that's pretty neat. Would you literally use the remote control on the other side of the web relay or do you create your own GUI or?

Brian, that looks like a really solid idea. The light looks perfect and I think I could set that up. Thanks for showing me this. I will look more into it during the week and probably try it out. I think a remote controlled 500,000 candlepower light would definitely get someone's attention!

If your are not DIY-adverse I'd consider a marine spotlight.

And a web-relay, wired up to "click" the buttons.

You're probably looking at about a $600 cost by the time it's all done.

"It would be interesting to see what the effect of a red laser dot pointed at a burglar would be."

Outside of the terror that the person thinks they are going to be gunned down?

I came across this a few weeks ago, during our discussions on lasers & cameras:

See brochure.

I do not know pricing or things like VMS compatability, but because it appears to be built for nuclear powerplants, I do not expect it to be cheap or open.

It would be interesting to see what the effect of a red laser dot pointed at a burglar would be.

Thanks for the link, John. I'll have to check those out as well.

Thanks for the suggestion, Brian. Those look pretty handy. In our case, however, the cars I am concerned with would be out of range. I've got some bright motion lights along our unit, but people like to park a little bit further down. I'm looking for something that can be effective from say 30 to 150 feet.

Here's a picture to give you some perspective. I would like to be able to reach all the way to that far corner, if possible. I don't want to spend thousands to do it though. I would put my budget somewhere around $500-$1000, so a pt positioner is probably out. Maybe I should just install a couple of high-powered spotlights pointed at different areas and use a remote control device like this Minuteman UPS to turn them on from home. Then play some appropriate sounds through the PA speakers.

Anyone else here ever set up something like this?

Recently, Raytec announced IP based illuminators that you can remotely turn on / adjust power via a web interface or API. It's expensive though, especially compared to what Brian is suggesting.

If cost is a driving factor, I mentioned in another thread that I personally have three of these units around my property.

They aren't controllable, but they have the same effect. The lights themselves aren't intense -150W halogen is a fairly small lamp - but the fact they move and track motion makes them valuable. While I cannot vouch for them, some units feature built-in cameras that write to a local SD card. However, the specs and build quality seemed fairly junky to me - you may be fine with it. The units I installed are still functioning well through their second winter. You can buy these units (and ones similar) off the internet for ~$185 USD each.

For something more powerful, you're going to jump in price fairly quickly. I think your best bet is piecing together your own PT positioner, camera, and white light illuminator. Piecing it together will take some skill and it will cost money (ballpark $2k - $3k easy)

Good luck! I look forward to other comments.