Common Reasons & Solutions For Video Loss With Security Cameras

When you set up surveillance cameras it’s because you need to keep an eye on things. Either internally in your organization or externally on your property. So, it can be a big deal if those cameras stop working. And it’s important to find out why and to find out quickly.

We’ve put together a list of the most likely reasons why you might have a loss of video signal on your CCTV security cameras and systems and DVR camera systems. We also give you the tips for where to look to fix those problems quickly and efficiently and get you up and running.

What does video loss look like?

Sometimes a CCTV system loses video feeds on one or more cameras, a camera gets a loose connection, goes black at night or gets no video with a camera showing a black screen. Sometimes the camera video flickers, shows a lined screen and monitor or the DVR gets no picture or signal from the camera. As you can see there are a lot of potential issues that can surface in the operation of your system.

Let’s take a look at top offenders.

Reason #1: Insufficient Power

Let’s be clear. This is different than a power outage. This is a situation where there is not enough power resulting in video signal loss, a camera going black or camera video flickering on and off. Here are some common reasons for insufficient power supply:

  • Loose cable connections
  • PoE switch or PoE injector not working
  • Cable is too long, or one cable is supplying too many cameras at once
  • Faulty power cables (old, damaged, degraded)

What’s the fix?

  • Double-check all power connections, power splitters, cable connectors to exclude connection issues
  • Switch ports to make sure the DVR/NVR port is providing power to the cameras
  • Connect the cameras directly to the NVR instead of via a PoE in case the PoE switch could be supplying insufficient power. This is because PTZ cameras and IR cameras require more electricity.
  • Try using shorter BNC or Ethernet cables to power cameras and avoid using low-quality extension cables or extension cords.
  • If you are using battery-powered cameras, make sure the battery is not dead or the solar charger is blocked.

Reason #2: Power Spike & Interference

A power spike can be an awful problem for a system. It is likely to cause a sudden video loss, total black screens or vertical lines as well as serious damage to the cameras circuit boards or other components. Here’s how that can happen:

  • Mounting the cameras to a metal/conductive surface
  • Lightning strikes
  • Electrical current interference from nearby electrical equipment

What’s the fix?

  • Use power and lightning surge protectors to protect your equipment
  • UPS (uninterruptible power supply) units will protect your equipment from power outages
  • Use a block of wood in between if there’s no non-metal surface for mounting your cameras

Reason #3: Weak WiFi Connection or Low Bandwidth

Video loss or weak video signal on security cameras on a wireless network segment could be caused by unstable network connections, a weak WiFi connection or low internet bandwidth. Here are some reasons why:

  • The camera(s) are too far away from the home router
  • There are too many physical barriers between your camera and the router
  • WiFi signal interruption and interference

What’s the fix?

  • Move your cameras closer to the router if possible (or your router closer to the cameras if not)
  • Choose the right channel (some routers can emit 2.4 and 5 ghz signals)
  • Avoid physical barriers (walls, trees, etc.)
  • Use a WiFi range extender)
  • Reconnect BNC connector and unplug PoE switch to troubleshoot video loss on analog and IP PoE cameras
  • Cameras on a wireless network segment, check network and possible network interruption
  • For cellular security cameras, make sure the SIM care is properly inserted and data is not maxed out.

Reason #4: Faulty IR Night Vision

One of the main reasons many security cameras are installed is to keep an eye on things at night when the business is closed and unoccupied. The building is dark inside and out and the need for IR night vision cameras is essential. So not having working IR night vision is a big hassle. Here are some of the problems:

  • You don’t have an IR camera installed
  • Faulty IR sensor
  • Forgot to turn on the IR

What’s the fix?

  • Check the settings on your NVR/DVR to make sure the IR is on
  • Use external IR illuminators or a floodlight

Reason #5: Signal Type & Compatibility

If your DVR or NVR is showing video loss or no video it may be because that your system is not able to decode the video stream of different brands of cameras. What may be the problem?

  • Cameras and NVR/DVR aren’t compatible
  • Camera with a 5MP or 4MP are not compatible with NVRs and DVRs that decode 1080p cameras
  • Some DVRs can’t decode from older CCTV cameras

What’s the fix?

  • Consult a local technician
  • Use the same brand of DVR/NVR as your cameras

Reason #6: Problems with Cabling or Wires

BNC cables or ethernet network cables, to some extent, could have an impact on the functionality of security cameras. This is especially true of analog CCTV cameras, which could suffer a greater risk of video loss or signal loss than PoE cameras. Some causes could be:

  • Hardwired (analog, PoE) cameras can get twisted or bent cables

What’s the fix?

  • Check every inch of the writing—no frayed wires, cuts, bends, chews
  • If necessary, try replacing the cabling

Reason #7: Hardware and Firmware Problem

If you’ve ruled out everything else but still haven’t fixed the problem, it may just be that your NVR/DVR or surveillance cameras are in a bad way. Some of these potential causes may be:

  • Old or bug-ridden firmware
  • Firmware needs an update

What’s the fix?

  • Update your firmware (USE CAUTION: updating firmware without thorough understanding of the update could create more problems than it fixes!)
  • Replace your cameras with a new, quality system

What this is about is your peace of mind. The reason you installed the system in the first place. Isn’t it worth the effort to make sure it’s the best possible system and working for you 24/7? Sure, you can cut corners on low-quality cameras and there are a lot out there that seem like good money-saving ideas. But if you’re constantly dealing with connection issues and pixelated video, video loss, program errors and more, haven’t you created more stress for yourself, not less? High-quality and trusted video surveillance products not only provide you with reliable products but also long-term stability and reassurance.

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