Zoneminder on Chromebox--Very good experience

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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:44 pm

Zoneminder on Chromebox--Very good experience

Post by Garsisen » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:59 pm

Longtime user of Zoneminder here. I had four SD cameras working great on a plug computer (armhf architecture) but had unresolvable issues when upgrading some cameras to 720p. I spent months trying to get it to work and gave up last month. There was just not enough memory on the boards I tried to hold all the frames that needed to be used for analysis. Also, the frame rate on the HD cameras had to be dropped to low single digits just to get it to work for a few hours before crashing.

I investigated means to keep the benefits of the plug computer (small and quiet) but provide more horsepower. There are new high-performance ARM-based devices being shipped that could probably do the job, but Linux support sometimes lags and they are not inexpensive. At work I use a NUC, which is a very small Intel x64 PC, but the fan noise is very loud when the CPU is under load.

I came across the ASUS Chromebox which is like the Intel NUC (same form factor) but is fanless. Several models are available; I picked one with an i3 processor, 4 GB memory, and 16 GB SD storage. This comes out to a little over $350 currently. Easy-to-follow instructions for replacing (or dual-booting) Linux are available in several places, including here: ... -chromebox

I installed Debian Buster to the Chromebox, and installed Zoneminder from the repositories (currently 1.30.4). With three HD cameras and one SD camera (waiting for it to fail before upgrading it), there have been no issues after a week of use. Load average is at 0.32, and /dev/shm is at 52%. Best of all, my best HD camera is running at 15 frames per second instead of three frames per second.

I'm very happy with my new Zoneminder hardware configuration. If anyone else is struggling to get ARM-based devices such as the Raspberry Pi to work, please consider a Chromebox. If there are questions I'd be happy to answer them.

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