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Cat5 with Baluns
Ryan Newkirk

Forum Posts: 61
Member Since:
November 21, 2012
April 3, 2013 - 4:27 pm

I had a customer ask me today how do you use cat5 cable with analogue cameras?  There are several different ways that this can be done, either with passive or active baluns.  With passive baluns there are different versions, either just video, power and video, and power video and audio.  With active baluns you are only transmitting video and locally powering the cameras, this is typically used on video transmission over 1000'.

With passive video only baluns there are individual video baluns and balun hubs.  With individual video baluns you use one pair of the cat5 cable to transmit the video signal over, or if you want you can double the wires and use 2 of the pairs to transmit the video signal depending on what you are going to use the other pairs for.  For instance if I am connecting a basic 12V PTZ, I can use 1 cat5 cable to transmit video, power, and control.  When I am doing this I am using 1 pair (blue and white/blue stripe) for video, 2 pairs (orange and white/orange stripe for positive and green and white/green stripe for negative) for power, and 1 pair (brown and white/brown stripe) for control.  There are several other ways you can utilize the different pairs of the cable depending on the application you need.

With a passive balun hub, you can run your cameras with siamese cable to the hub and power them locally from the hub location.  Terminate the siamese just as if you are at the DVR and connect the BNC's to the hub and the 18/2 portion of the cable to the power supplies.  The hub will then convert those 4 cameras into 1 cat5 cable that can be ran up to 1000' of just video to another hub at the DVR location.  At the DVR location the cat5 cable will be connected to the hub and you will need small BNC patch cables to get the video to the DVR.  This can be done for a multitude of different reasons, first is that you have to long of runs that powering locally is the only way to eliminate power drop.  Second is that you don't want to run multiple siamese or coaxial cable through the building back to the DVR.  Third is that you are in a multi-building environment and you do not want to have conduit so large to fit all of the coaxial cable in, with running 4 video feeds on 1 cable that is smaller in diameter than 1 coaxial cable you can use conduit that is a fraction of the size.  More cameras on less cables for the transmission.  This is a cleaner approach to larger cabling jobs, still offering high quality video to further areas.

If you are using the passive power and video baluns you will still use 1 cat5 cable to transmit your power and video over 1 cable, but you are prepping your installation for upgradability to IP cameras down the road.  You will terminate both ends of the connection to match each other.  I personally alway use the 568B termination, so that way everything is always consistant.  You will then plug the cable into the balun, the balun will then connect either to the camera or the DVR and correlating power supply.  You will do the same setup when using the passive power, video, and audio balun.  The difference will be at the camera end you will need a power splitter connecting cable like the PT-6.  This will take and split the single incoming power source to be used by the camera and microphone, at the DVR end you will still just connect the video, audio, and power to there correlating connections. 

If you have an unusually long video run you will want to use active video baluns, these are generally used in transmission over 1000'.  There are single channel and 4 channel units available, and they will be used similar to the passive hubs, you will just need to have power available for the balun.




Forum Posts: 131
Member Since:
December 31, 2013
February 14, 2014 - 10:54 pm

I have completed two small installations using the passive BALUN-V baluns.  One 10 camera system and a 4 cam system.  I had good luck with these.  They are working well and it was a joy to work with the CAT6 vs. the siamese coax cable.  When reading around the Internet about the baluns it seems as though they are more stable and can carry analog camera signals much further than coax.  Then one day I was speaking to a support rep with Techvision and was told that CAT5/6 cable is not as stable as coax and that most experienced installers prefer to stick with coax.  This caused me to doubt my plans for an upcoming installation (9 cameras) and I went back to coax.  The install went fine and everything works great but it would of been nice to run CAT6.  I have a 26 camera system install on the horizon (3 DVRs in 2 buildings) and am currently planning on using coax but wanted to ask about this again.  This is going to be my largest install as of yet in a Sheriff's office and jail.  It's very critical that the system is stable and while I'd love to be able to run CAT6 I don't plan on it.  I would appreciate any and all feedback as I'm still learning about the options surrounding this new portion of my business.  Thank you.

Brad Besner
Boca Raton, Florida
Forum Posts: 201
Member Since:
March 9, 2013
February 14, 2014 - 11:40 pm

Like you, I think CAT6 is the better way to go for video. However, power is another story. Ethernet cable is a much smaller gauge cable so you will get much shorter distance before voltage drop becomes an issue than with 18-2 which is used with Siamese cable. 12V DC is not recommended over 100'ft on Ethernet Cable. If you are using 24V AC power you can usually get twice that distance. If you are powering the cameras locally, then CAT5/6 is a great way to go. It will make it easier for you in the future if you decide to upgrade to IP as well. 

Forum Posts: 131
Member Since:
December 31, 2013
February 15, 2014 - 12:32 am

I will have 6 cameras in a somewhat remote location away from the DVR (about 250').  Running CAT5 to a closet in the area would be nice vs. 6 coax runs.  If I used two Balun-TP401T units at the DVR and two Balun-TP401R units in a closet near the 6 cameras I would only have to run two CAT6 cables between the DVR and the closet.  Would I also need a 12V power supply in the closet at the Balun-TP401R to power the cameras or does the balun have 12V connectors?  I can't tell from the balun picture what the green connectors are for.  

Brad Besner
Boca Raton, Florida
Forum Posts: 201
Member Since:
March 9, 2013
February 15, 2014 - 10:34 am

You wont be able to use that. You made passive baluns for anything under 1000 feet or so. That is an active balun and will only work over 1000 feet. I would nut try running your power 250ft over 24 gauge cable. The voltage drop off is going to be a problem. Running the video is not problem, just not the power. Try to find local power closer to the cameras. Here is a voltage drop calculator: http://www.securitycameraking......-drop.html on a 250ft run using 24 Gauge cable with a 12V DC power supply and a camera requiring 350ma the voltage at the camera will only be 8 Volts. That is below the acceptable limit. If you switch to 24V AC, the voltage at the end of 250ft will only be 19 volts which is a 20% drop. That is also below the acceptable limits. You will either need to use a thicker gauge cable or a shorter run for power. Also, you may want to consider IP. You can run POE over 300'ft on Ethernet Cable. You will get far better quality video as well. 

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