Security NVR Hard Drive Upgrade



Introduction: Security NVR Hard Drive Upgrade

Hello Instructables community!

I’m watching you! Well, not really. I can’t watch all the MILLIONS of members at one time. Not with the limited storage on the security camera system I have. But what if I fix up the storage to hold more? Hmmmmm….

Don’t worry, this is not going to happen. What will happen, though, is I will show you how to upgrade the 2 terabyte storage drive of a Defender HD2T16 security network video recorder (NVR) to a new 8 terabyte storage drive.

All this will take is an NVR, the new drive and a phillips screwdriver.

Step 1: A Drive Is a Drive Is a Drive

First thing you may ask is, "JokerDAS, will any big hard drive do?"

NO! Not all hard drives are the same! And I am not just talking about brand loyalty. They are actually configured to perform specific roles. Some are for desktop computing, others for network attached storage (NAS), others are for gaming, while some are designed for power efficiency. Most major manufactures have drives that are recommended for use in security appliance. These have are different because they will be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also have a higher write speed and a lower read speed, as they spend more time recording than they would playing back.

"But JokerDAS, how big do I need to go?"

That is a great question, you clever Instructable communitarian! There are many sites available to calculate the storage requirements. Such as EZ Watch's NVR Storage Calculator. It asks for a little information about your camera system's recording specs along with how much time you want to retain, and then it lets you know how much storage it would take to accommodate your security needs. If you are unsure of the information the calculator needs pertaining to your system (example: FPS rate, camera type, etc.), check out the manufacturer's website, it will all be listed there. Also note the maximum storage your NVR can handle!

I chose the Western Digital Purple because I have had much more reliable service with these units in my other Defender security systems.

Step 2: Open Says Me!

The NVR is simply the box that all the camera’s plug into. It contains the camera software and recording firmware, as well as, the hard drive.

  1. First, locate the single screw on the side of the unit.
  2. With the screw driver, remove the side screw.
  3. Repeat for the opposite side.
  4. Locate the three screws on the rear of the unit.
  5. Again, with the screw driver, remove all three screws.
  6. Lay the unit flat on the base.
  7. Slide the top of the case back and up to remove.

Step 3: Remove the Drive

Now that the case is removed, you can see the board on one side and the offending hard drive on the other.

  1. Again, flip the unit over to expose the bottom.
  2. Locate the four screws holding the hard drive in place.
  3. Remove them with the screw driver.
  4. Carefully reach underneath the unit and hold the hard drive in place as you flip the unit back upright.
  5. Unplug the power cable and the SATA cable from the hard drive.

Step 4: Install the New Drive

  1. Plug the power and the SATA cables into the appropriate ports on the new drive.
  2. Set the drive into the base with the label side up.
  3. While holding the hard drive in place, carefully flip the unit over to expose the bottom.
  4. Line up the screw holes on the hard drive with the holes from Step 3.
  5. Replace the four hard drive mounting screws.

:"But JokerDAS, won't I have to install the camera software on the new drive?"

Again with the excellent questions. The answer is no, you will not. All the recording software is stored in the bios of the board, not within the hard drive. Changing out the drive does nothing to the actual recording software.

Step 5: Replace the Case (Step 2 in Reverse!)

This is essential step 2 in reverse.

  1. Flip the unit upright.
  2. Slide the case back on.
  3. Replace the three screws on the back of the unit.
  4. Replace the screws on each side of the unit.


Now it is time to boot it up!

Step 6: Give It the Boot!

You have replaced the hard drive to your DVR system, now you have to format the drive to get the system to recognize it and write to it.

  1. Plug in the power, video and the any USB mouse. The unit powers on automatically when the power is inserted.
  2. After the splash screen, the system will beep alerting you the a note the hard drive is unformatted. Exit off the popup.
  3. If this is the first time you have powered on your unit, you will have to enter a new password using the mouse and on-screen keyboard. Write down this password!
  4. After the initial user setup, you will be prompted to format the new hard drive. Select the unformatted drive, and click format HDD.
  5. Enter the password you just created in sub step 3. You will be reminded that all footage on the drive will be erased, but since it is brand new, there is nothing to erase. Click OK.
  6. After the format is complete you will see the new drive with a status of OK and almost 8 TB or available storage.

That is all it takes to upgrade the meager 2 TB hard drive in your Defender camera system to an 8 TB drive!

I hope you found this helpful.

And as always, thanks for checking out my Instructable!

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