Low Voltage Codes and Video Surveillance

By: 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.

**** '*** *******' ********** work *** ** *********. Because ** ****, ***** are ******** ***** **** apply ** ***** *** handle *** ******* *******, including ***** ************, ** ensure *** **** ** safe, ********, *** ** not * **** ** innocent **********.

** **** ****, ** explain *** *** ******** Electric **** ******* ***** surveillance ****.

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

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

*** ** ******* **** that *** '*** *******' designation ** **** ********** the *****, *** **** can ****** ********* *******, some *** ********** ** typical ******** ********* ** all. *** *******:

  • **: *** ***** ******* defines ***** ****** ******* between ** - **** volts ** ** *** - **** ***** **
  • ***: *** ******* ********* focuses ** ************ ******* of ** **** **** 49 *****.

** ** *** '**' low ******* *********** **** these ***** *****, ********** to ** **** **** ~49 ***** (**************** *** **** ******** up ** ** ***) *** ************ **** circuits (*.*., **** ********). In *** **, '*** voltage' ** **** ** describe **** ******** ******** systems, ** ******* ********** and ********* ** **** that ** ***** **** ****** ********** *********.

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

** *** **, *** scope ** *** ******* work ** ******* ** the'******** ********** ****', **** known ** **** **. *** **** ****** version ** **** **** was ******** ** ****, with *** ******** ******** every ***** *****. 

************ ****** ******* ********* fall ***** ******* * (******* 800) ** ******, ****** "Communications ******** *** *********" [link ** ****** *********] and *** ******* ** the **** ** ***** cabling *** ********* ** installed ****: ********, ****** spaces, **** ****-******* ********, or ******* ***** ***** like ********* ** *********-***** environments.

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

** **** *******, ** summarize *** **** ****** citations ********* ***** ************ design. *******, ******* ** the ****** **** *** be ****** *** ******** direction. *** ***** **** points are ***** ** **********, but************ **** **** ************* ***********.

**** ** ********* ***** surveillance ** ***** *****:

*********

** *******, *** ******* must ** ******** ******** ** an ***** ****** ** bond, including ***** *** ****** rigid *******. (***.**) *** cable *** ******* ********* building **********, ********* ******* hung ** ******* *****, the ********** **** ** properly ******** ***** ** reenters *** ********. ********* the ****** ***** ** a ****** *** ** cable ****** ** * building *** ********** ** many ********** *******, *** the ****** ****** ** bond ****** ******* ****** based ** ******** *****, size, *** ***** **** used.

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

** *******, ******* **** be *** ** ******* bundles, ** *****, ** raceways ** **** ** not ********** ***********. "****** to ********** ********* ***** not ** ****** ** an ************ ** ************* cables **** ******* ****** to ** ******* ** panels, ********* ********* ******* panels." (***.**) **** ********, and *** ********* ******** throughout *** ***, *** often ***** ********** *** practice ** ****** **** drop ******* ***** ********** if ****** ***** ** not.

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

*** ****** *** ** fire ***** ***** *****, especially ***** *** **** plenum ******, *** ******* emphasized ********** *** *******. (starting ** ***.***) ****** spaces, ********* ** ********, are **** ** *** ventilation ****** ** * building. ******* ***** ***** are ****** **** *** wide **** **** *** room ** *** ****, they *** ****** ***** a **** ** ****** quickly. ** ****, *** electrical ********* ** ***** that ******** **** **** space **** ** ***** to ******* *** ****** of ***** ***/** *****. 

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

**** ****** **** ** run ** ***** *" apart **** **** ******* sources (***.**) *** *** inside ********** ******** (***.**(*)). Variations ** **** ************* are **** ********** *** NEC, ***** ******** ** building ****, ******* ****, and ***** ****.

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

******* * **** ******* cabling ** ********, *****, and *****. *** *** AHJs ******** ***** ************ applicable ** ***-***** ******* poles, ***** ****** ******** them ********** ** ***** of *** ****, ********* those ********** ************ *******.  The ****** **************. ** any **** ********** ** pole *********, **** ****** not ** **** *** utility ***** ******* *** surveillance ****** ********: "******** service masts *** **** ** used *** *** ******* of ***** ******* **** conductors. In ********, ****** *** radio, **, ****, ** CATV ****** ** ******** to *** ******** ******* masts." (***.**, ***.**(*))

***** ******* * / Article *** ("*************") ********* applies ** ***** ************, some *********** *** **** IP ***** ************ ** computer ********, ***** ****** used *** '********* *** the ******* ** ********** data' *** '**** ** installed ** ********** **** Chapter * / ******* 725 ("********* *** ***** Limited ********") ** *** ****. (725-41(a)(4)).

