NLPRS

Northern Lights Paranormal Research Society is headquartered in Marinette County, Wisconsin, and is dedicated to seeking out the truth in all things. Our mission is simple: to discover the truth, no matter where it may lie.
 
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 Notes on Equipment

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soothsayer
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Posts : 265
Join date : 2013-04-11
Age : 45
Location : Marinette County, Wisconsin

PostSubject: Notes on Equipment   Mon Jun 23 2014, 15:17

originally posted April 4 2014

Spent a good portion of the morning looking over some potential new equipment, a lot of comparing, and pretty much trying to determine where are needs are.  As always, there was a lot of stuff I'd have liked to have picked up, but reality had to thrust it's nose into my business.

One of the pieces I was looking at was a dvr security system.  But, as I was window shopping, two thoughts came to mind.

1. Regarding cable, you'll always be at a disadvantage as to where you can place the cameras, depending on the length of cable. Sure, you can alleviate this situation by purchasing cable extensions, but is it really cost effective? What if the client objects to having wires all over, or someone trips over them? Either the camera can be damaged, or worse, someone could get hurt.

2. Then there are the wireless systems. Is the picture quality of the wireless cameras as good as the wired? How susceptible are they to outside influence (ie, electric interference)? Sure, there's no wires, so there's no trip hazards, but then you have to consider what their broadcast range is.

And then I realized something. I only wanted a DVR system because that's what other groups use, I fell victim to a form of peer pressure, and that's just not right.

I've decided to go with a product I already have, already tested and enjoy: the Coomatec C808 security camera. It's a stand alone security camera that just needs to plug into a power source either through a standard outlet or USB, and records onto a micro SD card that you insert into the device.

You can enjoy real-time monitoring if you have it connected to a computer, or you can simply plug it in somewhere and forget about it. The record time is phenomenal, AND, unlike a DVR system, this device will turn back on and begin recording when the power comes back on (should the power ever go out); no need to reset it.

Another cool aspect of this? When it comes time to review footage, each member can simply grab a card... makes for quicker reviews.

To read more about this device, please scroll up a few posts.

Along with the C808s, I also ordered six more micro SD cards (32gb), and five 60" extendable tripods.  The cards and tripods should be arriving sometime next week, by Thursday at the latest.  Because the cameras are coming from over-seas, they can be here anywhere between 7 to 20 days... but, if they're anything like the last one I ordered, should be about 10 days.

The second "most needed" device I could think of (and ordered) was a Sony ICD-BX132 Digital Voice Recorder, to either work in tangent with the recorder we have, or to outright replace it (been having some... technical difficulties with mine).  Ordered three of them, actually.  I'll post more about them when they arrive.  Suffice to say, the part that won me over with these is their record time: over 2000 hours.  More than enough for what I have in mind...

Lastly, I've gone ahead and set up a phone account for NLPRS.  Just a simple TracFone, but it'll be nice to have; we can give out that phone's number instead of our private ones.
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PostSubject: Re: Notes on Equipment   Tue Jun 24 2014, 10:03

When going through our equipment pages, people may get the impression that I spend a lot of money on these items. Not true, not in the slightest. With the exception of the portable power station / emergency power pack and a tent, I have yet to spend more than $60 on any given item. I look at an item and try to determine if there are multiple ways in which I can use it; I would feel guilty if I went out and bought something specifically for NLPRS, I want to know that this is something that I can use for other events, should I ever tire of investigations or if friends or family need to borrow something. With that in mind, with the amount of use an item gets, $60 isn't a whole lot.

Likewise, I've taken to personal sacrifices to help achieve this. When I first started NLPRS, I quit smoking; money that I initially would budget for that I now budget for this. Likewise, earlier this year I started a diet: I stopped eating at fast food joints while at work. Again, money for that went for this. Add that with the change jar I keep, and the money adds up!

I don't want to be one of those groups that charges for services or for presentations, nor do I want to conduct fund raisers. Believe me, I am not belittling or criticizing those groups, I understand the financial burden this line of work can be. I just don't want to do that, it robs me of the sense of accomplishment, the feeling that this has become more than a hobby or personal interest. I may not have the greatest equipment, I may not have as much equipment, but I have what I need and enough of what I need... except for a FLIR camera. Can't wait to get one of those (and I've been price checking and product researching for a while now).

However, donations are always welcome. Smile

So then, where do I get our items? How do I go about acquiring them? Easy. As with anything, a little creativity, a little comparing, and a lot of research.

A third of the items I purchase come from local thrift stores, such as Goodwill or St Vincent's, and why not. In buying flashlights, binoculars, radios, is there any real reason to go with something higher? If it works, great; if the product doesn't pan out, then I managed to test something without having to spend the extra amount. Regardless, the local stores are a great source for every day items, things that we would use on a continued basis, no matter the investigation type.

A good portion of the things I buy also comes from eBay. Before I do commit myself, I make sure to do a lot (A LOT) of research first on that particular item. I price check various sites to see if I am getting the best deal, I check consumer and product reviews, and I will spend a good deal of time nit-picking every aspect possible. eBay is a tricky proposition; even though the items are "refundable" (refundable, but time consuming), you can never truly be sure of what you are going to get. Lately, I've been turning more towards Amazon. There's just something reassuring about buying something from a store, as compared to an online rummage sale. I reserve these purchases to more of the high end items, such as our cameras and related gear.

Then there's Walmart. I know, I know, a lot of people don't care for Walmart: the way the company treats their employees, the quality of their products, the source of their products, all of this is factored into the dislike. I look at it from a different perspective: working on a budget. If you take the time to research an item, if you go in the store knowing what it is you are buying (or wanting), you will come out ahead. Most of the time the stuff I buy from Walmart is easily $20 cheaper than competitor pricing; if you happen to live near a Walmart as I do, you might even be able to save a bit more by comparing the prices with the online store. They may not always have what you want, but they carry what you need. With Walmart, I tend to buy outdoor gear or that last minute item, such as extension cords or SD cards... things that I could get cheaper elsewhere, but would have to wait on.
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