CCTV without lighting? Is an illuminator the answer?

A car without an engine, a rowing boat without oars, A train but no tracks. There are many examples but all the above are a complete waste of time without each other. It seems obvious, a no brainer but every year hundreds of businesses buy CCTV systems but ignore the need for lighting.  As with the other items mentioned above, it will be a complete waste of time.

For years CCTV has been sold without taking lighting into consideration or at best dismissing it as something that can be looked into later, an afterthought perhaps.

In reality no one in the industry is unaware of the need for lighting , it’s just easier to push the issue to one side. In the past when all lights were mains driven it was difficult for CCTV installers to add this lighting and certificate it with all the electrical regulation that applied. Often CCTV engineers were unqualified and the cost of lighting often blew out the CCTV budget. So the responsibility was passed to the customer and inevitably it was forgotten.

Forgotten at least until the first time the customer needed to review his night time CCTV images. A mixture of grainy noise combined with intermittent flashes of  headlights and shadows is all that will be seen, certainly there will be no evidence and ultimately disappointment. Even as installers push Dual chip camera technology the pictures are little improved.

The answer to these problems though are here.  LED technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last 5 years. Light output from an illuminator is now way beyond what could have been expected in the past. Add to this the ability to power these units over POE and we have a solution that can be installed extremely easily.

What are the drawbacks? Well the illuminators are relatively expensive compared to halogen lighting, That is of course until you look into on-going costs. Clarius Illuminators are self-cleaning, maintenance free and exceptionally cheap to run. Whereas halogens blow for a pastime burn electricity like an electric fire and the fittings themselves seem to last no longer than a year.

However we have established that a camera without lighting is about as much use as a chocolate teapot so we need to bite the bullet. We need to specify lighting and we need to ensure it is the right light for the right job reducing light pollution.

Let’s look further  into the future. HD CCTV is on the rise. Within the next 15 years there will be more HD cameras out there than analogue but HD CCTV cameras are very light hungry they need to be complimented by illuminators more than today’s cameras.

One final point Illuminators will vary in quality. Do ensure that the choice you make is a wise one , Buy cheap buy twice. Look into illuminators that use POE and chose a proven brand such as Clarius or Raytec.

As we look to the future we envisage night-time CCTV images that will be crisp clear and what is more…of use to the end user when they really need it.

 

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