Over 140 integrators told us the top four camera installation mistakes that lead to unexpected problems and failures. Their comments often described the problem of 'poor install' quality, and their color comments describe what errors and missteps those are.
After deeper analysis, four key themes emerged:
Bad Lightning Protection
Lousy Caulking & Sealing
Untreated Humidity In Housings
Inside, we take a look at those answers and how installers can prevent them in the field.
Bad Gasketing Causes Failures
One of the leading installation issues leading to premature failures are camera housing gaskets that fail due to improper installation or neglect.
Over time, if gaskets are not inspected for cracking, seated properly, wiped clean of surface soil, and periodically conditioned with a light mineral oil or soap, the neglect can result in moisture leaking into cameras and damaging sensitive equipment.
Gasket damage occurs due to repeated exposure to the elements and are often located at vulnerable points in housings where water or dirt can easily enter. If not properly maintained, even the sun's UV can cause cracking or dry out gasket rubber or plastic, like this example:
The problems of gasket neglect are often exasperated by poor gasket design at the factory, a situation we discuss in Install Pet Peeve: Loose Dome Gaskets. As detail there, gaskets are often flimsy and prone to installation problems unless care is taken by the installer to fit them properly when the cameras are mounted:
Gaskets are often intricate profiles that require exact seating, and installer inattention can cause them to be pinched or crimped during install undetected by the installer. The example below shows how flimsy gaskets can be improperly seated and screwed into place if not carefully checked:
Color comments describing badly installed gaskets as a source of camera failures were common:
"I don't think enough is done by the mfg to protect the cameras. Seals and condensation are the biggest items."
"Outdoor cameras do not last as long mainly due to unavoidable environmental damage over time. ...every now and then insect ingress is an issue as they like the warmth of some cameras"
"Usually due to moisture or water getting inside camera due to failure of gaskets or camera design"
"Condensation leaks through manufactures cable entry grommets and box covers."
"Failures are usually due to water ingress due to poor install or perished seals."
"Gasket failure on outdoor vandal domes which is why I try to avoid using them unless have to"
"We come across installs that are not done correctly and this leads to premature degradation of the seals or cabling"
Related: Improper Camera Caulking
Some installers specifically mentioned a related install aspect to gasketing - camera and cable penetration caulking.
I have liked this about Avigilon. Captive screws...and gaskets that are held firmly in place. At least Dahua has improved on this from where they were at, but I don't worry about the Avigilon gasket falling out of place if my finger accidentally slides over it. You only need a dome filling up with water once to learn that lesson. The camera continued to work, however, but wasn't very usable.
The only main difference would be the failure of the plexi-dome. they tend to cloud and get foggy
I would say this is more common when so many mount a dome directly on the wall without an arm bracket. I have only mounted domes flat on a wall less than 5 times outdoors and I ended up replacing the bubble domes and adding arm brackets. This helped a lot. However, there are different levels of quality in the bubble dome.
The whole issue on water intrusion is a big issue. This is why I am such a fan on Panasonic cameras. With the built in dehumidifiers and the properly sealed domes makes for a dry enclosure and long camera life. I have four PTZ Panasonic Cameras model number WV-NW964, that have now been installed on the Pier at Pier Park here in Panama City Baech FL for 7 years now. No water intrusion and no corrosion on the connectors nor the housing of the camera. That's what proper sealing and installation will do.