How to Install Security Camera Wiring – Extensive Answer

Although installing security camera wires is a technical job, if you follow the step-by-step instructions in this article, you will be able to do it yourself without breaking a sweat. We will not only show you how to install security camera wiring but also how you can convert a wired security camera to a wireless one. Without further ado, let’s begin.

How to Install Security Camera Wiring
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

How to Run Security Camera Wires Outdoor

To run security cameras cables, do the following:

i. Plan and design the cable route

ii. Install the metallic conduit

iii. Drill holes to feed the cables

iv. Run the POF cables

v. Bury the PVC Conduit according to NEC Guidelines

vi. Use fish tape to run the cables

Let’s be explicit…

Plan and Design the Cable Route

You would have to plan and design the cable route. Before setting out to dig up the walls, you need to know where your wires will be entering.

You will need to map out the shortest and most convenient path so that you do not have to deal with obstacles and anything that may disrupt the wiring job.

Install the Metallic Conduit

The importance of using a metal conduit or a wire guard cannot be overemphasized. The main goal is to protect it from the damage that external factors can cause. This way, nothing and no one gets to tamper with your camera wires.

Another thing you may want to take note of is drip loops. Peradventure, you are unable to bury the wires or use metal conduits, don’t forget to create drip loops. The drip loops will help to prevent rain or water from reaching the electric outlet via the hole.

Drill Holes to Feed the Cables

Before you drill the holes, mark out the areas. Doing this will make the whole drilling and digging process easier.

After marking out, cut a hole in one of the marked areas and then use a drill bit to drill the hole. Remember that the main aim of drilling the holes is to help you run the wires through them.

So, you may want to have holes big enough to accommodate any cable you put in it. However, try not to make them so big. Immediately you feel your drill bit penetrates past the wall; that is the right time to stop drilling.

An equally important part of the drilling process is to make use of a right angle drill accompanied by a hole saw bit to drill large holes. It is advisable to drill holes in the wall since it is much easier than drilling holes in the floor.

Run the POF Cables

Just in case you want to connect your POF (Plastic Optical fiber) surveillance camera outside your home, you may need to get a CAT 5 or CAT 6 cable. Since these cables are excellent for network wiring and ordinary wiring (electric power), you can simply fish these cables to aid the wiring process.

However, the optical fiber cable is a great alternative, since it provides both network connection and power for the POF surveillance cameras.

Regarding wireless surveillance cameras, all you need to do is run the POF cables for the electric outlet supplying power for the wireless surveillance cameras.

However, bear in mind that the power outlet must be water-resistant and weatherproof. This way, you rest assured that your camera is well-protected.

Bury the PVC Conduit according to NEC Guidelines

Concerning installation guidelines, the National Electric Code (NEC) provides detailed information. The NEC is a set of regularly updated standards for the proper installation of electric cabling in the United States.

According to NEC, before you run the camera cables, you need to bury the metal conduit six inches and the PVC conduit at least eighteen inches into the wall.  This way, fire outbreaks, and accidents can be avoided.

Use a Fish Tape to Run the Cables

Once you have drilled the holes, your next line of action should be to run the wires. To make the wiring process easier, try getting a draw wire or a fish tape. The fish tape will help you to pull out wires and cables from the holes.

To fish a wire, all you need to do is pass the wire through the eye of the fish tape, and then warp the end of the cable around itself. Use electrical tape to seal the wire and the fish tape eye.

The holes are drilled, the pull wire is set; now, it is time to pull. Station someone who will stand to feed the wires beside you. Ensure that you both are pulling the wires slowly and evenly.

If the wires are pulled too fast, the wire can catch and cut either of your fingers. Hence, try to map out a two to three-foot pull intervals to pull the wires.

Whether it is an IP camera or a mini camera you want to install in your home, you would have to hide the wiring system to make them less noticeable. The whole idea is to reduce the awareness of a burglar, so you can catch him red-handed.

While calling a technician can save you a lot of time, you can simply check the manufacturer’s manual for a more detailed explanation on how to install your security cameras. You can install the cameras from your home down to the farther side of your property.

