Published on September 11, 2019 by Matt Garnham in Installation Blog Posts
How to Install Security Cameras
While the convenience of a wireless security camera system may sound attractive at first, you will end up with a much better security camera solution if you opt for a wired system. I cover why wired is better than wireless in an earlier blog post – Are Wireless Security Cameras the Best Choice? We also have a page with further details on the main website too – why wired security cameras.
Why wired security cameras are better is beyond the scope of this blog post – I’m going to assume you’ve read the above articles or have seen the light!
All the products and security camera systems that we sell are designed for DIY self-installation. Anything you have purchased from Orange Security can be installed with some simple tools that most people either own or have access to.
What You’ll Need to Install Security Cameras
You’ll need to get together the following items:
- Security Camera System :: obviously this is a rather important part! If you need help selecting which camera system is best, feel free to reach out to our team and they will give you all the assistance you need
- Pencil :: almost always invaluable when doing DIY!
- Electric Drill :: cordless is easiest
- Drill bits :: exactly which type and sizes depend on what surface you’re installing on, but a good starting point is:
- 5/16″ for holes for the cables to run. In our local area here in SW Florida, a lot of homes are CBS built so you may require masonry drill bits
- 1″ for holes behind the cameras to hide the connectors
- 1/8″ for pilot holes for screws
- Fish tape or fish rod :: this tool allows you to fish the wires through a hole/conduit/small tight space – very helpful when running cables through the loft-space behind the fascia boards. I prefer rods personally, but tape works just as well
- Screwdrivers :: likely to need cross-head screwdrivers
- Cross-head screwdrivers
- If you have an attachment for your drill, this will be super useful
- Small flat blade screwdriver
- A helper :: while not 100% necessary, these things often take significantly less time when you have someone to help!
These are the basics you’ll need for a security camera installation. You may have a unique situation or use where you require a different tool, but these are a great starting point. Our team are always hear to help if you need specific assistance when planning an installation of your cameras – just ask!
How Wired Security Cameras are Connected
It’s important to take a few minutes to understand how wired security cameras are connected. In short, each camera has a cable that runs from each camera to the recorder. This cable serves 2 purposes. First, it takes the power to the camera. Second it returns the video signal to the recorder.
Exactly how the wiring is connected is detailed in our CAT5e Wiring Guide for Security Cameras.
As each camera has a cable connecting it to the recorder, it means that if you have a camera on the garage and the recorder in the guest bedroom closet you need a cable going from one location to the other. Obviously depending on the size and construction of your house it is possible that it gets a little complicated. With a little planning and some thought, most obstacles can be surpassed!
How to Install Security Cameras
Step 1 : Prepare the Camera Site
Start by standing back and confirming that where you are putting the camera is the best location. Consider both the view you will get from the camera as well as the ease of getting cables to that location. This is where the varifocal zoom lenses can really help you – you have flexibility of where to position the camera within the lens range.
Most of our cameras are supplied with adhesive templates to make installation simple. Clean the installation surface and stick the template to the surface. If the camera is being installed on a home, this is likely to be the soffit under the roof overhang. The surface is easy to fix to and usually makes running the cables super easy. If you don’t have/have lost/don’t want to use the template, you can do the same thing with the mounting plate – mark on the wall the screw locations to affix the camera.
I always like to “measure twice, cut once”. My suggestion is to hold up the mounting plate again to make sure everything lines up correctly.
First take the small drill bit and drill the pilot holes for the screws securing the camera. Most likely 3. Then take the larger 1″ drill bit and drill a bigger hole in the middle of the others to allow the connections to pass through.
I also prefer to complete an install with power turned off to the recorder and the cameras. I suggest you do the same.
Step 2 : Run the Cable
Next we need to get the CAT5e cable from the location of the recorder to that of the camera. Start by working out if you’re going to start at the recorder Normally I would suggest starting at the camera location and going back to the recorder. If you plan to have all the cables meeting in the attic space and then running together to the recorder location you could start in the attic…just make sure you leave enough cable length to get back to the recorder.
The CAT5e cable (which does not have connections fitted) should easily fit through a 5/16″ hole. Route the cable from the recorder to the camera (or camera to recorder!). It’s always a good idea to leave a couple of extra feet at each end in case of mistakes when fitting the connectors.
At this stage you should have a number of holes for the screws securing the cameras, a larger hole with the cable coming out and the other end of the cable alongside the recorder and power supply
Step 3 : Install the Mounting Plate
The most popular cameras we sell (Bullet Cameras and Open Dome Turret Cameras) have a mounting plate separate from the main body of the camera. This makes installation easier – you fit the mounting plate first and then the camera body fits easily to this with the supplied machine screws.
If you are installing a camera that doesn’t have a mounting plate, or you don’t wish to use it for some reason, skip this step!
Step 4 : Connect the Cable to the Camera
At both the camera and the recorder ends of the CAT5e cable, connect the video baluns and power connections as per our CAT5e Wiring Guide for Security Cameras. Then connect both the power and the video connections to the camera. We also have a connections guide to help with this if needed – Security Camera Connections.
Step 5 : Install the Camera
Sometimes it helps to have 3 hands for this step! You need to hold the camera body to the mounting plate and fix it with the machine screws. These often require hex-keys (provided with each camera). Don’t worry about getting it exactly right at this point. Just get the camera fitted to the installation surface so it doesn’t fall off!
Step 6 : Connect the Cable to the Recorder and Power On
If you live somewhere like us (where in the summer it’s approximately the same temperature as the sun’s surface), you’ll like this step! Head inside (hopefully into the a/c) to the location of the recorder. Make the connections to the cable for both the video and the power.
Connect the video balun to the recorder.
Connect the camera’s power supply.
Turn everything on.
If all is good, you will see the image of your newly installed camera on your monitor.
Step 7 : Set the Direction and Zoom/Focus Settings
I’m sorry, but you’re not done outside just yet. Now you need to head back to the camera and set up the direction that the camera is pointed as well as setting the zoom and focus settings. This is where our setup monitor can work really well. If you don’t have a setup monitor, you can also use a smart phone connected to the recorder over the network to help with this.
We have some great videos showing how to set the zoom and focus of each type of camera we stock. Check out our videos!
See – that wasn’t too scary! By now you should have at least one camera installed. We always say, the hardest part is getting the cables from the recorder to the camera. Once you have done this, there really isn’t anything scary at all!
If the idea of running cables around your property scares you, you can follow in the footsteps of some of our customers. They will employ a local electrical contractor to run the cables from each camera location back to where the recorder will be and then run through steps 3 through 7 themselves.
As always, if you have any problems trying to work out how to carry out an installation, or any troubleshooting issues when installing, feel free to get in touch and one of the team will help.
about the author: Matt Garnham
Security Camera expert for many years. He is the founder and owner of Orange Security. Started life in the security industry in the UK. Relocated to Southern Florida and Orange Security was formed.