How do I Protect DVRs & Outdoor Cameras from Lightning?

We frequently receive phone calls and emails stating “we have cameras located outside and inside and lightning keeps taking them out!  What do we do?”  Cameras and DVRs monitor the grounds and record activity, and help keep us safe and secure at home and at work. A simple motion setting and email can let you know each and every time someone comes to the door or enters a facility. When programmed correctly the information captured by these systems is invaluable to a home or business.  Reducing potential liability alone is priceless for a business.


When lightning hits a structure or strikes the earth nearby the energy can be induced onto outdoor camera wires that come from inside the home or business.  These copper lines carry the image, sound and power from the DVR or network switch to the camera.  Once lightning energy gets onto these copper lines it looks for ground.  In most cases the energy will travel through DVR’s and Network switches to find the power ground.  This is illustrated in the Transient Protection Design Diagram for protecting camera systems using our TPD-CAM-BNC for BNC connections and TPD-CAT5 and Cat6 for network connections.

Another way lightning can damage camera systems is by creating ground currents (aka ground loops) in the system.  When outdoor cameras are powered remotely, or any camera is powered by a different breaker panel than powers the DVR or network, a nearby lightning strike can produce damaging ground currents within the system.  Parking lots, public garages, storage facilities, and large custom homes with multiple buildings suffer some of the most severe damage from nearby lightning strikes.  This is the result of different ground potentials within the system.  See our Transient Protection Design on Ground Loop Surge Filters for more information on how to protect your business’ or home’s DVR’s and network from damaging ground loops and surges.


Quality TPD surge suppression properly applied will save money for your clients by reducing electrical maintenance costs, reducing downtime, and extending the life of all protected equipment.  Additionally, protecting critical safety systems provides security for the owners and their families or employees, and reduces liability by maintaining the systems at maximum uptime.