When installing a security camera system it is important to protect that investment. Security cameras are sensitive electronics packed inside plastic or metal housings. The construction materials offer some protection. Outdoor security cameras are subject to the elements like wind, rain, and lightning. It’s important to avoid cutting corners when installing the cameras in your security system so you can get the most of our your purchase and prolong the longevity of the cameras. Following the guide below will give you some helpful hints to avoid the hassle of broken cameras.

How long do security cameras last?

Before we begin, let's answer this question. When mounted properly, security cameras can last 5+ years. Proper mounting involves protecting the camera's connections, and ensuring the camera is not subject to weather conditions that are beyond its specs. For example, exposing the camera to temperatures higher than what it is rated for will damage the cameras. Then there are concerns such as image sensor burn of a camera which will damage the camera if exposed to the Sun due to improper installation. Lastly, acts of God such as lightning are unavoidable. Such exposures from the ambient environment will reduce the lifespan of the components in a security camera system.

Use Junction Boxes for clean and durable installations

Bullet Camera with Junction Box

Junction boxes are great for providing cleaner installations. Hiding and protecting the connectors is another reason to use junction boxes. An extra layer of protection from weather, or vandals is necessary in today's world. Examples of IP camera and coaxial camera pigtails are below. Failure to protect these pigtail connectors will result in damaged cameras. It is important to note that pigtail connectors cannot be repaired.

Coaxial and IP pigtails that need protected
Junction boxes also provide more durable protection from vandals and extension from eaves, soffits or walls.

Vandals and intruders often look to sabotage security camera systems by damaging the cameras or cabling. Hiding and protecting the connectors and cabling inside junction boxes help a lot.

Extending cameras below soffits, eaves, or away from walls is important to avoid IR video issues. IR issues are often caused by building materials reflecting the IR light back into the camera. Junction boxes offer an easy way to mount cameras below these overhangs, or away from a wall. You can read more about IR related issues in our article here.


Use the Included Weather Grommet for IP Cameras

IP cameras include a plastic weather grommet that protects IP camera connectors. The grommet provides much needed protection to the RJ45 network port from rain. If moisture gets to the pigtail connector then it will create a short and damage the port in no time.

Using the weather grommet is better than using plastic wrap or electrical tape. Using cheap materials lead to common mistakes that damage cameras. If you are not installing a system for yourself it is recommended to check that your installer is not using this shortcut.

If you are unsure how to use the weather grommet then watch our video below:


Protect the security camera from harsh elements

When installing security cameras, installers and home users are looking to get the best vantage point as possible. Sometimes this means that cameras are installed high in the air, or mounted to a pole. Care must be taken to ensure that cameras are not exposed to conditions that exceed their weather proofing standards.

Bad installations expose cameras to high winds and lightning, or allowing water to pool on the camera. Water combined with high winds can pierce through the glass in the front of the camera.

Sunlight can also damage cameras. If a camera is pointed in a direction where the sun shines directly in to the camera, the image sensor of the camera will burn out from UV radiation. Even sunlight reflected from a car's windshield for hours per day can cause image sensor damage.

Direct Sunlight in warmer climates can melt cabling or overheat cameras as well.

Lightning can strike a camera mounted on a pole or high up on a building. Lightning can also cause complete or partial system damage. The electricity can flow through cabling down into the recorder. Ethernet surge protectors limit the amount of damage a lightning strike causes.


Tips for using PTZ cameras

PTZ cameras (Pan Tilt Zoom) contain mechanical motors that can break with repeated use. They use belts to pan and tilt that wear over time.

Using tours, or patterns that pan or tilt for extended time periods will degrade parts faster than usual. We recommend setting a dwell time of 15 to 30 seconds or higher.

It’s important to note that mini-PTZ cameras are not meant to use autoscans. The smaller motors and belts are not designed for constant use.

Learn more about wear and tear from our video below.

Matt Rossi is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading CCTV Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. He is a technical support expert for everything video surveillance related.

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