Installing security cameras often requires running cables over long distances to connect cameras to the recording system and power supply. But how far can you go before signal degradation becomes an issue? This guide examines the maximum distances for transmitting analog CCTV video and power to cameras using coaxial copper cable.
Maximum Distances for Analog CCTV Video Transmission
The most commonly used cable type for analog CCTV video transmission is RG59 coaxial cable. According to standards from Amphenol, RG59 can transmit an analog video signal up to 700 feet (213 meters) over 75-ohm coaxial cable before signal amplification is required.
Exceeding this maximum distance without a video amplifier will result in reduced image quality and visibility. Visual artifacts like ghosting, noise, and distortion will start to appear as the signal degrades.
To extend transmission distance, CCTV installers need to insert a video amplifier at regular intervals along the cable run. For example, the AT-1001 allows transmission up to 3000 feet (914 meters) by amplifying the signal every 1000 feet. Using multiple amplifiers enables analog CCTV video to be transmitted over very long distances up to 10 miles (16 km).
Maximum Distances for Power Transmission
The maximum distance that power can be transmitted to a CCTV camera depends on:
- Voltage – Higher voltages like 24VAC can be transmitted further than lower 12VDC voltages
- Current draw – Cameras that draw more power in amps have a shorter maximum distance
- Cable gauge – Thicker cables have less voltage drop over distance
For example, using a 22 AWG 2-conductor cable:
- 12VDC can be transmitted ~100 feet (30 meters)
- 24VAC can go ~175 feet (53 meters)
Refer to a CCTV voltage drop calculator to determine the exact maximum distance based on your camera power requirements. Heavier gauge cables like 18 AWG can transmit power over longer runs up to 700 feet (213 meters) for 12VDC.
Key Considerations When Running Long Cable Distances
When running CCTV cabling over long distances, it is best practice to:
- Use pre-made RG59 Siamese (video + power) cable to save on labor costs
- Install video amplifiers every 700-1000 feet to boost the analog CCTV video signal
- Verify that cable gauges are sufficient for power transmission using voltage drop calculators
- Test cable runs after installation to check video quality and camera functionality
Following these guidelines allows security camera installers to create reliable CCTV systems with cameras placed exactly where needed regardless of the distance.