So I am putting up several Wyze cams outdoors to watch my external entrances to my home. There are good solutions on Amazon for the cam, sd card, enclosure, and power cable. The one pain point for me was that there’s no way to prevent someone from simply unplugging the camera, short of running a new circuit into my soffits and installing electrical outlets out of reach of the bad guys.
Yes, you can find a few commercial cell phone charger packs that do pass through charging, but they are all relatively expensive (in comparison to the rest of the camera gear), and most are far too bulky to a discreet install. I decided to roll the dice and try making my own.
I ordered some small PCB boards off of Amazon. Don’t let this part intimidate you. All you need to know is the approximate discharge rate and that the board will allow pass through charging for this project. Here’s what I went with.
You’ll also need a battery holder. Here’s mine.
I am using 18650 batteries because I had some kicking around from an aborted e-bike project last year. If you want to do the same, look around for a discarded laptop battery pack. What I found is that out of the six to nine cells in a pack, one or two would have failed, bringing the voltage of the pack down to where it wouldn’t run a laptop anymore. Take the pack apart and separate the cells, charge the ones that will charge and they were very usable. If you prefer, you can buy 18650 cells for around $6-$7 each new.
Putting things together is very, very easy. All you have to do is solder the positive and negative wires from the battery holder to the B+ and B- contact points on the PCB board, install a battery, and plug it in. The micro USB is your AC power, the standard usb is your output.
The whole package is about the size of a large bic lighter and should run a Wyze for about an hour of continuous record time. More than enough for my purposes. If you want more capacity, you simply build a bigger pack at the same voltage by linking more battery cells together.
Cost for the project is about $4.50 US per pack, or around $10 US if you buy a new battery.
I’m still working on a waterproof enclosure. Two of mine are well protected by soffit, so it won’t matter, but the third is pretty exposed. Right now I am thinking about 1 1/4" clear aquarium tubing pulled over the whole pack, cutouts for the USB connectors, then install cables and silicone the cables into place. Then close both ends of the tubing with heat. If you have another idea, throw it out there!