Using IP Cameras And An NVR On a Semi Tractor And Trailer

This is my first time starting a new post, having joined the forum only recently, so please bear with me.

My interest in security systems is due to owning a tractor/trailer (otherwise known as a semi or an 18-wheeler) and wanting to equip it with cameras and a recorder. I have been in a number of situations where no one who knew how to "spot" for me was available while I was backing up the rig, making "get out and look" many, many times the only option.

I also plan on towing a small utility trailer behind our big trailer. Since the utility trailer is narrower than the big trailer, the only way to see what it is doing while driving down the road will be to have a camera in the back watching it.

In addition, the system will be an extended "dash cam" to record what's going on around the truck.

I come from an engineering/scientific background and have a decided bent toward "Do It Yourself", so months before I discovered this forum, I was looking for cameras and a recorder.

I decided on a special deal from Newegg, which was a system from Q-See. It included a QC858 IP NVR and eight QCN8012B 3 MP IP bullet cameras, cables, and a 48 v power pack. (I understand that Dahua is the manufacturer of Q-See hardware.) The system I bought came without a hard disk, but I have recently purchased a 4 TB Western Digital Purple NV to put in it (on special at Amazon.com).

The things I most need to address are mostly hardware oriented. Perhaps someone has suggestions for the items below.

  • I have found the cameras have a narrower field of view (FOV) than I would like. Things purpose-sold for dash cams have fields of view from 130 to 170 degrees, but I have not found anything at a reasonable price in the traditional security camera niche. A box camera with a Theia SY125 lens would do the job nicely, but at a significant cost. (In case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to keep the cost down.)
  • A pertinent question is, "How much FOV do I really need?" Perhaps I can use one of the dedicated dash/backup cameras with a video to IP converter, if such exist. Day/night and WDR would be useful features to have and probably are not available on the low-cost dash/backup cameras. I have been looking at less-expensive cameras, particularly ones from Supercircuits. Should I stay away? If so, why?
  • I will mount the NVR with its hard disk on the back of the driver's seat, which is pneumatically suspended, to protect it as much as possible from road shocks. I'll just need to be careful to not go over bumps hard enough to bottom out the seat -- which may be difficult; I bottomed out the seat on a recent drive. Perhaps additional shock-proofing would be in order, but I'm not sure how to do that.
  • The network wiring on the tractor and the trailer will be somewhat standard, but the disconnectable umbilical between the two will need special considerations for the flexibility and fatigue resistance required for the task as well as the weatherproofness of the connectors at both ends.
  • I plan on having a connection box on the underside of the tractor's sleeper and another on the front of the trailer to which the umbilical will be connected. That way the the umbilical can be disconnected at either (or both) ends. For this, the connectors on the ends of the umbilical and the connectors on the connection boxes to which it connects will both need to be weatherproof -- when connected and disconnected.
  • I thought of using plastic Hoffman boxes for the connection boxes with bulkhead weatherproof RJ-45 connectors for both the umbilical and for the CAT V cables coming from their sources/going to their destinations, with CAT V jumpers in the trailer's connection box between the two sets of external connectors. I'm still looking for the best solution to this problem.
  • Mounting the cameras will be another area of concern, since they will be entirely out in the weather. This, however, should not be much different from other outside installations. The Q-See cameras I purchased have a "strange" RJ-45 receptacle on the end of a short cable, shown in the photograph below, that looks like it might have the potential to be weatherproof when used with an appropriate mating connector. I asked about mating connectors, but no one with whom I spoke knew anything about them. Other than using those in a weatherproof configuration, it looks like I will have to mount a weatherproof junction box on the side of the trailer and mount the camera to that.

Q-See Camera Ethernet Connector

  • One camera, however, will not be out in the weather, the one in the cab of the truck looking forward. I could use two Q-See cameras, with their narrower-than-desired FOV, aimed at different sections of the view ahead, or I could use one new camera with a wider FOV. I could also change the lens in Q-See camera to one with a shorter focal length. (The sales rep at Q-See became nearly apoplectic when I inquired about that possibility.) The same viewing consideration also applies to the camera(s) at the tail-end of the trailer, but of course, that is/those are out in the weather. I'm not sure how having two cameras for the forward view would work compared to having only one camera.
  • The outside cameras, 13' off the ground, will need to be IP66. Should I specify IK10 as well?
  • I'm also trying to figure out how to mount the monitor of the cab in front of and above the driver (not unlike an offset rear-view mirror). I've been looking on the Newegg and Ergotron websites, but the problem I have is that the monitor needs to move straight back into its mounting position. Most of the wall mounts I have seen require the monitor to slide down along the wall to engage the two sections of the mount.

Is there anything else I have forgotten?

Thank you,


Craig

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