Surveillance cameras are often placed in very demanding environments. Failure to adequately protect against environmental factors can cause premature failure, and may even void the product warranty. It might seem obvious that a camera placed outdoors needs a housing, but the same type of protection may also be required for some indoor installations, such as in an industrial facility with high levels of moisture or dust in the air. Assessing and understanding the environmental conditions prior to installation is essential for selecting the correct cameras and prolonging their lifespan.
Camera housings come in various sizes and qualities, and with various features. Housings are made of either metal or plastic, and can be classified in two general types: fixed camera housings and dome camera housings.
When selecting an enclosure, several aspects must be considered:
- Side or slide opening (for fixed camera housings)
- Mounting accessories
- Clear or smoked dome (for dome camera housings)
- Cable management
- Temperature and other ratings (consider the need for a heater, sunshield, fan and wipers)
- Power supply (12 V, 24 V, 110 V, etc.)
- Level of vandal resistance
Although standard Ethernet cables can be run outdoors, their thin plastic casing will quickly deteriorate when exposed to the elements. For best results, outdoor Ethernet cables should be used, enclosed in a conduit buried a good distance from power lines or other sources of electrical interference. Remember to use an STP cable if the camera is used outdoors, or if the network cable is routed outdoors.
Suitably waterproofed PVC or other plastic piping can work well as a conduit. Alternatively, special exterior or direct burial category cables can be used for outdoor runs. Direct burial CAT5 cable costs more, but it is designed specifically for outdoor use. Both ordinary and direct burial CAT5 cable attracts lightning strikes to some degree. Simply burying a cable underground does not lessen its vulnerability to lightning, and accordingly, CAT5 surge protectors should be installed as part of an outdoor Ethernet network.
The IP Code classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of objects (including hands and fingers), dust, and water into mechanical casings.
The first digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts (for example, electrical conductors, moving parts) and the ingress of solid foreign objects.
|Level||Object size protected against||Effective against|
|0||-||No protection against contact and ingress of objects|
|1||>50 mm||Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part|
|2||>12.5 mm||Fingers or similar objects|
|3||>2.5 mm||Tools, thick wires, etc.|
|4||>1 mm||Most wires, screws, etc.|
|5||Dust protected||Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact|
|6||Dust tight||No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact|
The second digit indicates the level of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against the harmful ingress of water.
|Level||Protected against||Testing for||Details|
|1||Dripping water||Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect.||Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 1mm rainfall per minute
|2||Dripping water when tilted up to 15°||Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position.||Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 3mm rainfall per minute
|3||Spraying water||Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.||Test duration: 5 minutes
Water volume: 0.7 liters per minute
|4||Splashing water||Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.||Test duration: 5 minutes
Water volume: 10 liters per minute
|5||Water jets||Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.||Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 liters per minute
|6||Powerful water jets||Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.||Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 100 liters per minute
|7||Immersion up to 1 m||Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).||Test duration: 30 minutes
Immersion at depth of 1m
|8||Immersion beyond 1 m||The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects.||Test duration: continuous immersion in water
Depth specified by manufacturer