Standalone Solar Powered Mailbox


#21

That is awesome!


#22

How do you power the camera via the converter?


#23

You’re all welcome. If you need any help, feel free to reach out.

BTW, I thought about (and still am actually) integrating a small fold down shelf on the back with a strategically placed weatherproof USB outlet and integrated bluetooth speaker to hold my beer and charge my phone while I work/play in the yard.

tbagcam - I was trying to integrate the camera into the body of the mailbox. It just didn’t work out aesthetically. I thought about cutting out the center of the “9” in my address, cutting an exact size square opening for the camera, etc. It’s mounted right at the proper height and angle to catch license plates and anyone who walks by. I still might try it when this cam dies, but for now, it’s working great.


#24

The solar panel feeds the charge controller, the charge controller feeds the battery, the battery feeds 12vdc to the terminal strip (which powers the lights and the camera). Attach the buck transformer’s 12v leads to the terminal strip and the 5v leads to a usb cable to power the camera.

You’ll have to cut and peel back one end (the end that doesn’t plug into the camera) of the camera’s USB cable to attach it to the transformer’s leads. BTW, I didn’t use the usb cable that came with the Wyzecam (although you could). I had never spliced a USB cable. I practiced on an old one I had laying around and it worked, so I went with it.


#25

You could get this type of step down transformer with USB connectors built in.

Great job @buccscott. That’s a fancy mailbox/media center/bar. :smile:


#26

Even better… Those usb conductors are mighty small to be splicing…


#27

That’s neat. Thanks for posting…


#28

I would love to have the specs.


#29

What exactly are you looking for Tim? I’ve listed the parts above in the thread. If you have specific questions, I’d be happy to help.


#30

Wow, that’s a great looking mailbox and you did a great job with the Wyze cam. I can’t do it, but I enjoyed reading what you did.


#31

Thanks for sharing! Very inspiring and great craftsmanship!.

This past summer I installed a 100 watt solar panel on my roof wired into my garage with a charge station with similar components, pretty much just for the learning experience as I think it will take a while to break even on the cost. I use it to charge cell phones and rechargeable batteries, powers a google home and chromecast music and small amplifier for music in the garage. Over Christmas used it to power our outdoor Christmas lights. There are many days that go by where I am not charging anything and I often think about how all this energy the solar panel is generating is going to waste! Reading this reminded me that I have 2 Wyze cams (actually 3 one is daisy chained to another) in practical wiring distance to the solar charge station. So I am going to hook one of them up and see how it goes powering for 24 hours a day. Thanks again for the inspiration!


#32

You’re welcome Codacon. My next project is a pergola for my backyard. I’m going a bit larger with four 300 + watt panels for it’s roof. It will provide shade and enough juice to power landscape lights and my pool pump.

Yes, you may as well use that energy. You paid for it up front, squeeze as much as you can out of it to get your return on investment. I’m not sure what “practical distance” is, but I’d caution you to be aware of voltage drop as DC drops very quickly. …or are you using an inverter to distribute?


#33

Is that connected to your home wi-fi? It appears to be 100 feet away from your home. How stable is the connection?


#34

I have an extender that I can actually pick up 80% about 1/4 mile away. So it’s possible.


#35

Couldn’t you just add a female USB connector to the buck thing, to plug in the camera?


#36

Great project!


#37

Yes, or buy one with USB connectors built in like I posted above.


#38

Yes, it is connected to my home WiFi. It’s surprisingly a very stable connection. I did not expect it to constantly communicate and thought I might have to fall back to the SD card to grab a video clip if I have an incident. I mentioned previously I am an engineer, I’m actually an RF (radio) engineer. So, I tested with a WiFi Analyzer app on my phone prior to mounting. My WiFi channel was completely clear of competing broadcasts in the house, but marginal outside as my neighbors across the street were obviously using the same channel. I changed the channel several times (testing inside and out) and found a channel that was still very clear from interference inside the house and “workable” at the camera location. The throughput still drops down a bit at times causing a VERY brief stutter but compared to even some of our “professional” cameras where I work, this Wyzecam crushes it. Great little radios in these units.


#39

Yah all great until some kids come by and wack it with a baseball bat or a someone who doesn’t like you monitoring your street so close to the street comes by and yanks it all apart. This thing will be gone in a month or two stolen or broken… didn’t think it through very well with that camera sticking right how the bottom like that so low to the ground and accessible. Engineers never see the real world around them.


#40

Just a ray of sunshine. :sun_with_face:
Welcome to the forum.

I suspect buccscott isn’t too worried about it.