Creating a wireless Wyzecam solution

wyze-cam

#1

Sep 5 2018 Update

Latest project information.

  1. I may have misstated the power bank power - it's 22000mAH RAV unit.
  2. But, I have moved on to a small 12V battery, a larger solar panel (about 12x12 in) with a solar controller with added USB outlets. This gives me more capacity in a battery, plus, it can be charged with a larger solar panel.
  3. That setup allows me to basically run the camera (or cameras, if I desired) continuously. Right now, with the capability to turn the camera on and off, I only run it in times of interest (about 4 hours at twilight).
  4. I've separated the camera part of the project from the power part. The only connection between the two is the power cord.
  5. The camera is housed in a one-quart plastic container, the opening cut at a slant at the top to reduce rain entry. A large washer is glued to the inside top of the container. A small hole at the rear allows the power cable access. The camera is affixed upside down to keep it dry from water that might puddle in the container. The image is rotated 180 degrees via the camera software. This ensemble is attached to a plastic stake with an adjustable arm for positioning.
  6. I communicate wirelessly with the camera at 200' with an Ubiquiti wireless router.
  7. Most problems have not been with the camera housing, but with power interruptions requiring reset, and occasionally data download.
Good luck, my friends. USB power has been my major hurdle in creating solar operation.

 

Updated Jul 13, 2018 - problem with continuous solar operation!

Without taking the reader through all the machinations of development…

The camera runs on USB 5v 1A power continuous, the power bank battery will discharge continuously, but the solar panel does not create power continously. With the drain on the battery over 24 hours being (5 x 0.4) 2 watts, the solar panel must generate enough power to run the camera in the daytime plus enough to recharge what the battery bank used at night. No current solar panels restricted by USB limitations produces the electrical requirements! My estimate is 5v 4A solar output, and I don’t know if the batter bank can take that output (the path is solar panel to battery bank to camera) even if USB restrictions will allow it. Solar panel search is underway - and I’m prepared to construct one if I can’t find one. Any suggestions?

I am in the process of creating a system with the following capabilities:

  1. Wireless communication to 200 feet from controlling device (phone, tablet, computer) - Completed, works fine

  2. WyzeCam protected from moisture (but not “weather proof”) - Problems!! All enclosures tried defeat the IR lights (they reflecdt back into the enclosure). Don’t know about motion detection. I’ll be trying to use an unobstructed “water deflection” trial. Working…

  3. Battery powered (much like a laptop computer) - Completed. 2200000 mAH battery bank gives more than adequate continuous power for two days.

  4. Solar power “sustained” for 24-hour, continuous operation. Working. 10Watt solar USB output panel does not keep battery bank charged continuously. Not enough solar power to replenish full night time camera operation

I have a design and am now assembling the pieces. Therein lies development. It starts with the camera’s needs - its power requirements and weather restrictions. Next is a battery/power bank of appropriate capability. Then, a solar system that can keep the camera and battery running through 24 hours. Encase it all in a weather resistant but camera permissive environment.

All ideas are appreciated. I will give details on the project as they develop.

Major area to work on is camera moisture protection while maintaining night capabilities. Looking at secondary(external IR source) USB powered. The power bank I’m testing with has three external USB outlets.


#2

Have you searched the forum? There’s lots of discussion on weatherproofing. There’s a thread where someone did detailed real life testing of power draw. There is discussion of which solar banks will allow power draw while charging.


#3

Update as of today, Sep 21 (it appears previous updates were lost)

Current situation is small 12v battery, small solar panel (about 12x14 in), 12v/usb outlet controller, voltage indicators, Camv1, Ubiquity WiFi.

Basically, it works. Day and night. All weather. Housing in plastic quart containers slightly canted and slanted opening, with camera suspended, works, while keeping IR and all functions operating.

Ubiquiti router is capable to 300 ft.

What is wrong?

On/off works - most of the time.

Circuitry. Transitioning through the night, the 12v battery gets too low, and the camera disconnects, requiring reconnect. Turn of before nightfall/sundown or Get bigger battery.

Solar panel output insufficient. Get bigger panel.

 

I’ve learned a bunch from others, so thanks for your inputs.

 

I’m in the research process. I’ll be looking for weatherproofing, although my thoughts are more towards to “resistant” than to full sealing. Getting an adequate picture and motion detection is primary. I’m running a RAVPower 2100000 battery bank to see it’s long time capability - I need that to last at least two days with no recharge. Then a 10AH solar panel with USB output to the power bank to see if it can recharge in 12 hours on a normal day. Lash it all together and see if it can run for a week or two.

The package will look like the solar panel on a gimbal over a sealed container for the power bank, with the camera in an open (only on one side) plastic container, also gimballed. The package is all mounted on a post that can be moved and planted easily.

The package will communicate with an Ubiquiti router to a range of 200 feet.

Working, working, …

Sam

Appreciative of all suggestions.


#4

The NOCO company has what I think would be ideal for a power bank USB silar also small long life battery packs chargers etc. My lil NOCO X grid flash light 4x1x1 " fully charged can charge my Galaxy S9 almost 5 times until needing a recharge.

 


#5

First of all let me praise you all for your ingenuity and attempts at solar standalone solutions. I currently have a Nest outdoor cam running completely on solar. I just purchased a Wyze and am going to run several around my house to replace them. There is a steep learning curve to a solar setup. I was an RF Engineer in a previous life and have been involved with the design of remote comm sites running on solar, hydrogen fuel cells, etc.

There is a balance that must be achieved with the system involving the load, length of run time expected, type of battery/charge controller, proper charge rate (c/5-10) for battery health, proper discharge level (max 50%), solar panel ratings (watts, voltage, amperage), sun hours (geographic based), and angle of incidence for the photons hitting the panel (mounting the panel(s) at the optimal angle). I have seen some crazy set ups mentioned in these forums (not criticizing as once again, I applaud the ingenuity and effort). Nobody gets anywhere without trying and failing. However, much time and money is being wasted and I hate to see that.

I will be performing the calculations, and setting mine up and will report the results. Off the top of my head (based on power draw I’ve seen in this forum and which I definitely need to confirm), a 50 watt mono panel, 35 amp hour 12v sealed agm battery, 10 Amp PWM charge controller, and a 12v to 5v step down @3A should provide sufficient charging/operation during average weather and 48hr backup if you have a few days of bad weather. You could go twice that length (4 days) here and there but it would be bad for long term battery health to do it all the time. This can all be had for about $150 as of this writing.

If you live in an area where its cloudy you want to up-size the solar panel, battery bank, and to an MPPT charge controller for better efficiency. I don’t claim to know everything so if anyone has any thoughts, please let me know. I’m going to do my best to set myself up and hopefully can help some of you all along the way.

I’ll report back in a few weeks.

 


#6

samgrow said (in part):

3. Battery powered (much like a laptop computer) – Completed. 2200000 mAH battery bank gives more than adequate continuous power for two days.
 

I think you need to check that figure. A 2,200,000 mAH battery? I think you added a few extra zeros there. Assuming at 5 volts, a battery of that capacity would have a total capacity of 11,000 Watt Hours - which would power a Wyze camera (with the IR illuminators turned on) for over 2,500 hours - or over 100 days. That battery would also weight about a half ton.

 


#7

Most likely he meant the 22,000mAH packs that are a fairly common size:

The small lipstick-sized ones are usually 2,200mAH so I assume that’s a multiple of a common cell capacity.