CCTV testing and tools
After installing a CCTV system at a local pub, we were happy and relaxed to receive full payment. Later we had a phone call from the customer complaining that the cameras are blurry and the monitor had some disturbing waves at night! This was very unusual. We did not have a clue about the possible cause.
This can happen to you too
In such unexpected and atypical situations you may get struck with the following questions, just as we did:
- What went wrong? Everything was working fine when we left the premises.
- How many labour hours will it require to find the faults and fix it?
- Is it going to ruin all my profit?
Testing, testing, testing
In CCTV installation, testing is very important to complete the project on agreed deadline and not to overspend or duplicate the work. Testing can be done in different phases of the project, we will discuss about that in forthcoming articles. This article solely discusses the available tools to test a CCTV system.
As CCTV is about video streaming, testing video signals in the both ends of the wire (cable) is vital. When RG59 or RG58 is used, a video screen such as a DVD player or monitor can be used to test video signals. However, as RJ45 is getting popular, a DVD player or monitor per se isn’t enough to do the job.
Cable length meter
Cable length meter allows accurate measurements of open/short-circuit CCTV coaxial cables. This can be used with RG59, RG58 or any equivalent cables. Signals can be detected from 2.5 to 400 metres with a 4-digit LCD display. These meter are normally sold at approx. £170.
Video sensing device
This small, pen-shaped device is used to test BNC cables by simply connecting it to them. It is very easy to use but doesn’t provide detailed information. This type of devices is sold at approx. £30.
CCTV Tester (all-in-one)
A CCTV tester is a device with a small screen (often 3 x 4 inches) and facilities to test coaxial cable, RJ45, cameras, PTZ, microphones and monitors. This is a handy tool in testing signal strengths and any signal short circuit. CCTV testers are sold at approx. £200.00.
CCTV tester with camera attached
The latest addition to CCTV testers is a CCTV tester with a micro camera which will enable to record video footage on an SD card. They also come with LED lights and a cable extension. This can be used to find cables in a fully shielded ceiling and difficult places you can’t reach easily.
Here is a good example:
There are lot of testing tools available in the market. Of course, you are not required to buy all of them: you need the ones that match your requirements.
And, how about the pub?
We found that the pub was using a large machine which was powered by a thick wire. This wire was running very close to our cables. We secured all our cables by installing trucking; however, this was a costly solution. Video sensing device was used in finding places where truckings were required.
This mistake could have been prevented if we have used the right testing techniques and tools the first time.
Now you can get deeper into CCTV Technology
You can learn too how to apply testing methods in CCTV installation. F R Joseph Anton regularly runs CCTV Installation Courses. With us, you can become a qualified CCTV installer in 2 days. Get on board with us. Learn about our CCTV Installation and Maintenance Courses here.