Camera: To Whip Or Not To Whip?

When looking at dome (or other) cameras, do you prefer to connect directly to an Ethernet port on the camera, e.g., most full size domes, like so?

Or do you prefer a cable whip, which doesn't require you to open the camera, as in the M3004-V, below?

Some camera manufacturers have pointed it out as a benefit and we want to see which side integrators and end users fall on. Comment and vote below!


Whips are generally a pain to deal with, you will have a RJ-45 connector for sure so why not just have ONE?

NO whip you could eliminate a back box in many situations as well!

There is no question, NO WHIP is the only way to go....

With Axis cameras at least you can cut the whip and keep the warranty. Not sure about other mfrs.

Note:Voting functionality may be whipped.

Yes, we're looking into it, thanks.

Poll has been fixed and is live above.

If you have outdoor camera with whip, then you need connection box :-(

So definitely, no whips.

+1 for no whip, for the reasons stated.

Although if you MUST have one, this style is preferable:

To this style:

Yeah, these are both on identical Dahua 3MP mini-domes... the second is an older model, the first is the current design shared by a few others (like HIKvision).

The latter requires a minimum 1" hole to squeeze through, and even then you might be shaving the corners down... where the former will slide through a 3/4" conduit fitting, PLUS includes a weather-sealed cover for the incoming wire that makes the connection fairly water-tight and much better for outdoor installations where, for example, the connection may be tucked up in a soffit.

The type with the male end, as in Ethan's picture, is okay in that it will slide through an even smaller space... but you still need to put either a coupler or a keystone to plug it into, which takes up even more space. Workable if you have a junction box, but...

Side note: I've installed a lot of the HIK domes in the first picture... that particular jack placement is a nightmare. Ditto for some other HIKs that have it deep inside the housing where you have to use a screwdriver to depress the tab to unplug it. I've long been a proponent of the idea that camera designers should first spend a year in the field actually installing before they're allowed to touch the CAD system...

So the whip is preferred when putting a camera in the server closet. What's another example?

The less connection points the better.

1 plug, 1 socket, no whip.

It's ok if it's a female whip.

LOL. The vote is fixed. Choice 1 and 2 is both "no whip" ;)

I'm still not understanding the argument for whips, ever.

Is it cheaper for the manufacturer?

Is it only that it could be easier to install sometimes because you dont have to open the case?

I imagine for some manufacturers there's comfort in not having the interior of the housing so exposed as it can be when running cables into it, though you still almost always have to access it anyway (bullets and turrets excepted).

Panasonic IP66 domes, for example, have a short whip, which is essentially just a 6" pigtail (at most, maybe closer to 4"). When you mount the camera, you run your cable into the backbox and then plug it into the pigtail. The camera then twists and locks onto the backbox and that's it. A "whip", I guess, but you don't have to find room for 3' of cable.

I think overall I don't have a problem with including a whip by default as long as there's a way to remove it and direct connect.

Not every installer also installs the network.

For example, it is common for the electrical contractor to install the cameras, but not the network.

With a pigtail/whip, the guy on the ladder just snaps his camera into the nearby network jack and hangs the camera. He doesn't need to bother with terminating network cables that are some other sub's project.

As an integrator, we'd turn our nose up at this segregation, but to an electrical contractor, the structured cable plant is another trade entirely.

With a pigtail/whip, the guy on the ladder just snaps his camera into the nearby network jack and hangs the camera. He doesn't need to bother with terminating network cables that are some other sub's project.

That works great until the supplied jack is three feet away from the desired location of a camera with a two foot whip.

Without the whip, the "guy on the ladder" doesn't NEED to make his own cables, he just needs to carry an assortment of pre-made patch cables.

I think overall I don't have a problem with including a whip by default as long as there's a way to remove it and direct connect.

Yes, I agree, though IMHO, if you can disconnect it without cutting it, then it's more just an extra cable that comes connected, than a whip.

But the Axis you show, and my M3006 both seem to be wired into the board directly, no? And with at least a three foot (shielded) cable to hide.

I have seen one or two models - Dahuas, I think - where the whip was essentially just a short patch cable paired with power and alarm I/O; inside the dome, the UTP plugged into a standard RJ45, while the rest plugged into its own header, so the entire thing was removable.

