How to Install Security Cameras
The steps to properly installing security cameras are straight forward. The quality of the finished installation is all in the preparation. If you do not have a plan, then its likely you will not have the right tools or parts and the finished results may or may not meet your expectations. The quality of the installation will also dictate the useful life of the camera. In other words, if the camera is poorly installed the likelihood of premature failure increases dramatically.
Step 1 - Selecting the Right Camera
Selecting the right camera is key. The camera must be designed for the location and environment. Will the camera be exposed to extreme weather? Will the camera be baking in the sun most of the year or will it be protected under a soffit or eve? All things you should consider when choosing the camera. First, decide if it's location will be indoors or outdoors. Indoor cameras should never be used outdoors, but it is common to use outdoor weather rated cameras indoors. When an outdoor camera is used indoors it's usually chosen because of the cameras design and has nothing to do with the weather rating. Outdoor vandal dome cameras are commonly used indoors simply because they have a small footprint, no one wants a bulky camera installed in their hall, office or great room.
A quality outdoor camera is designed to operate in the extreme heat and humidity of the everglades and the frigid cold, ice and snow of Alaska, Canada and the north east states. A camera designed for such temperatures carries a weather rating of IP67, IP stands for (Ingres Protection). This rating is an electrical industry standard used to categorize the performance of electronic equipment in different environments.
- - PI66 Represents a "Rain Tight" housing. It is water resistant but it is NOT waterproof.
- - IP67 Represents a "Waterproof" housing. IP67 is waterproof to a depth of 3 feet. All our outdoor cameras (by our quality standards) are IP67 rated.
Step 2 - Selecting the Camera Location
Where will the camera be located? Vertically on a wall, horizontally on a ceiling or soffit, or installed on a pole? The answer dictates which type of mounting hardware is required. But first you should verify your selected location will provide the view you expect. The cameras view to the target area must be clear and void of obstructions. The best way to verify this is to place a ladder below the location you have chosen and climb the ladder until your eyes are as close to the intended camera location as possible. Now ask yourself; Is anything obstructing my view? What you see, is what the camera will see. Is there a rain gutter down spout blocking the view? Are there trees or other obstacles causing blind spots on the way to your target area? If the intended view is blocked, move the ladder a few feet to a different location and repeat this process until you see the desired area.
Pay attention to the cameras immediate location. Do not place a camera directly behind a recessed light in a soffit. At night the light will cause the camera to adjust to the artificial light, causing poor performance at the target location. Best practice is to keep the camera at least 5 feet away from any light fixture (or obstacle) between the camera and target location.
Step 3 - Mounting the Camera
Survey the construction material you are mounting to. Is it brick, wood, stucco, concrete or aluminum siding? The construction material usually dictates weather you should use a mounting back box or not. The key is to protect the camera's cable connection from weather and tampering. Poorly protecting this connection from moisture is the number one season cameras fail. If the connection is not properly protected, moisture penetrates the connection and corrodes the fittings. DO NOT use electrical tape to wrap the connection! Inevitably moisture will penetrate the tape, locking in the moisture and assuring the camera will fail.
Professional installers always protect the cable connection by using the correct mounting box for the camera or pushing the connection back into the construction material, then sealing the hole with silicone or other approved sealants. The camera is then mounted directly over the hole concealing the penetration. Usually a back box is needed when mounting to brick or concrete. When mounting to wood, stucco or aluminum siding the cameras pigtail and cable connection can be pushed back into the hollow cavity of the wall or soffit and a mounting box is not required.
It is important to use the correct mounting hardware designed for the type of material you are mounting to. Heat and cold causes the camera and construction material to expand and contract at different rates. Using the wrong hardware is a sure way to make the installation more difficult and likely the camera will become loose over time. Using the correct hardware designed for the type of construction material will minimize this effect. Below are examples of the correct hardware for each type of construction material. Our cameras come with mounting hardware similar to the items listed under the brick material.
Step 4 - Adjusting the Cameras View
The last step is to aim and adjust the cameras field of view. Each camera has some type of locking mechanism that secures the camera to its base. Loosen this locking mechanism for aiming. One of the Pro's secrets to making this step a breeze is to first setup the NVR or video recorder and connect it to the internet modem. Then download the viewing app on your smart phone. This allows you to position yourself on the ladder and view the cameras video feed in real-time so you can easily adjust the view to the perfect angle while on the ladder. Otherwise it will take two people to dial the camera in, one on the ladder with a phone communicating to another person viewing the cameras video at the NVRs location.
Once you have the view desired, hold the camera firmly in place while securing the camera with the locking mechanism. Often the camera will move slightly, altering the view, if you do not hold the camera in place while locking it down.
For more information about the selection and installation of cameras and video surveillance in general visit our Security Cameras Made Simple guide.