Purchasing a sturdy and reliable camera won’t ensure your security. It’s the quality of the picture your camera produces that matters. Though most cameras are capable of producing excellent videos, problems like having interference in signals can adversely impact the quality.
If you’re browsing ways to avoid interference on CCTV cameras – you’ve hopped on the right article. Read ahead as we explore interference on cameras in great detail along with ways to avoid it.
What Is Interference on CCTV Cameras?
Interference is the disruption of a transmission signal used by CCTV cameras. If successful, the final video quality transmitted to the DVR/NVR is impacted.
Since interference isn’t a physical problem, tracking its source is a challenging task. You’d find dozens of electrical devices sending out radio waves over the air. Which one specifically does this?
That is fairly time consuming.
However, there are several symptoms to easily identify interference in a CCTV camera. Either your camera’s feed will be terrible or the camera itself will fail to respond. Others include:
- Horizontal lines on the CCTV footage
- Flickering video
- Noisy footage – pixelated, grainy
- Choppy video
Thinking about what causes these interferences? Let’s discuss that next.
What Causes Interference on CCTV Cameras?
Anything from inadequate power supply to physical barriers can cause interference in your CCTV camera footage.
But, finding the exact cause of interference is a difficult task. You’d have to trace the source of the signal from every device close to your camera. Finally, an improvement in the signal’s quality would suggest something has fixed the interference issue.
Here are a few causes of interferences which can help you troubleshoot better:
Inadequate Power Supply
One of the most common causes of interference in a security camera is the lack of a proper supply of current. Product manufacturers usually mention the charge required for the camera to operate. Also check if it requires an AC or DC current.
AC current is usually supplied by the main supply whereas DC is offered by batteries for cameras. This entirely depends on the CCTV camera you’re using. If these wires aren’t plugged properly or are damaged, interference can transfer into the equipment’s video.
Coaxial cables used to transmit video for the camera are composed of several layers. This shielding helps protect the internal conductor (copper core) from being damaged and halting the transmission. It’s why damaged cables can be a risk to the camera system.
If the shields above the wire are damaged, it’s likely the wire will be damaged next. Interference can seep in if the wires break out of order or get in touch with an external factor.
Cables also have to be routed correctly and placed away from common areas of activity to ensure least interaction. If the cables are routed incorrectly, distortion would be the side-effect on your camera’s recording.
CAT5 cables have recently become the most popular mode of transmission from a camera to its DVR system. Using these in combination with baluns is an excellent interference breaker. However, it is also terrible if both ends are wired incorrectly.
Wireless channel issues aside, infrared radiations from a source can also distort wireless signals. The most common symptoms of this include intermittent connections, low bandwidth, and frequent disconnections.
Devices working on the 5GHz band operate on a much shorter range. Physical barriers can severely impact the signal’s ability to travel through to the destination. Here’s a list of a few physical barriers which might cause interference on your cameras:
Signal loss is fairly common if these materials surround your home. It’s because the signals weaken while passing through these items.
If you’re trying to install a camera in a residential plot being built, it would be better if you wait until all dense building material is moved.
If you’re intrigued by televisions causing interference – it’s because of the remote. Waves from your remote also interfere with the wireless transmission of data.
Own a wireless CCTV camera? Your first bet is to change the wireless channel of the camera. These cameras operate in frequency ranges which are used by a variety of household devices like microwaves, phones, etc. Being on the same frequency as that of other devices is what causes interference, especially when these appliances are in use.
For example, if you’re using cellular data next to your wireless CCTV camera, there’s a good chance you’ll witness interference in the video.
The issue doesn’t lie with the cameras. The 2.4 GHz band has been saturated overtime and is one of the most common modes of transmission for electronic equipment. The 5 GHz band is an excellent alternative but has a much shorter frequency range for transmission. You’ll have to choose based on your preferences and requirements.
Installing a CCTV camera incorrectly can also cause interference. It’s important that you plug all required components correctly. This would require you to check the source of the power supply along with the BNC port connection for the video transmission.
Take your time to go through an installation. Incorrectly placing a wire or misreading the manufacturer’s guide can lead to interference issues later.
Lastly, it might be the camera itself. If nothing in our list seems to be the case, yet the quality worsens, a camera upgrade might help. This is fairly true for an old CCTV camera which has already surpassed its own mean time-to-failure (MTTF).
Do make sure all other options have been tested thoroughly before investing in a new camera. A misdiagnosed cause can waste your investment as the source of the interference will still exist.
Let’s move straight into easy-to-grasp ways on avoiding interference on CCTV cameras.
How to Avoid Interference on CCTV Security Cameras?
Now that you’re aware of various probable causes of interference in your CCTV camera, here are a few ways to effectively reduce this interference:
1. Picking the Right Wireless Channel
It’s easy to just switch the wireless channel to a different channel i.e., the 5GHz band from the 2.5 GHz band. It’s better and causes much less interference with other device signals.