It can be your pavement, car park, or garden, and you can even install them from the inside to the outside—for example, the front porch. While installing these cameras is essential, hiding the cables is key. You do not want your cables hanging loosely over your walls and mounting positions.

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How to Prepare Your Home for Security System Installation

To prepare your home for security system installation, do the following;

i. Map out all the locations that need security the most

ii. Buy security systems that meet your peculiar needs

iii. Buy security cameras Separately

iv. Install a recording device

v. Test-run the devices before installation

Map Out All the Locations that Need Security the Most

It is quite impossible to monitor all the nooks and crannies of your home without the aid of surveillance cameras or a security system. It is safe to say that monitoring all the corners and potential hideouts for burglars is not only expensive but inefficient.

Since you may not have the satisfaction of keeping all corners under surveillance, you will need to draw out a scale of preference.

Map out all the areas in your home and pick out the most important. Prioritizing these areas will help you to draw out a budget and draw out a very good surveillance plan.

So, check out all your mapped locations, ensure nothing serves as a hindrance to the finest view possible. Since you will be installing security cameras around those areas, you want to have the most comprehensive coverage possible.

Areas to consider putting your surveillance cameras are: the front and rear porches, stairways, walkways, driveways, living area, and off-road windows.

Buy Security Systems that Meet Your Peculiar Needs

Only buy what you need. You may want to set out to buy tons of cameras for the areas you have marked out; however, asides security cameras, there are a bunch of other things you need to purchase.

Since you are working with a budget, you will want to keep your spending at a level you can operate on. So, instead of buying each camera individually, buy them as a bundle.

Invariably, there are bundled security systems that are much cheaper and easy to install. You can buy about three cameras for strategic positions in your home.

Because a surveillance camera is not all there is to a security system, you would have to get a host of other accessories. You will need a digital video recorder (DVR), power cords with BNC, and Siamese cables. Unless you want to survey a pretty enormous area, wireless wall-mount cameras should do the job.

Try getting a bundled security system with two to three surveillance cameras, accompanied by a DVR that has above three days of taping time.

If you have a storeroom for valuables, you can just install about three wireless cameras in different corners, depending on your budget and how large the room is. Wireless surveillance cameras usually have the option of a smart device connection.

It helps you to navigate and control the security cameras without much hassle. So, you can just connect these cameras to a computer and then watch the recordings any time you please.

Buy Security Cameras Separately

Fortunately, there is always an alternative to any product in the market. If you are not keen on purchasing a bundled security system, then buy them individually. 

However, before you buy those cameras, decide on the camera that meets your needs. What kind of camera do you want? What are the specs? Can it deliver? You may have to answer these questions very honestly if you do not want to settle for a substandard.

Considerably, you can decide to buy all parts of the surveillance set separately. But then, buying the complete kit will be a lot cheaper. Among the different variants available, here’s how to know which to go for:

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Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras

Wireless security cameras have easy installation processes. They require no wiring and do not need to require you to drill holes into your walls. However, their performance can be compromised the farther away they are placed from the router.

Perhaps, you are looking at covering a large area, and the wired option would be your best option. Most individuals prefer the wired option as they find it easier to install.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Just like any other product, cameras are designed for specific purposes. Never place an indoor camera outside your home. Since it does not have a weatherproof or waterproof design, the wireless cameras are more susceptible to cracks and breaks when they are exposed to harsh weather conditions.

Motion Detection

Some surveillance cameras are designed to act as motion sensors. In other words, they only take footage recordings when they sense motion within their coverage area.

This way, they only get to take recordings when somebody is actually in the coverage area or room. This will save you a lot of space and energy while still giving you quality.

Remote Viewing

Recently, new advanced systems have made it possible to remote-watch your home from any part of the world. It is designed such that you can monitor your house while still being away.

Many people have described this system as “security at its best.” However, this service can only be used when the surveillance cameras are connected to an app or program.

