What Happens If You Unplug A Security Camera? [Explained]

What Happens If You Unplug A Security Camera

Smart Home Protector is reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn from qualifying purchases when you buy through links on our site.

Security cameras are wonderful gadgets for monitoring your house for intruders while you can relax. But if you need to monitor the security camera plug constantly to see if it’s plugged in, that’s a pain.

Here’s the thing, cables can go wrong. And your security camera’s cable can get unplugged without you knowing. If that happens, what do you lose?

Let’s find out in this article what happens if you unplug a security camera or if it gets unplugged accidentally.

5 Possible Things That Can Happen If You Unplug a Security Camera

The very simple answer is that if you unplug a security camera, it shuts down. But what else can happen other than that?

Depending on the camera model there’s more to it than just shutting down. Let’s have a look.

1) Stop Working

For most old models of security cameras, if the plug is removed, it completely stops working. This is especially the case for cameras that receive power from an outlet.

If a camera solely relied on the electrical outlet for functioning, it will shut down. You won’t be able to control it with a remote or an app. Once you put the plug into the source again, it starts working like before.

2) Stop Recording

Many security cameras nowadays don’t completely shut down if the cable is unplugged. They only stop any sort of recording.

It’s kind of like going to sleep. It’s not fully dead, but it can’t serve its purpose either.

3) Stop Saving Footage

Some people may decide to save the camera footage to multiple storages such as memory cards, computer hard disks, and cloud storage at the same time. This is to make sure if one storage fails, the footage remains intact in the other ones.

You will need an extra networking cable to connect your camera to the computer’s hard drive. Unplugging this networking wire will cause the camera to stop saving the footage to your computer.

The camera itself will still work and continue to record. It may save the recordings to the other storages if you have set them up.

4) Send You An Alert

Some modern security cameras are smart enough to detect plug removal in real time. The moment they go offline, they will send you notifications.

You can receive alerts via SMS, email, or an app. You may have to set it up manually providing your security camera supports it.

Due to receiving an alert, you can take immediate action and get the camera plugged in again without delay.

5) Send Last Recorded Footage

Some surveillance cameras are prepared for any technical issues. If something goes wrong like it getting unplugged, it will send you a recording of the last 10 – 30 seconds of footage.

This is extremely helpful since you can get an idea about what went wrong, when it went wrong, and most importantly, how it went wrong.

Getting the footage will allow you to take the right steps without any guesswork.

What Types Of Camera Need To Be Plugged In?

There are many types of security cameras. Each has its own set of features and benefits.

If we’re talking about camera wires, there are cameras that

  • Need multiple wires – For power and data transmission
  • Need a single wire – Handles all transmissions
  • Don’t need any wire – Pure wireless cameras

The first type of camera needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet for power. The remaining plugs(usually Coaxial cables) need to be plugged into a recorder. DVR security cameras fall in this category.

The second type of security camera uses a single cable for power, audio, and video. IP cameras with PoE(Power over Ethernet) connections utilize this feature.

Cameras without any wires usually get power from other energy sources and transmit data via waves.

Can Security Cameras Record When Unplugged?

In most cases, if not all, security cameras are unable to record when unplugged. If it’s a wired camera then it’s essential to be plugged in to keep functioning.

Some special cameras may have hybrid technology. This means you can use these cameras with or without wires. For such cameras, you can have backup batteries to power the camera.

If the camera gets unplugged, it will switch to battery mode and continue recording. However, battery life becomes an important factor here.

Another combination could be wire plus solar power. If the camera is unplugged, it will start taking power from the solar panel. But this can only work in daylight.

Wire-Free Cameras: Best Way To Deal With Wired Cameras Getting Unplugged

Using wired cameras means you need to ensure the cables are plugged in 24/7. Getting them unplugged will interrupt the camera from working and recording. And If there are multiple wires, you will need to deal with all of them.

So what is the best way to tackle all these problems then? Getting rid of the wires for good! Wire-free security cameras work without a single piece of cable. These are true wireless cameras.

Wire-free cameras take power from batteries and solar panels instead of a power outlet. If the camera is using rechargeable batteries, you will need to keep an eye on how long they last for a single charge. Wire-free cameras don’t need wires for transmitting data either. They send and receive audio and video signals using radio waves.

It is super simple to setup these devices.

  • Mount them to a suitable place
  • Turn on the power
  • Connect the camera to your Wi-Fi. Some cameras also support cellular networks.

Using a wire-free camera means you never have to worry about your security camera’s cable getting unplugged.

6 Tips For Keeping Your Camera Plugged In

If your camera is getting unplugged again and again, you need to take some serious measures. Here are some tips you can apply to keep them plugged in –

1) Setup your camera close to a power outlet

If it’s an indoor camera, this should not be much of a problem. This is because you can mount your security camera on the same wall as your power outlet.

For outdoor security cameras, it’s much more challenging. They require you to drill holes, manage wires, and wish your wire reaches the outlet properly.

When choosing where to mount your camera, try to pick a place that is as close to the electricity source as it can be. This will not only make your wire management easier but also make sure they don’t become unplugged.

2) Use a long cable

If the reason your security camera cable is getting unplugged is because of tightness, you should replace the cable.

Short wires can get pulled from the power outlet if the camera is at a long distance from the outlet. The result is your camera becoming unplugged.

Long wires may seem to be problematic to handle but they will not get pulled so often. Before you setup your camera, measure the distance and get a long wire that can connect both ends with ease.

A little extra wire will not hurt.

3) Keep your wires and connections at a good height

Small children often cause unplugging incidents. They can pull out the cable without realizing it.

When managing your wires, keep them at a height so that small children cannot reach them. The same goes for other connection points where the cable heads enter.

4) Keep the cables hidden

An additional caution you can take is completely hiding your cables. This removes any chance of your wires getting pulled or messed with.

It’s possible that the person unplugging your security cam is not a small child but an adult. Hiding the cables will save you from this hassle.

5) Try to keep the temperature around your wires warm

High temperatures can cause conductors to increase in length. The low temperature on the other hand can decrease it.

If your camera cable barely reaches the power outlet, make sure to keep the environment around it warm. If it gets too cold, the wire might shorten and become tightened. This can cause the plug to get pulled out.

6) Use an additional camera to monitor the cables

This is a next-level step to outsmart any intruder. Setup an additional camera so that it monitors the main camera and its wires. This will let you know what is causing the plug to be pulled out.

Make sure to use the tips for the secondary camera as well.

Wrapping Up

This article shows you what happens if you unplug a security camera. Whether you do it intentionally or in an experiment, it’s happening accidentally, or someone else is doing it on purpose, it’s not a matter you should take lightly.

If you follow our above tips, you can keep your home secure by always keeping your security cameras plugged in.

However, our recommendation would go for a fully wireless security system. Wire-free surveillance cams, while they have some demerits, can help you achieve free-minded security for your home.

Palash is an entrepreneur in the tech industry and the author of the Smart Home Protector. As a tech entrepreneur & reviewer of a home safety gadget store, his job helps customers remain on top of what's coming next in our rapidly changing world.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.