Solar Powered Parking Lot Security Cameras
Just decided to document my first remote solar powered surveillance system and post it here due to the lack of information (mainly due to the newness of the whole process) here on IPVM.
Overview of Project:
4 poles with a total of 7 cameras all tied back to a main building with wireless radios where the NVR is stored. One pole has 3 cameras, one pole has 2 cameras, and two poles have 1 camera each. The light poles are 277v/480v and surrounded with concrete, brick, and asphalt. The cost to cut/trench all the way to the poles and just run hard cables was about $60,000, versus the $20,000 I quoted for the entire project with solar. The poles are ~6 inches in diameter and steel, so they are very sturdy to mount to. Personally even that quote was kind of high mainly because I wanted to say no without saying no, but they still said yes.
Product line up:
- 7 SNO-L6013R “Samsung-hanwha-techwin-wisenet-III” cameras
- 5 Ubiquiti NSM365 wireless radios
- 2 140watt Tycon power solar kits
- 2 70 watt Tycon power solar kits
- 1 16 channel “SamWha technet III” NVR 1637S
- 2 4TB WD black hard drives.
- 12v 150watt inverters
- 4 Ubiquiti tough switches TS-8-PRO
On the solar kits……
So when I initially ordered the solar kits they were supposed to be 12v kits with four 6 volt gel sealed batteries, which is great and fine but they sent me 12 volt batteries…… which is fine as well but when I ordered the kit it first said batteries not included, understandable, but I ordered four 6 volt batteries for each kit to go with them and not only did I get all 12 volt batteries but when the kits arrived they stated they came with two 12 volt each….. so I have 8 extra batteries now. I will say I cannot fully blame Tycon because it could just as easily be the distributors fault in this case as details were lacking.
All the cameras, NVR, inverters, and radios are things I usually order and they were all fine, but my main concerns were the tough switch and the Solar kits. The weather here in North Carolina while never really in the extremes (less than 0F or higher than 110F) we do however get extreme swings in the weather. What does that mean? it can change ~30F in two hours along with unholy amounts humidity, and this happens all year long. So things out side tend to take a beating rather quickly. The Ubiquiti tough switch however looked like it could take some abuse, but what about the solar kits?
Looking at the weatherproof enclosure, it is rather well built, solid and has lots of mounting rails/tabs for just about anything. Comes with one rail mount for the charge controller (which is included), and room for one or two other things you could mount on the rails. The charge controller comes with one PoE (802.3af) output and one PoE (802.3.af) input for charging. You cannot however use a switching PoE power input, you must use a non-switching (power all the time) power supply. It comes with an additional PoE injector jack. The only difference between the 140 watt and 70 watt model is one extra solar panel, so they are the same with the exception of there is an extra cable, double panel mount and a panel over the 70 watt model. So each kit cost about $1300 for the 70 watt model and $1500 for the 140 watt model, and each 12 volt battery was $265 after that for a total of about $1800-$2000 for each solar kit with four batteries in each enclosure.
Bench Testing the Units
So with the exception of the solar panel, my plan was to test all the rest of the equipment with a 12v power supply (14.8v dc @ 2amp) input as to charge the batteries. But before I would simulate daily use under normal conditions, I decided to hook up 2 batteries, 2 cameras, one radio and one tough switch and see how long it would run till the batteries would die. The results exceeded my expectations, as the charge controller cut off after 47 hours of use. This is of course with just two of the batteries instead of the four I had planned to use, which mean I can easily get the 3 days I was aiming for. I put the units on bench power to charge overnight and started working out how I was going to mount them to the poles. On a side note, I choose the SNO-L6013R model cameras due to the low power usage (5-6 watts) versus some of the higher end cameras that tend to pull 10-14 watts. Having installed solar systems far before I ever started installing anything security related helped out tremendously in designing and picking out materials for this project.
So having all details of how it is going to work hammered out it is on to the install. The pole is 6 inches in diameter, my kit supplied straps that were 5 inches max diameter. Luckily they gave me 6 straps so I could double up the straps 3 times. The solar panel came with just two 4 inch straps but I had extra ones laying around so not a big deal.
I got the box up:
Then the solar panel
Then the camera
Then the radio
Then the batteries
This beast is heavy so I am going to put a bolt though the pole and bracket at the top and bottom just to be safe. Made all my connections, four 12 volt batteries in parallel, and everything is up and running. Tie cameras into the NVR and there is almost no lag or broken frames what so ever, I will update in a week and a month with any issues I have.
Final Thoughts for the Moment
I have to say I am rather impressed with the Tycon power units, I wish the documentation was better, but that could be more on the distributor than Tycon. All the other products were things I have/had used before with the exception of the Ubiquiti tough switch, but I have used enough of their products to know that it was more or less going to be what I needed. Not sure about Samsung-Hanwha-techwin-wisenet future’s is going to be but I do like using some of their products in cases like this.