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Install a Recording Device

As we mentioned earlier, a DVR is an essential part of your home security. It is quite understandable that the cameras do the recordings, but does it have a safe place to send all the recorded files to?

The DVR acts as a receiver, and it receives all the recorded footages, feeds, and then transmit them to a monitor. You can use a small TV or computer screen as a monitor.

All DVRs differ in memory capacities, which allows them to save as much footage as possible. However, this space is limited, while some can accommodate footage of over a hundred hours, others can only accommodate a day’s footage. So, make your choice wisely.

A complete security set usually has a DVR attached to the camera. Other alternatives to the DVR are the NVRs and the VCRs (Network video recorders and analog recorders). Their working principle is nearly the same as that of the DVR.

However, the NVR and VCR record footage with the help of an internet connection. You could apply this simple installation tip before you start your installation.

Test-run the Devices Before Installation

It is very important to check how well your equipment is working before connecting and installing. So, perform continuity tests on each cable, connect your cameras, monitor, and DVR to ascertain their functionality before you carry out any installation.

Video: Setting up a DVR System

If you want to have all the intricate details on how to install DVR system, check out this video…

How to Consolidate Your Security System

To consolidate your security system, do the following:

i. Create a surveillance hub

ii. Use Siamese cables

iii. Power several cameras via a power outlet

iv. All video cables should have individual DVR Port

v. Hide the cables

Create a Surveillance Hub

Basically, when you need to connect many devices concurrently, you will need a server. The server acts as the central feed system, where you have easy access to make additional connections from almost anyplace in the home.

Also, your entire system will be connected to your DVR, so that it can record and store footage recordings. Convenient areas to place your DVR will be the garret and your office.

Use Siamese Cables

What are Siamese Cables?

Siamese cables are built to serve both power and footage recording purposes. They are the most popular surveillance cables in home security. Unlike the PoE (Power over Ethernet) cables, the Siamese cables comprise of two separate insulated power and coaxial cables.

These allow sufficient power to be supplied without disrupting the flow of video transmission. Because of its flexibility, the Siamese cables are most preferred for home security wiring.

With regard to the Siamese cables, you only need to use one wire to connect all the security cameras in your home. The Siamese cables are normally sold as RG6 or RG59.

So, just in case you will be carrying out the security wiring, bear in mind that the entwined black and red cable is meant for power -the red wire being positive and the black wire being negative.

While a separate cylindrical wire is for footage recording, each end of the wires is accompanied by either a coaxial cable or a BNC attachment.

Power Several Cameras via a Power Outlet

Like in the case of a central surveillance hub, the power supply box is designed to supply power to all your cameras with the aid of just one outlet. The electric outlet is usually installed on a wall for easy access.

The supply box usually comes with numerous ports, which are very useful in powering cameras mounted far away from a power source. Because virtually all your cameras will be connected to this box, you would need to get as many wires as possible.

The whole system requires you to run a large number of cables to connect each wire to a supply box. For convenience, endeavor to purchase a power supply unit powerful enough to sustain and power all your cameras.

Also, always remember to connect all your cameras before connecting the supply box to the power supply. You can get the power supply unit online or in any hardware store across the country. Their prices usually range from $30-$50, depending on the size you want to get.

All Video Cables Should Have Individual DVR Port

The DVR is more than able to accommodate all your cameras. However, you cannot plug each cable to the same port. Plug all your camera cables to different ports on the DVR.

This way, all your video recordings are transmitted and stored in one device. The DVR partitions the screen of the monitor to display every room being recorded. So, you can view every camera’s footage.

Hide the Cables

Hanging installation cables make installation jobs appear untidy and unprofessional. It is neater, safer, and more professional to keep wires buried in the wall.

So, no matter the distance you would need to run those wires through, endeavor to keep them hidden. However, if you are unable to do the wiring job, it is best to call an artisan or handyman to do the job for you.

Additionally, you can hide your surveillance cables under your rug or carpet, provided they are taped and well hidden so that no one experiences an accident. Likewise, you can fasten wires to your baseboards or walls with the help of a staple gun.

