Member Discussion

Best Way To Attach Cameras & Conduit To Structural Steel?

I've got a job that involves installing cameras inside and outside a typical steel hangar. As illustrated in the attached picture, there are no wood/metal studs or plywood to attach anything to. The walls are just metal siding lined with thick insulation which I rather not tamper with. So, I am left with attaching cameras and PVC conduit right to thick structural beams/columns.

Anybody have any suggestions on the most efficient & cost effective way to do this?

Steel Hangar Construction

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There are a few ways to do this. Electricians have the same problems hanging conduit, so in many cases, your local electrical distributor will have clips or brackets that will work great, like this conduit pipe clamp that costs a few bucks each:

Also, the Spinning Camera Mount is designed for this exact application.

'Truss/Joist Brackets' are sometimes available as options for standard camera mounts that are generally u-bolts or carriage bolts that mechanically fasten to steel without need to cut or thread through them. However, these are generally for webbed joists, not solid steel girders.

From experience: make sure any metal-to-metal mechanical fastener is tightly installed, and use a thread locker during install to keep nuts from vibrating loose over time.

Especially at an airport, where wind/engine vibration is pretty constant, any nuts can back off in mere weeks. Make it tight, keep it tight, and ensure your camera doesn't crash down into someone's multi-million dollar airplane.

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I take it these connectors have to be drilled into the steel members?

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No, not drilling is the key to their appeal. I marked up the clamp image so it may make more sense:

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Ah, I see. The connector clamps down on the flange of the steel member. Very nice.

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I always used Caddy beam clamps and conduit hangers. They've got a lot of varieties for various beam types. They're simply clamped to the steel and you hang conduit, J-hooks, cameras, etc. from there. You may need to adapt whatever it is you're mounting to whatever thread type the clamp has (usually 3/8 or 1/4-20), but that's just a matter of getting the right screws.

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I love the options on those clamps Ethan! Now I've got a good idea of what to look for.

Thanks so much Brian & Ethan, very helpful.

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Caddy is a manufacturer of fasteners designed for fastening conduit, boxes etc. to steel I-beams. There are others that do the same. Where you are running conduit at 90 degreres to the I-Beams, you may want to consider strut as the support mechanism.

There are other optiions based on your layout of the Hanger. Check the cost of each and always check with the AHJ - authority having jurisdiction for acceptable options

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 Great video and idea on using standard 2“ truss C-clamps + 1/4”–20 screws to securely mount PTZ cameras to truss es;

An additional good idea adding an extension truss bar/piece for horizontal mounts when needed -  ( you could also do this with a “cheese clamp”, which is essentially 2x C-clamps mated together allowing rotation between each half )

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And in the case you do need to directly attach to steel beams, for what ever reason, use Tek5 screws. 

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You also may want to look at these:

Novattach

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you can get beam clamps from your local adi now for a good price or online from garvin industries or a dozen others - you will probably have to drill thru the walls for outside cameras correct? -- the walls are just tin with insulation right? - metal self taps with a milwaukee nut driver and your'e golden ;)  good luck

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Paul, you need to be careful with this method as the steel siding is so thin that a camera with anything but a wide angle lens will move visibly due to the lack of support. We always tried to hit a structural member and attach to that. If that was not possible we at least use fender washers to spread the load. Of course this method requires a tech on both sides but the end result is better.

 

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I agree with David here. Hit something structural for stability and avoid having someone on both sides of the wall. We try our best to only service the inside of a camera location once, upon install. Once you have wire outside, you should try your best to do all remaining work from outside, including trying your best to think of future service needs as well. Make all terminations outside in a proper housing. Don’t simply push the camera whip thru the hole where you need to get to it from the inside. 

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Totally agree David, I didn't mention to hit the structure behind the tin especially with larger cameras.  We use the Avigilon jbox on the ir bullets for outside coverage so when we need to test or replace a camera we always have access to the connection on the outside.

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We did this in a warehouse and when the inside needed to be serviced there were rows and stacks of full pallets in front of where we had to go. The warehouse personnel had to move lots of stuff and it delayed the job. You can't always think far enough ahead or think of every future possibility but if you aren't learning from your mistakes, you're just making mistakes.

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