A fair compromise... best of both worlds, as it were.

The plugs on some of the Dahua cams won't stay in place if you take out the whip and thread your CAT cable through the included plug. We had this issue where the CAT cable would force the plug out of the base of the camera and water infiltrated the dome. The newer Dahua dome design has better plugs designs and no whip.

Whip make it easier to seal the camera for water proof.

Easier for the manufacturer or for the installer?

Depends on the installation. I personally like having a Keystone at the camera, rather then terminating the CAT cable directly.

A "removable WHIP" sounds like a good option since there are opportunities where the I/O functions would be needed. or but rare indeed 12 or 24v power.

So much for whips, what about chains?

Have you ever come upon a camera that would have otherwise plummeted to its death were it not for a safety chain?

I prefer no whip. We make our own if needed.

I always assumed the whip was to get IP66 ratings on lower cost cameras. Without a whip, you can remove the dome cover, and connect, via Pinpoint, to the camera without moving its position. With suspended ceilings, you have to remove adjacent panels (I always seem to break those things) to access the pigtail. When you wall/ceiling mount to a gang box/sheetrock, your only option is a network connection from another source.

We sold a bunch of cameras (hundreds) from one manufacturer who had a male RG-45 and included cheap F-F RG45 union connectors with the camera. Those failed in many cases after the install.

No whip, for sure.

We sold a bunch of cameras (hundreds) from one manufacturer who had a male RG-45 and included cheap F-F RG45 union connectors with the camera. Those failed in many cases after the install.

IQ Alliance domes?

From a manufacturer's point of view I think the most common reason for choosing the whip/pigtail design is to minimise size of the camera itself, by removing the large connectors, paths for cables inside the enclosure, and the space taken by the adaptable sealing features that allow external cables in without compromising the enclosure's ingress protection. The trade-off is that on the smaller cameras, the installer inherits the responsibility for protecting those now-external interconnects in some other enclosure (like a back box), when it would clearly be more convenient if they could all be terminated inside the camera. Unfortunately camera products are often compared on size (at least by end-users) without considering the implications of such design features, and so a good quality IP-rated design with well thought-out integrated connectivity can be compared unfavourably with a smaller equivalent that leaves those questions unanswered.

What I'm glad to read here is that, among this community at least, folks are generally not fooled by such tricks, and the value of well-designed connectivity solutions is largely recognised.

Justin, thanks and nice first comment!

I totally agree with you, and a lot of the issue with judging size is that it's often difficult to actually see the whip without buying a camera. It's very rarely included on spec sheets. A lot of times just simply not pictured in any of the product drawings.

Side note: I'm dealing with this issue personally right now, as I got a camera to stick on my garage last week, and just opened it up this weekend to realize the whip needs about a 1" hole to pass through. Do I really want to drill a hole that large just to put up a stupid camera?

Bet you end up cutting it off and reterminating it yourself on the inside of your freshly-drilled 1/4" hole! :oD

There are a few designs where the whip plugs into the camera via small pin connector, and you can just unplug that and feed it through a smaller hole from the other side of whatever you're mounting it to. Maybe not so useful where the connection is going inside a wall, but...

That sounds like a good compromise. It still means the camera has to have a removable-resealable cable entry point, but at least the large internal connector is removed.

That's a great point on the camera size, I don't think anyone mentioned that before.

Bet you end up cutting it off and reterminating it yourself on the inside of your freshly-drilled 1/4" hole! :oD

I consider it a design flaw if you have to bend the cable and/or faff around painfully to get the cable installed in the camera. Also it's a good source of network troubleshooting revenue because a hand-built-in-the-field connector crimp is more likely to fail, especially after you cope with the sadist in Sweden who designed all the bad spacing in their dome cameras.

Otoh cable whips (we called them pigtails back in the day, when dinosaurs used minicomputers to read their email) also suck because if you damage the end you get to field-install onto a weird cable a crimp-on connector.

I'd rather have a device design that did sane things with an external ethernet cable. I don't think weatherproofing and such are sufficient excuses for bad connector placement in the housing. I also don't think Axis is in the cable business. (p.s. can substitute for other vendors of lame pigtail solutions if you prefer...)

Rodney, so both ways 'suck'? Which way does not suck?