Video Overview: The Right Tools for the Job

Sept. 1, 2009
Access control and complimentary video surveillance are excellent systems for the locksmith looking to expand his business into the future.

Most commercial end-users have more sophisticated access control requirements, and are busy enough already to not want to experience the lost productivity and jeopardize their site's security by attempting a D.I.Y.

Electronic security has proven to be the answer for many locksmiths whose futures looked bleak. Access control and complimentary video surveillance are excellent systems for the locksmith looking to expand his business into the future.

However, just adding the words “Access Control” and “Video Surveillance” to your yellow page ad might not be enough for you to realize a significant surge in business. There are many others already providing these products. Locksmiths have the skill sets and specialties that make them ideal access control and video suppliers.

I frequently get to clean up punch lists left behind by contractors who were aggressive and smart enough to win a bid, but who did not possess the skills nor were motivated to do a good installation. I see poorly installed and inoperable hardware, and wonder what makes these guys tick.

The good locksmith shops and security companies hold customer satisfaction and quality workmanship as their most important objectives.

So you got to be alert to project opportunities, and bid on them before someone else eats your lunch. Even though competitive bidding is price driven, many experienced contractors and end-users realize that getting the job done right the first time is the best way to do business. Often the access control and video is a subcontract, and if you're good, the prime will see to it that you get tucked under someone's wing.


The best way for you to do business is to use quality products and familiarize yourself with the labor-saving techniques and tools which will make you most productive.

One of my favorite tools continues to be my Fluke Networks TS90. I use it on all types of cabling work. This device is three tools in one. The Smart Tone analog tone generator generates five different tones, identifying a specific pair is quick and easy. Shorts or opens in a cable can be identified, and I can quickly measure wire pulls or remaining cable on rolls.

The TS90 connects to the cable you want to trace. The TS90 has a built-in BNC connector for testing coax, and an adapter with alligator clips. Send the tone down the line. At the other end you use an inductive speaker probe. You will probably hear a test tone. If you have a large number of wires, or the pair you are trying to identify is part of a multiconductor cable, take the pair you think are it and touch them together. The TS90 will change tone to another pattern if you have the right pair isolated. If no change in tone happens, keep looking.

The bright large LED screen and simple menu is easy to read, even in low light conditions. When clipping on to an unidentified pair at a job site, with voltage up to 250V AC, the unit will immediately sound an alarm.

Information: 800-283-5853,

Nuvico Dome & Bullet Cameras

No doubt there are lots of video cameras out there. NUVICO is a favorite for many installers because of the high quality, features and competitive pricing. We recently needed to add cameras to an existing installation, and I quoted Nuvico CV-SD21N/P Dome & CB-SD21N/P-L Bullet Cameras. These cameras offer:

• 1/3” CCD Sensors

• 550 Line Resolution

• Day/Night vision with ICR

• 2.8-10mm DC auto-iris

• 36 IR LEDs

• A convenient Service Monitor output

• 12VDC/24VAC operation

The service monitor output allows the technician to adjust the camera after it has been mounted. The IR LEDs make this a truly day/night performer. Check with NUVICO because model numbers and options are subject to change as the product line rapidly evolves.

Information: 866-523-1700,

Paladin PowerPlay

I've had this tool for a while, and I use it daily. Last month I lent it to one of our trainees for a few minutes and he somehow subjected it to unimaginable G-forces. This resulted in a very positive warranty experience with Paladin Tools which reminded me that good warranty service is an essential ingredient in making for a happy customer.

This tool is a product of collaboration between Paladin and SOG, a company known for its high-quality tactical knivery. The PT-540 is 30 tools in one, designed just for datacomm, telecom & electrical applications. I use about five of the features on a regular basis. It does save time, and it does come in very handy, and the leather carrier passes muster too.

Features include:

• Needle Nose & Gripping Pliers

• 110 & 66 Punchdown Blades

• Wire Hook & Spudger

• 18/20/22/24 AWG Strippers Built-Into Punchdown Blades

• Large ROMEX®non-metallic building electrical wire & Hard Wire Cutter.

• UTP & Round Cable Stripper

• 12/14/16 AWG & ROMEX® Stripper

• SOG Knife with 1/2 Serrated Blade

• 1/4” Socket Drive with Hex Bit Adapter

• 26-18 AWG Smaller Terminal Lug Crimper

• 16-10 AWG Large Terminal Lug Crimper

• #4 & #6 Slotted Screwdrivers

• #1 Phillips Screwdriver

• 3-in-1 File

• Bottle Cap Opener

• Scissors

Its Compound Leverage™ System delivers twice the gripping and cutting power yet requires less hand force. Unique interlocking gears operate the tool smoothly - you'll feel the difference and feel the power.

Information: 800-272-8665, .

NVT Video Transceiver

The NVT Model NV-214A-M Video Transceiver is a passive (non-amplified) device called a ‘balun' that allows the transmission of real-time monochrome or color video over Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP) telephone wire. Baseband (composite) signals of any type are supported. Since UTP wire is cheaper than coax, these devices can save you money.

Also by using UTP baluns, you are soft transitioning the site to Ethernet cameras since NVT Baluns use the same type of cable used on networks.

This product is an improvement over NVT's popular NV-213A video transceiver. The passive NV-214A-M has a 9” mini-coax mini lead which allows in-camera enclosure mounting in most dome cameras and a greater number of mounting options in general at both ends of the system. It delivers a fully equalized signal to the DVR when used with any Active NVT Receiver, yet is compatible with all of NVT‘s passive products for applications under 750 feet (225m). The NV-214A-M Video Transceiver also incorporates improved transient protection that eliminates the need for a ground screw.

The interference rejection and low emissions of the NV-214A-M allow video signals to co-exist in the same wire bundle as telephone, datacom, or low-voltage power circuits. This allows the use of a shared or existing cable plant.

Information: 800-959-9870.


The less time I spend on ladders the better I like it, so I more or less constantly on the hunt for installation tools that help keep the action moving.

A portable video monitor is helpful for getting cameras set up, especially when the viewing monitor is a distance from the cameras. A monitor that can be worn on the wrist is ideal, and that's what the CCTV Imports LCD4-KIT Service Monitor Kit is - a monitor and case with Velcro straps for attaching to the arm. The screen is big enough to produce an image adequate for aiming and more importantly focusing the camera, so repeated trips up the ladder, or requiring an additional tech standing by at the monitor is eliminated or perhaps reduced.

We also do installations where work is performed in phases. First wire is pulled, then cameras are installed, then the DVRs and monitors are installed. If the DVRs are not up and running at the time of camera installation, it can mean repeat trips to the site and up ladders. This is especially true when it comes to PTZ cameras. Most PTZ cameras use a separate RS-485 cable for sending joystick commands from the viewing location(s) to the PTZ camera. When installing the camera, it is nice to know that the camera is not bad out of the box and that the RS-485 line is intact and operational. I like to pre-program a scan or a few presets so the client can get some idea of what the camera's range of view is before the final programming session begins.

Information: 888-315-1219,