Robust Home Security using a CADVR-1004WD-M DVR


intended Audience

This post may be of interest to you if you have a CADVR-1004WD-M (or CADVR-1008WD-M) DVR at the heart of your home or small business security system.

I’ve documented my experience largely to help me remember how I went about assembling the security system, which in many areas isn’t immediately obvious. The notes may provide you with ideas for hardening your security arrangement to help you get the most out of your CADVR-1004WD-M.

Background

The Honeywell VISTA CADVR-1004WD-M is a low-cost, legacy-style security DVR of around 2013 vintage. When the software and hardware structures that interface to it are properly configured, the system works a treat and is a pleasure to use. However, the setup is hampered by really poor instruction manuals as well as software interfaces and online help that leaves a lot to be desired.

Technical support has been virtually non-existent in all the time I’ve had the unit. If it existed, there were no obvious sign-posts on how to contact the responsible group within Honeywell. It has taken years of interpretation and re-interpretation of the software and instructions for me to figure out what the manufacturer was actually trying to say.

A curiosity of the CADVR-1004WD-M is that you can do a factory reset of the unit to set configuration details to their default values, but you cannot back up the configuration details on a configured unit.

Initial Setup

The DVR has an HDMI and a LAN port. In my case, this made it an obvious candidate for housing the unit with my home entertainment system and connecting it through to the high-definition TV as well as a local network switch serving the entertainment devices. This arrangement was ideal for initial configuration of the unit, but a very short cord on the wired mouse supplied with the unit together with shared use of the TV made the arrangement less than ideal for more extensive DVR configuration, or continuous viewing of security footage.

A minimum of three tasks have to be done at the DVR. These are:

  1. Setting up the screen resolution;
  2. Setting up meaningful channel names; and
  3. Setting up the IP address of the DVR.

Interestingly, the first two steps can only be done through a direct connection. To allow an indirect connection to the DVR, the last step is also required, however, if required, IP parameters can subsequently be altered indirectly.

Screen Resolution

Adjust the screen resolution in Display Setup to make full use of the TV screen real-estate.

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Channel Names

Under Recording Setup > Channel Overlay, select each Channel and change the Channel Name to something more meaningful such as ‘Entrance’ or ‘Back Door’.

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IP Address

Under Network Setup > Ethernet Setup, configure the unit with a static IP address. After configuring, don’t forget to click Save.

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Once these three steps are completed, additional configuration steps can be undertaken from the comfort of your favourite armchair on a Windows laptop.

LAN Setup

The embedded web server is accessible via an ActiveX control. However, the control will not run on Windows 10 under Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. It will run under Microsoft IE, but IE has to be configured first. Follow the instructions here to enable ActiveX controls within IE.

Connecting to the IP address of the DVR downloads the ActiveX control and should bring up an interface that looks something like the following.

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To communicate with the DVR, log in as admin (no password) via the IP address of the DVR (or hostname if you have set one up) at port 7777.

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On successful login, you’re ready to continue the configuration of the DVR. Click Setup to proceed.

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Users and Passwords

First things first. There are no passwords set up for admin and other default accounts provided so address this weakness straight away. To do this, click on User Info, select the user from the left-hand column and click Modify Password.

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Add additional accounts for other family members or work colleagues who you want to have limited or full access to the DVR. The minimum permissions required to access the DVR from the local network or the internet are those shown in the image above.

Email Alerts

Next, click on Network setting > Email Setting and configure email so that alerts can be sent when events such as motion detection occur. Don’t forget to save the settings.

screenshot.22a

Time Zone

Select the Common setting tab and set the Time zone. Adjust other parameters on this screen as required. Remember to save settings.

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Hardware Alarms

The CADVR-1004WD-M does not include hardware alarm inputs and outputs. These should be disabled, as shown, within the following screens.

