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Pulling cable for 16 cameras

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Newbie here. I have done several smaller surveillance camera installs over the years but now have a rather large install possibly coming up that I need some advise with.

I may get this job to install 16 analog cameras in a large store that already has 16 cameras. I'm trying to plan out and prepare how to do this. The building is about

250 feet by 200 feet and the cameras would be in a grid pattern with cameras more or less evenly spaced through out the area. The DVR is housed in the office at front left

of the store. 

I have only seen in the office where the

existing cabling comes down from overhead to the DVR. The power for the cameras is apparently run from a back room supply on the other side of the store which is 

a bit odd. Anyway all I see for cable to the DVR is a set of 4 Cat5e cables. Each cable has two of the 8 wires to a balun. So... each Cat5e cable brings analog video from

4 cameras. So with 4 ethernet cables and with 4 cameras on each, that makes 16 cameras being connected.


I would like to do the additional 16 cameras the same way.... using 4 Cat5e cables and baluns.  I have no easy way at this time to get up into the ceiling to see how this

has been done. I will have to rent a scissor lift to get up to the (15 foot ceiling I'm guessing) ceiling and remove tiles to find out what has been done previously. Getting the

lift rented and delivered to the site can only happen when I commit to the job.  If I can rent a lift, they want about $100 a day !


So my question is how they could connect 4 cameras from each of the 4 cable runs.

At some point the cable jacket has to be pulled back to expose pairs of wires to go to each individual camera. I guess the cable would have to be brought to approximately the

point at which you have to then branch out to each of the 4 cameras. Seems this would require having that light 24gauge twisted pair, separated out of the bunch (which alone

would seem very hard since the 8 wires are all intertwined and can't be easily separated out) and then brought several feet to each camera. I envision this light gauge pair of 

wires lying on the tile or properly supported from above structure on it's way to the camera. It seems this wire will be vulnerable with no jacket and possibly being jerked on

or damaged by other contractors that might be getting into the area. (ie. plumbers, electricians, IT, air handling people, etc). 


Soooo how would you handle this part since I can't see what has been done in the past.?  By the way, I don't want to use RG59 or RG59 Siamese for power because of wanting

to be consistent with what is in place and not having to have the bulk and hassle with 16 heavier cables.  Also for power, I'm hoping to pull another 4 Cat5e cables with a different

color jacket so as to know what part is the video and what part is the power lines. Assuming the 225' of one pair of twisted pairs can provide the needed power over that distance.


Sorry for the lengthy post but may as well get in as much as I can on the question.... Regarding the physical nature of the wire pulling. I would have to start pulling 4 at a time from

the office area by bringing up into the ceiling maybe using this device I discovered in order to protect the cable, the grid and make it pull smoothly. Guess I'm not understanding

how to insert a URL so just google for "Drop Ceiling Grid Wire Pulling Device"....it should give you a hit from "Show Me Cables" that depicts the tool.

I may try to put in supports for the cable to hang from to follow code. Another question here is, since the run of each cable will be of different lengths (as you are closer to the origin with each

closer set of cameras) should you estimate that and then tape on the next shorter cable to the first line to compensate for less wire needed for less distant cameras?

If you use a pulling cord working from the camera location, what do you do to the end of the cable to keep it from snagging on each new grid you come to?


Lastly, since I am semi-retired and working by myself, I can't afford to have 4 or 8 1000' ethernet boxes setting on the floor near the office which would "pay out" the wire

as it is pulled. Obviously I may need about 250' of cable for the most distant run and then maybe 200' for next closer cameras and so on. That would leave me with most 

of the cable still in the boxes which I won't have any use for later. Is there a way to measure out the estimate amounts of each run, then try to rewrap it onto a old spool

or what.... I'm afraid doing that will have some snags to mess up the process as it is hard to get snarly wire onto a spool without several snags as you try to pull it out …. 

Laying it out on the floor probably would be impossible as it would be in the foot traffic area and create a real hazard for anyone walking there.


Any suggestions / advice much appreciated !



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Hi. Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into your install .......but if you ask any installer ......its pays to replace cables as well or someone else's problem becomes yours ..... And it's your time and money.


on a job this size you might save time and money going IP .......no power supplies no HD balun costs no extra power cable costs and you will save install time by a day or more.


what equipment are you thinking of using ?

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Thanks for your reply.... after pecking away a  half hour trying to reply on my iPad... I hit some wrong button and lost everything I had written.... so here we go at the desktop PC.


