Solar powered outdoor wifi camera

rebelbah

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I'm looking for a Solar powered outdoor wifi camera that connects to a wifi access point, and has a local storage, cloud backup would be a plus

any info would be great
 

VorlonFrog

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You won't find much love for either wifi or cloud-based cameras here, I'm afraid.
Wireless doesn't provide enough reliability or bandwidth for quality video images.
Cloud-based technology is prone to failure due to network / ISP / vendor issues.
 
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Here's what you want:
But I'm warning you - I'm not doing you any favors by pointing you to that camera. You will not be happy with the performance. A solar powered camera lacks the power budget to be effective, especially at night, plus a Reolink camera is substandard under any circumstances.

You'd do much better to describe the intended function of the camera you want to buy. That way you might get some helpful advice.
 

biggen

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You do better to build a custom solution but it will cost some $$$
 

rebelbah

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Here's what you want:
But I'm warning you - I'm not doing you any favors by pointing you to that camera. You will not be happy with the performance. A solar powered camera lacks the power budget to be effective, especially at night, plus a Reolink camera is substandard under any circumstances.

You'd do much better to describe the intended function of the camera you want to buy. That way you might get some helpful advice.
Trying to put up a few cameras in a open parking area, there is a building across the street that I can connect wifi, but no way to hardwire any camera's
 
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Trying to put up a few cameras in a open parking area, there is a building across the street that I can connect wifi, but no way to hardwire any camera's
How far away is that open parking area? With PoE+ you can trench Ethernet cables into the ground for more than 100 meters and install high-quality hardwired cameras.

Another thing you can do is buy some good high zoom PTZ cameras, install them at the building nearby, and then zoom in to whatever portion of the parking lot that you're interested in.

Neither of these options will be particularly cheap, but unlike the solar powered Reolinks, they will work.
 

wittaj

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The problem will be wifi is problematic for surveillance cameras because they are always streaming and passing data. And the data demands go up with motion and then you lose signal. A lost packet and it has to resend. It can bring the whole network down if trying to use it through a wifi router. Someone tested this once and after 4 cameras, the wifi was unusable...and at the distance you may be and thru a building, if you do not have full bars, you will have trouble. Try a speed test from your mobile device at the proposed camera location and see what speed you get.

Unlike Netflix and other streaming services that buffer a movie, these cameras do not buffer up part of the video, so drop outs are frequent. You would be amazed how much streaming services buffer - don't believe me, start watching something and unplug your router and watch how much longer you can watch before it freezes. Now do the same with a wifi camera and it is fairly instantaneous (within the latency of the stream itself)...
 

rebelbah

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Trying to put up a few cameras in a open parking area, there is a building across the street that I can connect wifi, but no way to hardwire any camera's
How far away is that open parking area? With PoE+ you can trench Ethernet cables into the ground for more than 100 meters and install high-quality hardwired cameras.

Another thing you can do is buy some good high zoom PTZ cameras, install them at the building nearby, and then zoom in to whatever portion of the parking lot that you're interested in.

Neither of these options will be particularly cheap, but unlike the solar powered Reolinks, they will work.
unable to run wire as will have to cut across a paved road
 

Teken

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You do better to build a custom solution but it will cost some $$$
+1,

Have to agree that you either pony up for a purpose built commercial product or go all in using custom parts. Which can be mimic’d by following what other companies like Hikvision are using.

The biggest difference is how they send data and that isn’t via wifi / Ethernet.

That’s using cellular and that still has latency and drop outs depending upon how far the tower is! I’ll offer my personal experience as to some things to consider if you decide to go the custom route.

Camera: Find the lowest current draw hardware you can find which balances low light video performance. If you find a camera that consumes less than 0.15 amps you have something to build upon.

12 VDC / POE: As noted up above depending upon which power option is to be used one may offer that low current ability but more often than not it’s going to be POE with higher voltage.

Battery: Normally the battery configuration dictates what method will be used in the past. Given the market offers all kinds of DC boost / buck converters you’re not limited by battery config. Having said this the vast majority of off grid systems are Series / Paralleled to obtain 24 VDC while offering higher ampacity.

It’s pretty rare to see a 12 VDC system in the field that isn’t paralleled to achieve a longer runtime vs a 24 VDC system that is simply bucked down to maintain a constant 12.8 VDC.

Given the increase in availability of LiFePO batteries and cheap cost it makes very little sense in ever using standard SLA, AGM, Gell, etc. Having said this you must insure whatever battery you select is weather rated to the environment it’s intended to be used.

LiFePO batteries don’t like to be hot or cold. But some offer a wider working margin vs others.

