DIY CCTV Tips on fitting CCTV to a house

The prospect of drilling holes through the external walls of your home to run the power and video cable for a camera may at first seems only feasible for the most accomplished DIYer.

With a little forethought it can be remarkably simple.

DIY CCTV Positioning of Cameras

Most people want to make the camera position as discreet as possible. The modern bullet-type camera is no bigger than your small finger in length and can easily be located under or on the fascia/soffit boards where the roof line meets the wall. This location also provides good shelter from wind and rain and can be shaded from excessive sunlight. The height of the camera position will give a good area of view and minimise the risk of vandalism. However, another advantage of this location is cabling. It is usually easy to run the cables into the loft from this position. Many houses have a small ventilation gap between the roof tiles and the external wall, or a small hole may be drilled in the fascia board to gain access to the loft.

DIY CCTV Cabling

It is usually easy to pick up mains power in the loft or at least if additional cabling is required it is now internal. Wireless transmission can be used for the video signal with the receiver being placed next to the monitor or recorder (TV, VCR, PC etc.). That’s it, installation complete.
A hard-wired system can almost be as easy to install. Locate the TV aerial down-lead that may be in the loft or run down the outside of the house. It is usually possible to run the CCTV camera video cable alongside the aerial cable, which will lead directly to the TV.

A neat method of connection is to use an RF modulator. This little box changes the camera’s video output to an RF output. This means you can pipe the CCTV images down the existing TV aerial down-lead and view on the TV/VCR as if it were another channel. If the house is fitted with a TV aerial distribution system, this method of connection allows the camera pictures to be viewed on all TV sets.

Addition of DVR, Multiplexer and Switchers.

Consider placing switchers, multiplexers or DVRs in the loft. This contains all the camera cabling in the loft with just one output cable to a monitor. It also hides away the recording device.

Other DIY CCTV ideas

Consider positioning the cameras indoors. Point each camera at the exterior doors. Use a motion detector or PC-based system to activate the camera when a door is opened. The advantage of this type of system is that you do not need a traditional burglar alarm and sensors. The output of the system can be connected to an alarm or, better still, the more sophisticated methods of dialing/SMS to your mobile phone. This method avoids activation of the motion detector by sudden changes in light levels. Set the activation area just above the level of the cat flap to allow freedom of passage for your pets.

A. Camera Power

1. Use only regulated power supplies, the tolerance should be within 5% of the required voltage.

2. Ensure at least 40% spare capacity per power supply to prevent overheating and voltage loss.

3. Use power cable of a suitable thickness

4. Beware of voltage drops over long distance runs

5. Beware of polarity when connecting the power supply to a camera

6. Ensure proper cooling or ventilation for power supplies

7. Avoid operation of CCTV equipment on the same power circuit as elevators, compressors, generators or any large motors.

B. Cabling

1. Avoid running video cable parallel to AC power cables, especially those carrying high current.

2. RG59U Co-Ax runs should not exceed 200m for colour and 300m for B/W

3. Avoid sharp bends when cabling

4. Avoid cable joins and using BNC barrels

5. Avoid over-tightening cable-ties

6. Ensure use of proper co-ax wire-stripping and crimping tools

7. Ensure BNC Connectors are properly crimped

8. Use Rubber BNC Boots after crimping to protect crimped area and bend radius

9. Mark or label camera and data signal cables

10. Outdoor cable runs should be housed in UV-proof conduit

11. In lightning prone areas, install surge protection devices

C. Camera Installation

1. Test all equipment before installation. Therefore equipment can be replaced before arrival on-site if needed.

2. Ensure the mounting brackets of outdoor speed domes are properly sealed to prevent condensation in the camera housing.

3. Use EIA rated RS232/422/485 or CAT-5 cabling for speed dome or PTZ communication.

4. Ensure sufficent space for camera, lens and connectors when choosing a camera housing.

5. Avoid direct sunlight on equipment as it raises the temperature of the equipment.

6. Position cameras out of reach of vandals or ‘curious’ people.

7. Mount good quality mounting brackets in a stable location to avoid unstable or vibrating images caused by vibration or wind.

8. CS Mount cameras placed inside, at industrial or dusty/damp installations should be placed into outdoor camera housings.

9. Avoid installing cameras too high above the subject thus preventing ‘top-of-head’ video images

10. Ensure camera mounting poles are mechanically secure to avoid vibration on camera images

11. Before connecting power, ensure the supply is 12VDC regulated.