Easy $100 solution for powering outdoor cameras (Solar and Battery)

I’ve been working on a simple solar solution for the past few months to get my v2 & v3 cameras working outdoors where there is no 120v power. I found this easy to make solution works great, and has been reliable 7x24 for a few weeks now. Even during winter, low light cloudy weather. Remember, it still requires a Wifi signal, just as if it was plugged indoors to work.

There are only 3 parts you need to setup, its very easy to do and doesn’t need any fancy electronics or soldering. Anyone can do it. You can get it all running in under an hour with basic tools. Total cost is around $100 (plus Wyze camera)

You need to buy (I used Amazon)

12v LifePo4 Battery https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07X7MD2JK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Renogy Solar Charge Controller https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NPDWZJ7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Plastic Ammo Case - search “Sheffield plastic ammo case”

20W Solar panel - search " HQST 20W 12V Monocrystalline"

Then you need some basic insulated copper wire and some simple tools. You need 2 female spade connectors to hook up to the battery, if you dont have any, look for " Insulated Wire Electrical Connectors". A box is around $10

First get it all working outside the case.

You will need a female spade crimp connector and a short piece of wire to connect the battery to the charge controller, it will start working and show you the battery voltage.

Then connect the solar panel to the Renogy, get the polarity right, maybe check which wire is positive with a voltmeter if your not sure.

Then plug the Wyze camera into the USB socket on the Renogy controller, if it doesn’t start, press the ‘Enter’ Button on the Renogy to power up the USB port.

Configure the Wyze camera as you normally would and get it working before you put it outdoors.

Place the battery in the box and put the Renogy charge controller on top of the battery, work out how much cable you need to mount your solar panel and mount the camera. Cut a small hole in the battery case to allow the wires to get out the box. Using a bread knife, I cut a small slot in the top of the box rim, so water could not get in.

Then mount your camera and solar panel outside and test it all works. Make sure the solar panel gets at least a few hours of direct sunlight a day, That has been enough to power my Wyze v3 for 24 hours a day reliably for many weeks.

You may need to adjust the location of the camera if your Wifi signal is very weak.

If you get less sunlight or the battery goes flat before dawn, try using a 40W or 50W panel.

If the battery gets too low, the Renogy controller disconnects the camera USB power until the solar panel recharges the battery, it then turns the camera back on. Very cool. The Renogy also gives you lots of information about the battery and solar charging status.

Overall its been very reliable and requires no maintenance.

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I’ve been running cameras off solar arrays for some time now (several years). In my experience, it takes a fairly large array to be able to capture enough sunlight when the sun does shine to get by in winter months. A few overcast or snowy days will tax a solar system greatly. Oversizing panels is usually worth doing. Panels can be had on Amazon now for around a dollar a watt. My solar setups have multiple 50 watt panels (at least 2, one has 3) . Each panel is at a different angle so that one works best in summer months and one works best in winter months.

Solar is a great thing, but it is also not trivial. You cant get one more watt-hour out of the battery than the solar array put into it.

Also, and I dont know where you live… LiFePO4 batteries dont do well when the temperature drops below freezing. Where I live (Massachusetts), we see temps as low as -20 F regularly. Lead Acid is my only choice (Marine Deep Cycle Batteries).

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Good point, I’m in California where its 70 and sunny today in mid January. You probably need more solar and lead acid batteries in other colder/cloudier areas.

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