New System IR Outdoor Bullets, Several Not Working

I just walked into this so give me a lttle break. The box says Mega IR bullet camera. Big help right?

Eight cheap Korean? HD cameras, no internal menu to look at, 12 VDC with (Minimal) tolerance. Only two are showing video at the DVR. Altronix multicamera power supply two terminals not used. The installers tried inline CCTV boosters and found 60 foot of cable they could trim from the final distance. Still only two cameras up.

Starting the diagnosis, and not having a portable monitor on this trip, I wiggled the BNC's on the DVR, one camera flickerd to life but was black and white. I replaced the BNC and have an active camera. After about 15 minutes this camera started turning on and off. in a regular timed interval of about 3 seconds. I opened the Altronix and checked voltages to all cameras. 12.4 to 12.6. I found the pot on the power supply board and tweaked it up a bit which stopped the on/off. Tweaked a bit more and another camera came up but it too is black and white. ??? I tweak the voltage up to 13.4 and both cameras go pink. Ooops! Shut off power and wait 2 minutes. Turn down power to where the pot was and have four cameras, two in color and two B&W. My time was limited that day so I had to leave.

The next trip I'll have a portable monitor and a lab rated variable DC power supply so I can power each camera individually to see if it's an amperage issue.

Anyone think of anything else?


My first guess would be cheap junky cameras...

Okay, we'll call that a given. Second first guess would be voltage drop on longer runs, based both on simple "duh" factor (because that's almost always the case in situations like this), and by the fact that the cameras started to come online as you dialed up the voltage.

So how long are the power runs on the "down" cameras? What size wire are they? And have you tried measuring the voltage at the camera end? That's the first thing to check.

Wait... these claim to be "HD" and "Mega" cameras, but they're using BNC? Are these SDI/HDcctv??

Either way, power theory still applies...

These are mega IR bullet HD cameras? On coax? is this hdcctv system?

It most definitely could be voltage. Maybe along with the cheap cameras they also used cheap cable... Copper CLAD cable? Most cameras support +/- 10% or so but if these are cheapies or I even if not - if they have been getting low voltage then they may need to be replaced. As long as your work is not questioned when these cameras fail you could consider trying to fix...

This sounds like a sales opportunity.

Bring a proposal to do this correctly along with you in your service bag.

OK I just realized I stated about the same thing as Matt. Look at my last two sentences for best advice :-).

My first guess would be cheap junky cameras...

Okay, we'll call that a given. Second first guess would be voltage drop on longer runs, based both on simple "duh" factor (because that's almost always the case in situations like this), and by the fact that the cameras started to come online as you dialed up the voltage.

So how long are the power runs on the "down" cameras? What size wire are they? And have you tried measuring the voltage at the camera end? That's the first thing to check.

Wait... these claim to be "HD" and "Mega" cameras, but they're using BNC? Are these SDI/HDcctv??

Either way, power theory still applies...

RG59 copper siamese 18/2. longest run about 300 ft. I've installed megapixels on CAT6 but not HD. What is the max distance for HD? I know when they first started shipping them, they were touting replacing your existing cameras with HD! Sure, how much hard drive you got? If the voltage drop is part of the cause, I can't purchase a Pelco type variable voltage supply becasue the tolerances are too low. The lab power supply will conclusively tell me that.

I have not been at the camera end because of time issues and again, no portable monitor.

OK I just realized I stated about the same thing as Matt. Look at my last two sentences for best advice :-).

This sounds like a sales opportunity.

Bring a proposal to do this correctly along with you in your service bag.

Agreed.

Copper 18/2, voltage loss is probably not an issue then, unless your power supply's total current capacity is maxing out, or the cameras have several dozen IRs. Still, measuring voltage at the camera end, WITH THE CAMERA CONNECTED AND POWERED, would be my next troubleshooting step.

Okay, so these are HD-SDI or HDcctv? AFAIK, they (at least, the HDcctv Alliance) *claim* up to 100m over RG6, while RG59 is a bit less... reports I've seen "from the field" indicate these specs are somewhat generous in practice. And of course, that assumes high-grade, undamaged cable (a couple companies even market "HDcctv-ready BNC connectors").

The 300' run on #18 wire will be a problem. For 12V at 10W that would be 27% voltage drop. Use minimum #12 wire to get 6.8% voltage drop.

