Becker Schools Install Hikvision Security Products

August 31, 2016

This article originally appeared in SDM Magazine.

Like most school districts around the country, officials at Becker Public Schools in Minneapolis were horrified by what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012. Almost immediately after the incident, the district began a multi-step security upgrade. They started with locks and intercoms, but quickly turned their attention to the aging video surveillance system.

“We were really looking to expand our camera system following Sandy Hook,” said Sumre Robinson, network manager for Becker Public Schools. “It wasn’t necessarily to increase the numbers of cameras, but to eventually be able to provide access to the cameras to police in an emergency situation.”

As the network manager, Robinson also wanted to take advantage of the school district’s campus network system and make things simpler for the principals and other staff that would be using the cameras.

“We were looking for internal end user simplicity,” she said. “We wanted our principals, building and grounds directors to be able to easily find what they were looking for without necessarily reaching out to the tech department. We were trying to make them more self-sufficient.

Main Entry

Robinson turned to local integrator Security & Sound Co. for help in choosing and designing the system. The integrator had already helped them with their intrusion system and was the logical choice to continue with this project.

“We proposed a multiple-phase installation using Hikvision surveillance cameras in order to minimize video downtime and ensure the campus was continuously covered as the transition to complete the IP video system progressed,” said Phil Otto, CFO, Security & Sound, St. Bonifacius, Minn. “Our previous installation experience with multiple school districts, our installation approach as well as the value and functionality of the Hikvision product line ultimately lead to Security & Sound Company procuring the campus-wide contract.”

The school district already had a number of cameras, ranging from analog (many of which were beginning to fail) to IP cameras from another manufacturer. But Otto and the Security & Sound team felt the Hikvision cameras would give the district not only the best coverage, but also the best range of choices that fit within the budget.

“One of the issues commonly found in budget-conscious school district facilities is the lights go out after events and school activities have ended,” Otto said. “We needed a camera line that would not only fit the budget but also provide a crisp image in complete darkness. Hikvision had several IP cameras to choose from that required no light to operate and provide a clear image utilizing built-in IR. There were also a number of design challenges both indoor and outdoor that required a small form factor, vandal-resistant dome cameras, bullet and PTZ cameras. Hikvision has a full range of IP cameras in each of the categories we were looking at.”
In fact, Robinson said the Hikvision cameras were not only better for the budget, they were better cameras than even the newer ones the school district had before.

“It is incredible the difference in the clarity. And we were able to add more cameras than we originally planned because the camera cost was far less than we were expecting.”

The night vision aspect was also an unexpected bonus. This was something the district didn’t specifically ask for, but that added a great deal of benefit, Robinson said.

Commons Area

“As with most schools, the Becker School District had concerns about their parking lot surveillance coverage and video capabilities after dark,” Otto said. “We recommended Hikvision’s DarkFighter line of PTZ cameras in key outdoor areas where evening lighting was an issue but color video was desired. Hikvision’s DS-2DF8223I-AEL 1080p PTZ camera was chosen to cover the parking lots due to its color lux rating of 0.002 and built-in tour and auto-tracking features. The camera’s low-light capabilities coupled with the ambient light from the parking lot allow the camera to stay in full color at all times regardless of cloud cover or inclement weather.”

The installation itself was done in stages and went very smoothly, Robinson reported. “The first stage as far as cameras was to have good visibility on exterior entries. That was our first priority. Security & Sound was fantastic to work with. They configured the design, located the cameras, and did all the wiring. Phase two was upgrading interior cameras that were not IP and expanding coverage.”

Because the cameras were motion-activated, students were literally “disappearing” down the hall with the old system because the motion sensor thought no one was there, she recalled.

Security & Sound had to assign several technicians to accomplish the installation in a timely manner, Otto said. “One of the benefits with the Hikvision product is that the user interface of the cameras is the same regardless of whether the camera was selected from the Value or Professional Series. We worked closely with the district’s IT department configuring and programming each camera individually in order to assign it to a specific role. Our technicians did not have to learn a new interface moving between camera types, which helped us immensely as the installation progressed.”

The user interface also benefitted the IT department, Robinson said, as she has been able to add or move cameras using internal resources to save money.

“Security & Sound installed the cameras, but it is very easy for me to go in afterwards and put a camera in an area,” she said.

The next step for the district will also be an internal process and one that will complete the original mission — to allow police to easily see what is going on at the school in the event of an emergency.

“We are trying to organize the cameras internally so that at a glance they are in a specific order they can see without having to look at a blueprint,” she said. The goal for that last piece is fall 2016, she added.

As for Security & Sound, the integrator remains committed to anything the school district may need as its needs change over time.

IMPORTANT! This model requires non-standard firmware. Do Not Install standard firmware (e.g. v.4.1.xx) on this model. Doing so will permanently damage your system. You must use custom firmware v.4.1.25 from the iDS-9632NXI-I8/16S product page.

View the most updated version of this document here:


The I-series NVR (such as the DS-7716NI-I4) is one of Hikvision's most popular and feature-rich recorders. As such, many firmware revisions have been introduced over the years to continually ensure the product is compatible with the newest technology available. Due to the many revisions, we recommend that the user closely follows the instructions below in order to reduce the amount of time spent as well as the chance of failure.


