With security cameras becoming more affordable, it’s no surprise CCTV systems are quickly becoming a standard addition to the family home.
Security cameras offer peace of mind and can provide the evidence that is needed to lock away thieves or vandals.
But what happens when the power goes out? Are those top of the line cameras you bought going to stop recording?
But there are ways to ensure that your security system records that ever so important evidence even when the power goes out. Read on to learn more.
How To Ensure Your Security Cameras Work During a Power Outage
Since 99% of new CCTV camera installations are IP based communicate via standard network protocols), we will be providing systems for IP based systems only.
Depending on your setup, it may be that multiple items need to have a source of backup power.
Consider the following questions carefully, as it is important you back up the vital components to ensure 100% redundancy.
- Where does your security camera system store the footage?
- Where do the cameras get their power?
- Do you have any switches or access points that the components connect to?
- Is there any equipment situated remotely that provides connectivity or power?
Option 1: Battery Backed Up System
This may seem like a cop-out as far as providing options goes, but it has to be mentioned.
The first option for providing battery backup to your security cameras is to purchase a system that has back up batteries built-in.
Now this is done by manufacturers in a number of different ways:
Battery Powered Cameras with Local Storage
The simplest way is to use a system where the camera has a built-in battery and also has the ability to store its footage on a SD card in the camera itself. This might mean that the camera itself is fully wireless and runs full time of a battery that needs semi-regular recharging.
So in the event of a power failure, the camera will stay operational for as long as the battery can supply power for and the footage is stored locally on the CD card.
Security Camera System With Built In Battery Backup
While it sounds very similar, this method isn’t quite as simple – but by no means complicated.
There are some CCTV systems available that come with wireless cameras with inbuilt rechargeable batteries, which connect back wirelessly to a base station that also has back up batteries in it.
The base station will usually have an SD card slot that stores the footage locally.
Since the base station communicates to the cameras wirelessly, even when the power goes out it still stays online and recording thanks to the inbuilt battery backup system.
Option 2 – UPS Backed Up Security Camera System
If you have a camera system that does not have any built-in battery back up, or only some of the critical components have it then you will likely need to consider the use of an uninterruptable power supply – otherwise known as a UPS.
What is a UPS?
A UPS is a device with an inbuilt battery. The UPS plugs into the wall, and you plug the critical equipment that needs backing up into the UPS.
When the power fails, the UPS’ battery kicks in and takes over the supply of power – ensuring the equipment stays operational.
How long the UPS will provide backup power for will depend on the type and size of the UPS.
Step 1: Identify Critical CCTV Components
The first thing we need to do is work out what parts of your network and camera system are critical to footage being recorded.
The easiest way to do this is to sit down and draw a diagram of your system, then go through make a list of all the absolutely critical components. These are the parts of the system that are 100% required to ensure that footage is captured and recorded from the security cameras.
As an example, these might be:
- Security cameras
- Network switches
- POE injectors/Switches
- Network Video Recorders (NVR)
Step 2: Work Out Where You Need UPS’
Now we need to work out where UPS’ are required.
A few questions to ask yourself to work this out are:
- Is the head end equipment all located in the same spot?
- How are the cameras powered? POE? Local Power? Battery
- Do you need to run any power cables back to a central location for the cameras?
- Is it easy to relocate switches, power supplies and POE injectors so that everything is centrally located?
This should help you work out where you need the uninterruptable power supplies and how many are required.
Step 3: Choose a UPS
Next you will need to find a UPS that will suit your needs.
When shopping for a UPS be sure to consider:
- The total wattage of your backup requirements
- The size of the batteries in the UPS (will determine how long the batteries last)
This will require some separate research as unfortunately, most UPS manufacturers don’t provide battery specs of their units.
Step 4: Install The UPS
Now all that is left to do is to install the UPS and plug in the security camera critical components to it.
You can test it by turning off the powerpoint that the UPS is plugged into and ensuring that your CCTV system is still operational.
The Final Word
There are obviously a few other ways to “hack” some battery back up, and we may go into these in the future. If you have any interesting ideas then feel free to leave a comment.