Energy-Efficient Safety: Home Security power consumption

With any electrical system or appliance, the initial cost is not the only expense. Many electrical systems use a lot of power, incurring a running cost. Ongoing expense because of power consumption is a consideration to make with any electrical system, and security systems are no exception.

In this article you’ll see just how little power a home security system uses. They are very energy efficient for what they accomplish, making not just your wallet happy, but also offering a sustainable security solution.

Most of the numbers used in this article come from Dahua security products, or Arrowhead Alarm products you can find on their websites.

Security Camera power consumption

photo of an 8MP dahua dome camera

Power usage: 7.4W each

The CCTV cameras themselves don’t need to output any energy into their environment, unless it is a IR illuminated camera for night vision/dark conditions. But even with infrared illumination, this is a very low energy feature, usually using just a few LED lights which are very efficient by default.

For example, looking at an 8MP Dahua Dome camera with IR illumination, its power usage is under 7.4 Watts.

Alarm sensor power consumption

motion detection sensor

Power usage: 0.33W each

Using a passive infrared motion detector from AAP, unfortunately the power figure is not provided but this is a simple calculation. With a power input of up to 13.2V, and a maximum current draw of 25mA. Using Watt’s law and multiplying the two figures together, the resulting maximum power figure is 0.33 Watts.

Camera recorder (NVR) power consumption

nvr camera recorder

Power usage: 10W

The central unit of any security system is the recorder, or the NVR. It connects and powers all the wired cameras through ethernet cables. It also connects and powers the HDD/SDD storage unit. Since we are already considering the camera/sensor power separately, only the recorder’s own power consumption is needed.

Using the Dahua 8 Channel Lite recorder as an example, it consumes less than 10 Watts.

HDD power consumption

Power usage: 5.4W

The hard drive mentioned previously draws power too. This is where your camera footage will be stored, unless you’ve opted for cloud storage. Using a Seagate BarraCuda 8TB HDD for example, the idling power is only 3.4 Watts and max operating power is 5.3 Watts.

SSD power consumption

Power usage: 3.2W

An alternative to traditional hard drives (HDD), solid state drives (SSD) are considerably faster with data transfer. They are now found in all modern computers, but for sheer storage size, HDDs are still far more cost effective. However if you need to use an SSD for whatever reason in your security system, you’ll be happy to know they use even less power.

Using a Samsung PM893 7.6TB SSD for example, the maximum power consumption is 3.2 Watts. When idling (not reading or writing data), SSDs use no more than 0.1 Watts, and generally considerably less, at 0.02 Watts.

Electronic lock/Access control power consumption

Access control systems are generally more found in commercial applications, but you can have electronic locks in a residential setting too. Automatic gates, or electronically locked front doors utilise access control.

Magnet lock power consumption

electromagnetic lock for door

Power usage: 5.76W each

Magnetic locks use a constantly running electromagnet to keep a door or a gate in place. This is needed to maintain the massive force they produce, several hundred kilograms or even over a ton.

Using an example from Arrowhead Alarm Products, their 630kg Single Magnetic Lock draws a current of 480mA at 12V, equalling to 5.76 Watts constant power consumption.

Keypad/card reader power consumption

Keypad/card reader power consumption

Power usage: 0.6W each

Besides the actual locking mechanism, the keypad itself also uses power to run the circuitry and locking algorithm.

Another AAP example, the Standalone 2 Door Keypad, uses 50mA current on standby, and operating voltage of up to 24V. This comes out to total standby power usage of 0.6 Watts.

Adding it up: Total Home Security power consumption

Now that all the individual unit’s power figures are found, we can add them up for a typical home security system set up:

  • 4 Cameras
  • 1 recorder
  • 1 HDD
  • 2 motion sensors
  • 1 magnetic lock
  • 1 key numpad

Doing the maths:

4 x 7.4 W +
1 x 10 W +
1 x 5.4 W +
2 x 0.33 W +
1 x 5.76 +
1 x 0.6W =

Comes out to a total of 52.02 Watts for a typical, 4 camera home security CCTV system.

Conclusion: Security systems incredibly efficient

With a typical home security system including 4 cameras, 2 motion sensors, and even a magnetic lock and keypad, we’ve found it to use only 52 Watts. This is even using figures of maximum power draw for most components.

52 Watts is about half of an incandescent light bulb. Or about the same as a lightweight laptop being used. This is a meagre amount of energy. Half a lightbulb to secure your entire house with modern security components is a bargain.

two security cameras; one black, one white

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