CCTV Power & Wire Tips
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Follow the advice in this post and you will have no problems powering your security cameras or transmitting the video. Simple to understand guidelines keep you on target and ensure you'll "get it right the first time".








Wiring & Power Tips for Cat5, Cat6 & IP Network Based 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.




Wire Distances

Each system requires one cable from the camera location back to the video recorder. The single cable transmits video from the camera to the recorder, while the recorder transmits power back to the camera on the same cable. The maximum distances for each technology are show below.




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 the 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. You can then transmit the video over the Cat5 or Cat6 network cable.






Coax - Siamese Cable for CVI Systems

The most popular cable is a cable that actually houses two separate cables and is known as "Siamese Cable" or "Dual Cable". This cable has a power cable and a video coax cable combined. This style of cable provides several benefits:


- It's flexible and easy to pull

- It's durable

- Only one cable for each camera is needed

- It provides excellent distance options



Siamese Cables


Siamese cables are available in 500 foot 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. 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.



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 an 18 gauge twisted pair for power. This provides a maximum power distance of 250 feet for these cables.




Specialty Transmission Equipment


Fiber

Optic fiber is available in many commercial buildings, usually for network use. However, for extreme distances, there are companies that manufacture video fiber transmitters. These units can send multiple signals several 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 skeptical about most forms of wireless transmissions. However, for specific applications, long range wifi network equipment can be used to transmit IP based camera signals.



Signal Extenders

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


Video Baluns - This is 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.


PoE Signal Extender - This unit allows an IP camera's signal and power to be regenerated and sent another 200-300 feet depending on the cable.