Installing a home security camera system yourself is not that hard. You just need to mount the cameras, run some cables and setup the video recorder.
In this article, I explain the basics of a DIY home security camera system installation, so purchase your kit and grab your tools to get started 🙂
The installation is based on wired IP PoE cameras and a Network Video Recorder, which means it is necessary to run UTP (network cables) from the camera to the recorder, but it's not necessary to use a power supply for each camera.
==> For your reference you could purchase a security camera kit like the Reolink 4MP 8CH PoE Video Surveillance System available on the Amazon store.
==> Before go shopping, I recommend you to read the article: How to choose a security camera system for your home to have a better idea of the different types of system and choose the one that works for you.
How to install a security camera system
There are some steps you have to follow to have a good security camera system installation, please just pay attention to the details and everything will work fine.
Let's start with an example of wired security camera system installation.
Choose the best spot for the camera installation
Before installing the cameras is necessary to carefully choose the best spots that can give you a clear view of the subject you want to monitor and record.
The cameras must be installed up high so they can't be reachable, you don't want people trying to break or change their position.
The security camera installation height is usually 3m or higher, which allows monitoring the area without compromising the camera physical security.
Camera viewing angle
Choose the best position to avoid blind spots, check the viewing angle of your camera and mount it on the wall corner or other specific places to have the best angle that covers the entire area.
Run the cables for the camera installation
In this article, I explain how to install wired security cameras, so you need to run the cables from the cameras to the network video recorder (NVR).
I highly recommend using an IP system so you can run fewer cables since the same cable that carries the video signal can also carry the power to the camera using the PoE technology (if you purchase a kit that has PoE devices).
==> Just in case you are interested in learning more about PoE technology, please read the article: PoE switch for IP cameras.
As you can see in the previous picture, the UTP cable (also know as network cable) must run from the Network Video Recorder to the IP PoE camera.
You can buy the network cables in any computer hardware store or even from an online store such as Amazon. Just look for UTP cat5e cables and choose the one that is long enough for your installation.
This type of cable needs an RJ45 connector at each side of the cable so it can be connected to the camera and to the recorder. You can either learn how to crimp the connectors or buy a UTP cable that comes with the connectors on each end of the cable (which is much easier if you have no experience with cabling).
See the picture below that shows the UTP cables that are sold with specific lengths, they are called patch cords and you can buy them with different colors.
You just need to run the cables through the walls or ceilings from the network video recorder to your IP camera and drill the necessary holes.
Security camera installation
The camera installation depends on the type of wall you have and how you intend to run the cable. In this example, the camera is installed in a wood wall and the UTP cable goes through a hole behind it. See the picture below.
In this picture it's possible to see a 3/4" drill bit that is used just in the center of the camera installation, that's large enough to pass the UTP cable.
As you can see it's possible to pass the cable through the hole even if it has an RJ45 already attached to it. Take those details into consideration if you are buying a pre-made cable (patch cord). See the picture below.
The next step is to mount the camera in its position, just use the screws that come with the camera (most of the models are sold with three screws).
Just make sure you are using the correct screws for the type of wall you are installing the camera, if necessary just visit a hardware store to get new ones.
After installing the camera use a screwdriver to adjust the camera position.
Usually, you need to readjust the camera position after the setup is complete since it's necessary to look at a monitor to see where the camera is pointing to and what is the viewing angle. You can leave this step for later.
After installing the camera, just connect the UTP cable from the camera to the Network Video Recorder (NVR) as shown in the picture below.
The UTP cable is the same one you use to connect your computer or laptop to the Internet router, so it's pretty popular....
Security camera installation on the ceiling
The picture shows a security camera installed on a ceiling, note that it's not possible to see the cable since it's hidden (that's a nice installation).
The Installation diagram
It's important to understand how everything is connected to your IP security camera system, so just take a look at the diagram below.
As you can see, there's an IP camera connected to a recorder via the UTP cable which can carry the power using the PoE technology.
Everything is connected to a router so it's possible to have local and remote access to the IP camera and to the NVR by using a mobile device, a computer or a laptop.
C'mon, just look at the diagram and tell me you can do such an installation.
It's not rocket science, you just need to purchase the devices, mount the camera in their position and connect the cables properly, the last step is the software and app setup and that's just a question of following the manufacturer instructions (read the installation manual).
Other factors to consider
Make sure to have enough illumination where the cameras are installed and choose models that have infrared light for dark places monitoring.
Be careful when pointing your cameras to the area you want to monitor and avoid having them pointing to sources of lights, if you really need to have a camera installed in such a condition, look for models that can handle backlight with features such as BLC (backlight compensation) and WDR (Wide Dynamic Range).
When purchasing your camera, look for these features to guarantee you will have your security camera system working properly. See the information below with an example of a Hikvision IP camera which has the WDR feature.
If you need to install a security camera pointing to a door, windows or any source of light, you definitely will need a camera that can work with backlight compensation and the WDR is one of the best features for that.
==> I recommend you to read the article: What is WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) for CCTV cameras to better understand this technology.
The problem with dark areas showed in the previous picture can be solved with the use of this technology, so considering using it.
With this DIY home security camera system installation, you can have everything working and avoid the monthly fees charged by security companies.
I recommend you to read the product manual and follow further instructions on how to setup the system for remote access with a mobile phone.
Usually, it's a very simple process just like the one you can find in the article How to access Hikvision DVR from mobile, just use the same principle for your system.
I hope this information can help you with your DIY installation.
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Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 15+ experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems.