Low Voltage Codes and Video Surveillance

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on May 22, 2014

Even 'low voltage' electrical work can be dangerous. Because of that, there are specific rules that apply to those who handle low voltage systems, including video surveillance, to ensure the work is safe, reliable, and is not a risk to innocent bystanders.

In this note, we explain how the National Electric Code impacts video surveillance work.

**** '*** *******' ********** **** *** ** *********. ******* ** that, ***** *** ******** ***** **** ***** ** ***** *** handle *** ******* *******, ********* ***** ************, ** ****** *** work ** ****, ********, *** ** *** * **** ** innocent **********.

** **** ****, ** ******* *** *** ******** ******** **** impacts ***** ************ ****.

[***************]

Low ****age *******

*** ** ******* **** **** *** '*** *******' *********** ** used ********** *** *****, *** **** *** ****** ********* *******, some *** ********** ** ******* ******** ********* ** ***. *** example:

  • **: *** ***** ******* ******* ***** ****** ******* ******* ** - **** ***** ** ** *** - **** ***** **
  • ***: *** ******* ********* ******* ** ************ ******* ** ** more **** ** *****.

** ** *** '**' *** ******* *********** **** ***** ***** cover, ********** ** ** **** **** ~** ***** (**************** *** **** ******** ** ** ** ***) *** ************ **** ******** (*.*., **** ********). ** *** US, '*** *******' ** **** ** ******** **** ******** ******** systems, ** ******* ********** *** ********* ** **** **** ** volts **** ****** ********** *********.

NEC: ******** ******** *****

** *** **, *** ***** ** *** ******* **** ** defined ** ***'******** ********** ****', **** ***** ** **** **. *** **** ****** ******* ** **** **** *** ******** in ****, **** *** ******** ******** ***** ***** *****. 

************ ****** ******* ********* **** ************ * (******* ***) ** ******, ****** "************** ******** *** *********"*** *** ******* ** *** **** ** ***** ******* *** equipment ** ********* ****: ********, ****** ******, **** ****-******* ********, or ******* ***** ***** **** ********* ** *********-***** ************.

Specific ******* ** ***** ************

** **** *******, ** ********* *** **** ****** ********* ********* video ************ ******. *******, ******* ** *** ****** **** *** be ****** *** ******** *********. *** ***** **** ****** *** ***** as **********, *************** **** **** ************* ***********.

**** ** ********* ***** ************ ** ***** *****:

*********

** *******, *** ******* **** ** ******** ******** ** ** ***** ground ** ****, ********* ***** *** ****** ***** *******. (***.**) *** cable *** ******* ********* ******** **********, ********* ******* **** ** outside *****, *** ********** **** ** ******** ******** ***** ** reenters *** ********. ********* *** ****** ***** ** * ****** rod ** ***** ****** ** * ******** *** ********** ** many ********** *******, *** *** ****** ****** ** **** ****** allowed ****** ***** ** ******** *****, ****, *** ***** **** used.

********* ******

** *******, ******* **** ** *** ** ******* *******, ** hooks, ** ******** ** **** ** *** ********** ***********. "****** to ********** ********* ***** *** ** ****** ** ** ************ of ************* ****** **** ******* ****** ** ** ******* ** panels, ********* ********* ******* ******." (***.**) **** ********, *** *** corollary ******** ********** *** ***, *** ***** ***** ********** *** practice ** ****** **** **** ******* ***** ********** ** ****** rated ** ***.

****** *******

*** ****** *** ** **** ***** ***** *****, ********** ***** run **** ****** ******, *** ******* ********** ********** *** *******. (starting ** ***.***) ****** ******, ********* ** ********, *** **** of *** *********** ****** ** * ********. ******* ***** ***** are ****** **** *** **** **** **** *** **** ** the ****, **** *** ****** ***** * **** ** ****** quickly. ** ****, *** ********** ********* ** ***** **** ******** into **** ***** **** ** ***** ** ******* *** ****** of ***** ***/** *****. 

