Lightning strikes can be, and usually are, a major hazard to electronic devices. CCTV security camera systems are no exception to the list of susceptible equipment. By properly installing and maintaining your system, you can greatly reduce the risk of damage from potential lightning strikes.  By no means are these methods required, just simply recommended for those of you who may be susceptible to lightning strikes.

It’s extremely important to pay attention to where and how you’re installing your outdoor security cameras. A good idea is to mount a block of wood to the structure where you will be installing your camera, and then placing the camera on top of that. This step will help to insulate the camera from potential surges.  It’s also smart to house any exposed camera wiring inside of flexible conduit so it also not making any direct contact with the structure.  It’s very common for electrical surges to make contact the camera’s cabling and use that as a conductor all the way to the camera.

The same concept can be applied when looking for a place to store your DVR.  If you’re using a single stand alone DVR, it should be easy for you to store the device in or on a non-conductive structure.  A wooden or polymer stand or cabinet are used pretty commonly here.  For those of you who are using server racks or other metallic storage units, you’ll need to insulate them.  Foam or rubber padding under these racks/shelves in addition to flexible conduit for the cabling are good places to start.  Just like the cameras, the idea is to separate your DVR from the rest of the building that this surge is potentially travelling through.

A total solution, albeit more expensive, is to properly ground the building or home where you will be using your CCTV security camera system. This is achieved by using a series of grounding rods, a lightning arrestor, and copper wire.  While this can certainly turn into a “Do It Yourself” project, an electrician or professional installer is probably going to be your best chance for success and safety.

According to Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard of, “ Electrical grounding systems divert potentially dangerous electrical currents by providing a path between a building’s service box and the earth. Lightning and static electricity are the most common sources of dangerous or damaging charges that can be dissipated through a grounding system. Grounding electrodes are connected to the building’s electrical system through grounding electrode conductors, also known as ground wires.”

Installers typically use a copper rod that is 8 ft. in length as a grounding electrode. This rod is hammered into the earth, leaving only a small part of it exposed. It’s also important to note that the grounding rod should be placed at least 20 feet from the structure that is being electrically grounded. Once this is underground, the grounding wire (running from the main electrical panel of the structure) is attached to the grounding electrode. Installers recommend a mechanical connection, such as a clamp, to attach the wire to the rod. Soldering is another way to attach the wire but it has the potential to corrode and break down over time. There are other methods of electrically grounding structures. That information can be found by clicking the link below.

By properly protecting your structures from the potential of lightning strikes, you will be taking a proactive stance in protecting your CCTV security camera system. This will ensure that your system remains in working order even when weather conditions are at their most extreme.


Don Stephens is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading Security Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. His area of expertise is in designing professional security camera systems for medium and large scale businesses, schools, and government projects.

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