Providing power to the camera

Last Revision Date: 1/20/2016

This article explains the factors to consider when powering a camera and defines some common power terminology.

Volts are expressed as a range which the camera is designed to tolerate. For example, the Grasshopper3-U3 camera can tolerate between 5 – 24 volts. Your camera may have an on-board sensor that allows you to monitor a variety of different voltages. For more information, consult the Digital Camera Register Reference. For GenICam-compliant cameras, query the GenICam Device Control.

Power consumption can be calculated by multiplying volts by amperes (current). For example, a 12-volt, 1 ampere power supply provides 12 watts of power. To determine your camera’s power requirements, see the camera’s product page on the website.

Here are the two methods of supplying power to the cameras:

1. Power through the camera’s interface

    • GigE (Power over Ethernet): Use an Ethernet cable connected to a powered Ethernet card, a powered Ethernet switch, or an Ethernet power injector.
    • USB: Use a USB cable connected to a USB port on the back of the computer, which receives power directly from the power supply of the computer. USB ports in the front of most computers are powered through an internal hub, which may not output sufficient power. Power and bandwidth information about USB host controllers and hubs can be found in the Windows Device Manager, under Universal Serial Bus controllers.
    • FireWire: Use a FireWire cable connected to the host adaptor card.

Note: Some interface cards typically do not provide sufficient power by themselves, so we recommend that you connect the card to the power supply of the computer.

 2. Power through the GPIO cable

    • Required for non-PoE GigE cameras
    • Required for Ladybug5 cameras
    • Required for Camera Link cameras
    • Optional for PoE GigE, USB, and FireWire cameras, except for Flea3 FireWire cameras

Note: Do not connect Flea3 FireWire cameras to an external power source such as a GPIO. Doing so may cause damage to the camera, the host, or the external power supply.

Note: Some systems, especially those with laptop computers or longer cable lengths, may not provide adequate power through the USB 3.1 cable, which could result in intermittent operation. The use of external power through the GPIO is required for these systems.

Other power considerations

    • Low- or high-voltage power source issues
      In general, the input pins of our cameras are protected from both over- and under-voltage. However, operating the camera outside the recommended voltage specifications may cause the camera to under-perform. For example, low voltage may cause bus resets, resulting in lost connections with the camera. For more information, including the recommended voltage for driving inputs from a digital logic signal, see the section on GPIO electrical characteristics in your camera's Technical Reference Manual.
    • Using a hub
      If you connect the camera to an internal or external hub, we recommend supplementing power to the hub with an external power supply.
    • Multiple camera array
      If you are designing a multiple camera array, the host adapter card may be unable to power all cameras connected to a bus. Our 3-port and 5-port hubs are available, which can output 1 ampere per port at 12 volts, using an external power supply connected to the hub. For more information, see "Factors to Consider When Designing a Multiple Camera Array."
    • Power-cycling the camera
      When the power of a camera is disengaged then re-engaged (power-cycled), the camera reverts to its default factory settings, or the last saved memory channel (user set), if applicable. Some cameras allow the user to power-up or power-down components of the camera using the DCAM CAMERA_POWER register 0x610. The exact components vary between camera models. For more information, consult the Technical Reference Manual for the camera or the Digital Camera Register Reference.

Various power supply connectors are listed on the power supplies accessories web page.

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