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When installing a security camera system, having a professional install it for you is highly recommended.

However, knowing the system’s components and purchasing the right equipment for your business is something you can do to make your security system more effective when you get it operational.

Camera

Your cameras are the eyes of your system (and its ears if they come equipped with a microphone.) Its purpose is to give a view of the site and send what it sees to the monitor.

The first criterion for choosing the best cameras is knowing the minimum light level the camera will operate in once you install it in that area.

There are three types of cameras, and the light requirements differ with each one:

1. General Purpose Cameras

Most general-purpose cameras work well indoors. The areas this camera covers must be brightly lit and evenly illuminated to provide the highest quality image.

2. Low Lux Cameras

A low-lux camera sees well in dark areas, where you can expect the same level of luminance as a lit match in a pitch-black room. These cameras always produce black and white images; color images are virtually impossible to produce in this circumstance reliably.

3. Color Cameras

Color cameras need incredibly bright light to work effectively. To work effectively at night, you would need to use high-wattage lights to brighten the observed area.

Monitor

Your monitor receives the signal your camera sends and converts it to an image you can see on the screen. You need at least one monitor at each viewing station to see the view the cameras provide.

The only consideration that you need to make in your monitor purchase is the monitor size. You can calculate the right size by figuring out the viewing distance. Use the handy table below, courtesy of Rayco Security, to figure out the appropriate monitor size for each viewing station:

Viewing DistanceRecommended Monitor Size
14’ – 36’9”
36’ – 50’12”
50’ – 76’15”

Cable and Switchers

You will need a 75 ohm RG59U coax cable to set up your monitoring system; it must have a copper center conductor and a 95% shield.

You will connect every camera on-site by a cable to a switcher. Only one cable runs from the switcher output into the monitor. You can only transmit one video signal to one monitor at any given time. The viewer uses the switcher to determine which signal will display on the monitor. The viewer can change the signal manually or use a sequential switcher to rotate through views automatically

If you plan on setting up your CCTV system with a lot of cameras, you will want to get multiple monitors and a switcher for each. Divide your system into groups so you can keep a better eye on your business location.

Switchers come in four categories:

1. Manual Passive Switchers

These switchers are the simplest way to connect two or more cameras to one monitor. The user manually switches from one camera to another by pressing a button on the front of the switcher.

2. Homing Sequential Switchers

You can set these switchers up to rotate from camera to camera automatically. You can determine how long each camera view stays on screen, between 3-45 seconds. Once you set the cycling time, you can customize each camera view to be eliminated or extended, all with the flip of a switch.

When you return the switch to its starting position, you will reinclude that camera in the program and restart the cycle.

3. Bridging Sequential Switchers

These switchers operate in the same way as the homing sequential switcher mentioned above. However, these switchers add an additional output to allow for an extra monitor. One monitor will look at the cycled camera sequence, while the viewer controls the other monitor manually.

4. Alarm Programmed Sequential Switchers

These switcher types perform like bridging switchers while including a set of terminals for each camera position. These switchers can automatically pull up the most pertinent view based on what the system picks up through magnetic contacts or motion detectors.

When shopping around for a CCTV system, refer back to this post. Double-check to make sure you’re getting the right tools for your CCTV system to protect your business.