Conduit or Not?

CaseyJones

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Looking for advice on whether the hassle, appearance and cost of running conduit on the outside of a residential install is worth it? I recently purchased a 16ch PoE system and I'm about to install 14 PoE cameras using Cat 6. I've been debating whether it's worth running all the Cat 6 for all 14 cameras through PVC conduit. I already purchased a 1000ft run of non UV rated, interior rated Cat 6. I understand that in my climate the rain, heat and sunlight will shorten the lifespan of the cable. But I'm curious if the time, trouble and cost of running conduit is worth it versus replacing the run when necessary. The run from my attic to the wall that I'll drop to the NVR isn't very difficult or long so replacing the run (if it's not in conduit) doesn't seem like it will be too crazy time consuming, a weekend afternoon project. That's if the cable will last say a year or more? If it only lasts 6 weeks that's an issue.

If I were to go with conduit, I've measured and I'd be running almost 500' of conduit, and some runs would have many 90º turns to get around obstacles and overhangs and several junction boxes combining runs. One fear is the conduit run will become so complicated that I won't be able to easily pull the cable through once I have the conduit laid out and I'll be making what could be a simple job much more complicated and cumbersome than is required. I understand the risk as well that a potential intruder could just damage the cables, but with the amount of POE Cameras, overlapping fields of view and the fact that I'm not expecting James Bond or Ethan Hunt to break into my house that's not my biggest concern.

I'm not a professional and I have a feeling that my end project will become an eye sore with lots of 1" gray conduit, junction boxes and 90's all over the side of my house when I could easily conceal and tuck away the Cat 6 as best I can. Also since it's for a PoE and not a dedicated network cable I figure this system is only going to have a lifespan of a few years anyway. And I'm not burying it.

We do see temps in excess of 100ºF, anything below 60ºF is an extreme but we do have greater than 60% humidity regularly and a high UV index.

Any thoughts? Any experience? Should I return the Cat 6 I have and go with UV Rated? If so recommendations on brand and sourcing, Amazon didn't offer much in ways of reviews on the Direct Burial Cat 6 they had available.

I'm looking to keep costs to minimum and do the install myself, and I can't get inside the walls from the locations I need or into the soffit until the very end of the run when I enter the attic. About 20 years ago I had a B&W CCTV PoE camera setup with two POE Cameras, drilled a whole in the window frame, ran the cable outside along the roof, lasted for years and never had any problems.
 

TonyR

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In your area particularly horizontal runs of PVC conduit will sag even when strapped at above-average spacing. A quality cable with CMR-rated jacket tucked under soffit, fascia or siding and out of DIRECT exposure to rain and UV should last several years...I'd be surprised if less than 10.

Insure cable is at least CMR-rated, solid (not stranded), pure copper (not CCA / Copper Clad Aluminum) and is terminated to T-568 specs on both ends. If directly exposed to rain and sunlight, use outdoor-rated cable.

I suggest you follow this procedure for weatherproof the camera pigtails:

Treat the male RJ-45 with a touch of dielectric grease before you plug it into the camera pigtail and then wrap the union of the 2 with coax seal (self-vulcanizing rubber tape) and finally a tight layer of electrical tape (like 3M 33+ or 88) to speed the curing process. It takes 5 minutes...a small amount of time to invest to obtain a long lasting, reliable connection. Because I install a matching junction box so that I can drill a small 3/8" hole for un-terminated cable, there's plenty of room inside the box to perform the above.

If a box is not used, I perform the same procedure as stated above but wrap the coax seal / self-vulcanizing rubber tape starting about an inch BEFORE the female RJ-45 (camera end) and continue the wrap about an inch PAST the male RJ-45. 3M even makes a white vinyl electrical tape that can be used to help hide the black coax seal / rubber tape. I would still try to keep the camera and/or pigtail under a roof eave or behind a soffit and not expose it directly to rain.

FWIW, I don't think POE came into play until 2003 so that earlier system was likely analog with 'siamese' cable (coax for video, 2 conductor for 12VDC), don't you think?
 

samplenhold

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I understand the risk as well that a potential intruder could just damage the cables,
That rarely happens in a home situation. If you were a bank, then it would be an issue.

Cat5e is easier to run and terminate and is less expensive. UV rated Cat5e is a good choice. For Florida, I wonder what @bigredfish would recommend here.

When you mention 'direct burial' are you actually burying this cable? If so, then you really need to put it in conduit while it is underground. Unless you have a building style that conduit flatters, putting a bunch of it on your house would be a no-no.
 

