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Troubleshooting: How to Protect Security Cameras from Water Damage

Security cameras have become a crucial part of today’s society for both indoor and outdoor video surveillance. But when the cameras are installed outdoors, they should be able to withstand harsh conditions in outdoor deployments, such as dirt, wind, rain, lightning strikes and extreme temperatures, to continue working properly. But the problem is many security cameras are not designed to survive such inclement weather, so additional protection is highly required for outdoor deployment. An improperly installed security camera will lead to unexpected problems and transmission failures, which is extremely devastating for mission-critical applications.

One of the common reasons for camera failures is water ingress. Rain can be extremely harmful to your surveillance system when moisture gets into the connection between the camera and Ethernet cable. But don’t worry. In this blog, we’ll introduce several methods to help you protect these valuable devices from water damage. Protecting your delicate surveillance equipment isn’t that complicated and doesn’t cost that much. Knowing how to weatherproof your IP cameras is crucial for outdoor deployments, especially when you live in an area prone to sudden weather changes and occasional heavy downpours. But before we dive right in, let’s take a look at the waterproof standard deployed in outdoor applications.

Waterproof Standard (Ingress Protection)

The waterproof standard is often governed by Ingress protection (IP) ratings. IP ratings are used to define how capable a network device or equipment can withstand the intrusion and ingress of dust, moisture, chemicals and other foreign particulates. The IP denotation is usually composed of two numerals: the first number indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of solid objects (ranging from 1 to 6), while the second number specifies the degree of protection against various forms of moisture (ranging from 1 to 8). The higher the number, the more protection you’ll get. For example, IP65 stands for complete protection against dust and low-pressure water jest, while IP54 stands for protection against limited dust ingress and water splashes. And for outdoor deployments, the cameras should be rated as IP66~IP68 to survive the inclement weather in harsh environments.

How to Install IP Cameras for Qualified Waterproof?

Cameras installed in harsh environments often face numerous environmental hazards, like water submersion, UV radiation and corrosion, ingress from dust, debris and other airborne particles, etc. Therefore, prompt actions should be taken to protect your cameras from water damage and other hazards. Now, follow the instructions below to set up a waterproof security camera system to keep you and your property safe, giving you added peace of mind.

Step 1: Camera Care Matters A Lot

1) Use Cameras Designed for Outdoor Use

The simplest and most effective way is to use a waterproof security camera. Undoubtedly, outdoor cameras are more robust and sustainable. Indoor cameras offer no protection against wind, rain, heat, etc., because they are often installed in climate-controlled locations where the temperature is kept within a tolerable range with a comprehensive thermal control system to automatically store and dissipate heat. Many plausible ways have been tried to implement indoor cameras in harsh environments but none of them show substantial progress. Therefore, upgrading to a camera that is specifically designed for outdoor use will offer better protection and is more likely to withstand the severe weather conditions outdoors.

Recommended Model: 5MP IR PoE+ Speed Dome IP Camera

Protected in an IP66-rated vandal-proof enclosure, this IR PTZ camera features 5MP UHD at 25fps and 20x optical zooming. It can operate safely in any imaginable environment under a wider temperature range of -35°C to 55°C. This security camera can move between pre-set positions and zoom in and out automatically in response to detected events. This PTZ camera also supports a time-based auto-span to monitor pre-defined areas. The 5MP IR PoE+ speed dome IP camera is equipped with two sets of adaptive illuminators as well as a removable IR cut filter to adjust the lighting between day and night. When the night falls, the infrared illuminators will automatically switch on, light up the monitored site to 300 meters away, and generate B&W images at 2592*1944 pixels.

2) Protect Your Cameras with Proper Installations

Even though you’re using an outdoor camera, moisture can still find its way into the small crevices of the camera body. So you’re supposed to make sure the camera is properly installed in every single step. If your security camera is located in an uncovered place, you’d better move it to a more protected location, like under the roof overhangs, eaves, etc. And try to keep the camera away from water runoff from the gutters or roof leaks. If you have to install the camera in an uncovered place, use a camera with a protective cover instead since the moisture and droplets of water accumulated on the camera lens will cause your video feeds to be foggy. Many cameras designed for outdoor use will come with specialized heavy-duty security mounts where the cables run through to connect to the data and power lines hidden in the wall. Though a solid security mount will not protect the camera body against rain, it will protect your camera from heavy winds and slow down the deterioration of camera pigtails.

