CCTV System Maintenance

Maintenance of your CCTV system is vital to ensure the effectiveness of your security camera system. The type of maintenance required varies depending on whether you have an analog video system or a digital video system.

The most common problem for analog systems is the degradation of the videotapes. All too often this problem isn't recognized until a problem occurs and the tape is unusable. When a videotape degrades the picture becomes grainy and blurry - this can make it impossible to make out important details.

The effective life of a videotape depends on the time-lapse speed of the VCR. A general rule of thumb is to take the number 2000 and divide that by the speed of the recorder. For example, if the recorder is set to tape in 96-hour mode, then the videotape will start to degrade after only 20 uses. And the VCR itself should be overhauled every 10,000 hours. This is precisely why many business owners are switching to digital video recorders (DVR) instead of VCRs.

Since digital video recorders have very few moving parts they require less maintenance than a VCR. Also when there is a problem with the DVR it is usually more evident. For example, the system will start crashing a lot or it will stop working altogether.

Cameras can go bad over time as well. But again, these problems are usually fairly evident. Periodically take the time to review all of your cameras and make sure that the picture on each one is crisp and clear.

Experts say that the biggest problem with many security camera systems is that they are not well enough designed to begin with. Many times a business owner is so concerned with cost that they cut corners on their camera installation. As a result there may not be enough cameras used or they might not be the right kind of cameras or lenses. Your camera system should cover all of the vulnerable or important areas of your site. Don't overextend the camera by using lenses with a field of view that is too wide. Test out your cameras and recording equipment to ensure that it is effective for identification - not just verification that someone is there. If nighttime or low light is an issue make sure your infrared cameras are up to the task.

Take few moments to ensure that your camera system is designed and working properly today - you'll be glad you did if you ever are in the situation to depend on it!