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How to Convert Wireless Security Cameras to Wired

To convert a wireless security camera to wired, insert a gem clip directly into the reset opening. Most cameras have their reset holes located at the back or bottom of the security camera.

Since you will be using some cables to connect your devices to the router, measure the distance from the wireless bus to the desired installation point. Ensure that all installation points have a power outlet within a 3-foot radius. If there are no power outlets within that radius, use an extension cable to supply power to your camera.

Attach one part of the PoE cable into the router’s LAN port. The LAN port is usually located behind the wireless bus (router). Insert the other part of the PoE cable into an Ethernet port located behind the surveillance camera. Now, connect your device to the electric outlet and switch it on.

Keep all cables out of foot traffic to avoid anyone tripping on them. Regarding the kind of cable to use, a PoE cable will do the trick.

Some of the materials you would need for this process are a gem clip, a tape measure, PoE cables, and an extension cable.

The major difference between a wired and wireless security camera is the cabled connection. However, the wireless security camera is not entirely wireless as it uses a cable to connect to a power outlet. Considering the wireless connection between the DVR and the surveillance cameras, all wireless systems must be placed within a 30-foot radius from the wireless router.

This will enable the cameras to transmit all video recordings with the aid of the internet connection. Understandably, most people install wireless cameras to reduce the stress of mounting and rewiring by the time they have to move the cameras.

However, if you would not be carrying your cameras very often, then you should settle for a wired network. This will save you from the stress associated with wireless systems. Moreover, you can convert your wireless system into a wired system in no time.

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How Stable is a Wired Security Camera?

If the wired network is configured correctly, with all cables and switches appropriately installed, there would be no cause for alarm. Even though wired systems are continually improving, they are typically more stable than wireless systems.

Since the wired network does not require an internet connection, its network is not disrupted by other networks or connections close by. The wireless network, on the other hand, continually experiences network interference and disruption.

On the other hand, considering how easily accessible the wireless network is, the stability of the system is compromised. Objects and structures like walls can interfere with the network’s connection.

If you are planning on moving the cameras, always keep in mind the 30-foot rule. If your device is too far from the central hub, its efficiency and productivity are compromised.

Are Wired Security Cameras Networks Visible to Near-by Devices?

A wired security camera’s network is not visible to other wired networks. The main purpose of interconnecting all the nodes is to facilitate data transfer between the nodes.

The no-interruption rule of the wired network extends beyond nearby connections. This implies that although the entire wired network is interconnected, there is no disruption.

Unlike the wired network, each camera can be seen on the other with the wireless system. Since each network can see the other networks, there is every possibility that other wireless networks nearby will cause interference. As a result, network traffic is increased, and the entire network is disrupted.

Do Wired Security Cameras Transmit Data Fast?

Wired systems are very fast compared to wireless systems. Since the introduction of the dual-band gigabit router, data speed and transfer have continuously improved.

Also, since the wired network requires separate cables to attach each device, the wired network is free from dead spots usually found in the wireless network.

The wired network is never burdened with issues associated with network traffic. It never allows an unapproved user to join the system unless the camera is connected with a PoE cable.

Comparatively, wireless networks are much slower than wired networks. Since the wireless network depends on the signal of your present layout, data transmission will move at a much slower pace when signal strength is weak.

That being said, wired security systems have some downsides. For one, many installation companies recommend the hybrid network as it ultimately improves the general performance of your network.

As long as a wired network is installed with the appropriate security applications and firewalls, it is very well shielded from unapproved access. So, ensure that all the necessary ports are active while you monitor the network closely for any suspicious activity.

The wired security system is relatively cheap. All the materials ranging from router, switches, extension cables to PoE cables are typically cost-effective. Since hardware components usually do not need an upgrade very frequently, the wired system is known to last long.

However, many people have bitter complaints about the inflexibility of the wired network. Because the network requires wires to be run through all the routes to the installation points, it is very difficult to move your device to another location entirely.

So, if you want to move your device to a different position, you must run extra switches and wires to attach the camera to the entire network.

