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Wire & Power Tips

Chapter Video Surveillance Made Easy e-book

Wiring & Power Tips for HD-CVI, HD-IP, Elite-IP & Ultra-HD Systems

All cameras require two things; power and a way to transmit video. The HD-CVI technology uses coax cable which provides several benefits; the cable is durable, low cost and provides for very long distance cable runs.

The HD-IP, Elite-IP and Ultra-HD technologies use network cable called Cat5 or Cat6. The network cable is slightly more difficult to work with because the fittings used are RJ45 jacks which require a crimping tool. One option to eliminate the need to attach the fittings to the cable is to use pre-made cables. We offer pre-made network cables in 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, & 200 foot lengths. IP network cable has a limited distance of 200-300 feet. As the image below shows signal extenders can be used to achieve longer cable runs.

Maximum video cable distances

Siamese Cable

One cable that houses two cables is the most popular and is called "Siamese Cable" or "Dual Cable". This cable has a power cable and a video coax cable combined. This style of cable provides several benefits:

  • Its flexible and easy to pull
  • Its durable
  • Only one cable for each camera is needed
  • It provides excellent distance options

Siamese Cables

Siamese cables are available in 500 foot easy spool boxes and in pre-made cables. The 500 foot boxes allow you to pull the exact amount of cable needed from the DVR to each camera location, but you do have to place the video and power fittings on the ends. This is not difficult, but does require one extra step as shown in the document below "How To Make A BNC Fitting". The pre-made cables are available in 25, 65, 100 and 150 foot lengths and the fittings for video and power are already attached. All you have to do is plug them in. You can plug two pre-made cable together to extend the total distance but be careful not to exceed 250 feet or the video and power transmission may run into resistance problems.

Pre-made Cable Connections

Our pre-made cables are equipped with the needed fittings so cameras can be easily connected to the DVR and power supplies without any hand tools. These documents show the quick connect fittings that connect to the cameras, power supplies and DVR.

Siamese Cable Connections

Power Cable Distances - HD-CVI

The maximum distance you can send power is a function of the power cable. The longer the cable, the more resistance there is for the power to flow. Using larger cables reduces the resistance and allows for longer cable runs. The following is a guide line for maximum distances based on the gauge of the power wire.

  • 18 Gauge Wire - 250 Feet Max
  • 16 Gauge Wire - 300 Feet Max
  • 14 Gauge Wire - 400 Feet Max
  • 12 Gauge Wire - 500 Feet Max

Our pre-made cables and Siamese cables use a 18 gauge twisted pair for power. This provides a maximum power distance of 250 feet for these cables.

Wiring & Power Tips for Elite-IP, HD-IP & Ultra-HD Systems

All three series are network based technologies. They use standard Cat5 or Cat6 network cable to transmit video to the NVR. Maximum Cat5 or Cat6 distance is 200-300 feet. This is not a limitation of the equipment but rather a limitation of the computer networking technology that all digital equipment must follow.

Extending Cable Distance

As mentioned above you can use a PoE-EXT unit to regenerate the video and power signal allowing an additional two to three hundred foot network cable to be added to the total cable distance. This unit is not needed If the total cable length is under three hundred feet for Cat6, two hundred for Cat5. Multiple units can be used every two to three hundred feet to achieve a total maximum distance of 1200 feet. The PoE-EXT unit does not require power itself.

Maximum video cable distances

Powering Cameras

  • The most convenient way to power IP camera(s) is to purchase a video recorder with PoE (power over Ethernet) built-in. This makes things simple. All that is needed is one network cable ran from the video recorder to each camera. The NVR or Network Video Recorder uses the cable to power the camera and camera uses the cable to transmit the video.

  • PoE Connections

  • Power injector or PoE units. These units power the camera over the Cat5 or Cat6 cable. It powers the camera the same way a video recorder with PoE does but it must be connected to a network to transmit the video to a video recorder. The unit does require its own power supply; which is included with each unit.

  • HD-IP Power Supply Options
  • You can also power the camera locally (near the camera) with a plug in power supply. This only requires a power outlet nearby. Then transmit the video over the Cat5 or Cat6 network cable.

Specialty Transmission Equipment


Optic fiber is ran in many commercial building usually for network use. However for extreme distances there are companies that manufacture video fiber transmitters. These units can send multiple signals miles on fiber. The systems are expensive and require some training and expertise. We will not be discussing these systems due to their technical nature.

Network RF Transmitters

As you are likely aware we are very skeptical about all forms of wireless transmissions. However for specific applications RF network equipment can be used to transmit IP based camera signals. Again we are not a fan, do not support their use and will not discuss them in detail.

Signal Extenders

There are a couple of distance extenders that come in handy.

  • Video Baluns - This a pair of units that allow CCTV video signals to be sent across a twisted pair cable such as phone wire or network cable. The units extend the CCTV signal transmission up to 1500 feet.
  • SDI Signal Extender - This unit allows an SDI cameras signal to be regenerated and sent another 250-500 depending on the cable. The one limitation with this unit is that it needs to be located at the end of the first cable run and requires power.
  • PoE Signal Extender - This unit allows a HD-IP or Elite-IP cameras signal and power to be regenerated and sent another 200-300 feet depending on the cable.


Each installation is different. Running cables is simple but yet can be a real art form. Almost any building; residential or commercial can be wired for cameras. The trick is knowing how to get the cable from point A to point B. We will discuss common techniques professionals use in the "Installation" Section of this guide.

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