Cat5e outdoor run for security Camera


Active Member
Do majority of people on this forum that have run Cat5 to backyard security camera or between buildings, run inside conduit? I purchased some expensive cat5e outdoor direct burial cable. I am sort of on fence whether to run in conduit (1/2” PVC). Sprinkler (low voltage) wire is run without any conduit. With conduit, I get that you can run a new line if necessary without digging up yard again.
I just purchased 2 MRJPOE from NewEgg for $100 total. One surge suppressor will have to be mounted to wooden pole in some kind of weatherproof box – next to camera. This should address the lightning issue.
I have only lost a few appliances to one lightning strike, and in my neck of woods thunder/lighting storm 3-5 moderate storms are typical.
BTW, Wrightwood has a sale on Hikvision 4Mp 2642 camera ( 
Between buildings, yeah - if you can run conduit, it's preferred.  For all intents and purposes, that doesn't change the classification of the wire needed.  Be careful of the outdoor CatX wire - many are gel filled which has its purpose but for most DIYers and homeowners, it's not the best application.  IMO, the best thing for homeowners is Ubiquiti ToughCable.  It comes in two flavors - the standard is shielded; the pro also has the metal mesh like Coax for strength and protection.  Having conduit just makes it much more serviceable.  If you can't do it though, I've used that stuff dropping 75' from towers; 100' arial between buildings; on the exterior of buildings; you name it.  I've had some loops running outside for 5+ years with zero issue.  I also use it with one client who has an office cat that likes to eat wires.  He hasn't made it through yet despite the puncture marks.
I don't know that surge model off hand, but normally you do the surge protection around where the cable enters the building - at least the primary.  If you're going for additional protection, then you do a second near the device to be protected... just keep in mind that transient voltage is looking for a fast path to ground so a surge device needs a ground path.  There's a lot to learn about this with voltage potential; balancing ground voltage; etc... a lot of times you only protect one end so as not to create a ground voltage differential.
I ended up buying Superior Essex direct burial cable ( I thought about getting gel-filled because I believed the extra protection would increase life in-ground without conduit. I saw there were some concerns about difficulty terminating with gel-filled Cat5. I opted not to get the gel-filled.
It's just a big hassle running 160ft of conduit, getting bigger trenching machine, bigger hole in house foundation (I have to terminate in crawlspace),  more fittings, etc...
The Ditek MRJPOE  surge suppressors have a ground connection on them.
Do majority of people on this forum that have run Cat5 to backyard security camera or between buildings, run inside conduit? I purchased some expensive cat5e outdoor direct burial cable.
Here ran multiple PVC tubing outside in the early 2000's.  In one tube to one berm here have RG6, two Cat5e, 16-18 gauge 12VDC wire.  I did have the PVC lines run at the same time as the irrigation lines as I helped and learned how to use one of the machines here.  (most difficult was under walk ways though). IE: purchased lunch for the installers, gave them $100 extra for the extra PVC lines and hung around all day that day.  The PVC was the flexible type on a spool such that each run ends go above the ground (over the years probably there is water inside maybe) No exterior buildings here and one brick structure (mailbox).  I buried the PVC inside of the cement footing before I poured the cement (over did it a bit as it is about 6 foot deep and used an excessive about of cement for it).  That said almost parallel are HV lines (for 120VAC always on and extra for switch connections which I use today for UPB).  I do have stuff mounted on 6X6 wooden posts.  I used a long 1.5" drill bit here to drill down the center of the wooden post putting a plastic box above the ground plane (weatherproof and its been covered with snow).  I have never replaced any of the LV wires in the PVC tube and it would probably be a PITA to do this but could be done.  The original purpose was for LV lighting (which today is all LED), HV lighting (Christmas decorations), weather measure stuff and lastly for CCTV which I was doing analog of at the time.  Today also utilize the 6X6 posts for LED lamps on the tops of them.  Two berms have 12VDC lighting on the top and CCTV on the sides of them looking towards the home.  I have much more in place that I am not using (well just LV lighting) today run to peripheral berms.  IE: one berm is just a couple of 400lb boulders and sort of a rock garden (no plants) with LV lighting.  Most difficult was picking the boulders and placing them.  I did try one of those hollowed out plastic boulders anchored to the ground.  Looks OK.  Some Homeseer folks have mounted outdoor cams inside of these plastic boulders.  You can even have them talk today.
