If you’re a beginner when it comes to surveillance systems, it can be difficult to navigate your way through complicated jargon to figure out what you need. CCTV systems are an investment and anytime you’re making an investment, you want to be sure that you understand enough to purchase the right products for your purpose. To begin your introduction to CCTV concepts, we will be covering everything you need to know about the most basic CCTV system, the analog CCTV system.
Basic Analog CCTV System Setup
This diagram shows how a basic analog CCTV system works. The analog cameras have a lens and image sensor which captures what is happening. The images are in the form of video signals that are then transported through coaxial cables to an external video recorder (analog cameras use DVRs) that will convert these video signals to a digital format. In basic terms, analog cameras capture what is being seen and coaxial cables move this information to the DVR which turns this information into digital video footage which are displayed on a monitor.
An analog CCTV system is a type of surveillance system that utilizes analog cameras. In a basic analog CCTV system setup, each analog camera will be connected to a power supply and a DVR via coaxial cables. The DVR will then be connected to a monitor with an HDMI or VGA cable. There are some DVRs that can be connected to the monitor with a coaxial cable, but this is typically only seen in older systems.
Connecting Multiple Analog Cameras
If you want to have more than one analog camera in your system, then the process is very simple. All you need to do is connect every analog camera to the DVR with coaxial cables. So if you have 4 cameras, then you will need 4 coaxial cables to connect them to a single DVR, like in the earlier diagram. Just make sure that you are using a DVR that can handle the amount of cameras that you want to add. Different DVRs will have a certain amount of channels (cameras) that can be plugged in. The type of camera shouldn’t matter as long as they are analog cameras and compatible with the DVR. Just keep in mind that each camera you add on will have to be plugged into a power supply as well. The DVR will still be plugged into the monitor with one cable.
Setting Up Remote Access
The basic analog CCTV system setups are not capable of remote access. In order to set up remote access, you’d have to connect your system to a network. Doing this is very simple; on the back of every DVR is an Ethernet port and all you have to do is connect the DVR to your router/modem with an Ethernet cable. Now that your system is connected to the network, you’ll be able to view your cameras through the internet.
If you’re looking to DIY an analog CCTV system, then it’s important to make sure you’re using the correct cables for the best performance.
As mentioned earlier, analog cameras are connected to the DVR using coaxial cables. Coaxial cables are responsible for transmitting video signals. One common coaxial cable is the RG59 cable or a video only cable. This cable has a solid copper core that carries video signal from the camera to the DVR. However, many people choose to use siamese cables with analog CCTV systems. They’re called siamese cables because they are made of two conjoined sides. Although the two sides come attached to each other, you can easily split them apart during installation. One side is the coaxial cable to carry video signal from the camera to the DVR. The other side has two thin wires for power or electricity. This side of the cable is what connects the cameras to a power supply.
If you connect your cameras to the DVR using just the RG59 cable, then you will need to run a separate power cable to connect your cameras to a power supply. Siamese cables are more commonly used for analog CCTV system installations because the video cable and the power cable come attached to each other. All the user needs to do is separate the two sides on both ends to insert the cables into their corresponding ports while leaving the middle attached. This method is more convenient and looks tidier.
Although using siamese cables is easier, there are some instances where running separate cords will be better. For example, if you are installing cameras far from the power supply, then you would want to run separate cabling to a nearby DVR. The further the camera is from the DVR, the weaker the video transmission. Running separate cords allows you to install the cameras further from the power supply but closer to the DVR. With a siamese cable, the power supply and DVR would have to be roughly the same distance since the length of the cable will have to be the same.
Analog Cable Connectors
In order to connect the cables to the ports of the analog cameras and the DVR, you will need to use cable connectors. There are 3 types of connectors for analog CCTV systems: BNC, DIN, and RCA.
Out of the 3 types of connectors, the BNC connector is the most commonly used since it is the industry standard. They’re characterized by their unique locking system that keeps the coaxial cable securely inserted in the ports. BNC connectors are good for distances of up to 300 feet and the locking mechanism ensures that the cable doesn’t get disconnected to provide consistent video. However, these connectors can only be used with coaxial cables since they can only transmit video. This means that you will need to have a different connector on the power cable to connect the camera to the power supply. The most used connector for this is the 12V DC connector. Additionally, BNC connectors are not capable of transmitting audio so you will need to run another cable for this.
If you’ve ever set up a TV or a video game console, then you might already be familiar with RCA connectors. These connectors are used to transmit video and audio between devices. The yellow cable is for video while the black/white and red cables are for audio. Although they’re common in other electronics, they’re not as common as BNC connectors when it comes to CCTV systems. They’re also more limited since they’re only good for distances of up to 180 feet. Like BNC connectors, they will need a separate cord for power, but they have the advantage of supporting audio.
DIN connectors are characterized by the small internal pins that are arranged in a circular pattern. Depending on the model, DIN connectors can have 4 to 6 pins. Each pin has a specific purpose, like for transmitting video, transmitting audio, etc. Like BNC connectors, these are good for distances of up to 300 feet, but devices that use DIN connectors are unique. Cameras that use DIN connectors do not need to be connected to a separate power supply since they get their power from the attached DVR. This means that there will only be one cable connecting the camera to the DVR. However, DIN connectors are not as common as BNC connectors so you may have a difficult time finding systems that use this. Additionally, the internal pins vary between each manufacturer so you won’t be able to mix devices from different manufacturers.
There can be many variations of an analog CCTV system, but this is the most basic setup and components. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy and looking to install your first security system, analog systems would be a good place to start since they’re pretty simple and straightforward. We hope that this guide was able to provide you with the fundamentals and clear up any confusion. If you still require some assistance, feel free to contact one of our consultants.