How to Wire a Security Camera

How to Wire a Security Camera

It is now becoming easier than ever to protect your home, family and property with a security system. Security cameras pose a range of options, and although wireless systems are rapidly improving, a wired system offers superior resolution, security, and performance.

So, have you ever wondered about how to wire a security camera yourself? It is certainly possible to achieve these days as the systems available on the market today fairly straight forward to set up.

Making sure that the camera is properly wired is a critical part of maintaining an effective system; wiring both provides the power needed to run the camera, as well as transmit the video signal needed to record. If you purchase a packaged system including camera, digital video recorder and all the cables and connectors, it’s easier to ensure compatibility, but piecing together the components yourself is easier than it sounds.

Although wireless security camera technology has advanced, analog cameras are still widely used because of their range of capabilities. When purchasing a camera, consider exactly what your needs are before investing in a system. Will you need to see detailed information? How broad an area will you want to cover? How high will you need to install the camera on your home? Consideration of these key factors will make a difference in purchasing the equipment most relevant for your situation.

The components required for a security camera are the following:

  • A DVR or digital video recorder
  • A hard drive (usually included in the DVR but can be purchased separately)
  • Security camera(s)
  • Power source
  • Cables
  • Connectors

Step 1: Draw a plan and test the system

The first thing to do is draw up a surveillance plan for your home. It’s important to prioritize the areas that are most vulnerable to intruders or vandals, as well as adhere to rules and laws surrounding recording of property and (possibly) neighbors. Drawing a diagram to plan placement of cameras is essential to getting the best use of your security system. You should also do an inspection of your intended camera locations to ensure that views are not obstructed or blocked.

After you have the diagram developed and you have purchased either the package system or “a la carte” components, you will need to place your recording device and monitor in a location where the wires can easily and efficiently be run; an attic or office near an internet router both work well. Make sure to test all your equipment prior to installation to confirm that all pieces are properly functioning and the connections are correct.

Step 2: Installation

Based upon your blueprint, install the camera in the desired location, making certain that it is close enough to your power supply box or electrical outlet to operate. Be aware that cameras placed outdoors can be tampered with, especially by intruders who want to escape detection, so place your camera high enough that it can’t be easily damaged, but not so high that recording capability is compromised. Install the camera with screws as opposed to adhesive for best results. Finally, make sure once the camera is secured that it can be positioned to record the areas that are most at risk.

Step 3: Wiring the system

Cameras require two types of wiring to operate: a power supply cable and a video cable. As previously mentioned, Siamese cables are typically used for surveillance cameras as they have both types of wires in one casing—the RG-59 for video and the 18/2 cable for power. Wireless cameras do not require a video cable, but will need to be connected to a power supply box, which should be located near a power outlet. A PT-3 connector will be used to connect the Siamese cable to the power supply box, and a PT-4 connector from the Siamese cable to the camera itself.

Power supply boxes provide power to your cameras from a centralized location as opposed to using power outlets and surge protectors to individually plug in all of the pieces. Individual camera power supplies are not needed when using a Siamese cable and a power box. The power cables on the Siamese cable plug directly into the power box.

In order to connect the cables you will need the following:

  • Siamese cable
  • Two PT-3 connectors
  • One PT-4 connector
  • Two twist-on BNC connectors
  • Several B-gel connectors
  • Wire strippers

Run the Siamese cables to both the DVR and the power outlet site. Cables can be attached to walls and ceilings with staples, but for the most uncluttered appearance, run wiring directly through your walls to connect to the power source. This requires that you know the location of any pipes, cables, or studs where your wiring will run. Using a drill, you can make a hole in the wall slightly larger than the cabling, and then thread the cable through the wall to your system hub, allowing a few extra feet inside your location for adjustment and relocation if necessary.

Note: Whenever you are working with electrical systems, it is always wise to consult a professional electrician if you are unsure. Be certain to turn off power before connecting for safety and to avoid ruining any equipment, and pay close attention to instructions governing wires and connectors to each component.

If you have purchased a package, the wiring materials should be straightforward; most surveillance systems use a BNC connector that is identical on both sides, and runs from your camera’s “output” portal to the DVR “input” and is secured by tightening a nut on the end of the cable to each side. Be sure to note which input port the camera is plugged to tune the recorder correctly.

You will then need to connect the monitor to the DVR using either BNC, HDMI, or coaxial cables, whatever your system requires. Attach one end to the DVR output port and the other end to the monitor’s input.

Step 4: Test your system

Make sure to test your power supply, make sure all components are turned on, connections are secure, and that you have selected the correct inputs for both your monitor and DVR. If you have multiple cameras, they can either be displayed all at once, or you can switch between inputs depending upon your system and equipment.

Once your system is installed, has been tested, and is working properly, you can feel confident that even the presence of cameras has been shown to be a deterrent to crime around your property.

Have you tried to wire your own security camera system? Did you find it easy, or difficult? Leave me a comment below about your experiences, or if you have any questions.

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