Database Optimization and Repair

As more affordable IP cameras are introduced over time with greater video resolution and data sizes, more efficient database management also becomes necessary. The introduction of firmware v4.0 brought about a new database architecture in order to be futureproof.


After upgrading to v4.X, the recorder database will need to be converted and optimized. If you are experiencing issues where playback is expected but not found, make sure "Database Repair" is performed as indicated in the procedures and scenarios below.


Preparing the Upgrade

Before proceeding with upgrade, it is recommended that NVR configuration file is exported from the NVR over the network or on to a local USB drive.


Upgrading from v3.4.92 build 170518 or Older

  1. All recorders must reach v3.4.92 before proceeding further. Upgrading from versions before v3.4.92 directly to any version of v4.X will likely cause the recorder to fail.
  2. If the recorder is already at v3.4.92, a full factory default is highly recommended before upgrading to any version of v4.X. There is a high chance of unit failure (requiring RMA) if the unit is not defaulted before upgrade.
  3. After reaching v3.4.92 and performing a full factory default, an upgrade directly to v4.50.00 is acceptable.
  4. After the upgrade is completed and the recorder is reprogrammed, it may be beneficial to perform a Database Repair. For details, refer to the section "Database Optimization and Repair" above.
  5. To verify repair progress, you may refer to the HDD status, or search the recorder log for repair started and stopped entries. Note that while the HDD is repairing, new recordings are still being made, but some existing recordings may not be searchable until repair is complete.
  6. If you continue to observe playback issues after database repair, ensure there are no power, network, or motion detection issues. Should the problem persist, contact technical support.


Upgrading from Any v4.X Build to v4.50.00.

  1. Any v4.X build can be upgraded directly to v4.50.00.
  2. Export configuration is highly recommended before performing the upgrade.
  3. If upgrading from any v4.X version that was not v4.22.005, a Database Repair is recommended. Refer to Step 4 and onwards in the previous section.



Downgrading is not recommended. Due to new features and parameters constantly being added, downgrading may cause the NVR to factory default itself or require a manual default to operate properly.

View the most updated version of this document here:
K-Series DVR upgrade instruction
The Turbo 4 Hybrid DVR K series has multiple models and across different platform and chipset. It also has similar firmware development of other recording product line; DVR K series has also introduced the GUI4.0 to ensure the series to be compatible to the newest technology available. The new database architecture is also brought into the DVR firmware v4.0 to be future proof and for better recording search experience. 

Database Optimization and Repair

As more affordable cameras introduced over time with greater video resolution and data sizes, more efficient database management also becomes necessary. The introduction of firmware v4.0 brought about a new database architecture in order to be futureproof.
After upgrading to v4.X, the recorder database will need to be converted and optimize. If you are experiencing issues, where playback is expected but not found, please make sure to perform "Database Rebuild" as indicated in the procedures and scenarios below.

Preparing the Upgrade

Before proceeding with upgrade, it is recommend exporting DVR configuration file from the DVR over the network or on to a local USB drive.


Action after firmware upgraded 

1. Upgrade the DVR according to the chart above. 

2. Reconfirming Channel's Recording Schedule 

    - Confirm channel's recording schedule is enable. 

    - Check if the channel is on correct recording schedule.

3. Double Check Storage Setting

    - Make sure all channel are assigned to record on its HDD group when the Storage setting is under Group Mode. 

4. Perform Database Rebuild locally. 

    • Some version above support Database Rebuild via web access - K51 and K72

    • Perform Database Rebuild regardless if system is having any database issue symptom. 

    • Database Rebuild process is average ~30 to 60min per TB. The process may still varies depends recording data.

    • After Database Rebuild - Check log to confirm Database Rebuild has went thru properly. 

    • If Database Rebuild Started and Stopped log has been log only within few minutes. Database rebuild may not has been completed properly. It is strongly recommend performing the Database Rebuild again.

    • To check log > System > Log > Information > Database Rebuild Started and Stopped.

    • If the log option is not available - access system via SSH can also obtain similar result.

5. Recording Data is still missing after database rebuild process. 

If the data has not been recorded or has been overwritten, Database rebuild process is not able retrieve those lost data. Have the system upgraded to the latest available firmware version above to prevent any future data lost is strongly recommended for all application.





In light of the global semiconductor shortage, Hikvision has made some hardware changes to the DS-76xxNI-Q1(2)/P NVRs, also known as “Q series.”


These changes do not have any effect on the performance, specifications, or the user interface of the NVRs. For the ease of reference, these modified units are known as “C-Version” units. This is clearly indicated on the NVR label and on the box by the serial number.


The only difference between the “C-Version” and “non-C-Version” is the firmware. The firmware is not interchangeable:


  • The C-Version NVRs must use firmware version v4.31.102 or higher.
  • The non-C-Version (Q series) NVRs must use firmware version v4.30.085 or older.


Please do not be alarmed if a “Firmware Mismatch” message pops up on the screen during the firmware upgrade. This simply means that the firmware does not match the NVR’s hardware. Simply download the correct firmware and the upgrade will go through without any issue.

By downloading and using software and other materials available via this website, you agree to be legally bound by HIKVISION General Terms of Use . If you don’t agree to these terms, you may not download or use any of those materials.

If you are agreeing on behalf of your company, you represent and warrant that you have legal authority to bind your company to the General Terms of Use above. Also you represent and warrant that you are of the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which you reside (at least 18 years of age in many countries).