what happens if you unplug a security camera

Wondering what happens if you unplug a security camera?

The CCTV (security) cameras work by taking a sequence of images, then transmitting them to a receiver, enabling an individual to observe real-time video footage.

But the question is what happens when you unplug a security camera, and whether it will continue recording?

When you unplug a CCTV camera from the security system it will stop working regardless of the current operational mode. In case the CCTV system (DVR) contains a backup battery, even when disconnected from the power, the cameras will still work.

Now when you’ve got a basic idea of what happens when a CCTV camera is disconnected, let’s proceed with learning more about how they work.

About CCTV Cameras?

about cctv cameras

The CCTV standing for “closed-circuit television” also known as video surveillance is a 24/7 monitoring system.

Wired or wireless, the goal of these cameras remains to provide the user with live video monitoring all of the time.

Like any other device, the security cameras require power to operate but there are different types of systems. 

You could be having a standalone hardwired security camera or a hardwired + backup battery CCTV camera.

The purpose of this backup battery is to deliver power when the main source is disconnected.

This way the security is taken one step further so you can record even when there is a power outage or something else is preventing the main power source from delivering.

Note: You should understand whether your CCTV camera system is standalone hardwired or also contains a backup battery.

How To Stop CCTV Cameras Recording?

stop recording

The main purpose of CCTV cameras is to record all of the time.

However, there is usually a wide range of options to create schedules and record only at a specific time, on motion (heat) detection, or simply on standby.

With most security camera systems, there would be an indication that the camera is recording on the monitoring screen.

There could be a letter “C” on one of the edges or simply a word starting “recording”, to help you understand what is the current camera operation.

To stop a severance camera from recording, you should go to the settings and click on “Stop Recording”.

In addition, you should uncheck all of the days so the camera won’t automatically start to record when it’s rebooted.

Note: Your CCTV camera will still work after stopping the recording. To disconnect the unit entirely, keep reading.

How To Disconnect CCTV Camera?

disconnect cctv

In the previous heading, you’ve learned how to stop the camera’s recording.

It’s now time to learn how to disconnect the camera entirely from the system.

The security cameras usually have two cables connected to the CCTV system.

The first one is the power cable, which delivers electricity and the other one is the data cable sending the feed from the camera to the monitoring station.

By disconnecting any of the two cables your camera will be powered OFF and will no longer record.

It’s only necessary to disconnect the power cable to turn OFF the camera, so you won’t have to re-insert the data cable as well when you’re ready to start the system again.

  • The male BNC connector (DATA) can be disconnected by twisting and pulling out from the female connector on the DVR.
  • The power cable can be disconnected only by pulling it out.
Tip: Instead of unplugging the power cable at the DVR entries, you can simply disconnect the power adapter from the power outlet.

What Happens if You Unplug a Security Camera?

what happens when unplugged

What happens to your CCTV cameras will remain unanswered until you understand what type of security system there is.

As we’ve previously mentioned, there are two types of CCTV systems and both react differently when the power is cut.

This is why we’re going over both scenarios and will explain what happens in case your system has a backup battery and what happens without one:

When Disconnecting a Wired CCTV Camera

With CCTV systems that are only wired, without a backup battery, when disconnecting them from the power, the device will turn off completely.

It does not matter in what operational mode they were in (recording or standby), without a backup battery, the device will turn off.

Most wired cameras will store their settings and once recommended they will start working like it was prior to being disconnected.

Some more-expensive models of CCTV will also send a notification via email or text such as – a problem with power or video error.

When Disconnecting Battery-Powered CCTV Cameras

unplug a cctv camera

For users with CCTV cameras that contain a backup battery the case of disconnecting is rather different.

Depending on the battery and how long it can last, the recording will continue even after the power has been cut off.

However, once the backup battery gets low, the cameras will stop recording and eventually turn OFF.

The cameras are connected to your CCTV system and without the DVR working, the cameras will not record anything.

Note: When the DVR is not working, the cameras will not work as well.

Who Can Disconnect CCTV Cameras?

Many people are concerned about their security and how their CCTV cameras operate to understand whether someone from the outside can turn them OFF.

However, it’s not easy. Of course, the owner of the CCTV system can disable the CCTV cameras with ease.

who can disconnect cctv

As we’ve previously explained it’s enough to disconnect the DVR from the power, stop the system from the settings, or hit the ON/OFF switch on the CCTV system.

CCTV Security Against Theft

In case you’ve heard about “CCTV camera jamming”, yes it does exist and it’s a common practice among burglars to disable cameras.

The way it works is simple.

Burglars will use a more robust signal on the same frequency level of your camera to prevent the camera from recording for a certain amount of time.

Another way would be to simply disconnect the cables of the camera since both the indoor and outdoor units have cables connected.

You can prevent such an attack by contacting home security professionals to install equipment that can set your camera to a unique frequency and bypass the “jamming”.

When the CCTV camera is disconnected from the power, it will either completely turn OFF or continue recording in case the security system (DVR) contains a backup battery. In case you disconnect the camera from the DVR, the camera will stop working/recording regardless.

Read Next: Can Wireless Cameras Work Without Internet?

Last Thoughts:

Now when you know what happens if you unplug a security camera you are free to determine what is the best option for your project.

Whether you want to move your cameras or reposition the entire DVR, downtime will be necessary.

However, most cameras will renew their work and remember ALL settings, immediately after they are connected back.

We hope that this post was helpful and if you’re looking for more security camera guides, make sure to check our online technical blog for all the answers you’re looking for.

Nicole B