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  • Looking to Power Security Cameras

    I have an application for solar that I am trying to figure out the best way to provide power to. It is a remote security camera that I need to power and I may end up deploying on several light poles, since these cameras are going to need to communicate back to the network I have an access point that will be associated with each camera. All of this equipment will be operating using POE. I have a POE injector that can run both devices as the AP has a pass through port that can power the camera. This setup needs to run 24/7 as it is part of a security system. Any advice on how to set this up is appreciated.

    Equipment power requirements: POE injector requires input of 110 AC and outputs 48vdc(.5 amps), not opposed to going with direct DC and cutting this out, just not sure how to replace it.
    Access Point requires 24vdc (.5 amps) to run and can pass through 48vdc
    Camera requires 48vdc (.5 amps) to run
    May require an inverter if not using straight DC power.

  • #2
    If you have a few cloudy or rainy days in a row, you expect the system to run off batteries that whole time. So to size the batteries, you need to know how long you will go without sun. If worst case is 8 days and your load is 12W+24W=36W, then you need a bit more than 36W*24*8hours or 7kWh of batteries. That's a lot of batteries.

    I just randomly searched Amazon and found a Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Battery 12V 100Ah (1.2kWh) for $200. You would need 6 of them for my hypothetical calculation. So budget more than $1K for batteries.

    Assuming when that random day of full sun comes, you will have 7 hours of good strong sun and need to get 7kWh during that time. (I picked 7 hours to make the math easy.) Then you need at least 1kW of panels. 330 watt panels are roughly $250 so budget something like $750 for panels.

    You're going to need a 1kW charger for those batteries. You also need a way to go from the batteries to the low-voltage loads.

    Before I go further, are you prepared to pay >$2K for this system?

    If it is possible to spend extra to get a low-power access point and a low-power camera, you'll cut your system cost and size dramatically. For example, perhaps you can get by with a camera that samples 7.5 times per second rather than 30 times per second.

    Does this help?
    7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV

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    • #3
      This may not be the solution you need, but there are security cameras that contain solar panels, batteries, and Wifi in one. For example, this one is $92. There are many others available which seem to be clones of this model:
      https://www.amazon.com/Powered-Wirel.../dp/B07WV49X9Y
      They don't promise you that you'll always have enough power to run the camera, but claim that "A day's sunshine keeps the camera running for 5-6 days." This is billed as a "...1080P HD WiFi Low Power IP Camera Wireless Surveillance IR Camera..."
      7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV

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      • #4
        Bob-n,

        Thanks for your reply, I work for a franchise car dealer and we recently lost a $60,000 vehicle due to theft and a couple of weeks prior to that someone stole the driver door off of another vehicle parked on the front row. So the owner isn't going to object to getting this done, I don't really do electrical stuff as an IT person and I just need to know what it's going to take.

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        • #5
          Something else to consider is some of those trail cameras, which see/project infrared and
          record when there is motion. Dry batteries have a life of weeks or months, download to
          your computer. I have seen some interesting stuff out back by my solar. Bruce Roe

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bcroe View Post
            Something else to consider is some of those trail cameras, which see/project infrared and
            record when there is motion. Dry batteries have a life of weeks or months, download to
            your computer. I have seen some interesting stuff out back by my solar. Bruce Roe
            I have a couple of those trail cameras and they can record for a long time even in the dead of night. I have just changed out their batteries (8 x AA) which lasted over a year.

            My CCTV cameras can barely see 60 feet at night so you have to spend some $$ for high end infrared cameras to get good pictures or they are almost a complete waste after dark. Unfortunately the high end cameras consume a lot of power which almost begs for them to be grid powered.

            I will probably just get more of those trail cameras instead of more CCTV type.

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            • #7
              Have you considered running a long POE cable from the main property to each security location? The safety requirements for CAT6 are much less than 120VAC cable and the wire is much cheaper. If the buildings are >1000 feet from civilization, that may not be realistic. Ethernet is technically restricted to 100 meters, although you can go farther with up to three POE repeaters.

              While walking by Walmart in Orlando, Florida, in the middle of the parking lot, at the top of a tall pole was a large, omni security camera. Also on the pole were two 60-cell PV panels (roughly 700W with full sun). At the base of the pole were a few deep discharge lead-acid batteries and a pile of electronics. Lots of cool stuff in one commercial device! The store also had security cameras on the outside walls, with the same brand name, but hard wired. Sorry, I can't recall the brand. If you prefer to be wireless, that may be the turn-key solution you're looking for.

              Come to think of it, if I were a thief, I'd steal that thing rather than trying to steal cars.
              7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV

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