Is your surveillance security camera not working? Is there no video, no image, no signal or you can’t see the cameras on the phone? Is your NVR or DVR not working at all?
In this guide, we’ve listed the best suggestions for you to fix a CCTV security camera system that is not working correctly. If you’re having similar issues with your security camera, consult the tips below and try them to see if the problem is solved.
Common issues of a security camera system not working are:
- No video on the screen
- No signal on the screen
- Security camera playback is not working
- No videos found
- Can’t view my security cameras on the phone.
- Security camera night view is dark
- Video loss during night time
- No video but camera’s IR LED lights are on
- CCTV night vision not working
- Not able to record on my security camera
- No cameras showing up on the phone
- Recording not working
- Motion recording not working
- No WiFi signal on my security camera system
- Security camera can’t connect to WiFi
- CCTV picture quality is very bad
How to fix a security camera that doesn’t work
Recommendation: Always make sure to buy a security camera system from a well-known manufacturer who has good feedback from its customers and that is able to support its products with software updates or warranty.
1. Check the connections and power supply
In order to find out why your security camera is not working, the first step is to make sure that connectors and connections are correct. Over time, the connections may degrade and get wonky. Follow each cable and ensure that the connections are tight.
Additionally, you need to check the power supply unit. If the cameras get no power, of course they will not work. Sometimes the power supply of the IP cameras or the NVR/DVR is dead.
If you are using a wireless security camera, you need to check the WiFi connection and make sure that the camera is connected successfully to the WiFi router (service).
Make sure your router works properly and the internet service itself is correct. For more details, you can consult this article: How to fix: WiFi IP camera not working / can’t connect to WiFi.
If you are using a regular or PoE security camera (data and power using the same cable), make sure the cable is not damaged somewhere down the line. In some cases, the PoE switch or the PoE injector goes bad and the camera doesn’t get powered.
Cover the camera’s sensor with the palm of your hand and see if the IR LED lights turn on. If on, it means the camera is getting powered properly. At the same time, check for any loose cables on the camera of the NVR/DVR’s side.
2. Check the cabling
Quite often, a security camera that doesn’t work is related to cabling problems, especially if the surveillance system is quite old and the wires are exposed to the elements. The cabling may get damaged, chewed by rodents or simply degrade.
Inspect the lines and make sure the cable looks good. An interrupted cable will cause no video or no image issue to the security system. Use another cable to connect the camera to see if the problem is solved.
3. Reboot the security camera
Sometimes the easy way to fix any electronic issue is by performing a reboot on your security camera, which means power cycle it. To reboot or restart the camera, simply find the power source and unplug the cable, wait for at least 30 seconds, and plug it back in.
Once the security camera is rebooted, the settings will start fresh, any memory leaks will get updated, the connections will self re-calibrate etc. Try and see if the “security camera is not working” issue is solved.
4. Check the camera’s settings
The security camera may not work because the settings are not set properly. Issues such as motion recording not getting triggered, camera not recording on motion, continuous recording not working, notifications or alerts not received, not connecting to WiFi, no video at night, etc, may be related to certain settings on the camera.
Many of these features are disabled by default or not calibrated properly. You need to access the settings of your security IP camera and double check to ensure that everything is okay.
These settings can be adjusted by accessing directly the IP camera (via the web browser) or by going through the NVR. In many cases, certain settings can be adjusted by the camera’s phone app (such as scheduling). Additionally, you can adjust settings such as contrast, colors or brightness.
5. Update the camera to the latest firmware
A buggy firmware can cause the security camera not to work. All manufacturers (the serious ones) release new firmware once in a while to iron out any bugs or to improve the current features.
Check the manufacturer’s official website to find out if there is new firmware released for your security camera. If so, update to the new version. Always make sure to have the right firmware. Using the wrong file, may damage the camera.
6. Update to the phone app
Same as the camera’s firmware, you need to update the phone app or the computer software to the latest version. In many cases, the camera cannot be viewed because the software is not updated and there are compatibility issues.
Another recommendation, always get the software or the phone app from the official manufacturer’s website. Additionally, try to avoid any third party software or apps. The camera’s are designed and apps maintained by the manufacturers itself, other companies are not that willing to keep the software updated.
7. Check if there’s an IP address conflict
Each IP security camera must have its unique IP address on the network which camera will utilize to receive and send data. If two devices have the same IP address on the same local network, then that’s considered an IP address conflict and the devices will kick each other out of the network.
This is the case, if the security camera goes offline randomly, comes back online and then again goes offline. Basically, since the two devices share the same IP address, they conflict with each other and both can go offline.
You need to check all the devices on your local network to ensure that there’s no IP conflict. There are a few ways to do that. One easy way is to check all the IP addresses via the cmd command on your Windows laptop.
In the Windows search box, type cmd and on the DOS command prompt enter arp-a which will list all the IP addresses found on your local network. These can be devices such as IP cameras, scanners, printers, other computers, etc. If you see two IP addresses the same, you need to change the IP of one of the devices.
Alternatively, you can use the camera’s manufacturer brand to scan the IP network and locate the IP address of all your cameras. For example, Hikvision uses the SADP tool to scan the network. Make sure each security camera has a unique (and unused) IP address.
8. Reset the security camera
Another way to fix a security camera that doesn’t work is to perform a factory reset on the camera. Quite often, all the camera’s problems may be solved by bringing the camera to its default settings.
Most of the IP security cameras come with a reset button on the motherboard. You need to inspect the camera, if necessary taking the top off and locating the reset button. In certain models, you need to use a paperclip (or a toothpick) to press the button.
Usually, the reset button needs to be pressed for 15-20 seconds and then released. If not sure, confirm with the manufacturer (or read the manual). Additionally, you can check the reset procedure for various manufacturers over here.
Factory reset means that all the settings on the camera will be erased and reversed to the factory default. Once reset, you need to re-setup the camera.
9. Ask the manufacturer for help
Most manufacturers offer free technical support for their products. This may be the easy way to solve “security camera not working” issues. So, simply contact the manufacturer or the reseller and let them know about the issues your camera is experiencing.
They can offer advice via email or phone and in certain cases they can remote in your laptop and figure out the issues. If you bought the security cameras from a reputable brand, they’ll definitely stand behind their product and help you out. Most security camera companies offer free tech support.
Additionally, you can go to their official websites and locate the FAQs section for the camera. These are Frequently Asked Questions that may help you solve certain issues, especially the one related to settings or configurations.
Purchase a security camera system from a reputable manufacturer. Read the reviews to get an idea what people think about the products. Check this section for security camera recommendations.