Synology and QNAP both have surveillance station, which is great because it is available in their app stores, you just need to buy the license for the camera if you have more IP cameras than the free license that came with the NAS.
However, unRaid does not have a fancy surveillance station of Synology or QNAP, but unRaid has a docker container for Zoneminder. The problem that I have with Zoneminder is I could not get it to work with my IP cameras.
This is not the applications fault. I am pretty sure it is just me, but I really don’t want to tinker around and just want my IP cameras unRaid surveillance station working.
I have Reolink IP cameras. I like them because they are affordable, really great build quality, support onvif, rstp and other protocols, (they just don’t work well with Zoneminder – based on my experience), available for desktop, mobile devices for remote view and on-demand recordings, the resolution goes up to 4MP, and pretty good microphone.
I am NOT a CCTV expert or CCTV guy at all. The paragraph above this one is just solely my own opinion about the product and what I think about it.
Anyways this post is not to review the IP camera, but what I have done to get my setup up and running.
Let’s start with what I have:
- unRaid server
- Reolink IP cameras
- 4TB of storage
My goal is to access the recorded videos through the network anytime I wanted.
My unRaid server is not really a high-end server. It is an Intel Atom SoC machine, but it can do VMs which is a good enough for me.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a Zoneminder container, but for the life of me, I could not get it to work with Reolink IP cameras. On the positive side, there are several reports that they got it to work.
The list below are the various methods (or options) I have tried to get this working:
So, I tried to use the FTP feature of each camera, and got it working. All I have done was, create a share and have all the cameras to upload the recorded videos to the shared directory. The downside with this method is there is no way for me to set a quota for the shared folder. I don’t want to keep my IP cameras to take all my storage space. Also, the cameras dump all the recorded videos to the shared folder. No organization, so the FTP was a no go for me. I am sure there is a script can be used, but it is not really my forte, maybe in the future. Also, the FTP method has a 30-second pause before it would start motion recording again.
I’m sure as hell don’t want to spend another $300+ for an NVR, so I bought this Digoo NVR off Amazon. I mean it works and it supports eight IP cameras at 1080P and 4TB HDD. I just realized that in order for me to see the recorded videos, I would have to transfer the recorded videos via USB thumb drive which is very inconvenient, and the only way for me to navigate to NVR is via a USB mouse that is directly connected to the NVR and an LCD monitor that is also connected to the NVR. Going with NVR is not that I wanted, but I kept the NVR for my other means of storing the IP cameras videos.
The Digoo NVR can be accessed via web UI or mobile app.
I believe I found my best and cheapest solution using the what I have now plus a Windows 10 Pro VM running on unRaid’s KVM. Fortunately, Windows 10 Pro evaluation/trial will continue to work forever. Check the howtogeek page for a better explanation. This is perfect all I have to do is install the Reolink desktop client, which is free, and configure it to be an NVR. I’ve set up a user share on my unRaid server for the desktop client to save all its recording to this shared SMB folder. The good thing about this is the desktop client would automatically create a folder for each day. I can view all the recorded videos remotely via SMB.
I installed Orchid on my Raspberry Pi 3B. It works but the storage was very limited. The storage is the Pi’s SD card. Also, the Pi could not handle more than two camera streams.
I kept the Digoo NVR for my backup recording. I removed the monitor and made it headless. The Windows 10 VM is my main NVR, and I can easily RDP to it, and easy access to my videos.
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