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 ************ * (******* ***) ** NFPA70, ****** "************** ******** 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 ******** ********* ** '******** ** *******' *** ********* **** accompany **** *** **** version, ******** **** ******* from *** ********.

**** **** ** **** 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.

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

Assa Acquires LifeSafety Power on Sep 04, 2019
Assa Abloy is acquiring LifeSafety Power, adding to their growing collection of access control brands like Mercury, August, Pioneer Doors, and...
Register Now - October 2019 IP Networking Course on Aug 28, 2019
Register now for the Fall 2019 IP Networking Course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
Mobile Access Control Guide on Aug 28, 2019
One of the biggest trends in access for the last few years has been the marriage of mobile phones and access cards. But how does this...
ZK Teco Atlas Access Control Tested on Aug 20, 2019
Who needs access specialists? China-based ZKTeco claims its newest access panel 'makes it very easy for anyone to learn and install access control...
Avigilon Blue VSaaS Tested on Aug 05, 2019
Avigilon says Blue is a "powerful integrator cloud service platform", easy to set up and configure, quickly scale business, by leveraging cloud...
HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and...
Maglocks Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 01, 2019
Maglocks divide access control specifiers perhaps more than any other component. Many are concerned about life safety codes, but others cite...
Hikvision ColorVu Camera Tested on Jun 24, 2019
Hikvision says their new ColorVu line captures "vivid chromatic images in darkness", with unconventional white light illuminations whereas most...
Risk of Amazon Alexa Guard: No Battery Or Cell Backup on Jun 20, 2019
Amazon positions its Alexa Guard Service as a "smart home security system" and says it can help you "keep your home safe". However, the...
ADT Eliminating Acquired Brands, Unifying Under 'Commercial' Brand on Jun 14, 2019
ADT is eliminating the brands of the many integrators it has acquired over the past few years, including Red Hawk, Aronson Security Group (ASG),...

Most Recent Industry Reports

ONVIF Suspends Huawei on Sep 20, 2019
Huawei has been 'suspended', and effectively expelled, from ONVIF so long as US sanctions remain on the mega Chinese manufacturer. Inside this...
Open Access Controller Guide (Axis, HID, Isonas, Mercury) on Sep 19, 2019
In the access control market, there are many software platforms, but only a few companies that make non-proprietary door controllers. Recently,...
Axis Perimeter Defender Improves, Yet Worse Than Dahua and Wyze on Sep 19, 2019
While Axis Perimeter Defender analytics improved from our 2018 testing, the market has improved much faster, with much less expensive offerings...
Directory of 68 Video Surveillance Startups on Sep 18, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
Uniview Prime Series 4K Camera Tested on Sep 18, 2019
Is the new Uniview 'Prime' better than the more expensive existing Uniview 'Pro'? In August, IPVM tested Uniview 4K 'Pro' but members advocated...
US Army Base To Buy Banned Honeywell Surveillance on Sep 17, 2019
The U.S. Army's Fort Gordon, home to their Cyber Center of Excellence, has issued a solicitation to purchase Honeywell products that are US...
Vivotek "Neural Network-Powered Detection Engine" Analytics Tested on Sep 17, 2019
Vivotek has released "a neural network-powered detection engine", named Smart Motion Detection, claiming that "swaying vegetation, vehicles passing...
Schmode is Back, Aims To Turn Boulder AI Into Giant on Sep 16, 2019
One of the most influential and controversial executives in the past decade is back. Bryan Schmode ascended and drove the hypergrowth of Avigilon...
Manufacturers Unhappy With Weak ASIS GSX 2019 And 2020 Shift on Sep 16, 2019
Manufacturers were generally unhappy with ASIS GSX, both for weak 2019 booth traffic and a scheduling shift for the 2020 show, according to a new...