Outdoor Camera Temperature Impact Examined

By Brian Rhodes, Published May 01, 2012, 12:00am EDT

How often do integrators fight temperature extremes to keep cameras operating? In our latest Integrator Insights Survey, we asked a group of integrators located in various climates around the world to describe how commonly they battle this problem. In this note, we examine these results and share their feedback.

Key Findings

Here are the most important take aways from the results:

  • Not a big issue: More than 75% of integrators 'rarely' or 'never' experience temperature problems.
  • Moisture is a bigger problem than temperature.
  • Power is critical in preventing temperature issues.
  • Integrators feel more comfortable in sticking with brand names.

Not Temperature but Moisture

Our survey responders noted that humidity, condensation, and moisture is more often a problem than extreme temperature. Condensation primarily causes problems with lens fogging, and unless humidity between the inside of a housing and the outside environment is normalized, it can occur even in temperate conditions. Contrary to common assumptions, the primary role of the 'blower' in a camera housing to manage condensation, not temperature.

  • "Usually it's humidity created by temperature differences inside vs. outside the housing that causes problems."
  • "Condensation buildup in areas of extreme humidity is the most common issue"
  • "Often, there are issues with condensation. Especially if the cameras are too well sealed."
  • "Often, there are issues with condensation."
  • "Humidity is more of an issue, causing condensation on domes, etc."
  • "Condensation in some dome cameras. usually caused by improper installation and/or failing to follow instructions. PUT THE DAMN SILICA GEL PACKET INSIDE THE DOME! IT'S NOT PACKING MATERIAL!"
  • "If we ever had problems with weather, it was usually because of rain."
  • "Usually in our case in Florida the temperature issue only concerns high heat and humidity"
  • "I have been in our sister company stationed in Russia, our installations are problematic if the manufacturers do not design the camera specifically for cold, humid weather. Our biggest problems is with outside cameras that develop problems related to humidity and cold"

Power Is Critical

Respondents made it clear that a stable, adequate supply of power is critical when installing cameras subject to extreme temperatures. Outdoor cameras do not often solely rely on PoE power. The units designed to be mounted outside often need additional power to activate housing features like heaters and blowers. Commonly, camera trouble with extreme temperatures was noted when camera/housing power failed first. We see this result as a strong indicator to not neglect proper power equipment design when specifying outdoor cameras.

  • "Power adaptors will get damaged first in extreme heat(no extreme cold in our location)."
  • "In the past we used to have more issues with box cameras in separate housings as these required a lot more power than integrated dome style cameras."
  • "So far the only heat related issue was a POE injector that went out"
  • "Every outdoor PTZ camera deployed (analog or IP) gets it's own outdoor rated power supply (Pelco WCS1-4)"
  • "We do not use the larger camera mounts, housings ( ie. bosch, pelco) traditional style, mainly because they require a 24 V for a analog powered camera and since we only do IP cameras we always opt for POE output to cameras for easier wiring and better looks."
  • "Every box camera gets an outdoor rated Enclosure (Samsung SHB-4200H) powered with a separate 24VAC power supply."

Brand Names Are Important

In dealing with temperature issues, integrators were comfortable in sticking with recognizable camera brands. We attribute this result to strong product design or procurement of outdoor housings. The case can be made that the most well marketed companies also sell more cameras than minor providers. However, because the strongest players also have the most diverse deployment experiences, they tend to understand, value, and produce products having good environmental design.

  • "I am a Mobotix only show and have never had any issues with extreme cold or hot. "
  • "Most of the outdoor cameras we use are Axis... they seem to handle desert climate"
  • "We use primarily Axis cameras. Since they started providing the -E versions (outdoor versions without 3rd party housings), we haven't had nearly as many issues as before."
  • "We sell only Sony cameras. With 5th generation I didn't have any problem with temperature."
  • "We do not have failures due to heat. The cameras we install outdoors are usually Axis, Panasonic, and SightLogix."
  • "We also install a lot of VideoIQ cameras in direct sun light. I expected to have a lot of hard drive issues but that hasn't been our experience."
  • "I use Axis and they perform well in extreme temperatures."
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