HowTo Articles

Mounting Your Security Cameras

mount your security cameraWhen it comes to mounting your security cameras, there are as many ways to mount them as there are camera models out there.  With every type of camera comes a variety of ways to mount them.  Just as with every type of material that the camera is being mounted to comes a variety of ways to mount them.  If you live in the northern part of the US, the houses are generally made of wood, with an outer material that can range from siding to masonry.  Each of these will create a different type of mounting that will be better suited.  Down in Florida and in some coastal areas, the homes and buildings are generally made of concrete block.  This type of construction makes for some fun mounting types.  That is options on the outside, when it comes to the inside mounting options most cases are going to be universal throughout the country.  I am going to discuss most camera types and some of the ways that cameras can be mounted based on our construction type in Florida.

Bullet Cameras

A bullet camera is one of the most common types of cameras in prebuilt retail packages.  It is a camera that has an arm that typically has some sort of joint to allow for the aiming of the camera.  This is a very versatile camera due to how many applications it can be used in.  When it comes to mounting this camera on the outside of a building, you will generally want to be a little higher up than on a dome style camera.  This is due to the fact that it has the ability to be tampered with easier than a dome camera and they have the ability to be struck by an object causing it damage.  So, when you are choosing your mounting position keep this in mind.  If this type of camera has to be mounted at a lower point, I would suggest up under an eve.  This will help to minimize the strickable angle of the camera.  These cameras are great for mounting in areas that have little protection from the elements, due to the sunshades that typically come with them.  They are also generally fully weatherproof in design, although some have serious design flaws most do not.

Vandal Dome Cameras

Dome cameras are inherently vandal resistant.  With a dome camera you typically have a base with a dome covering of some sort.  There are a wide variety of styles from standard indoor domes to outdoor turret style domes.  The indoor dome typically is made up of a plastic housing that separates the glass dome from the base the camera is mounted in.  An outdoor dome camera housing is typically made of metal or other weather resistant materials and are generally made with a heavier construction.  Domes are inherently vandal resistant due to their shape and the protection they provide from being able to be easily moved after being installed.  Their shape reduces the amount of contact area that is available for someone to strike.  This style camera is ideal for locations that are going to be within striking distance from the ground.  When you are installing dome cameras outdoor, you want to remember that having it somewhat protected from direct jets of water will increase the lifespan of your camera.

Box Cameras

Box Cameras are a common type of camera that are typically used in industrial settings like parking lots, garages, government buildings, and license plate capture.  They can also be mounted indoors for locations that need a tighter shot than what can be achieved with standard cameras that have a fixed lens or a varifocal lens on the camera.  With this type of camera mounted outdoors you will need a weatherproof enclosure.  This typically consists of a housing and mounting arm.  There are several different types of enclosures that can be used, some even have a built in heater blower mechanism for extreme temperature situations.  A box camera also generally needs to have a lens selected for it.  A box camera mounted in a housing typically has fewer options with regards to the flexibility of the mounting.  You will generally have a fixed wall/post that the mounting arm attaches to and then the housing sits onto the arm.  The lens is mounted onto the camera which is generally attached to the slide inside of the housing.  All of the cabling will come up into the housing through the back weather tight hole and the connections are made on the inside of the housing.  It is a good rule of thumb to use a small lock at the back of the housing to prevent tampering with.

Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras700TVL 12X Indoor/Outdoor Pan Tilt Zoom Security Camera

Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras are amazing for the features they offer and their coverage area.  A PTZ camera consists of the camera module, housing, and mount.  The mount is generally dependant on the application and structure the camera is being affixed to.  If you are just going to mount the camera on the side of a building, then you want to make sure it has a wall mount.  This type of mount is exactly what it sounds like, it will have a base that is mounted to the wall with some sort of arm that hangs the PTZ off of it.  If you are wanting to suspend a camera from an eave or some other type of overhead structure, you will more than likely want to make sure and get a pendant mount.  A pendant mount is generally a pole that comes out of the top of a camera and goes up vertically to attach to an adapting plate that is mounted.  If the application calls for the camera to be mounted on the corner of a building for better coverage of 2 sides of the building, you will want a corner wall mount.  A corner mount is typically a wall mount with a special adapter for affixing the camera to 2 sides of the building at the corner.  If the job requires the camera to be positioned on a pole in the middle of an area, a pole mount will be required.  A pole mount generally consists of the wall mount with special adapters to adhere the mount to the pole.  If you are wanting to put the camera on the top of a building to have it easier to access for maintenance, then you will be looking for a parapet mount.  This type of mount generally attaches to a wall with a plate and has a curved pipe that attaches to the plate.  The pipe then bends over the edge of the building providing the camera clearance from the wall.  This type of mount is very useful if you have a high building that you are affixing the camera to, it will allow you to loosen the pipe and swing the camera over the rooftop and perform maintenance to the camera.  The downfall with this type of mount is that it can be tampered with from the rooftop level, which generally no cameras are watching.

The Way I Mount Cameras

When it comes to mounting almost any type of camera to a structure, I will generally mount a low voltage gang box to the building.  I use these so that the cable from my camera and my Siamese cable connections have a weather tight enclosure.  This gives me some flexibility in the way that I mount my cameras.  If I am mounting a Vandal Dome Camera, I generally will use a double gang box with the camera mounted to the faceplate of the box.  This gives me the advantage of serviceability for the wiring and camera.  With any box that you use, you will need to secure it to the side of the building.  My system of choice is with concrete screws or Tapcons(R) as they are commonly know.  This gives a very strong hold to withstand the winds and also helps with vandals.  One thing to remember when you have penetrated a hole in any building is to fill the hole with some sort of filler, to prevent animals, insects, or other unwanted creatures from using this hole as a way in.  I will typically use a bead of silicone on the back of the box before mounting it to the surface, this acts as a seal from the elements and creatures.  Then on any penetration of the box or wall, I will also use silicone to fill the hole.  No matter what type of camera you are mounting, you can use a low voltage box for your connections and mount the camera directly next to the box.  There is a reason that I like to use these boxes, I feel that it is a cleaner and more professional look.  If you ever need to change the camera you don’t have to worry about possibly tearing the cable up trying to fish it out of the wall.  You also do not need to drill as big of a hole in the surface since you are only fitting the width of the cable through the hole, instead of all of the connectors and/or OSD of the camera.  When you are mounting cameras on the inside of a home, you will not typically need a box for the connections.  You are looking for more covert types of cameras and are typically mounting on drywall or plaster, so making a larger hole to fit your connections up inside is not a huge deal.  If you are mounting a camera to an eave, you can bore a larger diameter hole into the eve to fit the connections inside of.  With mounting under an eave you are not as worried about weather, but you will still want to use a filler or silicone to fill the hole in order to prevent unwanted guest from entering the structure.  If choose to go with a vandal dome that has a wall mount that you are going to utilize, you can just use the mount since the connections will generally be able to be housed inside of the mount itself.  I will suggest that you still fill the hole.

With every installation comes a number of different types of cameras and mounting options available.  It is very important that you plan out what type of camera you are going to use where and what types of materials you are going to encounter with the installation.  I have never had 2 installations match identically, so you will always want to be flexible in your plan and go with the flow.  Low voltage conduit is a great way to get cable from point A to point B while keeping it protected from the elements and vandals, and will allow for some flexibility when choosing how and where to mount your cameras.  Every installation, camera, and situation brings in a variety of possible solutions for mounting your cameras, with proper planning and flexibility even the normal homeowner can make their installation look like a professional did the job. Contact us today for more information.

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