How to Wire Pinhole Cameras

By Brenton Shields

Here, a pinhole camera is wired to a video input source.
i spy camera image by dinostock from

A pinhole camera is roughly defined as a camera with a lens opening around one to two millimeters in diameter. These cameras are typically very small, with some no larger than quarters, and are often used in surveillance operations or nanny cams because of their versatility and ease of concealment. Pinhole cameras do not record video (with the exception of some models which may record on MicroSD cards) and instead are wired to a monitor, where the images can be observed. This can either be done with hardware, in the case of a nanny cam, or wirelessly when you need the camera to be mobile. Either way, wiring up these little spy cameras is a breeze.

Wired Cameras

Place the camera wherever you wish to monitor. Locate the cable coming out of the back of the camera that ends in a composite video connector. This connector has a yellow ring, indicating it is for video. The camera may also have audio connectors (which are red and white).

Connect one end of the composite video cable to the video connector coming out of the camera and the other end to the composite video input connector of your monitor (television). The video inputs are typically on the back of televisions/monitors and are appropriately labeled with yellow rings.

Power on both the camera and the monitor and tune the monitor to the proper video channel using the "SOURCE," "INPUT" or "VIDEO" button on the monitor or its remote. When the video channel is set, the images from the camera should appear on the screen.

Wireless Cameras

Set the wireless camera where you wish to monitor. The area must be large enough to also contain the wireless video transmitter.

Connect the video output of the camera to the video input of the wireless transmitter using one of the composite video cables. The output and input connectors are clearly labeled with a yellow ring.

Connect the video output of the wireless video receiver to the video input of the monitor/television using the other composite video cable. Like on the transmitter and camera, both inputs are labeled with a yellow ring.

Power on all the devices and turn the monitor/television to the proper video channel. The proper channel is determined by which video input you used; if the monitor only has one video input, then use the only video channel the monitor has.

Tune the wireless receiver to the proper frequency so it can pick up the signals being emitted by the transmitter. Tuning instructions vary from model to model, so consult your specific brand's owner's manual if you have any questions. When finished, the video from the camera should display on the monitor.