Step 2: Choose the Right Cabling

1) Select the Correct Ethernet Cables

When choosing an appropriate network cable for your project, the outdoor Ethernet cable is always the best option. For safe operation, you should choose one that is waterproof, shielded with a UV-resistant jacket designed to withstand UV exposure, snow and ice. And it’s highly recommended to use direct-burial type cables that can be buried directly under the ground without conduits. But if you have to use the conduits, we do not recommend you to lay the cables in the PVC conduits since the water vapor could easily penetrate and linger in such materials, which will gradually damage the network cables in the long run.

So CMX cable is necessary for outdoor applications. It is a type of Ethernet cable that has an outdoor-rated Polyethylene jacket. The double layers of jackets help strengthen the tensile of the outdoor cable and give it the ability to be buried or trenched directly under the ground. The CMX cable shows great tolerance for extreme temperatures, water ingress, etc., and it can also prevent degradation due to UV light. Even though the double-layered CMX cable doesn’t have water blocking tape and gel filling, it can deliver optimal signal transmission performance in outdoor deployments.

2) Prevent Water Damage to Your Connections

As previously mentioned, one of the common reasons for camera failures is moisture ingress into the connection part between the camera and the cable. It’ll cause corrosion on the metal pins inside the connection which will jeopardize both power and data delivery and shut down the whole system. But this can be avoided with a little extra care and attention. Waterproofing outdoor cameras require the Ethernet cables to be tightly sealed. The simplest way is to use a waterproof connector shield: just feed the Ethernet cable through the hole and seal it with a rubber grommet and secure a bit of silicone. Or you can simply use a rubber sleeve to protect the connection from rain and water splash. What’s more, you can also use a junction box to provide a protective housing for the cable so as to ensure no moisture can get in.

Step 3: Provide a Reliable Power Supply

1) Use an Outdoor PoE Switch

A reliable power supply and network connection are crucial for outdoor camera installation. When deploying PoE switches in wash-down or high-humidity places, water protection is ultra important, but not all PoE switches are equally developed with water protection. If water infiltrates, irreversible accidents might happen. It’ll cause some problems like disconnection, short-circuit, etc. To ensure the continuous operations of your outdoor cameras, you’ll need to deploy an outdoor PoE switch.

What’s the Outdoor PoE Switch?

The outdoor PoE switch is a network switch that is specially designed for use in outdoor or harsh environments. It’s an all-in-one outdoor solution to transmit both power and data to the PDs installed outdoors to eliminate the need for installing new AC outlets in remote places. The outdoor PoE switch gives you a quick and easy way to deploy multiple IP devices over long distances while keeping your installation costs at an appropriate range. It’s manufactured and tested to meet the industrial standards for operation even in applications that require the highest level of reliability. With a rugged design, the outdoor PoE switch provides a safe and stable network connection and an uninterruptible power source to ensure the continuous operation of your security cameras.

Benefits of Using Outdoor PoE Switches

The outdoor PoE switch comes with a rugged, waterproof enclosure and is available in Din-Rail, wall and pole-mounting options to simplify the installation in nearly any environment. Like any other PoE solution, the outdoor PoE switch is hot-swappable and comes with a plug-and-play simple design, to allow you to connect and disconnect the device with ease. So you can easily take the device offline and relocate it wherever you want. The outdoor PoE switch guarantees a reliable network in harsh conditions. Most outdoor PoE switches are equipped with a hardened enclosure of IP65 or a higher level of protection rating to survive extreme weather conditions, shocks and vibration, corrosive elements, etc. Each PoE ported is armed with 6kV surge protection to protect the device from damages caused by lightning strikes, unstable power input and electrical surges, which makes it safer and more reliable in outdoor applications.

Recommended Model: Outdoor PoE Switch IP67 Waterproof

This outdoor PoE switch is built with an internal power bank and is able to work with various kinds of external power supplies like AC 100-240V (the voltage range at 802.3at mode is DC 53V), solar power, etc., to guarantee the continued operation of the outdoor PoE switch and connected devices at greater distances (extended to the distance to another 100 meters). Housed in an IP67-rated metal enclosure, this outdoor PoE switch has 7*10/100/1000 Mbps PoE ports and a 1Gbps RJ45 Ethernet uplink port to support a maximum power output of 32W on a per-port basis (120W in total) to allow you to install up to 7 IP cameras at a time. It features 6kv surge protection and a wide operating temperature of -25°C~60°C. And It’s ideal for installing more than one IP device in places where there are no existing network facilities.

