IP Camera PoE Power Consumption Measurements

By IPVM Team, Published Sep 03, 2013, 12:00am EDT

How much power an IP camera consumes is quite important, especially since most PoE switches do not support max power to each camera. Unfortunately, PoE Power Problems are commonplace. However, this can be overcome by measuring power usage.

In this post, we:

  • Measure power consumption from 20 different IP cameras including offerings from ACTi, Arecont, Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, Dahua, Hikvision, Panasonic, Pelco, Sony and Vivotek.
  • Compare power consumed to what the manufacturer specifies.
  • Contrast power consumption for integrated IR cameras with IR illuminators on vs off.
  • Examine issues in the boot up process for power consumption.
  • Offer alternative tools to measure power consumption.

Power Meter Demonstration

Using the Byte Brothers POE Power Panel (Online ~$130 USD), we measured power consumption from different IP cameras in a matter of 1-2 minutes for each. 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.

Power Consumption Findings

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 huge amounts of motion along with shaking the tripod the cameras were attached to did not increase power consumption.
  • Cameras (especially those with built in 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, though in some cases, such as the Hikvision example below, was as much as 4W.
  • Of the ~20 cameras we tested, the Sony SNC-CH120 had the lowest POE consumption, while the Hikvision DS-2CD864FWD-E had the highest.
  • Of cameras tested, only the Vivotek IP8151P were over spec, though by very little (~0.3W). 
  • Manufacturers that incorporate IR cameras listed their power consumption at the highest levels, and did not include a spec with IR Off vs IR On.
  • 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.

Boot vs. Final Wattage

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

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And again, after settling to its nominal wattage:

PoE Power Comparison

This chart compares our results to manufacturer specs. We outlined manufacturers specs that don't correlate with our findings. Cameras tested are arranged from lowest to highest measured power consumption:

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

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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