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Motion Detection

By default, the DVR continuously records so it doesn’t make sense in this mode to Enable Record on motion detection. However, it does make sense to send an email if motion is detected. To achieve these aims, configure parameters on the following screen as shown. Remember to save settings.

screenshot.13a

Now, select individual channels on the above screen and click Area setting to set up areas of detection. In the example below, email alerts are sent if motion is detected in front of doors or windows. It’s important to be selective when choosing areas of detection. Why? Consider selecting the whole viewing area. The likelihood of ‘noise’ being introduced and unnecessary email alerts being issued increases.  This can occur, for instance, if a large insect or bird flies within a grid reference that isn’t significant for motion detection.

screenshot.12

If you get a lot of false positives, adjust the motion detection area in the Area Setting screen, or reduce the sensitivity of detection in the Video detect screen.

If video loss occurs, email alerts should also be sent. To achieve this, configure the Video Loss screen as shown.

screenshot.14a

Auto Login and Preview

Finally, to skip the login screen and go straight to viewing the cameras, configure Auto Window Login as shown below. For Server, use the IP address of the DVR if you’re not using a local DNS for name resolution. Don’t forget to enable the Allow Auto Login and Preview checkbox and remember to save settings.

screenshot.15a

Now, for good measure, click Save All and then Exit Settings.

screenshot.15b

To log out and return to the login screen, click Login and then Logout from the Login server screen.

screenshot.18a

Enable the checkboxes shown in the Login server screen below. Autologin from a limited user account as it is not possible to tamper with any of the configuration settings from a limited account. Autologin from the admin account is not recommended.

screenshot.19a

Test autologin and preview by closing IE, restarting it and re-establishing a connection to the DVR via its IP address or hostname. You should bypass the Login server screen and be taken directly to the camera preview screen.

The notes above cover indirect access to the DVR from Windows machines on the LAN. Next, we’ll look at indirect access to the cameras from the internet for smartphones.

Internet Setup

Internet Gateway Considerations

First, if your internet gateway supports it, enable UPnP. If not, you will have to manually configure ports on the gateway to allow inbound access from the internet to the DVR. This is required if you want to be able to monitor cameras or playback footage from a smartphone anywhere in the world.

DVR considerations

Assuming your internet gateway supports UPnP, log back into the DVR. Enter Setup and tick the Enable UPnP checkbox under the Network setting tab. Remember to click Save.

screenshot.20a

CAWDView for Android

The instructions that follow are for CAWDView for Android. Refer to the next section for the equivalent instructions for CAWDView for IOS.

Install CAWDView (refer to the Q & A below for instructions). Check that you’re using wireless data and not mobile data. You need to be on the LAN and not external to the LAN for the initial configuration of CAWDView. Fire up the app and click on LoginFree.

Screenshot_20180721-230802a

Select Device Manage from the Main Menu.

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Click the orange search button on the bottom right of the Device Manage screen.

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The DVR should be found along with its unique cloud ID. Click the light blue triangle and select Add Device.

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Give the DVR an easily identifiable Alias and supply a valid User ID and Password to log on to the DVR.

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Click the plus (+) symbol to add the DVR to CAWDView. This will bring you back to the Device Manage screen with the DVR alias now included. Now click on the alias name and not the light blue triangle associated with it.

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This will bring you to the camera channels screen. For each channel, click on the light blue triangle. Click Modify Alias and alter the channel name to match that provided during the initial setup of the DVR.

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Now, switch off wireless access on the phone so that the phone now appears external to the LAN. Return to the CAWDView Main Menu and attempt Real Time Monitoring of the DVR. More than likely it will fail. Not to worry. Refer to the first question in the Q & A section below for an explanation.

CAWDView for IOS

Install CAWDView from the App Store. Check that you’re using wireless data and not mobile data. You need to be on the LAN and not external to the LAN for the initial configuration of CAWDView. Fire up the app and click on LoginFree.

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Select Device Manage from the Main Menu.

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Click the orange search button on the bottom right of the Device Manage screen.

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The DVR should be found along with its unique cloud ID. Click the light blue triangle and select Add Device.