**** ******* **********

**** ****** **** ** *** ** ***** *" ***** **** high ******* ******* (***.**) *** *** ****** ********** ******** (***.**(*)). Variations ** **** ************* *** **** ********** *** ***, ***** affected ** ******** ****, ******* ****, *** ***** ****.

****** *****/*****

******* * **** ******* ******* ** ********, *****, *** *****. Not *** **** ******** ***** ************ ********** ** ***-***** ******* poles, ***** ****** ******** **** ********** ** ***** ** *** type, ********* ***** ********** ************ *******.  *** ****** **************. ** any **** ********** ** **** *********, **** ****** *** ** used *** ******* ***** ******* *** ************ ****** ********: "******** service masts *** **** ** **** *** *** ******* ** ***** service **** **********. ** ********, ****** *** *****, **, ****, ** CATV ****** ** ******** ** *** ******** ******* *****." (***.**, 820.10(c))

***** ******* * / ******* *** ("*************") ********* ******* ** video ************, **** *********** *** **** ** ***** ************ ** computer ********, ***** ****** **** *** '********* *** *** ******* of ********** ****' *** '**** ** ********* ** ********** **** Chapter * / ******* *** ("********* *** ***** ******* ********") ** the ****. (***-**(*)(*)).

Spotty ********

***** ******** ** *** ******** ** *** ** ****** *** expands ***************, ***** ******* ** ******** *** ****** ****. *** image ***** ******* *** ****** ** ******** ** *******, **** the **** **** ***** **** ******:

*** *** ******* ****, ******* ******* ******** *** ********* *****, with ******* ****** ******** ** *********** *** ********* ****** **** installation ***********. *** ***** ********** **** ** ***** ***** ** particulars ** * ******** **** **** *** ***** ** ***** versions.  *******, ** **** ********** *** *********** ******* ** ******** citations ** '******** ** *******' *** ********* **** ********* **** *** **** *******, ******** what ******* **** *** ********.

**** **** ** **** ******, "***** ********" ********, ******* **** no ********* ********** ** *** ******* ** ********** *** *** particular ********* **** *** ****** **** *** **** ** **** to *** ****.

*** **** ******, *** ******* '***** **** **** ***** *** *****' ********** **** ** ***** ** *****.

Following *** *****

**** *** ******* ** ******** ***** **** ********* ****** *******, the *** ****** ** **** ************ ******* (*** *** *** voltage ******** ******) **** *** *** *** *** *** ** or **** ** ******* **** **. *** ***** ** ******* are *** ****** ******** *********** ********* ***** **********, *** ** *** ******** ** ****** ****, ***** ********** or ********* ****** ****** *** **********.

Comments (9)

""Electric service masts can only be used for the support of power service drop conductors. In addition, cables for radio, TV, CCTV, or CATV cannot be attached to the electric service masts." (810.12, 820.10(c))"

Wow, I guess our local CATV and Telco companies are either non-compliant or have specific wavers...

The likely situation is the local AHJ says they can do this as a local exception, presumably because they are specially trained on working safely around high voltage.

Do they own the poles?

I'm pretty sure SDG&E (the utility) owns the poles and Cox, Time-Warner, AT&T and the rest lease access.

Roger that. Though not apparently the case here, the adage 'possession is 9/10s (of) the law' rings true with pole usage.

Also, the AHJ may not recognize Article 800 as applicable to surveillance, but instead uses Article 700 which does not include this same citation.

Are we talking masts or poles here? Poles are routinely leased out. The mast is where the electric for the facility makes its entrance, and they do indeed need to be separate from low voltage utilities.

In this building, for example, the electric comes in through a weatherhead on a short mast in the lower half of the building, but the fiber and coax for the internet, along with the Sirius/XM antenna enter through a sepearate location.

Carl is correct. You have to lease the space from the local utility company then seek permits. Nearly all poles are owned by a utility company though some are owned by the city or DOT in a given area.

Seeking permits from the utility companies, particularly to lease space on one or two poles takes MONTHS in some cases.

UK: The terms usually defines power supply systems between 50 - 1000 volts AC or 120 - 1500 volts DC USA: Low Voltage primarily focuses on distribution systems of no more than 49 volts.

