The Right Tools for Video Installations

The market for video is heating up. The technology is evolving and the marketing channels are changing to keep pace with new vendors, products, and applications appearing on a daily basis. This article contains a sampling of some tools and concepts for you consider. There is much more on the...



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The market for video is heating up. The technology is evolving and the marketing channels are changing to keep pace with new vendors, products, and applications appearing on a daily basis. This article contains a sampling of some tools and concepts for you consider. There is much more on the way. Please do not touch your dial.
One of the most valuable additions to my toolbox was the Fluke Networks TS90 Cable Fault Finder. This product was originally sold by Harris, but is now sold by Fluke Networks, web site http://www.flukenetworks.com/fnet/en-us/products/TS90/Overview.htm.
This tester allows you to troubleshoot for breaks in all types of cable, including coax. It does so by measuring the length of the wire, and giving a numeric display of how long the cable is, in feet up to the break, or the end of the wire. Additionally it will indicate a short circuit on the cable. Finally, it puts out a tone for tracing cables.
It comes with an  easy-to- read red 4” display and is 250VAC, overload protected. It comes in a carrying case that’s easy to attach to something, and the included manual fits in the case. The native connector on the TS90 is a BNC, but it also has a pair of alligator clips for attaching to any type of cable you are testing.

FEATURES
•           Works on any two or more conductor cable up to 2,500 feet (762 meters)
•           Instantly measures distance to open or any fault from one end of any cable pair
•           Patented SmartTone™ tone generator positively identifies pair
•           Measures cable distance on spool
•           Measures constantly while “On”
•           Displays distance reading rather than waveform
•           Large LED screen
•           High voltage detection
•           Moisture proof
•           One-button operation
•           Additional line cord options available for coaxial cable (F-connectors) and other applications

MEASURING & TESTING CABLE
This thing really works. We connected it to known lengths of cable and it was extremely accurate. We frequently used it to compare our estimated wire pull lengths to the actual.
It turned out to be a great learning tool. It helped us to immediately anticipate if we were going to have voltage drop or signal loss.
We also were toning out a lot of cable, since our wire pullers were bringing the camera cables back to a central location without labeling them. Also we often either wanted to verify a cable, or the label was inadvertently cut off as we were trimming and dressing in cables to the DVR head-end.
The toner feature is unique. You place it on the wire and turn it on. At the other end, you use an inductive receiver to listen and isolate the cable carrying the tone. We were toning out multiple cables at once, and the TS90’s tone changes each time you short out the pair to which it is connected so you have positively identified that pair. The unit uses Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) to measure the wire. It uses pulse and the impedance of the wire like Radar. The manual has a listing of wire types, and you set up the TS90 for the type of wire you are working with. We found that the TS90 was accurate even if we had it set wrong. But we only had coax, 2 conductor 22 gauge and 2 conductor 18 gauge for our evaluation.
The TS90 is micro-processor based, sturdily built and easy to use, and I don’t know how I ever did without it, like my trusty Fluke 112 Digital Volt Meter.

terminating
cables
Every cable needs to be properly terminated to the camera on one end and the recording device on the other. For Coaxial cable, the standard termination is the BNC connector. In most cases the cable you install will require a male BNC on either end.
Cameras typically are supplied with a female connector on a short cable sometimes referred to as a ‘whip’. Cameras also have a polarized connector for power. Many cameras are furnished with the complimentary whip which is attached to the Siamese 2 conductor 18 power wires.
On the head-end (the DVR or NVR) you need to also install a male BNC. Power supplies typically terminate in terminal strips, so all that is required is to strip the wire and tighten it down to a terminal block observing polarity if you’re using DC (Direct Current).
There are different coaxial cable ‘constructions’, so the tools and connectors need to be carefully determined before you get to the job. Plenum and non-plenum RG59 and RG6 all have different insulation thicknesses, and your BNC connectors and the tools you use to apply the connectors have to match the wire and the connectors.
You will find a variety of BNC connectors on the market. Some are screw-on, some are soldered and some are compression applied. For temporary installations, the screw-on type is effective to terminate a coax and connect it to a camera or DVR. No special tools are required to apply a screw-on type BNC.
Compression type BNCs use a calibrated die type tool that crushes the ferrule onto the coax cable in two places. I prefer the compression type for permanent installations.
I got my compression tool from Clark Security (www.clarksecurity.com). Clark has a broad line of video cameras, recorders, cable and accessories.
When getting the BNC connectors and compression tool, you need to know the outer diameter of the cable you are going to be using, then get a compression tool and matching BNC connectors.
Some compression tools have die inserts which can be interchanged in the field to accommodate whatever cable and connectors you will be using.
Stripping tools are available for prepping the coax for the BNC connector.
Two of the best vendors are Dolphin Components (http://www.dolphincomponents.com/default.asp) and Gem Electronics (http://www.gemelec.com)
Each vendor has great products and good websites worth visiting. I use products from each vendor. Dolphin is famous for their Beanie type connectors, and alarm oriented accessories such a RJ 31X kits (used for connecting alarm panels to the telephone line) but they also have a broad line of video type connectors.
Gem has a broad line of communications type products including BNC connectors as well as tools and UTP baluns. Each manufacturer has too many products and website resources to adequately describe here, but each has instructions for how to install BNC connectors worth your time to review.
The market for video is heating up. The technology is evolving and the marketing channels are changing to keep pace with new vendors, products, and applications appearing on a daily basis. This article contains a sampling of some tools and concepts for you consider. There is much more on the way. Please do not touch your dial.        

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