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Video Cameras
(Chapter 2   Video Surveillance, Continued)

Maintenance and expected lifespan

After successful installation, the required regular maintenance of a fixed camera is normally to clean the outside lens. Depending on the strength of the camera's mounting and the stability of the structure it is attached to, occasional repositioning of the camera to correct the viewing angle may be required, especially for exterior applications. (It is not unusual to see one or more incorrectly positioned camera scenes on the monitors of an established security communications room because regular maintenance of camera mountings has not been provided for.)

Housings will protect the camera lens from dust and dirt, but the glass front of the housing must be kept clean. Some super housings come with their own wiper blades and wiper fluid dispenser. The dispenser mechanism is activated remotely by an operator to keep the camera scene clear. However, this feature can add to the required regular maintenance as the dispenser must be refilled with fluid as needed.

The dome enclosures for interior ceiling-mounted cameras (usually pan-tilt-zoom cameras) are intended to reveal the presence of a camera but not its current direction or field-of-view. Dust (or mischief) can obscure the view, but otherwise, maintenance is low.

The average lifespan of a modern solid-state camera is greater than 5 years. Many camera failures occur early in a camera's life. This allows for most cameras with defects to be returned during the warranty period.

Cameras do occasionally need repair, so the availability of parts should be considered. This can make a good deal on an older camera system less fortuitous. If a camera unit used in a critical application must be sent away for repair, it is wise to have a backup camera available. Maintenance contracts should always address repair time and the availability of loaner units.

In the absence of a maintenance contract, there are many local repair shops in most medium and large cities. Check the availability of local repair options before you purchase your system. There are several resources for camera maintenance available to customers across the country who are willing to ship their equipment; repair generally takes less than 2 weeks. Most of these resources may be located on the Web.

 



Research Report:   The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools