Have Questions about Installation? Get in here.
I’ve looked through the posts about installation (especially for the PoE camera system) and consolidated some tips. Hope this post helps. And big thanks to co-creators and all inspirers in Reddit.
a. Bench test your camera with the short network cables (coming with cameras). Set them up and see if they work.
b. And plan camera placement beforehand. RJM_50 does a detailed video before on this topic: https://www.reddit.com/r/reolinkcam/comments/qrefql/basic_camera_planning_for_best_security_coverage/.
He planned his security camera placement with a satellite photo. And I think the key point of his plan is overlapping. In this way, the criminal walked up to one camera, and he will be recorded in 2 or 3 or more cameras. Even if he vandalizes 1 camera, you can still have his footage. This is much safer.
Also, you need to consider laws or neighborhood regulations about outdoor security camera. It varies from state to state. You need to check it.
c. Basically, there are 2 kinds of PoE cameras. One is bullet. The body of Reolink bullet camera can be rotated like this. So you can install it on the wall, under the eave, or on a pole.
Another is turret/dome camera. Like the bullet cam, you can rotate the body and the lens to install it under the eave and on the wall.
Where to install
Normally, you need security cameras to cover your front door (back door and any entry doors), driveway, garage, back yard and both sides of your house. Usually, the cameras are placed 8' to 10’ from the ground.
What tools and things you will need
a. More Ethernet cables or cables of other colors
Depending on the structure and décor of your house and how you wire.
You need to decide the location of the cameras and NVR and how you wire first (the detail is in the following), and estimate how long the cables you need.
The network cable for one camera in Reolink system is gray and 60 feet long. And frew425 said for 3 cameras, he used about 200' of cable. And ashenfang7404 said for 8 cameras that are installed in a 2-floor house, he used about 800’ of cable total. So you may need buy more cables. Always buy more than you need in case you make mistakes.
Also note that if you plan to run Ethernet cable outside (without a conduit), you should get outdoor rated cables. Another thing is trying to get cables that are pure copper wires (might be more expensive) but less risk of issues than CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum) cables.
b. RJ45 connector, RJ45 crimping tool and wire stripper (only for cat5/6 cable)
To help you terminate the Ethernet cable.
c. Junction box
It can help you collect and protect Ethernet cables and pigtail cord. Reolink sells junction boxes and of course there are more options (like Merenzao’s installation in the following part “Conduit”) in Amazon and Home Depot.
If the cables are exposed to elements or run underground, it’s better to hide them in PVC/metal conduits. This can prevent cables from being cut by criminals. You can also paint them to fit your décor or make them invisible.
More pics to show Merenzao’s installation:
livingwaterRed also put a piece of conduit in the hole, caulked around the edges and fed the cable out to the camera. He put some insulation in the conduit and added a little more caulk to seal the outside.
e. Cable clips
They can keep wires tidy. Like this:
Credit: Sterling Charles in Facebook group.
f. Fish tape
If you run wires in the attic to the outside soffit and you have a lot of insulation to go through, a fishing tape is a must.
g. Cable ties
Can be used to make the NVR wires clean.
h. Waterproof couplers
In the event you do have to splice wire together, these waterproof couplers work great.
If you drill a hole in soffit, you can use it to provide a reliable seal.
j. Ladder, drill, goggles, mask, gloves, headband battery light etc.
These tools help you install cameras or enter the attic safer and easier.
I suggest that you think over the whole process of the installation and prepare all tools and things you need before installation.
How to wire
The most popular way to wire may be through the attic and soffit.
ashenfang7404 said he fished all 8 Ethernet cables up the wall from NVR and into attic where they individually branched out to each camera location. The cables exit to the exterior through the soffit and then run down (house is two story) the pockets of the corner siding. Some cameras weren’t near the corner. On those he just ran the cable horizontally, tucked up under the siding to where they needed to go.
Please note that entering an attic is not easy. You need to step on the wooden trusses. Bring the light with you. Entering an attic in summer is hot. Make sure that you check the tips like this and be careful.
Recommended video and post of real installation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osNnMjEhmZw&t=454s by Carson Miller
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOTXuNNs3xg by GeekSmart “the most “real” installation video”
https://www.reddit.com/r/reolinkcam/comments/prk5bz/waterproofing_the_12v_and_reset_buttons/hdnzcg0/?context=3 by u/WestSignificance1805
As mentioned above, you can use conduit to protect wires outside. But if you don’t want it that way, you can tuck the cable up under the siding or soffit vents or something, which would help.
The second way to wire is to run cables underground. Please check YouTuber Home Tech DIY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O6UUl2AOjY&t=675s. The wires go out through a hole, into conduit, through trench and back into the conduit up the pillar. The cameras are installed at the top of the pillar. He also uses patch panel to make future wiring easier.
Before drilling: learn how to terminate the end of network cable. This can make the drill much smaller.
Basically, there are 3 ways to drill.
1. If you don’t want to use a junction box and just install the camera directly on the soffit or wall, you need to drill a large 3/4" hole and stuff the camera pigtail cord in there.
2. Or get a junction box to hide the pigtail cord in there. In this way, you can drill a smaller hole (3/16") for network cable going through. It’s much easier. You can try drilling a test hole in a scrap piece of wood first to find out if it works for you.
3. If the large hole and junction box are not for you, you can fix the pigtail cord and block it with a little tape and seal it with hot glue to prevent water leakage.
4. If you are running Ethernet cables to the harder reach area of your house where you might put another camera (e.g., a PTZ in addition to a stationary bullet) in the future, save yourself the headache and run both cables there now.
And of course, you can hire low voltage installers to help you do these things. Maybe cost you $50-$75 per drop.
That’s all. Hope this post helps you. If you have more suggestions, share your brilliant installation, or find the fault, just tell me in the comment! I will keep update this post.