CCTV System Maintenance
5 Steps To Keep Your CCTV System In Good Working Order
- Maintenance of your CCTV system is vital to ensure the effectiveness of your security camera system.
- If it has been a while since the last time you looked at your system, chances are there is some dust and dirt that has built up causing cameras to not look their best or your video recorder to work harder than it should.
- In addition to general clean up, there are DVRs that sit quietly all year and do not get used until there is an incident.
- If the system is not checked from time to time there is a chance that it may not be recording or a camera has failed.
- The worst time to find out that your system is not functioning properly is when you need to pull video and it's not there.
Clean Your Camera Lenses
- You may not see how dirty the camera is from the image because its focal point is well beyond the lens.
- You might be surprised how much clearer your picture will be after a good cleaning.
Check Each Camera
- Make sure all cameras are functioning properly.
- Check both day and night. The camera may work but that does not mean the infrared lighting is.
- Hint: Use the video recorder's playback feature to check nighttime images without having to wait for nightfall.
Check the Playback on your DVR
- Make sure your DVR (or NVR) is recording on every channel.
- Don't be caught with a device that is not recording when you need it the most. Make sure the time and date are set up correctly.
- This will affect any scheduled recording and it's vitally important when using video in any legal matters.
Clean the Dusty DVR
- Once a year you should give your video recorder a good cleaning.
- That means top to bottom dusting: inside, out, and underneath. Blow out dust using "Air in a Can" or a similar product from your local office supply store.
- If your DVR has a removable air filter, take it out and beat the dust out of it. (If you decide to wash it, make sure that the filter is completely dry before you put it back in the DVR!) Chances are there have been some cameras added, moved, or changed. If so, the cable could probably use a little attention too. Straighten them, label them, and tie them up.
Design it Right the First Time
- Experts say that one the biggest problems with security camera systems is that they are not well enough designed to begin with.
- Many times a business owner is so concerned with cost that they cut corners on their camera installation.
- As a result there may not be enough cameras used or they might not be the right kind of cameras or lenses.
- Your camera system should cover all of the vulnerable or important areas of your site. Don't overextend the camera by using lenses with a field of view that is too wide.
- Test your system to ensure that it's effective for identification - not just verification that someone is there.
- If nighttime or low light is an issue, make sure your infrared cameras are up to the task.
Take few moments to ensure that your camera system is designed and working properly today - you'll be glad you did if you ever are in the situation to depend on it!
CCTV Video Resolutions
CIF, QCIF, 2CIF, 4CIF. Sounds like a bad nursery rhyme, right? If your eyes glaze over when you hear terms like these you are not alone. In this FAQ, we will attempt to demystify the terminology and put it into a framework that's easy to understand and use.
The table below lists some of the more commonly used resolution terms in CCTV applications. Any resolution over 1 million pixels is considered 'megapixel'. In the case of megapixel cameras, the labels are approximate. For example, a 2 megapixel camera actually captures 1,920,000 pixels per frame. A 3 megapixel camera captures 3,145,728 pixels per frame.
Table 1. CCTV Resolution Standards (from low to high resolution)
These terms may be used to describe the size of the image captured at the camera, transmitted over a wire, displayed on the screen, or recorded on the hard drive.
When comparing megapixel camera specifications you may notice pixel counts slightly different from the above. This is because some cameras will specify the total number of pixels captured by the sensor, and others will specify the 'effective' pixels. Some of the total pixels are used to contain technical housekeeping type of data, and are not contributing towards the 'effective' details of the image.