CaseyJones

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Insure cable is at least CMR-rated, solid (not stranded), pure copper (not CCA / Copper Clad Aluminum) and is terminated to T-568 specs on both ends. If directly exposed to rain and sunlight, use outdoor-rated cable.

I suggest you follow this procedure for weatherproof the camera pigtails:

Treat the male RJ-45 with a touch of dielectric grease before you plug it into the camera pigtail and then wrap the union of the 2 with coax seal (self-vulcanizing rubber tape) and finally a tight layer of electrical tape (like 3M 33+ or 88) to speed the curing process. It takes 5 minutes...a small amount of time to invest to obtain a long lasting, reliable connection. Because I install a matching junction box so that I can drill a small 3/8" hole for un-terminated cable, there's plenty of room inside the box to perform the above.
This is the cable I have now, BV-Tech Cat6 Riser (CMR), 1000ft, 23AWG 4 Pair Solid Bare Copper, 550MHz, (UTP), ETL Listed, UL Listed, Bulk Ethernet Cable, Gray. It says it's CMR and solid bare copper, doesn't mention purity of the copper. Thoughts?

I went back and walked/looked at all my planned locations and I should actually be able to keep it out of the rain and the direct sunlight for the most part except for say the last ~20' as it crosses a roof before going into the attic. I could put into some PVC for that part of the run, or some type of flexible wire wrap of tubing. Or just leave that part exposed. I can probably tuck it under the siding until I need to run vertical to the soffit to enter the attic.

I have these pass thru RJ45 connectors
I have junction boxes for all the cameras, you still recommend the treatment you outlined even with them inside what is advertised as "weatherproof" junction boxes?

As far as the old system I was referring to, yeah who knows it was almost 20 years ago I just remember it being a "RJ45-esque" male plug and lots and lots of gray data cable. Came with a small little B&W TV that rotated between 4 different cameras.
 

CaseyJones

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That rarely happens in a home situation. If you were a bank, then it would be an issue.

Cat5e is easier to run and terminate and is less expensive. UV rated Cat5e is a good choice. For Florida, I wonder what @bigredfish would recommend here.

When you mention 'direct burial' are you actually burying this cable? If so, then you really need to put it in conduit while it is underground. Unless you have a building style that conduit flatters, putting a bunch of it on your house would be a no-no.
Yeah I figured the threat of someone tampering with it wasn't one to really worry about.

I have Cat6 now and went with Cat6 just because I have some lengthy runs reaching the corners of the property.

I just used the term "direct burial" because I came across that term when researching "outdoor rated" Cat6 cable. Two runs will be across the yard so I guess I will need to put those sections of the runs in conduit and bury them, and then terminate the conduit when I reach the house.
 

Holbs

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I only use 1/2" EMT or 3/4" EMT for outdoor work. Never PVC as TonyR says above, it will sag over time and look ghetto.
I have Cat6 indoor rated cable under my eaves mostly hidden with plastic saddles and tie wraps, nice and taunt...but it is blue cable. However, when the cable is easily visible...that is when I use EMT. Here is example of where I will be using 1/2" EMT. This is a work in progress so excuse the ugliness. I have to paint the EMT to best color match my stucco. This was a test fitting since is easy to attach to wood. The end result will be conduit ending hidden under the eave (I gots some bending to do) and then 5 or 6' of cable tacked up to the corner where another piece of 1/2" conduit coming down the corner.
PXL_20200929_015448823.jpg
 

CaseyJones

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@Holbs Thanks for the info and picture. I studied it some more this afternoon and I can probably hide most of it (I think I was over thinking it too much before, imagining this labyrinth of conduit). And for the exposed pieces and final vertical run into the soffit (attic access) I can use EMT. Sounds like I should definitely stay away from PVC in my climate. My irrigation wiring is run in PVC and now that I think of it the horizontal runs along the fence line are sagging.
 

TonyR

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This is the cable I have now, BV-Tech Cat6 Riser (CMR), 1000ft, 23AWG 4 Pair Solid Bare Copper, 550MHz, (UTP), ETL Listed, UL Listed, Bulk Ethernet Cable, Gray. It says it's CMR and solid bare copper, doesn't mention purity of the copper. Thoughts?
Great cable.
I have junction boxes for all the cameras, you still recommend the treatment you outlined even with them inside what is advertised as "weatherproof" junction boxes?
Yes.
Thermal cycling (sunrise/sunset, etc.) causes boxes and fittings to draw in outside moisture, it collects inside (can't escape) and over time this results in corrosion of electrical/electronic connections.
 
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