Low Voltage U.S. < 50 V

Low Voltage U.K. > 50 V

There is not much hope for humanity if this can happen...So what do they call < 50 V in the U.K. ?

Isn't there a lot of equipment out there in home automation and worship houses for pa equip/music amplifiers that run 70 V pulsed DC? I always thought of that as LV...

Public service utilities are exempt from NEC. You will see very little in the NEC regarding the transmission and installation of such. I am not sure who governs them.

Low voltage can mean many different things to different trades. Low voltage to an electrician is below 480 volts. This is why the NEC uses the term Limited Energy.

Also, low voltage is not exempt from licensing or permitting! It does depend on the AHJ which is usually the state.

http://www.nationaltrainingcenter.net/upload/wysiwyg/Forms-PDFs/NSCA%20Licensing%20Guide.pdf

For example, no licensing or permitting is necessary in my state of Michigan for low voltage unless burglar alarm or fire alarm is involved.

Many other states do, in fact, have licensing and frequently licensing/permitting. Hawaii, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington,and Oregon are all states where licensing/permits are required.

If you are installing 10 cameras on a private business you are unlikely to draw any notice from inspectors. However, if it's a multi-million dollar project where other trades are performing work (particularly fire alarm) be prepared for fines.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Integrator Laptop Guide on Oct 16, 2018
This 18-page guide provides guidance and statistics about integrator laptop use. 150 integrators explained to IPVM in detail about their laptops,...
Higher Power PoE 802.3bt Ratified, Impact on Security Products Examined on Oct 12, 2018
Power over Ethernet has become one of the most popular features of many video, access, and other security products. See our PoE for IP Video...
Door Hinges Guide on Oct 10, 2018
Some of the trickiest access control problems are caused by bad door hinges. From doors not closing right, to locks not locking, worn or warped...
Security System Health Monitoring Usage Statistics 2018 on Oct 09, 2018
How well and quickly do integrators know if devices are offline or broken? New IPVM statistics show that typically no health monitoring is...
Network Cable Testing Guide on Oct 02, 2018
Proper cable installation is key to trouble-free surveillance systems. However, testing is often an afterthought, with problems only discovered...
Favorite Power Supply Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 28, 2018
While power supplies are becoming less important as PoE matures, they remain vital to access control systems, where increased power for locks,...
Access Control Lock Guide on Sep 26, 2018
In this guide, we examine locks; critical elements of any security system and fundamental parts of every access control system. Two fundamental...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
IP Camera Cable Labeling Guide on Sep 14, 2018
Labeling cables can save a lot of money and headaches. While it is easy to overlook, taking time to label runs during installation significantly...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Camera Height / Blind Spot Added to IPVM Camera Calculator on Oct 18, 2018
IPVM has added camera height and blind spot estimation to the Camera Calculator. This is especially helpful for those who need to mount cameras up...
Axis Strong US Growth, Flat EMEA - Q3 2018 Financials on Oct 18, 2018
This spring, Axis had its best financials in many years (see Axis Strong Q2 2018 Results). However, over the summer, Axis had many products sold...
Best Alternatives to Banned Dahua and Hikvision on Oct 17, 2018
With the US government ban and a growing number of users banning Dahua and Hikvision, one key question is what to use for low cost? While Dahua and...
Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Knightscope Winning Investors, Struggling With Growth on Oct 16, 2018
While Knightscope's new financials show the company only winning 11 new customers in the past 12 months, the company continues to win new...
Integrator Laptop Guide on Oct 16, 2018
This 18-page guide provides guidance and statistics about integrator laptop use. 150 integrators explained to IPVM in detail about their laptops,...
Huawei Admits AI "Bubble" on Oct 16, 2018
A fascinating article from the Chinese government's Global Times: Huawei’s AI ambition to reshape industries. While the Global Times talks about...
ADI's Financials Revealed + W-Box Growth Priority on Oct 15, 2018
  ADI is one of the most powerful distributors in the security industry but how big are they? How much profit do they make? How much do they sell...
Dahua Face Recognition Camera Tested on Oct 15, 2018
Dahua has been one of the industry's most vocal proponents of the value that AI creates: As part of this, Dahua has released a facial...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact