CCTV (closed circuit television) installations are a line of defense that companies and individuals employ to increase the security of a building or home through remote surveillance of selected areas. Depending on the premises, the number of camera installations required may range from one to one hundred, or more. Most configurations will include a DVR (digital video recorder) for storing footage, and sometimes monitors and computers for viewing live feeds in a particular location. With the cameras set up in separate areas, installers may need to run between the video feed and camera in order to fine tune the settings. CCTV testers, also known as LCD field monitors or CCTV field monitors, offer installers an ideal solution that enables them to view the video feed from a camera in real time, as well as calibrate and troubleshoot based on the additional features they provide.
The most basic feature of a CCTV tester is an LCD screen, usually between 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches (diagonal), which allows installers to view the camera feed on the spot. Additional features for video calibration may include video test patterns, brightness/contrast/saturation adjustments, video signal intensity testing, and support for PAL and/or NTSC video. Some testers are capable of providing power to the camera, often up to 12VDC, enabling installers to mount and focus cameras in the optimal spot before running power cables.
Other functions a CCTV installer might require in a CCTV tester or in a separate device are: a multimeter, pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) control, and a network/coaxial cable tester/tracer. The multimeter can usually verify that the camera is receiving the correct amount of AC or DC power and check the resistance of a cable. PTZ cameras enable remote directional and zoom control, which, depending on the type of camera, could be controlled by RS485, RS232, software, or web interface, amongst other options. With PTZ control on a CCTV tester, users can bench test or set up a camera without any additional equipment. Cable testers are great for troubleshooting cables for shorts and miswires. Some also include a cable tracer, making it easy to locate the other end of a cable during installations.
Regardless of additional features, most CCTV testers are compact and portable devices that allow easy field calibration, testing, and troubleshooting of CCTV installations. Higher-end units tend to support more functions, thus reducing the need to acquire and operate multiple devices for a single job. Video Products Inc (VPI) offers a selection of CCTV testers that can simplify the installation and troubleshooting process.
VPI's TESTER-CCTV-W CCTV Tester with Wrist Strap displays NTSC/PAL video on a 2.5 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 480x234. Users can adjust the brightness and color of the video feed on the spot. The unit runs on a 3.7V Li-ion polymer battery and boasts a runtime of up to four hours. Secured by a wrist strap, the unit enables easy and hands-free installations without the hassle of running between a camera and DVR located in separate areas.
The TESTER-CCTV-P Professional CCTV Tester and Multimeter is a multifunction device for CCTV installations and maintenance. With the ability to display video on a 3.5 inch TFT-LCD 960x240 screen and supply 12V DC power, cameras can be set up on the spot without having to run power cables or move between locations. The unit can generate seven forms of PAL/NTSC color bar patterns and adjust LCD brightness, contrast, and color saturation for video calibration. The built-in cable tester can test LAN (local area network) cables for connection status and display the wire sequence.
TESTER-CCTV-P also provides PTZ control and supports more than twenty PTZ protocols, such as PELCO-D/P, Panasonic, and Samsung. Its digital multimeter not only checks the voltage, current and resistance of cables, but can also test for electrical continuity and diode function, and confirm capacitance of a capacitor. The unit supports RS232, RS485, and RS422 interfaces, and baud rates ranging from 150 to 19,200 bps. RS485 data can be captured and displayed for convenient troubleshooting. Requiring only a 3.7V Li-ion battery, the unit possesses a runtime of up to 12 hours. With multiple features consolidated into a single device, the TESTER-CCTV-P is ideal for a wide range of applications.
CCTV testers provide a quick and convenient way to test, calibrate, and troubleshoot CCTV installations. VPI's selection of testers is suitable for both simple and extensive configurations, making them an essential addition to any professional's toolkit.