Hikvision Surveillance System Secures ‘The Armadillo,’ A Repurposed Armored Truck Used by the Utica Police Department to Deter Crime

March 14, 2018

PTZ and turret security cameras, 360-degree video coverage, and extended storage and video recovery provide security for an armored truck used for video surveillance in high crime areas

A security system provided by Hikvision USA Inc., a leading provider of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and other emerging technologies, and the world’s largest manufacturer of video surveillance products and solutions, was installed by TAS Electronics of Yorkville, N.Y. to upgrade the Armadillo, a repurposed Brink's armored truck used by the Utica Police Department (UPD).

The Armadillo is deployed as a crime deterrent to specific locations based on community complaints, primarily for quality of life issues. It is also used as a deterrent to violent crime, especially involving gun violence, in locations where shots have been fired or where gun violence is likely to occur based on historical data and actionable police information, he added.

Hikvision’s technology, combined with TAS’ expertise, resulted in a resource that improves crime monitoring and deterrence, making the streets safer for the citizens of Utica.



When the UPD’s Armadillo was damaged in 2015, the surveillance system stopped working and the entire vehicle was taken out of commission. Once UPD received budget approvals for upgrades and repairs, they sought out the security expertise of Hikvision integrator TAS Electronics to provide a tailored surveillance system.

“When the decision was made to upgrade the Armadillo the immediate concern was the camera system, because it is the lifeblood of any high quality digital video recording network. Knowing this, we demanded the best equipment available,” said Edward Noonan, deputy chief of police for the UPD. “Hikvision and TAS Electronics provided us with high resolution cameras that have the ability to see in the dark, and we can control these cameras remotely through an app on our smartphones with remarkably high resolution.”

TAS Electronics excels at challenging projects that require innovative solutions. “No manufacturer has a surveillance kit designed for an armored vehicle,” said Tom Sheehy, system engineer principal at TAS. “We developed a custom solution to meet the unique application for our client using Hikvision technology.”

Video surveillance footage from the Armadillo’s security cameras can be streamed directly to the Mohawk Valley Crime Analysis Center, located in the Utica Police Department. 

Requirement: A Waterproof and Weatherproof Mobile Surveillance Solution with Live Stream Capabilities and Up to 65 Days of Video Storage
For the upgrade, UPD had very clear expectations of the security system needed for the Armadillo. Criteria for the new surveillance system included the ability to store and recover video footage for up to 65 days, extended battery life enabling deployment of the Armadillo for up to seven days with continuous video surveillance, and live streamed video footage to the Mohawk Valley Crime Analysis Center. UPD also wanted mobile access so command staff could view video footage on their smartphones.

“After speaking with Tom from TAS Electronics, it became very apparent that he possessed a great deal of knowledge about the products, design and installation for the type of security system we were looking for,” said Noonan. “Tom was able to provide us with a top notch camera system that met all of our needs and he was able to install it on an unconventional vehicle while staying within our limited budget.” It was also helpful to use a local vendor to have direct support for any future questions or concerns, he added.

Tackling this project was “a daunting task,” said Sheehy, “because we looked at what had not worked with the original surveillance system and had to create a plan to avoid similar issues in the future.”

The previous security system, not a Hikvision surveillance system, had resolutions of 960H, cameras that were not watertight, and the old system lacked the clarity of the new Hikvision system. Image quality was so poor the UPD couldn’t tell if they were looking at a car, human or an animal, said Sheehy. “Now the UPD can see details such as a kid wearing a red hat or the numbers on a license plate,” Sheehy added.

Solution: Customized Hikvision Surveillance System with PTZ and Turret Camera Models and a 32-Channel NVR
“We’ve been working with Hikvision for nine years and found the wide range of products appealing,” said Sheehy. “Hikvision surveillance technology is great, the price points offer great value for the included features, and the complete system with brackets and mountings set Hikvision apart from the competition with a seamless, professional solution.”

The UPD was adamant about using pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras because individuals are unable to determine exactly where the PTZ is pointed. Sheehy recommended a mix of turret and PTZ models for the project including fixed-mount digital cameras and PTZ digital cameras, connected with a 32-channel Hikvision NVR, providing 360-degree panoramic coverage in the area surrounding the vehicle.

“Members of the Utica Police Department have the ability to stream the surveillance footage directly to their smartphones for around the clock monitoring using the Hikvision iVMS-4200 app. The improved video storage capacity using the Hikvision NVR greatly improves the investigative usefulness of the vehicle,” said Noonan. “Many times complaints from the public are reported long after the crime actually occurred. While this happens for a number of reasons, investigating officers now have the ability to go back nearly two months to pull and review surveillance footage, and that can often be key to a successful criminal case.”

A total of six Hikvision DS-2CD2342WD-I 4MP EXIR CMOS Network Turret cameras were installed, one on each corner of the vehicle and two centered in the middle. This camera features 120db WDR, high performance EXIR LED for better illumination than traditional IR, and IR range up to 100 feet.

Two Hikvision DS-2DE4220-AE 2MP Outdoor Network PTZ Dome cameras with 20 times optical zoom plus IP66 and IK10 vandal protection were installed to capture rear and front views from the vehicle. This camera model is equipped with smart detection including line crossing and intrusion detection, which UPD may use in the future, particularly to warn them if someone gets too close to the vehicle.

The Armadillo was originally a Brink's armored truck, constructed with hardened steel and bulletproof windows. “First we had to determine if we could screw through the roof because it’s armored," said Sheehy. “We were able to do that, but it took us a while using carbide bits.”

To install the Hikvision equipment, TAS had to secure the cameras using custom-made camera mounts that were welded to the roof. TAS inserted metal conduits down through the roof, connecting to the Hikvision box inside the vehicle. TAS equipped the vehicle with a commercial-grade wireless radio that provides broadband to the Hikvision NVR, allowing the UPD to communicate with it remotely.

Results: Tailored Surveillance System Meeting All Requirements with 360-degree, Panoramic Views, 24/7 Live Monitoring and Live Viewing Via Mobile App
To provide 65 days of video storage and recovery, TAS installed a 32-channel Hikvision Pro-Series DS-9616NI-I8 NVR with 12 TB of storage.

“The Hikvision NVR supports eight cameras and it is always best to avoid maxing out the system and have more power available than is needed,” said Sheehy. “We’ve had very good success with the Hikvision NVRs. As installers should do with any security systems, we keep the firmware up to date to minimize any security concerns.”

The 4MP turret cameras are set to 3MP to conserve energy. The UPD wanted to deploy the Armadillo for up to seven days with continuous video surveillance and recordings, which required extended battery life. Since there was not enough real estate on the Armadillo for solar to generate the required power, TAS customized a battery to provide maintenance-free power for the NVR and cameras.

“The upgraded battery system permits much longer deployment times, which allows us to leave the Armadillo at a specific location for a longer period of time,” said Noonan. Video is live streamed to the Mohawk Valley Crime Analysis Center where footage is monitored 24/7. The Hikvision iVMS app allows the staff to view video footage from their smartphones.



Hikvision’s technology, value and responsive customer service helped TAS deliver a custom surveillance solution for the unique Armadillo armored vehicle application. “Hikvision representatives are very responsive. When we encounter challenges, they are immediately available to help us find a solution,” said Sheehy.

The integrator’s expertise and willingness to create an innovative solution to meet the UPD’s requirements for Armadillo security resulted in an application that provides high resolution images, live streaming and remote viewing capability, and improved crime monitoring and deterrence in local communities.


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.





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