Spotty ********

***** ******** ** *** prevails ** *** ** states *** ******* ***************, which ******* ** ******** can ****** ****. *** image ***** ******* *** extent ** ******** ** version, **** *** **** code ***** **** ******:

*** *** ******* ****, changes ******* ******** *** typically *****, **** ******* mostly ******** ** *********** and ********* ****** **** installation ***********. *** ***** difficulty **** ** ***** bound ** *********** ** a ******** **** **** not ***** ** ***** versions.  *******, ** **** navigating *** *********** ******* to ******** ********* ** 'Analysis ** ******* [**** no ****** *********]' *** published **** ********* **** new **** *******, ******** what ******* **** *** previous.

**** **** ** **** states, "***** ********" ********, meaning **** ** ********* acceptance ** *** ******* is ********** *** *** particular ********* **** *** change **** *** **** or **** ** *** next.

*** **** ******, *** popular '***** **** **** ***** AHJ *****' ********** **** ** taken ** *****.

Following *** *****

**** *** ******* ** building ***** **** ********* access *******, *** *** stands ** **** ************ systems (*** *** *** voltage ******** ******) **** for *** *** *** use ** ** **** in ******* **** **. The ***** ** ******* are *** ****** ******** by********* ********* ***** **********, *** ** *** interest ** ****** ****, every ********** ** ********* should ****** *** **********.

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.

State Licensing Guide 1-26-09.pub

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

Security Installation Tools Guide - 22 Tools Listed on Feb 19, 2019
In this guide, we cover 22 tools that security installers frequently use. This is one part of our upcoming Video Surveillance...
Outdoor Camera Mounting Hardware Guide on Feb 21, 2019
Mounting cameras outdoors can be challenging, requiring understanding different types of equipment and methods. In this guide, we teach this...
Access Control Turnstiles Guide on Jan 28, 2019
Turnstiles control pedestrian access to secured areas, essentially becoming moving portions of fences, walls, or barricades for physically stop...
Cable Firestopping Installation Guide on Mar 06, 2019
Installing cables through firewalls is a critical installation issue. Failing to properly seal a penetration can cause smoke and fire to spread,...
Installation Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16th is your last chance to register for the Winter 2020 Video Surveillance Installation Course. This is a unique installation...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
Horizontal Cabling for Video Surveillance Guide on Jan 03, 2020
There are a few options when it comes to professionally installing horizontal cabling for video surveillance networks. The three options examined...
Network Cabling for Video Surveillance on Jan 15, 2020
In this guide, we explain the fundamentals of network cabling for video surveillance networks, how they should be installed, and the differences in...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Latest London Police Facial Recognition Suffers Serious Issues on Feb 24, 2020
On February 20, IPVM visited another live face rec deployment by London police, but this time the system was thwarted by technical problems and...
Masks Cause Major Facial Recognition Problems on Feb 24, 2020
Coronavirus is spurring an increase in the use of medical masks, which new IPVM test results show cause major problems for facial recognition...
Every VMS Will Become a VSaaS on Feb 21, 2020
VMS is ending. Soon every VMS will be a VSaaS. Competitive dynamics will be redrawn. What does this mean? VMS Historically...
Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...
Vulnerability Directory For Access Credentials on Feb 20, 2020
Knowing which access credentials are insecure can be difficult to see, especially because most look and feel the same. Even insecure 125 kHz...
AI/Smart Camera Tutorial on Feb 20, 2020
Cameras with video analytics, sometimes called 'Smart' camera or 'AI' cameras, etc. are one of the most promising growth areas of video...
China Manufacturer Suffers Coronavirus Scare on Feb 20, 2020
Uniview suffered a significant health scare last week after one of its employees reported a fever and initially tested positive for coronavirus....
Cheap Camera Problems at Night on Feb 19, 2020
Cheap cameras generally have problems at night, despite the common perception that integrated IR makes cameras mostly the same, according to new...
Milestone Launches Multiple Cloud Solutions on Feb 18, 2020
Milestone is going to the cloud, becoming one of the last prominent VMSes to do so. Milestone is clearly late but how competitive do these new...
Video Surveillance Architecture 101 on Feb 18, 2020
Video surveillance can be designed and deployed in a number of ways. This 101 examines the most common options and architectures used in...