You are here: Home > Support & Knowledge Base > Security Camera Cable Information and Installation Instructions

Security Camera Cable Information and Installation Instructions

The two types of cables used for the installation of Security Cameras and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are Plug and Play Cables (PnP) and RG59 Coax Siamese cable. Each type of Camera Cable has positives and negatives about them which is disussed below.

NEW! We have updated CCTV wire and cable guides available here.


Plug and Play Cables

Plug and Play Cables (PnP) are very easy to use. They are much like the standard Audio/Video RCA cables used to hook up stereo and television equipment. The connector ends for power, video and audio are all pre-attached and color coded. Red is for power, yellow for video, and white for audio (sometimes not used). The below image shows one end of a set PnP Cables.

Plug and Play cables come in 25, 65, 100, 150, and 200 foot lengths. You should decide is which cable length is best for your installation. One downside to using plug and play cables is that the cables are not heavily shielded (like RG59 Siamese Cable) so you may experience interference on lines that are run over long distances. We recommended that you do not use PnP cables longer than 150 feet. Another downside is that the cables are not custom cut to the exact length from your DVR to Security Camera.

All of the DVRs and Security Cameras that we supply have BNC female connections, which is why we supply RCA to BNC Male converters with all of our Surveillance Systems that come with Plug and Play cables (2 converters for each cable is supplied). The audio and video connectors (white and yellow) on the ends of Plug and Play cables are RCA male. When attaching a PnP cable to Security Cameras and DVRs, you must first attach an RCA to BNC connector to each end of the Video RCA (yellow). This can be seen in the below image.

The power cable connectors (red) on the Plug and Play cables contain a male lead on one end and a female lead on the other. The Security Cameras that we supply come with a female power lead, so the male end of the Plug and Play Cable attaches to the Security Camera. The female end will attach to the camera power supply. The Camera power supply then plugs into a wall outlet or power strip.

RG59 Coax Siamese Cable
RG59 Siamese Cable contains a video coaxial cable and a pair of 18 guage power cables in one jacket. RG59 is a heavily shielded cable which is better insulated against interference and better to use when there is a long distance to run between your Security Cameras and DVR. RG59 is also more durable than PnP Cables. RG59 cable can be cut to the exact distance between each Security Camera and your DVR. The disadvantages are that RG59 does not contain an audio cable and installation is not as easy as the Plug and Play Cables because of the special tools needed and requirement to cut and fit each cable run.

When you order a Surveillance System from us with RG59 cable, we include 2 BNC Male Twist-On Connectors for each Security Camera contained in the Surveillance System. After the length of a cable is cut to run a Camera, a BNC Male Twist-On must be attached to each end of the cable before connecting the Security Camera to the DVR. A stripping tool must be used to expose the RG59 cable before installing the twist-on.

If you order a Surveillance System with RG59 Cable, we include one 3" PT-3 Male Connector for each Security Camera contained in the System. The PT-3 Connectors are used to attached the 18 guage power cable to each Security Camera. This can be done by using a pair of electric wire nuts. The PT-3 wire with the white stripe is the positive and should be attached to the red 18 guage wire on the RG59 Cable. All Security Cameras include a female power connection. After you attach the PT-3 to the RG59 power cable, the PT-3 lead plugs into the female power connection of each Security Camera.

If you order a Surveillance System with RG59 Cable and without a Power Supply Box, then you need to attach the Power Supplies that your Security Cameras come with to the power wires of the RG59 cable. This is done by cutting the Camera power supply with wire cutters about 3 inches from the camera connector. The two wires that are left should be slightly separated and stripped using a electrical wire stripper tool or cutter and attached to the RG59 Power cables using electrical wire nuts, as shown to the right.
Security Camera Power Supply Boxes

Power Supply Boxes provide a convenient way to neatly provide power to all of your Security Cameras from a centralized supply. Instead of managing multiple power outlets and surge protectors to individually plug all of your Security Camera power supplies into, power supply boxes allow you to centrally manage power to up to 18 Cameras from a single box. Individual Camera power supplies are not needed when using RG59 cable and a power box. The power cables on the RG59 cable plug directly into the power box.