Hardened IP camera solution for NamPower’s Gerus substation

By T Craven, H3iSquared


Published in:

Electricity+Control, December 2013 (pages 20 - 22)

Enquiries: info@h3isquared


Download the full article on Hardened IP camera solution for NamPower's Gerus substation in PDF format.


NamPower required, for its Gerus substation yards, real time visuals of the yards, in a system that was easy to control and maintain. The hardware for the installation had to be correctly hardened and specified for use in a high EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference) environment, and visuals or communications could not be overly affected by EMI spikes. The system had to be fully remote controllable and configurable, with minimal regular maintenance required.

Cameras used in the solution also had to be able to handle the harsh environments in Namibia and have a reasonably long operating life under such conditions. The cameras used had to provide clear visuals of the substation yards, at distances of up to around 1km, and needed to have clear enough pictures to allow operators to read various signs around the yards. The video feeds needed to be automatically recorded for a period of time and stored in the event that operators needed to review footage at a later stage in order to troubleshoot any problems.

Hardened IP camera solution: H3iSquared used IV&C’s PTZ-3330-19-1-110 cameras, which are outdoor PTZ cameras with a 36x optical zoom. A RuggedCom RSG2100 Ethernet switch was installed in the Gerus server room, to interface to the existing network infrastructure through the existing RuggedCom infrastructure.

Fibre optic cabling was used to extend the links to the server room, with a fibre-to-copper media converter installed in an enclosure alongside the camera. The final copper run to the camera used STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) cabling to eliminate EMI and provide a clear picture. A total of 7 PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras give coverage of the majority of devices in the yard.

The cameras were mounted atop existing light posts that overlooked each of the yards. H3iSquared met the operators at NamPower control in Windhoek, Namibia, to complete the commissioning and system training for the camera solution. Using the IV&C software, the operators’ viewing screens were customised to show all views that were interesting and relevant to the operators, and various preset viewing positions for the cameras were setup. These allowed the operators to move, zoom and focus the cameras with a single click of the mouse button. With this hardened IP camera solution, operators have a visual of the site and relevant areas within seconds of being notified of an event.


Take note:

  • NamPower’s requirements for the Gerus project were to provide real-time visuals of the substation yards using a system that was easy to control and maintain (i.e. a hardened IP camera solution).
  • Cameras had to be able to withstand the harsh Namibian climate.
  • The hardened IP camera solution allows operators, within seconds of being notified, a visual of the site and relevant areas.