Connecting Multiple Wired Cameras

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Questions

How can I connect multiple wired cameras?

Answer

In a wireless system, all the cameras send their video signals to a single unit (the video receiver), and that unit connects to your monitoring device (television, VCR, computer, etc). Wired cameras are designed to wire directly into the video device. Thus, to make a multiple wired camera system work, some extra hardware is needed.

Y-Cables

The first, cheapest approach is to get several RCA Y-cables, which have an RCA connector at one end, and two (or more) on the other. Use the cables to 'splice' (connecting each to a camera and to the next Y-cable) the separate wired camera connectors to the video input jack on your television, VCR, etc. Alternatively, you might be able to find a video splitter box, which works exactly the same way, but the Y-cables are enclosed in a box. With the cameras all connected this way, the system switches between cameras in the same way a wireless system does. Note that this approach will not work with the Vanguard or Sentinel cameras.

Switch

A second approach is to use a video switch (or video selector). This will allow you to see one camera feed and change cameras. Video selectors are commonly available in electronics stores as a way of hooking up multiple DVD/VCR/video game systems to a home entertainment center. Using a video switch is not recommended, because it is the ONLY way to switch between cameras. X10 remote controls, motion detectors, and software will not be able to cycle between them using X10 Commands. This is the least flexible option.

Multiplexer

Lastly, you can use what is called a multiplexer, or sometimes a quad processor. This has multiple video inputs and a single output, much like a video switch. Unlike it, though, the multiplexer will take your multiple video signals and combine them into a 'split-screen' format. A multiplexer is the only way to view multiple live images simultaneously on the same television, computer, etc. However, you will not be able to make a single camera go full-screen unless you push a button on the multiplexer.

If you are using a multiplexer with the NightWatch or Anaconda cameras, set all of those cameras to the same House and Unit code. Select a House and Unit code used nowhere else in your system. Set the multiplexer to view all cameras at once and not to change from this view.

If you are using a PC, tell it that you have just one camera at yet another unused House and Unit code. If any cameras turn off, unplug then replug their power supplies from the wall.