New System questions (BT878 card DVR build)


I posted over in the HA forum that we are building a new home and I am planning out our system. I unfortunately have one of those asshat builders that won't allow anything that isn't in their 40 page options list to be done on the house, so pre-wiring is out. House is a two story (3400 sq ft) with an unfinished basement for now.

HA system will likely be an ELK / Homeseer setup. Or Maybe DSC / Homeseer if I can figure out what the wireless capability vs. the Elk. Lighting will be a mix of Z-wave and UPB. Was thinking of getting the Kwikset Z Wave motorized deadbolt as the girls have a problem with losing keys (mostly in their room but two were either at school or on the bus. Would prefer they had a code vs. a key though I could always have them use the garage code.

Coverage area:

Front Door: (Would like Day / Night, but could trigger porch light with events) Have a covered porch to put the cam under.

Driveway: Day / Night here again to cover the driveway and cul-de-sac. I have a covered overhang on the garage as well. I have 4 coach lights on the garage, so again could trigger those with events if low light (or IR) is not the solution in my price.

Back yard: We have a walkout basement, so I was thinking covering the upper deck area with one cam, another for the lower level. We have a lot of woods in back of the house that then edges up to an Interstate. I would like a cam to look at the woods and future pool area as well. (Might also run power and Ethernet in conduit out to one of the trees when the pool is built to look back at the house)

Garage: At least one cam covering the garage interior (3 car) possibly 2 cams to capture the rear access door off the third bay.

Family Room / Living Room / Dining Room: We have a large open first floor plan, so I can cover all three rooms from the back wall of the family room.

Basement: For now just a cam covering the sliding door from inside. Future idea when basement is finished (Theater, Bar, Bath and Bedroom) would be to move that cam in the bar area and install a low light in Theater.

All cameras would be run to the basement utility room where the rest of the panels would be. I think with the open basement I can get the wires out easily, but then not sure how to hide the wiring with the siding, maybe run up the corner trim and out?

We have a couple of daughters who will be “latch key” in the afternoon. Wife wants to be able to check on them from work when they come home (at least in the downstairs rooms). She also wants to see if someone comes to the door when they are home and we are at work, as well as looking at the pool when its built. She has an Electrical Engineering Degree, so geekyness is OK and the only WAF consideration is that it works, can view via web or Android when at work or on business travel. I want decent coverage and a deterrent as I had an experience in another house where they broke in and came through 2 floors while I was sleeping.


I was looking at what would be cost effective and had some growth room as well as what would integrate with Homeseer well. I have a spare PC laying around right now. It’s a quad core Q6600, 8GB, 500GB system. My thought was to wipe Windows and reload it with Linux and Zoneminder, then add a 8 chip / 8 channel BT878 card.

I would assume that a quad core / 8GB machine would be enough for this set up with a likely mix of IP and CCTV cams? I have Terabyte drives laying around, would that be a better choice for this machine?

This would be a headless PC so I would need to remote log on to it.

If the BT878 doesn’t cut it then I could upgrade to a Geovision or Avermedia card I guess?

What about power supplies? Would a common power box like the ELK camera power box be good, or if I am mixing camera models would I be better off with another solution?


Here I am lost. I had a few Sony 1/3rd CCD bullet cams back in 2006. The cams were great during the day but not so good at night. I don’t want to spend a fortune on the cameras. Would like to keep them under $200 each. If that won’t work, then possibly use a couple of better ones at front and rear, then go lower on the other ones.

Any recommendations for Cameras in the $200 - $300 range for my locations listed above? IP and Non-IP ideas?