In the 1980's building a new external garage / new driveway did trench and install gas lines, water lines, HV and LV electric adjacent to the new driveway.  There was telephone / TV / alarm stuff in the garage.  At the time did bury all of the chases into the new cement footing of the garage.  I hung around with the obi-wan cement folks.  They were very efficient in their methodologies of finishing cement stuff.  It was weeks later that the garage was built and I did ask for credit on the electric and did it myself (well a semi retired master electrician neighbor helped me some with it).  Much conduit at the time as I lite up the entire ceiling with fluorescent lighting to make it daylight in there.   Found a large antique round firehouse bell which was tacked outside and used for the alarm system.  It was loud and only triggered once or twice over the years.  I did also put garage door sensors to the home at the time and started to use remote TTS in the garage.  Wife at the time worked for Honeywell industrial controls and got me a cable cluster about an 1.5" thick which I ran from the house to the garage and used for all sorts of things.  Around that time also built a wooden shed and had it sided professionally.  I did also run HV and LV to the shed and played with CCTV cams pointed to the house at the time.  (used single PC mini servers - which really were small in the 90's embedded terminals). Nothing ever did get damaged from lightning.  While inside of teh home did lose one computer / network hub due to lightning.
In the late 2000's helped a friend on a farm connect two homes networking using outdoor burial cat6 which was expensive.  He rented a trench digger for said installation.  I did push it a bit over 300 feet (probably closer to 350 feet and works just fine.  He is still using wireless Internet and the antenna / lighting arrestor is adjacent to the cat6 cable there.
Pete, Do you have a grounding rod (or any type of grounding system) installed near the 6x6 posts to help protect the electronic equipment?
The berm 6X6 posts are short buried some 2 feet with 4 feet above ground such that cams are at ground level. Two cams facing opposite directions are mounted on a lamp post on the deck which is using a 6X6 post and extends over the deck some 8 feet.  The views from the outside in cams overlap such that cams view other cams.  It is just a hobby here and I did have the opportunity to run underground empty PVC tubes all over the place (literally) fan shaped out from the house years ago (thinking the numbers are > 20 today).  I went nuts a bit with that irrigation pipe digger machine when the irrigation was installed here.  I did have an issue with CC when they upgraded my wire and eventually the wire went underground and dug by hand per my instruction after escalating the concern. What a PITA that was. 
Over the years have switched from analog cams to IP cams to HD IP cams.  None have been damaged by weather.  Early cams (cheapo) did rust a bit.  Testing mostly and these are totally exposed to weather, sun, rain and snow.  The deck cams historically have been perches for birds.
d.dennerline said:
I am sort of on fence whether to run in conduit (1/2” PVC). Sprinkler (low voltage) wire is run without any conduit. With conduit, I get that you can run a new line if necessary without digging up yard again.
I started out 4 years ago and had the same questions. In the last four years my needs have changed and I was happy that I spend a few bucks to run PVC. I actually ran 3/4" and I am happy that I did because now I have additional alarm cable in there now plus two Cat 5's. You will later come up with all sorts of new ideas and then be glad that you ran pipe. The PVC pipe is really cheap, specially when you go to a plumbing supplier that has the 20 ft sticks or just run the black thin walled sprinkler PVC.
mikefamig said:
Why don't you like gel filled cable?
If your run isn't level, expect that over time, the gel will flow as liquids do and pool at one end.  That can make quite the mess!  I've seen worst-case scenarios where they're used on vertical runs such as towers, and it results in catastrophic failure as the cabinet fills with gel.  Plus it's just gross to work with.  
I have a few thousand feet of wire sitting around at any given time... I don't do huge jobs - so it's the right amount to stock one kind of cable that works for most everything.  No failures in the last 7 years.