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Digital Wireless Camera Troubleshooting Guide

1. No picture/Signal

You may not see a picture from your wireless camera for one of the following reasons:

A. Power/Video Cables not Connected

  • Ensure the camera power and receiver power adapters are plugged into power. If the camera or receiver is plugged into a surge protector, ensure the surge protector is on.
  • Ensure receiver video cables are properly connected to the DVR or TV.
  • See the diagram below for an illustration of a typical wireless camera connected to a Lorex DVR.

B. Incorrect Channel or Input Selected on DVR or TV

  • Change the channel or input selected on your DVR or TV. See the instruction manual for your DVR or TV for details.

C. Signal out of Range or Obstructed

Move the camera and receiver within 10 feet of each other to determine that signal strength is causing the issue. If you can view the camera, then you will need to relocate the camera/receiver or remove any obstructions that may be impacting signal strength. Check the following:

  1. Distance: How far apart are the camera and receiver? A typical wireless camera has a range between 250 to 500 feet in an open field (with line of sight between antennas). The range is between 100 to 165 feet or less in an indoor environment, depending if there are walls or obstructions between the camera and receiver. Move the camera and receiver closer together.

    NOTE: Wireless receivers are not rated for outdoor use. For the outdoor setup shown above, it is recommended to attach the wireless receiver to the inside of a window.

  2. Obstructions: You should maintain line-of-sight between the camera and the receiver if possible or limit the amount of obstructions (e.g. walls or tree branches) between the camera and the receiver.

  3. Heavy building materials: Are there brick, concrete, or metal walls between the camera and receiver? These materials significantly affect signal strength as shown in the table below.

    When Signal Passes through Signal Strength Lost
    Plaster & Wood
    10 - 30%
    Brick 30 - 50%
    Concrete Cinder Blocks 50 - 70%
    Metal & Metal Cladding 70 - 100%

    Avoid installing the camera and receiver where the signal will need to travel through brick, concrete or metal. Signals that must pass through wet or moist materials (e.g. shrubs and trees after a rainfall) may also be significantly reduced.

    If your home or business has brick, concrete, or metal walls, it is recommended to attach the receiver to a window using double-sided tape so it has line-of-sight to the camera through the glass. You may need extension BNC or RCA video cables to install the receiver further away from your DVR or TV. Glass has a much lower impact on wireless signals, so you should get much better performance from your cameras without needing to run cables through the walls.


    If is it not possible to avoid obstructions or heavy building materials, you may need to consider using wired cameras instead.

D. Camera and Receiver not Paired to each Other

  • The wireless cameras and receivers are pre-paired and should communicate with each other as soon as they are powered on. However, in some cases you may need to re-pair the camera and receiver. Also you will need to pair any accessory cameras you have added to your system.

E. Issues caused by competing signals

  • The range or performance of your wireless cameras may be affected by other devices operating in the 2.4GHz frequency. See Competing Signals / Reduced Wi-Fi Performance for tips on how to reduce the effects of competing signals.

2. Competing Signals / Reduced Wi-Fi Performance

Many different products found in homes use the same 2.4GHz frequency as digital wireless cameras. This includes cordless phones, baby monitors, microwaves, and home Wi-Fi routers. There are several things you can do to improve the performance of both your wireless cameras and your Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi

Since digital wireless cameras and some home Wi-Fi routers share the 2.4GHz frequency, installing wireless cameras may reduce the speed of your Wi-Fi network. The most effective thing you can do to ensure your Wi-Fi network has the best possible performance is to upgrade to a dual band router.

A dual band router is able to use the 5GHz frequency so that the signal is not competing with your wireless cameras. Most smartphones, tablets, and laptops on the market today will support 5GHz, so this will ensure the fastest possible Wi-Fi speed and performance. It also produces a 2.4GHz network to ensure compatibility with Wi-Fi devices (such as older phones, laptops, or smarthome devices) that do not support 5GHz.

Another solution to improve your Wi-Fi performance is to lock the channel that your wireless router operates on. This ensures that the wireless camera signals are less likely to collide with signals from the Wi-Fi router. Locking the Wi-Fi is done through the router's web interface. See Improving Wireless Camera Signal Stability: Configuring your Wireless Router or your router's user guide for more information.

Reducing Signal Conflicts

There are a few other steps you can take to reduce signal competition between 2.4GHz products.

  1. It is not recommended to install more than 4 wireless cameras in your home or business to avoid signal strength issues.

  2. Make sure to put a reasonable amount of distance (around 10ft or more) of space between different wireless products, such as Wi-Fi routers, cordless phones, and wireless cameras and receivers.

  3. Some cordless phones also operate in the 2.4GHz frequency. Consider purchasing 900MHz or 5GHz cordless phones, or use wired phones to reduce signal conflicts.

3. Low Signal

  • Camera signal may drop if there are obstructions or if the signal is approaching the limits of its range.
  • Try the steps above under Signal out of range or obstructed to see if you can improve the signal.
  • If the signal in your installation was previously acceptable, this could be caused by leaves growing out in the spring. Leaves have a high water content that absorbs wireless signals. If necessary, trim the trees in your yard to clear the line-of-sight between the camera and receiver.
  • You can also purchase accessory range extender antennas to increase the range of your wireless signal. See the Wireless Range Extender Antennas Compatibility Chart to determine which antennas are compatible with your model.

4. Low Frame Rate / Image is Choppy

  • Frame rate drops when signal strength is low. This may cause the image to appear choppy. Try the steps above under Signal out of range or obstructed to see if you can improve the signal.
  • On some cameras, the frame rate is lower when VGA resolution is selected. You can change the resolution of the camera to QVGA, but this will significantly decrease the quality of the image. Press the Resolution button (for example on LW2210) to change the resolution of the camera to QVGA (or see the instruction manual for details).


    Resolution button on LW2110

    Alternatively, you can use a high-performance wireless camera, such as the LW2232 or LW2231, which provides VGA resolution at a higher frame rate.

NOTE: Supported resolutions vary between cameras.

5. Bright Spot in Video when Viewing Camera at Night

This occurs when a camera is pointed out a window to see outside, because the night vision LED's produce Infrared light that reflects off glass. If you need to look outside, install the camera outdoors.

camera pointed through a window during the day Night vision reflected off window
Camera pointed out of a window (daytime) Camera pointed out of a window (nighttime)

NOTE: Always check the weatherproof rating of your camera before installing outdoors. It is recommended to install cameras under outdoor shelter, such as eaves.

This can also occur if the camera has dirt, spiderwebs, or grease on it. Clean your cameras using a damp cloth. Do not use chemical or abrasive cleaners, as they may damage the camera.

6. Power Cable is too Short

You can use a AC extension cable to extend the power cable from the camera.

Some precautions must be taken if you are installing the camera outdoors:

  • The extension cable must be outdoor rated and all power connections must be sheltered from the elements. Even though the cameras may be weather resistant or weatherproof rated, getting water in the power connections can damage the camera and is a fire hazard.
  • Power outlets outdoors must be sheltered from the elements. Call a licensed electrician if you need a new power outlet installed.

7. Night Vision is not Working

  • The night vision activates when light levels drop below a certain preset point. The area may have too much light.

8. Video is Permanently Black and White (Even During Day Time)

  • The camera may not be getting enough light. Change the camera position or move the camera to a different location.

9. Camera Image Issues (Not Clear, Too Bright, etc.)

Last Updated: 10/29/2014

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