This is purely how I do things and not a right way or wrong way. Just purely my way of installation as I see works best. If you have yet to purchase your security camera system, then you should definitely check out the CCTV Camera Buying Guide.
Installation of cables
There is a myth about CCTV camera installation and that anyone can do it. When the truth is that you can have excellent equipment and if it is not installed correctly can give you poor overall performance. This can be in both visually and dependability. A recent study stated that 98% of all service calls are due to some type of installation problem. So less than 2% are equipment failure! This article is going to be a basic and general procedure in installation.
Step 1: Camera locations
Your first step in this process is of course determining were your cameras are going to be placed. In doing this it is better to not determine where the CAMERA’S will be mounted but what area is needed to be covered.
Also needed to be considered is the type of coverage wanted (facial, general activity, license plate capture). Each will be a major factor in placement of cameras (camera coverage and placement could be covered in detail a lot more in a site survey article).
Create a layout of building and cameras to be installed. If you have multiple cameras in a large area try to group your cameras into zones. This will allow you to better plan out how much wire you need to pull wire for multiple cameras in as few pulls as possible (instead of pulling each cameras wire individually).
Step 2: Cable entrance
There is multiple different ways to pull wire and each can be ideal for different scenarios. I am going to explain the most common ways we do it.
Once each cameras mounted location is determined you will want to drill your entrance into the ceiling, wall, or whatever.
Then have you spool of wire at the camera location going into the drilled hole. It makes it a lot easier to use a fiber glass rod and send it as far up as possible.
Leave some slack in your cable. Repeat this for each cameras location. (Yes you will need a spool of wire per camera.). Plus a wire caddy/spool is great to have. Labor saving devices sell them. So once you have completed this you should have X number of fiber glass rods with wire attached sticking up into the ceiling.
Next have the person designated (the new guy) get up in the attic or ceiling space. He will need a fiberglass extension pole or also called a gofer pole with a Z tip from labor saving devices.
One thing I require for my guys to do is put up J hooks to suspend our cabling up off any surfaces that are not installed buy us. These will create a virtual channel for your cable while also keeping your cable off any surface it can get hung on and rub up against. Those are purely your choice but a great thing to have.
So once the new guy is up in the space that can be hotter than hell its self he will need to extend the extending fiber glass rod with Z tip and hook each cable that is sticking up into the ceiling with a fiber glass rod. This can be done so that the new guy does not have to physically go to each camera location; which in most instances would be 5 or 6 times the installation time if done with the extending pole.
So after he has pulled each cable from its entrance to the DVR system end he will then pull enough cable to compensate for some slack in cable. Then also give the cable some extra slack for the future technician and also to keep no tension on the cable.
Remember a perfectly stapled installation with the wire perfectly and neatly stapled with no extra cable is although a picture perfect look for vanity, it is a technician’s nightmare!
Step 3: Connectors
This is a process very important that you take your time on and do it right! If not then it will be a service call; maybe not immediately but definitely at the worse time possible.
Crimp/compress/solder or whichever method you connect your connectors to the end of each cable. Hook up your power wire to the specified power supply. Ensure proper termination. Either electronically or physically; which means if you have the equipment measure the resistance on your cable with connectors and one end terminated. This will tell you if your crimps and cable is properly installed up to this point.
If your cable is properly done your video should measure about 75 OHMS + or – 10% or close to that. If it is reading mega ohms then your cable is not properly terminated. If it reads nothing then your cable is broken at some point. If your installation required EMT conduit and goes all the way from the camera to DVR end then you can tape your BNC to the EMT and use the EMT as part of the testing to determine which is not properly installed( the center conductor or the shielding).
Most of the time it is the center conductor to the center pin. If you don’t have the equipment to test it you can just give you connectors a good pull on the connector to check and see if it comes off or is loose. A properly installed connector should be able to withstand a good pull. Not to hard but firm.
Check out my post on the other Components of Video Security Cameras that are needed.
Step 4: Power
Power your cameras that you connected to the power supply. Once you have done that go to each camera with your test monitor and adjust the field of view. Back focus and majority of the focus can be done at the office. Plus the test monitors do not have the resolution to properly adjust your focus (setting up of cameras can be explained in much much much more detail in a different article).
Once the cameras looking at the right place then finalize the mounting or the rotation and do the same for each camera.
Step 5: See your creation
Now either the fun part or massive confusion and disappointment begin.
You will now hook up your cameras to your recording device and monitor. Hopefully all your cameras will show up and will be perfect. But let’s get real. That does not always happen.
Usually either some don’t show up at all. Or they have something that needs to be adjusted. So obviously you will need to make your proper adjustments to the necessary cameras. Or if you need you can troubleshoot the necessary problem areas. Hopefully you will have everything working and everything like you or your customer wanted it.
If not then throw me your problems in a post on this blog and hopefully we can help you out. Remember that EVERY installation is different. There is not a set way to install a system as every building is built different. So keep in mind before you start to expect things to now go in an order from A to Z in the perfect order.
This will keep your expectations in the right perspective so you won’t get stressed or disappointed when things get tough. Learn to love troubleshooting because if not then you will hate installation and everything that has to do with it.
Also if you are installing with other people be sure to keep open and clearly defined communication to make sure you guys are on the same page. Oh yes and don’t forget, don’t fall through the ceiling! Although funny to the guys watching it happen it makes you feel pretty small.
Otherwise have fun and do make sure you provide a system that the customer needs. This is a serious field that your decisions and actions affect people’s lives and assets in a way that could make or break someone or a group of people for the rest of their lives. So take pride and professionalism from start to finish.