It is quite understandable for the wired network to take a longer time for installation. Owing to the fact you would have to run wires virtually throughout your house, the whole process is more tedious.

However, lengthy work time is relative depending on the number of devices you want to install and the kind of installation your property will need.

Ordinarily, a small frame of the network requires little or no maintenance at all, because you may not need a server. Moreover, if your framework is relatively large, you would need a server to help you control and manage the entire system.

Since your network would be needing a server, you cannot rule out the importance of hiring an IT staff that will help you oversee the system. And of course, maintaining a server can be quite expensive.

We would not be wrong to say that all wired networks require large amounts of wiring. You cannot afford to manage wires in a bid to cut costs and expenses, and it is much safer to have wires in excess.

Plus, the cables can be disconnected by cleaning and office staff, or even pose a threat to your safety. Moreover, long lines of wiring remind you of the stability and reliability of your wired system.

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Installing a security camera is quite difficult, especially if you aren’t technically inclined. But with the step-by-step guide, we have highlighted in this article, just about anyone can install and hide an outdoor security camera.

How to Install Security Camera Wiring – Related FAQs

How Do I Install PoE Security Cameras?

To install a PoE security camera, connect a router and an Ethernet cable together from a LAN port. After that, the PoE switch should be connected to the power cable of the security camera and then the surge protector. Next, place the security camera on port 1~8 with the Ethernet extension cable.

This set up is to allow the PoE switch power the NVR and transmit video signal. To view the security camera, it must be added to the NVR channels.

How Many Cameras Do You Need for Home Security?

For adequate home security, at least 3 security cameras are needed. One camera should be installed at the entry door of the building. Another should be positioned at the back of the building. Also, another 1-2 cameras should be installed anywhere the homeowner deems fit. Most burglars get into a building through the front door, so wisdom demands that there is at least one security camera guarding that area.

For large houses, three security cameras are not enough, except their field-of-view is far enough to cover every nook and cranny.

How Do Wireless Cameras Get Power?

Wireless security cameras get powered in two ways: batteries and wireless transmitters. The wireless transmitter should be placed within the coverage range of the security camera, whether in a home, office, or public space. This way, the wireless transmitter can power the security camera seamlessly.

Batteries can also be used in powering wireless security cameras. For this to be possible, the battery must be connected via an adapter. But then, the latest wireless security cameras come with built-in adapters and Lithium-Ion batteries. Both methods of powering wireless security cameras are reliable, so go for any.

How Much Should I Charge for Installing Security Cameras?

The installation cost of security cameras is about $150 to $200, depending on the type of building, the type of security camera and the complexities involved. Security camera manufacturers always recommend that cameras are installed by professionals, even though some may be very easy to set up. Wireless security cameras are cheaper to install than their wired counterparts.

Just about anyone can install a wireless security cameras, but wired ones are quite complex, and so more expensive. Wireless security cameras are more sophisticated, so they tend to be more expensive to purchase, but less expensive in terms of installation.

How Do I Watch My Security Camera on My Smart TV?

To view a security camera on a smart TV, get an IP camera to HDMI converter like the Netcam Viewer Monitor Decoder. It transmits the live signal of any security camera to a smart television. This decoder has to be connected to a security camera, and to the smart TV with an HDMI cable.

After that, simply switch to channel to HDMI mode and viewing the security camera on the smart TV will be possible. Another reliable method is to use Google Chromecast or stream the security camera with any smart TV app.

Can I Use Cat6 Cable for CCTV Camera Installation?

A Cat6 cable can be used for installing CCTV cameras. The Cat6 is gradually phasing out the standard Cat5e cable in the security camera industry. With the Cat6 cable, users get ten times more bandwidth than the Cat5e cable. It transmits signals at a rate of 10,000 Mbps for a cable measuring more than 165 feet.

All CCTV cameras available today use 100/mbps of bandwidth, so Cat5e or Cat6 cables can be used for installation. In the future, when CCTV cameras will have like 1,000 bandwidth, Cat6 will completely replace the Cat5e cable.