Here is more of this story.... a few years ago I stumbled across this need at this store of solving some issues they were having with their existing 16 cameras. They had a licensed

electrician working on this and they were unable to resolve the problems. So I offered to help and got the job. Several cameras were dead or intermittent or never worked. 


A few days ago I was in this store and needed to talk to the manager about something I wanted to buy. I was in his office and noticed the monitor with the several cameras.

I said to the manager "btw I was the one that got this setup of cameras working when the electricians gave up on it."  After mentioning this he was interested in having me

consider installing 16 more. I told him I was the only licensed (Power Limited) technician in the area. It is no easy task to acquire this license these days. With the state, you first

have to work under a licensed tech for 3 years before you can even qualify to try and take the difficult test. I know of several unlicensed techs in this business going gang busters

with all the work they have and all the state of the art systems they are installing.


I lost one big job to a, get this, Radio Schack dealer that has multiple stores in other towns. I informed

the client they were dealing with an unlicensed firm and should keep that in mind when they have later issues. They merely said that the firm was properly licensed and didn'tcare what I had to say..... previously I had checked our state's web site that lists all companies and individuals licensed in the state. The places in question did not have a contractor's

license or an individual technician's license so would be in violation of state laws. Penalties can be quite severe... first it would put you out of business since you could no longer

do this work legally until proper licensening was in place. (again at least three years working for a licensed person to even qualify for the test.... no part timing this)... full employment by another

firm...likely not to be even found in a small town. The financial fines also are quite large depending on the conditions. Yet others are getting by and laughing all the way to the bank

while in violation.... even bragging on their Facebook sites about the wonderous work they are doing all over the area.... I'm tempted to "turn them in" but I have compassion so as

not to ruin their livelihood or upset their entire families since their income and place in the community would be gone for years. Years back, I was the victim of an electrical inspector

happening upon a job I was doing... I had my individual license in good standing but didn't know I also needed a contractors license. The inspectors sent a letter to me to 

"cease and desist" from any further work or be subject to going to court. Long story short I got all my ducks in a row and have been fully licensed ever since although not cheap and 

it also requires 16 hours of CE credits every other year, insurance and bonding and license fees on top of all this. Since I'm only semi-retired, I don't care as much but still don't want

anyone to lose their livelihood... if I run across the people person to person, I may inform them of their walking n thin ice.


Back to the issue.... I did get the previous cameras all working. I have no choice in the equipment because an IT person in another city where the headquarters are, chose and ordered

the equipment which was only accidentally discovered in some cupboards in the office here. The equipment is from "Super Circuits" which you may have heard of... .online.

Since there has been several manager changes, this accounts for "dropping the ball" on getting these installed not to mention lack of communications among past and present

managers. So since it has been too long that the stuff was purchased to make any returns, I have to work with what  is here. Good thing about it is that the previous 16 cameras & DVR

will be the same as the stuff to now be installed. At least there will be that consistency about the job. 


I have only done 2 IP type installs that turned out fine since they were "plug n play" . I don't have the training or confidence in setting up a regular network to use IP devices.

So do you have and thoughts about what I said regarding the actual wire pulling procedure?

I was thinking it should be OK to splice twisted pair in an analog application. My new idea is to splice on 4 new shorter Cat5e cables at the branch out point. Here I would select

one color pair and splice to a new length of cable and run one to each camera of the set of 4. That way I would have jacketed (protected) cable. I could solder the splices, tape 

them up and support them. Just cut back the three other pair at the camera to avoid confusion later. Of course this should be no problem when splicing the power wiring.


Still not sure how to set up the various lengths needed from the starting point so as to not have a number of partially used sources....Any ideas?

Did you look at the device that clips on to the ceiling grid corner to protect pulling the cables?


Sorry about the lengthiness of this post again.



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Ok. So you have all licences in place

but you can solder and splice cat5


do you know what type of system they bought 

at a $100 a day for a lift I would look at new cables or your going to find yourself working for nothing 

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I don't understand what you mean about using new cable. Of course new wire will be used for installing the 16 new cameras.

The cameras are HD-TVI 3 megapixel.

Are you being sarcastic about licensing....yes it is a big deal...are you saying the wire can or cannot be spliced with this type camera.

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It’s ok home diyer at home but your doing commercial...... forget splicing and soldering (which is not code)


home run cable is the best option a joint splice solder in any cctv is bad 

also cat5 or coax it’s not like standard analog where cat5 would help on longer runs 

HD analog could involve you reducing camera resolution on cameras over that distance 

16 cat5 video 16cat5 power   That’s 32 at office  coax shotgun only 16 and cleaner 



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