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Parts Help
#1
I have the need to set up a security camera, and power is limited. I can get wifi signal to a light pole in the area in question, so im going with an IP6x outdoor camera, not sure which just yet, preferably USB 5v powered. I will mount the camera on a light pole, however, this circuit is photo sensor controlled so it's only guaranteed power from about 9pm to 5am. I will use an 18650 buffer.

Here is where it gets more interesting. If I should opt to go solar to make this more portable, which I would prefer, what is my parts list? I assume a dc to dc converter or controller. I dont yet know if the small panel will be 5v or 12v, so what will i need to ensure i don't overvolt? Do I need a balancer or BMS? Will i need something to keep the panel from leaching off the batteries? I am hoping to fit everything but the camera in a small 9x6x6 waterproof utility box.

Panel > converter/controller > batteries > 2.1 USB port > camera

What if I want to add the AC option for cloudy days, etc? Will I need anything in between in the event solar and AC are providing charge at the same time?

I have no problem making it easier by purchasing a cheap ebay portable charger case (i still need to figure out how much capacity I need). I just need to make sure i have the right usb connection from the panel, but then i might lose my AC power option. I could be overthinking all this as well...
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#2
Go with the "12V" rated panel. Also go with a 3s or 4s setup; this depends on the charger circuits voltage range. And then finally use a buck converter to drive the 5V. This will give you the longest run time than using 1s and a boost converter. Going 2s, you now need a buck and might as well go full 12V on the series.

The other reason for going with the buck converter to 5V is it will be able to handle the amps better than a boost could. You didn't mention if the camera will also have have the ability to move. If so, this will cause spikes in the amps required to power the device. Better to build it beyond what is needed, and not worry about possible sags.

That's how I would do it, imho.
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#3
Most decent cameras & WiFi tech run from 12V directly.... but yes there's all-in-one cameras incl the WiFi too.
You might be better heading for a 7s "24V" system & solar charge controller?
There's heaps of regular house solar panels that can interface happily with a 24V controller.
You'd do a buck down to the camera's 12V.
Depends on budget, longevity expectations & needs I guess!
At least during the day (when the mains is off for you) the camera won't need to be running the IR side so less current draw.
Running off solar, DIY & electronics fan :-)
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#4
Thanks guys. I don't mind going 12v or so. In the end, it needs to be inexpensive and as compact as possible. I know for sure I can't go physically as large as a house panel. I would like to stick to a panel around 12"x10" give or take. We have issues with dumping and theft and with a system this compact I think it would be less noticeable. The Panel would be mostly obscured by the street light. I say 5v because it would just be easy to plug the panel into a portable charger, then the portable charger to the camera, but, I have plenty of batteries and can build a bank, just don't want to nickel and dime to a point where it would be cheaper to buy a system.

As for the camera, there will probably be no PTZ unless it just happens to be just a feature of the camera I like, so im not planning to power servos. Just camera, wifi, and IR functions. Plan to use iSpy or some other open source software.

So if I went 4s 2p for example, what do i need between the panel and batteries? and do I then just wire the battery bank terminal to the camera power cord?
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#5
LFP(LiFePO4) batteries are your best bet. First it works well with 12V charge controllers, second it works below freezing temps for most parts, so more suitable for outdoors. Now I expect the camera to take anywhere between 3-5 watts, so on a given day it may take up to 5W*24hrs= 120Wh. A 12V 100W panel would be more than enough to power and charge the batteries. You can go smaller like 50watt panel but you run into the risk of not enough power during cloudy/rainy days. Now on your batteries, you need at least 240Wh of power, enough to power two days worth minus efficiencies (in case of a rainy week). So if you have a LFE battery that is 2200mah (or 2200mah*3.2v= 7.04Wh per battery). 240watts/7.04W= 34 batteries needed. So you're looking at a 4s8P as your closest config. You will need a BMS and can be bought on amazon for like 5-10 bucks.
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#6
Just a silly question, but have you read the FAQ located on the main page? There's a thread about solar panels and one about charge controllers. There's also one about how to wire up packs for different voltages based on chemistry.
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#7
(08-20-2019, 04:33 PM)not2bme Wrote: LFP(LiFePO4) batteries are your best bet. First it works well with 12V charge controllers, second it works below freezing temps for most parts, so more suitable for outdoors. Now I expect the camera to take anywhere between 3-5 watts, so on a given day it may take up to 5W*24hrs= 120Wh. A 12V 100W panel would be more than enough to power and charge the batteries. You can go smaller like 50watt panel but you run into the risk of not enough power during cloudy/rainy days. Now on your batteries, you need at least 240Wh of power, enough to power two days worth minus efficiencies (in case of a rainy week). So if you have a LFE battery that is 2200mah (or 2200mah*3.2v= 7.04Wh per battery). 240watts/7.04W= 34 batteries needed. So you're looking at a 4s8P as your closest config. You will need a BMS and can be bought on amazon for like 5-10 bucks.

This is perfect. I have been trying now to determine power draw, this gets me on track. Thanks! Knowing this, I may just use the provided AC, the cost and hassle of a solar panel may not be worth it at the moment, plus, power every night is guaranteed.

(08-20-2019, 08:01 PM)Korishan Wrote: Just a silly question, but have you read the FAQ located on the main page? There's a thread about solar panels and one about charge controllers. There's also one about how to wire up packs for different voltages based on chemistry.

I have, but honestly, its been a long time! Back when I read this, it was for a house sized system. Due to changes in employment and location, I only managed to collect about 200 cells, so my projects have changed.
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