Charge Controller / BCM: All lithium batteries use a BCM to manage its voltage insure the correct one is used and offers the safety cut off to protect the cells. The charge controller needs to be a MPPT vs PWM as it is more efficient and extracts more power from a solar panel. A good charge controller will monitor the temperature, temperature, current, and have high / low cut offs to protect the batteries. Every battery chemistry has a terminal voltage that you must not drop to as it will damage and shorten its service life!

Solar: The only solar panel to use is Mono vs Poly as they offer better low light (cloudy) energy production. Depending upon your region you’ll need to factor in seasonal solar generation or the lack there of. Meaning if you live in the north like me you’ll need to either Series / Parallel to achieve higher voltage or higher current to charge faster a depleted battery cell or to position the solar further away to achieve better solar generation etc.

PTP: Since this is solar you’ll need to install PTP bridge at the camera and the site to relay the video. If you don’t have a clear line of sight or there are lots of other RFI / EMI sources. You’re going to be losing hair everyday trying to compensate for connectivity or the lack of.

Good Luck!
 

The Automation Guy

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This is one of those situations where if you want to do it cheap, then the results (especially low light situations) are going to be horrible. That may be good enough, I don't know. Perhaps the lot doesn't have overnight parking and low light coverage isn't important.

If you want good results, you are going to need to hire a professional. They will need to run power and ethernet from the building to the lot, or get new utilities run to the lot to provide these things. This is why a professional needs to be called in. You aren't going to be able to DIY this job IMHO - at least not until these services are available at the lot.
 
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Trying to put up a few cameras in a open parking area, there is a building across the street that I can connect wifi, but no way to hardwire any camera's
It would be useful if you could provide some photos or drawings that illustrate exactly what your situation is.

So you own the parking area? Is the road a private road or public road?
 

biggen

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Looking at an $1k - $2k to do it right. Need the following:

  1. Camera
  2. PtP wireless links at each end
  3. Battery large enough to hold several days worth of charge. Have to do the math to calculate that
  4. Solar panel
  5. Solar charger
  6. PoE switch (ideally that can run straight off the 12V/24V battery - If not then add an inverter to the list)
  7. Outdoor NEMA mount to stuff everything in
  8. Various cables/power cords
  9. Know how to wire it all up.
 

tubac

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Looking at an $1k - $2k to do it right. Need the following:

  1. Camera
  2. PtP wireless links at each end
  3. Battery large enough to hold several days worth of charge. Have to do the math to calculate that
  4. Solar panel
  5. Solar charger
  6. PoE switch (ideally that can run straight off the 12V/24V battery - If not then add an inverter to the list)
  7. Outdoor NEMA mount to stuff everything in
  8. Various cables/power cords
  9. Know how to wire it all up.
 

tubac

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Thanks, biggen. Since this post I found the Reolink Go which looks promising and I won’t need the SIM card. I would have to test it to see how good the ir and the optics are. They claim 33 ft which can’t be enough for a 110 degree field of view.

Thanks again,
Tubac
 

brianegge

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The pet fence guys ditch witch across driveways every day. You could do the same across the parking lot with direct burial cat6.
Many times parking lot lights are wired with three wires, one always hot and one switched, so you can have an outlet or something else attached to the pole.
 
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oooh....Brianegge.....Maybe I can put another Ubiquiti Loco Nano 2.4 Ghz on a light pole at the back of the lot. Plot.jpg
even if it only comes on at night that would be sweet.
 

Kaos

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Yes, wired cameras are definitely more reliable, but there are many situations where it isn't practical and/or possible to do a 1k install for 1 camera.
I love to test cameras out, especially cheap wireless cameras, when I find them on sale.
The biggest problem I have found with Battery / Solar Powered Cameras is the fact they cannot stream continuously. If you understand that then you can really get a lot of use of of these type cameras. Down time due to camera failure has never been an issue for me with these cameras. Yes, wireless has a better chance of failure over wired, but so what. If wireless is your only option then why not use it?
In June of last year I bought a Battery / Solar Powered HoSafe Camera on Amazon (lightning deal) for $60 total. I have been using this on our small farm for various things from "Chicken Coop Security" to monitoring a fence line. This camera currently sits on a fence line over 250' from a indoor wireless router and still gets a 65% wifi signal. It stores motion video on a sd card and or cloud. I use the free cloud storage.
Although I have 10+ ip camera system on Blue Iris, I am adding some ubiquiti external access points and plan on adding more of these solar cameras at greater distances to watch for wildlife, predators, etc...
I am going to try one of the Reolink cameras they have on sale and will test the range and reliability.
 
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