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Troubleshooting Surveillance Equipment - A CCTV Toolbelt - April 18, 2011

Troubleshooting Surveillance Equipment - A CCTV Toolbelt - April 18, 2011

Troubleshooting Surveillance Equipment - A CCTV Toolbelt
By Christian M Gillman

Whether you are a professional surveillance installer or just an IT manager watching over your companies surveillance system; there are a few tools available that should almost always be in your arsenal to troubleshoot equipment failures. Lets look at a few key tools that will help keep a surveillance system up and running.

Before we continue however please note that a majority of these tools wouldn't be necessary for smaller home type surveillance systems to have. They would be better suited for larger systems or helping professionals troubleshoot multiple installations.

A Quality Crimp Tool

If you are a professional surveillance installer this is a must as you will most likely be designing custom CCTV cable runs for your clients and need to cut specific lengths. Now when talking about high quality you will most likely want to look for a crimp tool that feels like it is made of a sturdy and durable metal, and then you will want to make sure it can crimp the various types of CCTV cables you will be dealing with.

Depending on the type of installations you do; you may end up needing two different crimp tools; one for various coax cables such as RG59, RG6, etc... (CHV-1011), and then a second one for network cables such as CAT 6, CAT 5, etc.... Sometimes you may be able to find one crimp tool with all of this combined into one. Be careful when dealing with these however, as they may sacrifice quality in their construction to be able to fit all of the various crimps.

Spare Connectors & Cable

Having a few spare crimp connectors and a few spare cables around is always a good idea. This way if one of the cables in your surveillance system or a customers happens to go bad you are prepared. Furthermore this can make it a quick trip to the faulty hardware, and in no time flat you're fixed and ready to go with a new cable or maybe just a new connector.

Diagnostic Test Meter

A diagnostic test meter is a tool mainly applicable to professional surveillance installers; however a company with a large surveillance system may want one as well for quick troubleshooting. A diagnostic test meter such as the VM-417 is a piece of equipment that allows someone to fine tune their system to exact specifications. By providing an analysis of peak to peak video levels, luminance measurements, and accurate focus readings in a surveillance system; the installer or person troubleshooting the system can quickly adjust and tune their equipment to perfection.

Portable Test Monitor

Have a video loss somewhere in your surveillance system? By having a portable test monitor handy (EN220) you can quickly check all of your security camera sources and wires to find out where the problem is occurring and get it straightened out. By being portable it eliminates the need for wire driven power sources to be present; thus allowing you to quickly jump from location to location and continue troubleshooting.

MISC Tools

For general surveillance system users and the large installers alike it may be a good idea to also have a few of the more basic tools always on hand. Tools such as a couple basic screwdrivers, an Allen wrench set, and some form of cutting tool (for cable management) would be handy to have in most basic troubleshooting scenarios.

Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 6 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at

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