One of the most overlooked items in any CCTV system are the BNC connectors used to terminate coaxial video cables. It is easy to take for granted the simplicity of these connectors, but short sighted to treat these parts as though they were equal. It is not only important to use the right connector for your system, but also critical to select the right tools for installation. A little education up front can go a long way in ensuring you get the right BNC connectors for the job, and that they are terminated the right way the first time.
What is a BNC connecter?
BNC connectors are formally known as Bayonet Neill-Concelman connectors, named after the bayonet style twist and lock connection and the last names of the two men who invented them. They were developed in the mid-1940s and patented in the early 1950s. The unique locking system of a BNC connector makes them really the strongest and most durable connector type that exists. Once terminated and installed to devices, the BNC connector is really indestructible.
Questions that need to be addressed when buying BNC connectors:
One of the most critical questions that you need to ask is whether or not you are installing plenum rated cabling. Normal cabling emits toxic gases in the event of a fire. This is not so much a problem with the typical single family home that is more easy to evacuate from, but in a commercial building it poses a problem. These larger buildings often have very sophisticated ventilation systems and toxic fumes from burning cable can spread more easily as a result. Plenum rated cables are made of a material that have a fire-retardant jacket that does not put out nearly as much toxic fumes when it burns. You should always install plenum rated connectors on cabling in the plenum spaces of a building. Special BNC connectors are designed specifically to fit both plenum and non-plenum coaxial cables used in security camera installations.
Are your cabling and its connectors going to be exposed to potentially harsh outdoor conditions? If so, then you should spend the additional money for a quality connector that prevents dust and moisture from getting to the inside of the cable. There are cables designed to use both an interior and exterior compression connection for a weather-tight seal. Whether you choose this or something else, make sure the connectors you install for outdoor use are designed for it. Compression BNC connectors are by far the best connector types used for outdoor security camera installations. The compression BNC connectors provide a 360 degree clamp crimp that will protect the termination from extreme environmental conditions.
Tools and Connector Types
Just as connectors and cable are different, so too are tools used to strip the cable and attach the connector to the end. It is always best to check with your supplier to identify the tools they recommend for your cables and connectors. This allows you to work more efficiently without causing damage to either component.
For ‘quick and dirty’ installations, you can use BNC connector products that do not require tools. These connectors simply twist onto the cable. Teeth inside the connector make contact with the wire inside the cable to provide contact.
The fact that BNC connectors have lasted so long in an industry known for almost constant change and advances in technology is a testament to the superiority of their design. When you install video cable, you ultimately want a system that produces crisp, high quality video images. You owe it to yourself to make sure you take the time to get the right cable, connectors and installation tools before laying down any cable. The extra time you spend up front in educating yourself up front will pay huge dividends later on with a proper installation that you don’t have to do over.
Guest writer Erik Johnson is a seasoned veteran of the CCTV surveillance industry. He provides information for business owners, home owners, and professional installers to ensure they have the most success in their new security camera installation.