2) Use a PoE Passthrough Switch

And in places where you cannot find any power source at all, you can also take advantage of a PoE passthrough switch to power multiple outdoor cameras at once.

What’s the PoE Passthrough Switch?

The outdoor PoE passthrough switch can operate as both a powered device (PD) and a power sourcing equipment (PSE), which means that the switch itself can be powered by a PSE while simultaneously providing power to other PDs such as wireless access points and VoIP phones. Since the PoE passthrough switch has the passthrough features built in it, it can be installed in any place with no additional power cabling. Moreover, by deploying the passthrough switch, you can use only ‘one cable’ to realize network expansion and make for a cleaner setup since the connection between the upstream PoE switch and the passthrough switch is completed by Ethernet cables only.

Recommended Model: Outdoor Waterproof PoE Pass Through Switch

This outdoor PoE passthrough switch is compliant with the IEEE802.3at standard, and backward compatible with legacy Type 1 and Type 2 devices. It has a Gigabit speed PoE-powered port and 7 PoE output ports, featuring a total power budget of 95W (30W max. at each PoE port). It’s well protected in a metal enclosure that is rated IP67 to withstand inclement weather. This PoE passthrough switch supports a wide operating temperature (-25°C~60 °C) and 6kV surge protection to perform safely and reliably outdoors. It’s built with a fanless cooling design for deployments in harsh environments.

How to Power the PoE Passthrough Switch

Here are basically two methods to power the PoE passthrough switch: using a PoE injector or a PoE switch. PoE switches don’t actually consume too much power, but typically they need around 15-30W to operate. So to power up the PoE passthrough switch, you’ll need to use a high-power PSE.

1) Use the 90/95W 802.3bt PoE Injector

As the demand for higher power increases, choosing a high-power PoE injector can be a much better option to supply enough power to the PoE passthrough switch because very few PoE switches can offer more than 60W per port. Fastcabling’s 90/95W 802.3bt PoE Injector is compatible with both PoH protocol and IEEE802.3bt standards to deliver 72W max. to the powered device and supports a transmission speed of 10/100/1000Mbps. It is highly reliable, featuring carrier-grade surge protection to protect the device against ESD events.

2) Use the 802.3bt PoE Switch

This 802.3bt PoE switch offers a maximum power of 90W to install power-hungry devices like LED lighting, information kiosks, etc. It has 6 PoE ports (total power budget: 180W) and two of these can support a maximum power output of up to 90W (30W max. for the 4 remaining PoE ports). This 802.3bt PoE switch is equipped with auto-sensing ports to automatically detects the power class of the PDs and deliver an appropriate amount of power to them accordingly. The PoE switch also features a simple plug-and-play installation with easy configuration.

Other Considerations

1) Use Outdoor PoE Extenders for Long-Distance Deployments

Normally, the outdoor PoE switch can only support a maximum distance of 100 meters, to overcome the standard PoE limit, you’ll need to install a waterproof PoE extender. The PoE extender can repeat the received PoE signals and send them to the next devices without severe attenuation. When in outdoor deployments, you should always use a 27mm wrench to fasten each gland of the extender tightly to prevent any possible water ingress into the main body. Fastcabling has launched a 95W 2 Port Waterproof PoE Extender to allow you to install two PoE devices at a time. But you’ll need to use a rubber plug to block another output port if you’re only using a single PoE port of the device.

2) Prevent Lightning with the Surge Protector

If you’re using network devices outdoors, you should always take some precautions to protect your devices and appliances from power surges. The surge protector makes sure the outdoor PoE switch functions more reliably and protects the connected devices (i.e. outdoor security cameras) from damage during sudden power surges. Installing surge protectors is an important preventive measure to protect your PoE devices from over-voltages. Physically, a surge protector mainly has two functions: one is to keep the surge voltage within a safe threshold so that the dielectric strength of the PoE device will not be exceeded; another is to discharge the excessive currents and surges to the ground. And they’re often installed in parallel to the equipment. For more information, please continue to read 4 Effective Ways to Protect Outdoor Security Cameras from Lightning to safeguard your security systems.

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