IT’S as much the responsibility of the security manager as it is the job of the installer to ensure that ppropriate housings are used in a CCTV installation. Security managers need to remember that surveillance cameras are delicate machines and their protection from the elements must be factored into the budget or there will be failures.Looking around the market there’s a wide range of quality housings available covering everything from fixed camera housings to mechanised pan/tilts, domes and corner housings. Cameras can be recessed into walls, inset into ceilings or mounted under eaves or on top of poles and there are housingsto cater for every possibility. The location, size and capabilities of the camera will end up dictating the sort of housing you eventually choose.Fixed cameras take up a surprising amount of space when fitted out with lenses that can in some cases be equal in length to the camera body. You also need to take into account the space requirements of the cabling connections at the rear of the camera – these must also be protected by the housing. Be sure to pick a housing that allows at least 30mm space between the lens and the face plate, as well as giving adequate breathing space around the camera lens and camera body when the housing is locked down and installed. This will improve ventilation, allow for flexing of components in hot weather and leave space for cabling.Your housing choices will vary if housings are located under a roofline, as they would be in a railway station, or if the cameras are to be mounted on poles in an open mall and employed for public surveillance. Housings under a roofline won’t get direct rainfall or direct sunlight. But housings installed in the open are in for a hiding. Every housing installed outdoors in Australia needs a sunvisor that’s physically long enough to be effective without impinging on the scene. Housings in the open also benefit from ventilation fans set to activate when the temperature reaches a certain point and there will be cases with larger housings where wiper/washers will be beneficial. Such features aren’t used in the same way as they are in a car. In dirty environments they simply allow the face-plate of the housing to be cleaned remotely without a technician having to go all the way to the camera just to clean glass. Low temperature is another issue for camera housings. You’ll need a heater if the temperature gets down under zero often. If it gets below -10C then you’ll definitely need heat or your lens and auto iris assembly will begin to stick. Camera housings can be insulated during manufacture or insulation can be customised to suit an installation – budget is the big issue here. Quality manufacturers like Strongabuilt will support specific applications with local product built to suit.Then there’s the damp. In the far north of Australia (and further south in summer months) humidity can be a big problem for cameras and proper housing choice and careful installation is the best defence against reduced camera performance. There are a number of options that will help fighthumidity including employing ventilation fans or dry nitrogen pressurised housings able to be immersed in water without ill-effect. Industrial environments also pose a big threat to camera housings. Dust kills delicate pan/tilt mechanisms, covers face-plates and if comprised of ferrous particles can cause short circuits in carelessly exposed cabling. Pressurised housings will combat dust as well as water, but well sealed housings are going to be a much more economical option.Choices become more complicated when pan/tilt/zoom cameras come into the picture because the housings must be purpose-built to handle their needs. Housing manufacturers build units specifically to suit particular sizes and styles of camera but you’ll need to know exactly what you want to do with the housing before you purchase it – there’s no flexibility in pressed metal.Internal wedge housings and small domes for fixed or board cameras are easier to choose. You’ll need robust construction, solid fixing points and ready access for servicing. Internal cameras can be more susceptible to vandalism because they’re more accessible, so take this into account when making your purchase.Les Simmonds