Why Are My Security Cameras Not Working? Top Reasons & Fixes

Why are my security cameras not working?

Home security systems are enhanced by connecting security cameras, but there are many pieces working in the background that are required for video streaming and video recording to work seamlessly. Here are some of the top reported errors, and potential fixes for those errors.

Is Your Camera Sufficiently Powered?

One of the main reasons that a camera fails to work is an insufficient power source. Power to your camera can be interrupted at various points, from your breaker box to the outlet, a short circuit in your line, or a disconnect from the AC adapter.

If you determine that a faulty power supply is an issue, you can check breakers, test outlets using other devices, and check wired connections to the camera. If the outlet seems faulty, it is recommended that you relocate the camera or consult an electrician.

Before you get out a ladder to check those high-mounted cameras, most security cameras have an LED indicator light. A quick visual check can usually determine that the camera is receiving power. If the light is off, the LED itself has failed, or there is no power being supplied to the camera. Even if the power is present but insufficient, the LED will usually indicate that problem. The colors and patterns displayed vary depending on the device brand, type, and specific model.

Some less obvious power issues may stem from problems with the camera’s internal battery. Sometimes, the camera’s internal battery will be what powers the device, and the external power source continually replenishes the battery. If the battery is expired or damaged, then the battery may require replacement if it is able to be replaced; otherwise, the camera may require replacement.

Is Your Camera’s Signal Strong?

Another resource that a camera requires is a strong signal connection to the internet, as it needs to transmit video, which requires significantly more bandwidth than something like a photo. Just like the power supply, an interruption can occur at many points along the way.

Several physical causes of signal strength degradation include the proximity of the camera to a Wi-Fi source, thick walls or dense materials preventing the passing of Wi-Fi signals, and other electronic devices creating interference.

To rule out that proximity or excess distance between the camera and the Wi-Fi source is not an issue, test the signal strength between the two points. Some ways of doing this are as follows:

  • Move the camera or Wi-Fi router closer to one another.

  • This option is usually not viable, as Wi-Fi routers may be limited to a set room, and although indoor cameras can be versatile, most outdoor cameras and doorbell cameras are mounted in a set location.

  • Use a different device that is Wi-Fi enabled near the same location as the camera, such as a smartphone, which can show the signal strength to the Wi-Fi router.

  • Consult your Wi-Fi router’s manual for optimal signal range, as well as your camera’s specifications for maximum range.

If you determine that the issue is related to proximity, and if both the Wi-Fi router and the wireless security camera are fixed to their locations, consider extending the range with either a second router or a Wi-Fi extender, also known as a repeater.

Like weaker signal strength degradation coming from excess distance, dense materials, such as concrete walls, can pose a challenge for a Wi-Fi signal. The symptoms might be the same as the proximity issues described above, but the obvious difference is that, while distance should pose no problem, there is more than just drywall between the Wi-Fi source and the camera causing the deficiency.

To overcome challenges with dense materials, consider the relative placement of your Wi-Fi router and security camera. If the camera is outdoors, placing a router box closer to the window can improve the chance of a stable signal.

Finally, signal strength issues, especially intermittent issues, can be caused by devices with similar frequencies overlapping or competing for bandwidth. Cameras require a fair amount of bandwidth, which, if reduced because there is high internet traffic, you might experience lag, frame rate dropping, or outages. This can occur when there is high internet traffic on your Wi-Fi, as well as heavy usage of internet resources in your service area, Like internet traffic, the signals used by security cameras might be competing with other devices on a similar frequency. Such other devices can include cell phones, wireless headsets, remote controls, and a myriad of other electronics which use radio frequencies. Reducing the quality of your recordings can help reduce the demand placed on your device to continually upload high quality video, which can help to alleviate issues stemming from high-demand traffic. Changing the recording quality from 4K to a lower resolution, such as on an Alarm.com camera, might result in improved performance. This is a configuration change, and there are a variety of ways that settings and credentials can affect your video camera’s performance.

Is Your Camera Properly Paired With Your Network?

We’ve ruled out power issues and signal issues. Now, let’s explore some other settings that can prevent you from displaying videos or recording clips.

Usually, you will only need to concern yourself with connecting the camera to your network when you acquire a new camera, change internet providers, or use a new or different Wi-Fi router, but the same steps might need to be repeated if a device has been factory reset, or if the camera has mistakenly been deleted from your network.

The first step to connecting your camera to your network is to ensure the camera is connected to your internet. Currently, it is most common for security cameras to connect via Wi-Fi, so we will only focus on these. You can usually connect a camera to your home’s network via WPS mode or AP mode. Instructions for initiating these modes are dependent on your camera, your Wi-Fi router, and the software you will use to manage your system.

A behavior that limits the delivery of video to a user, even if your camera is triggered to record, is your firewall settings. To remedy an issue involving a firewall, it is recommended that you consult your internet service provider.

Other issues with inconsistent performance can be caused by outdated, or incompatible firmware versions. Companion software used to manage your devices may include the option to check and update your firmware; otherwise, it is recommended to consult your security monitoring company for assistance in updating your devices firmware.

What Triggers Do You Have to Set Up for Your Camera?

Whether the malfunction you are experiencing is an absence or excessive of recordings and notifications, you may need to update the triggers for your video camera. Triggers are rules that dictate when a notification or a recording should be generated.

Triggers have a high amount of customization. For example, you can eliminate street and sidewalk activity captured by your doorbell, focusing on only visitors that approach your doorstep. You can omit recordings or notifications when you are home or limit the types of notifications you get overnight.

Another way you can refine what triggers your cameras is by opting for Video Analytics through your security monitoring company. You can use Video Analytics to identify people, pets, and vehicles, choosing to omit other types of motion in the background, such as trees moving in the breeze.

If you notice an absence of recordings or notifications, your rules may be too strict, omitting activity about which you would probably prefer to be informed. If you are receiving an excess quantity of irrelevant recordings or notifications, you may want to put more limits in place.

Do You Have Enough Cloud Storage for Your Videos?

Another issue that may result in your camera suddenly no longer recording is in reaching a limit on available space. This can apply to local storage, such as a Micro SD card inside the camera or a connected DVR device. This can also apply to cloud storage limits, which depend on the service you use to store your uploaded video clips.

If you exceed your cloud storage space, you may be able to delete some of your recordings to free up space; however, if there is an upload limit, then clearing out space will not do anything to reset the number of uploads you can have.

Upload limits are usually a monthly limit and are based on your service level. You should review your service level if you exceed the clip limit or if you are adding a new video camera to your system.

What services are available to assist with security camera integration, troubleshooting, and security footage options?

Given the numerous challenges that can afflict your security camera with failure, it’s often best to work with a company that can properly diagnose the cause and work with you on a solution. Professional security monitoring and technical expertise go hand in hand, and selecting the right company can ensure that you are future proofing your investment. Contact us today to get started with a Brinks Home Security Consultant.

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