IP Camera Power Consumption Guide

By Derek Ward, Published Dec 24, 2014, 12:00am EST

How much power an IP camera consumes is important, especially since most PoE switches have limited power budget and do not support max 15W to all cameras, making PoE Power Problems commonplace.

However, these problems can be mitigated by measuring power usage.

In this guide, we:

  • Measure power consumption from 35+ different IP cameras from over 10 manufacturers.
  • Compare power consumed to what the manufacturer specifies.
  • Contrast power consumption for integrated IR cameras with IR illuminators on vs off.
  • View the impact multiple streams have on power consumption.
  • Examine issues in the boot up process for power consumption.
  • Offer alternative tools to measure power consumption.
  • Here are our key findings from this test.

    • Actual PoE power consumption was generally significantly lower than specified by the manufacturer.
    • High complexity scenes, such as using a stage laser in the dark to create large amounts of motion along with shaking the tripod the cameras were attached to did not increase power consumption.
    • Cameras (especially those with integrated IR or heaters) boot at a higher wattage, but after ~30 seconds, will settle at nominal levels. In most cases this difference is small, 1-2W.
    • Of the cameras we tested, the Vivotek CC8130 180° cube panoramic had the lowest POE consumption of ~1.2 watts on average, while the Arecont AV12176DN multi-imager had the highest, with ~8.5 watts.
    • The only camera to go over spec was the Vivotek IP8151P, though by very little (~0.3W).
    • Having multiple streams open for one camera increased wattage marginally, ranging from no increase to ~.4 watts. There was only one increase of ~.5 watts that occurred with the Vivotek FE8181, which increased from ~2.7 watts to ~3.2 watts.
    • Power draw of built in IR illuminators varied from camera to camera, as all used different quantities, sizes, and styles of LED. However, an average increase of ~2W was common, with a maximum of 5W seen in the Avigilon H3 bullet (with the longest range).

    PoE power consumption figures are not always readily available or straightforward. Some manufacturers specify consumption at 12VDC, for example. One camera, the Avigilon 2.0W-H3-B01, makes no mention consumption for a heater on their site [link no longer available], but specs found on a partner's site [link no longer available] shows a 10W increase for it. Finally, some manufacturers explicitly state consumption as max, while others do not.

    PoE Power Comparison

    This chart compares our non-integrated IR camera results to manufacturer specs. Cameras tested are arranged from lowest to highest measured power consumption:

    This chart compares our results of integrated IR cameras, displaying the wattage difference between IR on vs off, and are arranged by manufacturer spec'd power consumption:

    Multiple Streams

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    With four live streams running at once, power consumption was impacted differently between cameras with marginal increases. Roughly 25% of cameras tested did not increase in power consumption, such as the Samsung SNB-5004, Sony SNC-EM600, and the Hikvision DS-2CD4132FWD-IZ.

    The other 75% of cameras increased in wattage between .1 and .4, such as the Axis P1428-E going from 4.4 to 4.6 watts, the Vivotek IB8168-C going from 1.6 to 1.9 watts, and the ACTi E97 increasing from 3.6 to 3.7 watts.

    The Vivotek FE8181 had the highest increase in power consumption from 2.7 to 3.2 watts, a .5 increase. No other camera tested increased as much.

    Power Meter Demonstration

    Using the Byte Brothers POE Power Panel [link no longer available] (Online ~$130 USD), we measured power consumption from different IP cameras. As expressed in our key findings, it is important to wait ~30 seconds before recording a wattage. IR cameras boot with IR on, and will adjust to day mode/IR off if set to do so. In this video, we review the features and functions of the Byte Brothers Power Panel and demonstrate its use.

    Boot vs. Final Wattage

    This example shows consumption of the Hikvison DS-2CD864FWD-E at boot:

    And again, after settling to its nominal wattage:

    Byte Brothers Power Panel Comparison

    Aside from the Byte Brothers Power Panel, several options for PoE testing are available, such as:

    • Psiber Lanmaster 35 [link no longer available] (Online ~$350 USD).
    • Fluke NetTool [link no longer available] (Online ~$800 USD).
    • NaviTek II Frontline Technical Tool [link no longer available] (Online ~$700 [link no longer available]).

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