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Give the DVR an easily identifiable Alias and supply a valid User ID and Password to log on to the DVR.

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Click the orange diskette icon in the top right corner to add the DVR to CAWDView. This will bring you back to the Device Manage screen with the DVR alias now included. Now click on the alias name and not the light blue triangle associated with it.

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This will bring you to the camera channels screen. For each channel, click on the light blue triangle. Click Modify Alias and alter the channel name to match that provided during the initial setup of the DVR.

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Now, switch off wireless access on the phone so that the phone now appears external to the LAN. Return to the CAWDView Main Menu and attempt Live view of the DVR. More than likely it will fail. Not to worry. Refer to the first question in the Q & A section below for an explanation.

Q & A

This Q & A reflects my personal experiences in using the CADVR-1004WD-M DVR.

Q1. I followed the instructions for setting up CAWDView, but I can’t seem to connect with the DVR.
A1. The issue is more than likely not how you’ve configured CAWDView, but seems to be due to a lag in sync between the DVR and the cloud service. I’ve spent hours trying to resolve the issue to no avail. I’ve left the problem overnight. The next day CAWDView works and I can’t make it fail, that is, until I make another seemingly innocuous change somewhere. It seems as if the cloud service needs some time to catch up to changes in the DVR environment. My advice, if you’re experiencing this issue, is to wait several hours and see if CAWDView is then able to connect to the cameras. Check out Q9 as well.

Q2. On the TV the DVR is connected to, NO SIGNAL is displayed in each of the camera windows.
A2. Check the plug pack providing power to the cameras. It may not be plugged into the mains or may have come unplugged from the camera power loom. In my case, the plug pack had failed and had to be replaced.

Q3. Fluttering cobwebs that I can see in the camera window are triggering motion detection and causing an excessive number of email alerts to be sent.
A3. Clean the camera and area around the camera. Cover the camera lens with some glad wrap. Use a rubber band to hold the wrap in place on the lens housing. Spray the camera and immediate area with spider surface spray. Remove the plastic wrap. Assuming the camera is not subject to the elements, the spray should prevent spiders from building their home on the camera for between three and six months.

Q4. I want a longer retention period for my recordings.
A4. The 1TB surveillance drive supplied with the DVR holds around 10 days worth of recordings at the highest quality. After this period, the DVR begins to overwrite the oldest recordings. I swapped the 1TB HDD out and installed a 2TB WD Purple HDD.  This extended the retention period out to about three weeks The DVR will support up to a 4TB HDD, which will retain around six weeks of footage. Beyond that, if you want a permanent record of some footage, take a copy of it while it’s still available during the retention window.

Q5. I want to be able to access the DVR from the internet, from a Windows PC.
A5. Indications are that it should be possible, however, I haven’t been successful in getting this to work.

Q6. Is there updated firmware for the CADVR-1004WD-M DVR?
A6. Maybe there is. I haven’t found it yet. There certainly is the facility within the DVR to update the firmware.

Q7. What’s the difference between main-stream and sub-stream types?
A7. Main-stream delivers higher resolution video within the higher bandwidth LAN. Sub-stream delivers lower resolution video to the internet, which is lower bandwidth. More information can be found here.

Q8. My choices for encoding type are CIF, D1 and 960H. What do these refer to?
A8. More information here.

Q9. CAWDView was working, but now fails to connect.
A9. Reboot the DVR.

Q10. CAWDView is no longer available in Google Play.
A10. I’ve placed a copy in my DropBox. The last version created was 2.3.4.3. You can download it from here.

Q11. Does CAWDView still work on Android 9?
A11. Yes, it does.

References

  1. The trick to running legacy web apps on Windows 10
  2. IP Camera – Main-Stream and Sub-Stream
  3. CIF vs D1 vs 960H vs HD
  4. CAWDView 2.3.4.3 download on Droid Informer
  5. CAWDView 2.3.4.3 download on DropBox
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