What is Surge Protection?
Power surge protection is a system designed to protect electrical devices from damage caused by sudden and excessive power surges. A power surge is an increase in voltage that can cause serious damage to electronic equipment, such as computers, televisions, security cameras, and other appliances. Power surges can be caused by lightning strikes, utility company problems or even faulty wiring in the home.
What type of power is used?
Electronics are designed for the standard power sources used around the world. For example, Europe uses 220v AC while North America uses 120v AC electrical power. There are benefits to both but 120v AC power is much safer for humans to interface with on a daily basis.
What does a surge protector do?
Power surge protection systems are designed to protect electrical equipment from damage caused by power surges. These systems work by diverting excess voltage away from the equipment and thereby preventing it from being damaged or destroyed. Power surge protection systems can be installed in a variety of ways, including whole-house surge protection, point-of-use surge protection, and direct plug-in surge protectors.
Whole-house Surge Protection
Whole house surge protection is a type of surge suppression system that is designed to protect all of the electrical components in your home from power surges. It works by diverting excess voltage away from your home’s wiring and appliances, preventing damage and potential fire hazards. Whole house surge protection systems are typically installed at the main electrical service panel where the power enters the home. Here, it can monitor and divert any incoming surges before they reach any of the interior power circuits.
Point-of-use Surge Protection
Point-of-use surge protection is a type of surge suppression device that is designed to protect electronic equipment from power surges and spikes. It is typically installed at the point where the electrical power enters the equipment, such as an outlet or junction box. These units often come in the form of a power strip, which allows multiple devices to be plugged into it. They are often used to protect CCTV equipment, including the NVR, PoE's and cameras from damage due to power surges or brownouts.
Direct Plug-in Surge Protectors
Direct plugin units are a type of surge suppression device that is designed to be plugged directly in line with the cable that is delivering power to an electrical device. It specifically protects the electronic equipment from damage due to power spikes or surges induced into the power cable by nearby lightning strikes or other unexpected events. Refer to the image for example. It is a PoE surge suppressor used to protect an IP camera from any power surge induced onto the cat5 or cat6 cable connecting the camera to the NVR or PoE unit.
What Level of Surge Protection Do you Need?
Cost is a factor for most consumers. There is a point where the cost of protecting the electronic device is more expensive than replacing it. Keep in mind that CCTV warranty's seldom if ever cover acts of nature or power spikes. Warranties cover manufacturing defects and failure from normal operational workloads. They do not cover events outside of the normal operation of the system.
There are usually two areas that require protection for security camera systems, the NVR and PoE units. Since the NVR usually powers the cameras, a reasonable level of protection is to use a power strip equipped with surge suppression between the power supply and the NVR. As with any PoE units, simply place a power strip at all 120v AC electrical connections to any device on the system. This provides cost-effective protection against power spikes, surges, or any induced electrical current on to the power source due to lightning strikes.
The next level of protection to consider is the cable connecting the camera to the system. The only real risk with this cable is a lightning strike inducing an electrical charge onto the cable connecting the camera to the NVR or PoE. This is where cost may prevent the added protection. A surge protector would be needed on each end of the cable; one to protect the camera and the other to protect the NVR or PoE. The cost of two surge suppression units can exceed the cost of a new camera. This is where the consumer has to decide if spending the extra money for the added protection is a cost-effective decision.
Where should you use direct plug-in surge protectors?
We highly recommend using a direct connect in-line surge suppressor if the cable running from the NVR to the camera penetrates a building perimeter. Such as a cable running to a stand-alone shop or storage area. Since the cable is much more likely to be vulnerable to lightning strikes, a surge suppressor installed in-line on the cable as it enters the facility is a good idea.
When designing a security camera system there are two external concerns when it comes to power: operation during power loss and damage due to power spikes. If you address the loss of power concern by adding a UPS to each power connection location, you have effectively protected against power surges simply because all UPS units filter the power source and stop all spikes, surges, and brownouts.