How to Hook Up a Dome Camera

by Joe Murray

Dome cameras, dome-shaped video camera housings, are everywhere. You find them in supermarkets, malls, banks, convenience stores and in many private homes. They can be used for security, children and pet monitoring and surveillance. You might want one at your front door to see who’s there before answering; you could place one in the children’s playroom or the nursery; a video monitor for your pool could even save a life. With a couple of hours of do-it-yourself labor and a few of basic tools, you can have a dome camera in nearly any area of your residence.

Order the dome camera or cameras of your choice. If you require single purpose monitoring such as the front door or an infant’s crib, prices are reasonable. If your installation uses multiple dome cameras, both indoors and out, you will need a more elaborate setup which includes a DVR and one or more video monitors. Such systems can become costly depending on the number and quality of the dome cameras to be installed and often require professional installation.

Open your dome camera container and check for mounting screws, software and an instruction manual. If you are installing an elaborate surveillance system, you may need to remove the base of the unit and set the tiny slide switches, called dip switches, to the positions suggested in the instructions.

Select the dome camera’s location; note the unit’s field of view (FOV) and position the camera for the broadest possible angle of acquisition. Generally this will be in a corner or against a wall on the ceiling of a room. Keep the camera’s focal point in mind when pointing the lens. If the distance to an object is too great, the image will appear blurry on the monitor screen.

Locate the nearest power source to the selected mounting position. If your dome camera requires a 3.5VDC to 12VDC current from an AC adapter and the nearest 110VAC is further away than the length of the adapter cord, pull 18-gauge lamp cord or speaker wire from the selected mounting position to the 110VAC power source. Splice the lamp cord in between the AC adapter transformer and the power connector that plugs in to the dome camera. For more elaborate systems, order professional CCTV cabling in the appropriate lengths from a qualified supplier.

Drill holes for the pulled wiring and starter holes for the dome camera mounting screws. Attach the power supply cable and the CCTV cable, if not using the Wi-Fi or wired Internet Protocol (IP) delivery system.

Install the software supplied with the IP dome camera on your computer or the software that came with the DVR system on your DVR. Open the program and check the angle and focus of the dome camera. Adjust both as necessary.


  • If only installing one IP camera, consider a pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) model. If placed in the center of the ceiling, all parts of the room become visible. If deploying an IP dome camera, check the unit’s connection to your Wi-Fi router and your computer before permanently mounting the unit.


  • If working with a ladder, never let the top shelf go below your waist.
  • Turn off the main power switch if wiring your CCTV power supply directly into the fuse box.

Items you will need

  • Basic tool kit
  • Ladder
  • Wiring

About the Author

Joe Murray began writing professionally in 1980. As a technical writer, he authored white papers and articles for Hewlett Packard and Intel. Since retiring, Murray has written several home-exchange travel articles for and CHECtravel,com among other outlets. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Santa Clara University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images