When the included storage space just isn't enough!

September 19, 2014

If you've already purchased a security camera system, you may have already run into situations where you find that the recording you had wanted to see has already been recorded over. You may have also wanted to let the camera system run for about 3 months while you were away only to find out that with the included hard drive the estimated recording time is only a month; it may even be a few weeks depending on the quality of the recording. What do you do?! There are a few options that you can look into. 1. Replacement HDD Purchase an upgraded system by paying for the system to be upgraded to a larger hard drive from the get go. This means that you take a system package such as the SDS-P3040N, which comes with a 500GB hard drive, and upgrade it so that it comes with a 2TB hard drive. Of course, these things come at an extra cost and is most definitely a service we provide right now at soltechsecurity.com. Please check our other blog article for the specifics on how we replace the original hard drive here. 2. External HDD Purchase an external hard drive and use that as an extension of your current hard drive. For instance, your SDS-P4080N system that comes with a 1 TB hard drive can be extended to a much larger hard drive space depending on the size of the external hard drive that you purchased. Let me go ahead and explain these a bit for you so as to make the process more understandable.  The first option where the internal hard drive is upgraded occurs in a few steps and due to the limitations of the system itself, there is only a limitation to the size of the hard drive that will be replacing the original. Most of the systems that are currently available max out at 2 TB as that is the extent to which the installed chip set can handle. After much testing here in the office, we've come to the conclusion that anything beyond 2 TB will not be recognized by the system. The process requires us to pull the original hard drive out and utilize a hard drive copying device to copy the operating system within the original hard drive to the new hard drive. This is absolutely crucial as the hard drive will not be recognized in a situation where the hard drive is simply replaced. This makes it extremely difficult for the regular consumer to replace a broken hard drive so we take care of the process for you when you decide to have you original hard drive replaced. The second option is a much less intrusive (as seen below), and we take no action to open up your DVR at all. The external hard drive is taken from its package and formatted to a compatible format. The DVR itself will recognize both FAT and NTFS formats so we'll normally be formatting it in FAT. Why? This is because most computers or other electronic devices that you may have to plug your external into will recognize an FAT formatted hard drive but an NTFS is a bit more specific and may not be recognized in certain situations. Now we take that formatted hard drive and place it into an external HDD case. This will then have to be formatted by YOU after receiving it by plugging it into the DVR. This is to have the DVR actually recognize the HDD and its available space. Finally, you'll have to select the option of having the external hard drive as a backup hard drive or an extension. _MG_0654 The difference between the two, backup and extension, is that a backup type HDD will merely copy everything that you are recording on your internal; so this is literally a backup file to the original recordings. This  option also has a limitation on the size of the hard drive and may only be used with hard drives at maximum 2 TB. An extension will be the hard drive that gets recorded onto after your initial hard drive is full. So lets say you have a SDH-P5080N and your 1 TB internal hard drive is full. Afterwards, the external hard drive will take over as available space rather than your DVR automatically recording over the 1TB internal hard drive. We're currently testing out the external hard drive situation and have yet to find a real limit to as to how much can be plugged in. Of course, the DVR only comes with 2 USB ports and you may find that to be a problem. We've utilized a USB hub that can be plugged into the DVR so as to make multiple ports available. Currently as you can see in the picture below, we have 4 available ports and only 2 externals plugged in. The externals have a collective size of 5 TB where one is 2 TB and the other is 3 TB. They both show up on the screen as storage devices and have been set as extensions as of the moment. The only downside to having external hard drives is that they take up space. Aside from that, there isn't much to worry about as we use top of the line hard drives when creating our externals. _MG_0650 So don't worry about your original hard drive being too small. You have several options as far as increasing your memory size without having to purchase an additional DVR just for that purpose. As always, any questions are always welcome. If any of this was confusing for you and you'd like information on certain factors that I haven't covered, please feel free to message me or comment below for more details. Regards, DP @ Soltech Security