Most CCTV cameras have a toggle at the rear end. Check your manufacturer’s manual to see if the wireless CCTV has the option to switch the wireless channel.
The 5GHz band, however, has range limitations wherein the camera would have to be close to the access point.
2. Provide Adequate Power
Inadequate power can reduce the overall lifetime of the CCTV camera. Make sure to check the cords connecting the camera to the main supply. Also ensure that the supply has a power line filter to reduce interference by default.
The power line filter serves two features:
- Stops high frequency signals from the main supply (AC) from reaching the camera
- Stops high frequency signals from the camera reaching the main power supply
If inadequate supply is continued, interference can make its way to the equipment and cause distortions in the footage.
3. Check Cables and Routing
Analog video cables can be damaged very easily. Ensure all cables are intact and damage-free. If you suspect a damaged cable, have it changed or reroute the cable from the CCTV to the DVR from a different path.
Apart from damage, also ensure all video cables are being routed to the DVR/NVR correctly. As you identify the source of common interference, move the cables away from it. You can also resort to grounding if it can help resolve the error quickly.
Though improper grounding was also one of the common causes of interference. It is both an electrical hazard as well as damaging to the CCTV camera itself. Read up on correct grounding techniques to ensure no hazards exist.
Also ensure your CAT5 connections with a balun are wired correctly. Incorrect pairings can lead to no video being transmitted to the DVR. If you don’t receive an image at all, this might be the core cause.
4. Using Extenders or More Access Points
If moving the wireless device closer to the camera isn’t possible, try to surround your home with more access points or extenders. These boost signals from your main router and can be easily intercepted by the camera. It’s an economical option and must be preferred before a camera upgrade.
5. Minimizing Interference From Physical Barriers
Physical barriers can’t be moved as easily as your access point. It’s why the first option for you is to move the router away. Move it away from devices, appliances, or electronic widgets.
If this doesn’t do it for you, there might be other appliances in close range of the camera. Develop a habit to unplug such devices if identified or move them away from the camera if that’s a potential solution.
Finally, try upgrading the firmware of the router you own. Network device manufacturers are aware of such issues and configuration updates are constantly released. An upgrade to the firmware might do the trick for you and reduce interference.
Frequently Asked Questions About Interference on CCTV Cameras
Questions? We’re taking them! Here are our answers to some of the top picks from users searching for interference on CCTV cameras:
What causes interference on CCTV cameras?
Wireless channels, improper grounding, damaged cables, or inadequate power are some of the most common causes of interference in CCTV cameras. Tracking the exact source requires patience and expertise.
It’s easier to start moving electronic equipment away from the camera one by one. See if you notice any improvement in the final image or not. If and when the camera starts to operate properly, the source is identified and should be permanently moved.
Why does my CCTV camera flicker?
CCTV cameras can flicker due to interference, installation issues, or shortage of power supply. If all connectors and cables are in place, troubleshoot the wiring to see any damage. Once done, disconnect all cables, reconnect, and ensure the monitor is not at flaw here.
Infrared radiations from the camera itself might be the culprit here. Though this is where physical issues from the camera intervene and no manual solution is possible. If your camera is old, it might need an upgrade to one of the newer, better models.
What causes ghosting on CCTV?
Ghosting on CCTV cameras is usually due to the camera’s characteristics itself. Slow shutter speeds and high gains are among the most common causes of ghosting. Apart from that, ground loop interference and or intermittent connections can also cause the problem.
1. It’s easier to fix a CCTV camera ghosting due to the aforementioned issues. You can try:
2. Cleaning the security camera’s lens
3. Balancing the shutter speed with the DNR and DWDR
4. Choosing better, higher-resolution cameras
5. Using high-quality cables without damage
How do you interfere with CCTV?
Blinding a security camera or interfering with it is commonly done by jammers. If the broadcast frequency of the camera is known, it can be jammed by jamming equipment. Cutting the cords to the camera, damaging them, or acquiring access to the CCTV’s administrator panel is also effective.
CCTV interference can be considered illegal if it isn’t owned by oneself. If it is, testing your own security is a good measure. Apply these techniques and look for other creative ways of interfering with a CCTV’s feed to see how it can be resolved.
How do I fix horizontal lines on my CCTV camera?
If the wall or ground where you’re going to place your CCTV camera is a metal body, make sure there’s an insulating piece in between. Metal surface to metal CCTV camera can cause induction and grounding issues. You may also use ground loop isolators to avoid the issue.
Ground loop interference can cause horizontal lines to appear on the CCTV camera’s recordings. Running your camera equipment over an unbalanced power source can also cause it to flicker for a few seconds. Lastly, metal bodies might cause conduction issues with the camera.
Interference issues can surely leave you scratching your head after hours on end. Though difficult to diagnose, you shouldn’t delay fixing the camera any longer. We hope our list of ways to avoid interference in cameras was helpful to you.
Till next time, stay safe!