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Troubleshooting Video Loss For Analog Cameras

Troubleshooting Video Loss For Analog Cameras


Affected Roles:  Administrator

Complexity:  Medium to High

Last Edit:  June 12, 2020


Video Loss

Digital Watchdog’s analog cameras and standalone systems requires minimal setup when initially connecting cameras. Despite supporting ‘plug-n-play’ functions, display issues or video loss may occur.

This article will outline some troubleshooting methods to resolve video loss for new and previously installed analog cameras.

Note:  Digital Watchdog’s VMAX recording unit series will support some third-party H.264 analog cameras. However, cameras that are sold in a ‘bundled system’ may not function properly as they are intended to be used with proprietary hardware only, requiring use with that company’s recording unit(s).

If you are using a third-party camera, please read Third-Party Analog Camera Issues.

Supported/Affected Devices

  • VMAX Series
  • VMAX A1 Series (2.1 MP)
  • VMAX A1 Plus Series (5 MP)
  • Star-Light Camera Series
  • Star-Light Plus Camera Series


If you are at the DVR and are experiencing video loss with a new or previously connected analog camera:

  1. Log in as the system Administrator. You might not be logged in or are currently using a User Profile that does not have certain viewing permissions enabled.
  • Default ID:  admin
  • Default Password:  --- (blank)

If the issue persists, continue to the next troubleshooting step.

  1. Power cycle the DVR. Shut the unit down, then power it back on.

To perform a soft-shutdown or reboot, click on the power icon on the toolbar, then select Shutdown or Reboot.

Log back in to the unit as the admin. If the video loss persists, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

  1. Right-click, then select Setup Menu.

From the Setup Menu, select System, then select System Information.

From the System Information menu, inspect the Current Firmware Version and make sure that the DVR firmware is up-to-date.

If the unit is up-to-date, continue to the next troubleshooting step.

  1. Check the BNC connection at the DVR.

Disconnect, then Reconnect the camera from the DVR’s BNC connector.

If video continues to not display, try connecting the camera a different BNC connector to see if the issue follows the camera.

Note:  If the video issue follows the camera, the problem may be stemming from the camera itself.

  1. Power cycle the camera. Shut the camera off, then power it back on.

Note:  Depending on how the camera was installed, the camera may be sharing a power supply (fuse box) with other cameras. Please consult with your camera installer if you cannot locate the camera power supply.

If you are still experiencing video loss issues from the camera at this point, you will need to bench test the camera.

It is recommended that you contact your camera installer if you are unfamiliar with your camera system setup.

Bench Testing The Camera

  1. Uninstall the camera from its mounted location and connect it to the DVR or to a compatible handheld monitor with a short coaxial cable.

Power the camera with an isolated power supply, separate from the shared camera supply, and confirm that it powers on.

Note:  If the camera successfully displays video during the bench test, there may be an issue with the shared power supply or with the cable run.

  1. If the analog camera continues to experience video loss during the bench test, make sure that the camera is powering on.

Obscure the IR light sensor and see if the IR bulbs illuminate. 

Additionally, power-cycling the camera will often result in a clicking or whirring noise as the camera powers up.

If the camera powers on and begins to operate normally, there may be an issue with the camera’s regular power supply or the cable run may be exceeding the recommended length.

  1. If the camera powers on but does not display any video, check the UTC/COAX selector switch.

On the board of the camera, locate the selector switch.  If the camera is set to use UTC, the device is outputting video through the free-standing UTC wires, not the coaxial cable.

  1. Check for video using the Test Cable.

DW analog cameras come with a testing cable for BNC connection.

Connect the test cable to the Test Video Slot, located next to the joystick on the camera board.

The camera will prioritize video output through the test cable and use a CVBS (960H) video signal.

If video displays from the test cable but not from the main coaxial output, there may be a video signal compatibility issue with the recording unit or receiver.  Make sure that the camera is using a compatible signal that is supported by the recording unit.

Note:  To learn more about camera video signal compatibility, please read Changing Analog Camera Video Signals.

If the camera does not appear to power on, does not display video through the main coax, or continues to not display any video output in general, please contact Digital Watchdog Technical Support for further assistance.

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  • 11-Aug-2020