10W @ 12V is 1.2A, that's probably over-estimating the camera's power consumption a fair bit...

Update. The lab rated power supply had no effect. I added a powered "repeater to the two existing lines. A camera came up. the others didn't. We are adding more repeaters inline. I have one camera to go out of five.

Interesting thing, HD cameras will not produce a picture on a hand held test monitor unless you use the analog pigtail. To get to this output, I have to unscrew the outdoor lens housing and plug it in. There is also no way to drive both streams. These cameras are extremely junky and would never approach the 300 ft mark. I am getting about half of that. Not impressed.

The lab rated power supply had no effect.

I wouldn't expect so, if the problem is indeed voltage drop over a long power run, because in that case, you're running into simple power loss due to the resistance of the wire. The "quality" of the power supply or ability to fine-tune it wouldn't change that. Have you measured the voltage at the camera end yet, with the camera connected?

I added a powered "repeater to the two existing lines. A camera came up. the others didn't. We are adding more repeaters inline. I have one camera to go out of five.

Are these added to the signal line? Unless they're designed for SDI (ie. if they're analog video boosters), I wouldn't expect that to help either. And again, even if they are intended for SDI, boosting your signal won't help if there the camera isn't getting sufficient power, because the camera won't be powering up properly, if at all, and there will be no signal to boost.

Interesting thing, HD cameras will not produce a picture on a hand held test monitor unless you use the analog pigtail.

No, they wouldn't, because while SDI uses a BNC output, it DOES NOT produce analog video on that jack; it's sending uncompressed digital data at 1.5-3.0GBps.

To get to this output, I have to unscrew the outdoor lens housing and plug it in.

Yeah, that's a pretty lousy design, but I doubt it's a failing of the technology, just that particular camera's design decisions. I've seen plenty of analog cameras over the years that had equally "WTF-worthy" things going on.

The "repeaters" are HD specified. I think I have one more to add inline then I'll have this whipped. I cannot reach the cameras to get a voltage reading.

Wow... given that SDI is CLAIMED to work to 100m without issue, it's scary that you have to add all these repeaters...

I still think voltage loss is the core of the problem, based on your original statement about dialing up the voltage and cameras flickering on and off. That repeaters seem to help is probably little more than a band-aid, boosting a signal that's too weak because the camera isn't getting sufficient power.

I still think voltage loss is the core of the problem, based on your original statement about dialing up the voltage and cameras flickering on and off. That repeaters seem to help is probably little more than a band-aid, boosting a signal that's too weak because the camera isn't getting sufficient power.

That is precisely what I am afraid of. Years of trouble calls. I have another beefier power supply I am going to install. We will see.

A "beefier" power supply will not solve the problem. Assuming that voltage loss IS the problem (which you'll never know for sure without metering power at the cameras), that's being caused by resistance in the longer wires, dropping the voltage at the cameras below operating levels. As you've already found, you can counter it somewhat by increasing the supply voltage, but that risks over-powering the closer cameras whose runs aren't as long.

As long as the power supply is outputting 12V, though, you'll end up with the same voltage at each camera; it doesn't matter how "beefy" the thing is, it doesn't matter if it can produce 10A or 1000A.

I see this has been posted for a while, so hopefully you've already solved this one. If not, here's my 2 cents.

I think Matt hit this one spot on. The power supply should be rated to supply wattage equivalent to the sum total of wattage required of all your powered equipment (look at each piece of gear on that supply, determine it's wattage requirement, sum them all up, and that's the power your supply must provide).

Beyond that, more wattage is fallow and won't help. Further, some switching power supplies require a load which is some percentage of total power to function properly, so gross overcapacity has the potential to create new issues.

If they have a separate 12v connector and are not in POE mode, the simplest way to check this issue is, couple a 12v wall wart or battery supply with an RG59 12v power injector and go around powering each troubled camera locally, one at a time. You just disconnect the cable from the camera and reconnect it with the power injector inline. Does the camera begin showing video at the other end? If yes, you understand the problem -- as others have surmised, the cable resistance across long runs caused too much voltage drop.

One note: power injectors are usually uni-directional, with a DC block at one end, and a DC feed at the other. If you connect it backwards, you're feeding power back to the video monitoring station and not to the camera.

Hope this is helpful.

What brand is the recorder being used?

Have you tried taking the camera down and doing a short run at the DVR? Maybe that will make sure the camera and DVR is acting functional.