Wiring a CCTV System, Pulling Cables - Best Practices
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Best Practices

Each camera system is unique. The equipment may be the same from one installation to another but the installation itself is unique to the building or structure. Running cable from a camera to a video recorder or network connection can be simple or complicated depending on the type of structure and the location of the camera. There are simple best practices that apply to all wire runs.

 

Always keep the cables away from heat or high voltage. Never run or attach cables to a hot water pipe or to building power lines. Never run camera video cables or power cables in the same conduit as power lines. This is actually against nationwide building codes and the AC power running though power lines can completely destroy quality video signals. The power lines create noise which can be induced into the video cable causing poor performance.

 

Do not run cables near or over the top of lighting fixtures, especially florescent. Again, the power noise created by the operation of such lights can cause your video or network cables to become an antenna for the noise and will cause problems.

 

Measure each cable run from the camera location to the video recorder. Make sure you add any vertical distances up or down walls. It is best to add 5 feet to the total that you think you need; better to have 5 feet too much than 5 feet to little.

 

Use pre-made cables if possible. The factory fittings on the pre-made cables are likely to be higher quality than fittings made in the field. Pre-made cables will always have a little left over. The extra cable can be coiled up in the attic or above a drop tile ceiling so you have a clean run at the camera and video recorder locations. Coiling the cable up does not cause problems with Cat5 or Cat6 network cables. Coax Siamese cables should not have more than 10 feet coiled together. More than that might cause resistance to power flow.

 

Do not run cable so that it is directly exposed to the elements. The quickest way to a cable failing is to expose it to direct sunlight for a long period of time. The UV rays break the cable down and will degrade performance of the camera. It is ok to run Cat5, Cat6 and coax cable outdoors as long as it has some protection. It is best to run the cable in conduit or outdoor raceway. Tucking the cable up under an eve or in the soffit of a home provides adequate protection from the elements.

 

Best practice is to run cables in attics and other crawl spaces to the camera location and then penetrate the wall or soffit with a small ½ inch hole. Run the cable out, connect it to the camera's pigtail and then push the entire cable back into the hole and mount the camera over the hole. This protects the cable and provides an easy and clean installation.

 

Do not leave cable connections and fitting exposed to the elements. Moisture will erode the connections and the cabling will fail. If your installation requires the connection be located outside, buy an outdoor single or double gang electrical box and run the cables into that for connection.

 

Do not pull the cables tight around a 90 degree corner. This has the potential to short the wires inside the cable. This can cause poor video quality that is usually blamed on the camera.

 

If the cabling must be outdoors or ran to a detached building, garage or shop, you can simply use sprinkler pipe to protect the cable. It’s cheap and made to be buried in the ground. Make sure the pipe is sealed so that moisture does not find its way into the pipe. Overtime, water will erode the cable.

 

As we stated at the beginning, each wire run is different. Be careful and take your time so you do not inadvertently create a difficult to diagnose problem. The good news is that the cables and video signals are very resilient and the problems we have described are rare.


Wire Distances

Each system requires one cable leading from the camera location back to the video recorder. This 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.

 



Pre-made Cables

Premade cables are great because they already have the video and power fittings connected. We offer them in many lengths (25, 60, 75, 100, 150, 200 foot lengths) for both the HD-CVI and Ultra-HD series.

When choosing the length that you need, remember to add any vertical distances the cable must travel up or down a wall. It’s much better to have a cable that is too long than one that is 7 feet short. The excess cable can be coiled up and left in the attic, ceiling, behind the recorder or anywhere out of the way.


Custom Cable Lengths

We offer spools of cable for each technology. This allows a customer to pull the exact amount of cable needed to each camera and then attach the required fittings. We would recommend using premade cables if you do not have experience making video fittings. We offer several how to videos on our website that will show you the correct method for attaching fittings.


Direct Burial Cable

Once in a while, a customer may need to locate a camera in a detached shop, barn, or gated area. We offer direct burial cable for both Ultra-HD and HD-CVI series. This cable can be buried directly in the ground, eliminating the need for conduit and other expensive cabling systems. Browse our website for specifics on our direct burial cable options.


How to Wire Your Home for Security Cameras