Dotworkz Solar Surveillance Kits Examined

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 17, 2012

Dotworkz wants to make solar-powered surveillance easy. In what can be a daunting design challenge for even experienced integrators, Dotworkz recently announced two types of solar kits specifically designed for video surveillance applications. Do these kits deliver, or is this announcement more flash than substance? In this note, we break this offering down.

Kit Components

Dotworkz 'Solar' kits include solar panel(s), a bank of batteries, central controller, lightning arrester(s), NEMA enclosures, mounting hardware, and associated power cabling. The image below depicts the components comprising either kit:

While the image shows a full system, items NOT included in the kit include the pole, camera, camera housing, conduit, network switchgear, and NVR/wireless radio equipment.

"Kit" is a Misnomer

Even though Dotworkz advertises two separate kits on their webpage, Dotworkz specifies each solar kit depending on a variety of additional details, including:

  • Intensity of Sunlight (at install location): This variable affect panel sizing.
  • Average days of Sunlight: This variable affects battery sizing.
  • Make, Model, and Quantity of Equipment to be Powered: Dotworkz calculates the power budget required by the cameras, switches, housings, and radios to be hung on site.
  • Intended Mount Surface: Dotworkz determines if mounting location (pole, structure, etc) is suitable and sturdy to support required equipment.
As we noted in our Solar Surveillance Guide, successful designs must consider multiple environmental factors. Ultimately, we believe the individual design approach Dotworkz takes for every request is essentially necessary given how site conditions vary.

Optimized for Video

Rather than adapting general purpose type solar power components for video, Dotworkz Solar kits features several design elements not found in generic kits. These elements include:

  • Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries: This battery type is designed to mitigate the risk of swelling in hot weather and does not need maintenance once sealed. AGM batteries are 'deep cycle' batteries, designed to be constantly drained and recharge more quickly compared to other battery types. The batteries included in the kit have a typical service life of 3 to 5 years before replacement is needed. Dotworkz specifies number of batteries based on demand, and typically calculates 3 - 5 'dark days' of capacity per bank, meaning cameras can remain operational for that time without battery recharge.
  • Central Charge Controller: This device regulates the charge/discharge of the batteries, and monitors available power capacity. Because of the battery types used, discharging the batteries too deeply can damage them. The controller automatically shuts down the equipment to prevent this damage, and automatically boots up all equipment when sufficient charge is built back up.
  • Monitored Lightning/ Surge Protection: The integrated surge protector includes a relay output when triggered, notifying a dangerous condition. This arrester is designed to protect the batteries from a surge condition, but does not replace arresters needed to protect camera equipment. While proper grounding includes driving a rod into the earth, this is not furnished in the kit.
  • Optional Polling Unit: While not part of the 'basic' kit, an SMTP module can be included at the factory so that remote health monitoring of the unit is possible. Inputs monitoring voltage and battery condition is the standard module configuration, but it can be configured for other devices (cameras, onboard NVRs, switches) if specified.

Not Proprietary

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Even though Dotworkz advertises this kit to match up with it's line of housings: the Dotworkz S series, and D2/D3 line, the solar kit can be used for any combination of camera and housing. The final configuration of chosen equipment needs to be established before Dotworkz specifies the final kit 'bill of materials', but they have not limited it to specific products or manufacturers.

Pricing

Because each kit is subject to specific design, there is no fixed pricing available. However, the manufacturer suggests that the price range for most deployments will fall between $3500 to $6500, and the average 'kit' costs $5000.

Tech Support and Installation

Dotworks claims free lifetime technical support on the kit, and offers for-fee installation services. Even when installers prior experience, Dotworkz builds the kit to install with pre-terminated cables featuring 'tool-less' connectors. The kits are designed to be installed on poles or walls by low-voltage surveillance technicians.

Comparison

The solar powered market is full of options, including various DIY style kits available on the Internet. Here are 3 options to compare:

  • MicroPower: Compared to 'open design' of Dotworkz kit, MicroPower has limited camera options, and limited features. It is an all in one solution, including wireless link that despite its limitations is likely quite simple to deploy. See our updated 2013 review.
  • Sloan Security: This is a fairly unique solution with solar cells wrapped around the pole, rather than using unsightly panels, but has relatively low power output and limited camera/equipment integration as a result. Pricing is high, at ~$10,000 per pole.
  • Solis Energy: This provider specializes in solar energy components, but requires a certain aptitude and level of experience when selecting components. While the company offers free design services for power elements, they claim no specific knowledge of video equipment. Pricing for components equivalent to the Dotworkz kit will range close to the same, between $2500 and $6000 for most applications.

While the features and price range of these options vary, the approach Dotworkz has taken does not represent a significant technology improvement compared to competitor offerings. However, in the same way that products like Razberi's NVR simplify design and installation for head end servers, Dotworkz is wagering that it's 'Solar Breeze' kits make purchasing 'solar' easy for non experienced designers and integrators.

1 report cite this report:

Megapixel Solar Wireless (Micropower) Examined on May 12, 2015
A fully wireless professional surveillance offering, no networking cables, no power lines. That has been the goal of Micropower for 5 years....
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Dumber Techs, Bad Box Movers, Says Australian Distributor on Jun 10, 2019
Techs today are "dumber" than they used to be, despite better education and training and that makes a typical day "frustrating" for one...
"New" Arecont Fixes Failures "Without A Fight" on Jun 05, 2019
The "old" Arecont was infamous not only for its camera failures but for making their "partners" fight to get them fixed. IPVM drew the ire of...
China / US Trade War Impact Splits Industry on Jun 04, 2019
As the trade war continues to heat up, 170+ integrators told us "What impact will the US / PRC China conflict have on the industry?" Respondents...
IndigoVision Control Center VMS Tested on May 30, 2019
IPVM's last test of IndigoVision's VMS was in 2010, which found enterprise VMS features and a simple client interface. but no 3rd party camera...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Access Control Request to Exit (RTE) Tutorial on May 13, 2019
For access controlled doors, especially those with maglocks, 'Request to Exit', or 'RTE' devices are required to override electrified locks to...
Dahua ePoE Long Distance UTP / Coax Tested on May 03, 2019
Dahua's Enhanced PoE (ePoE) line is claiming extended video and power transmission over 600m without repeaters, with devices interchangeable via...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...
Startup Vaion Launching End-to-End AI Solution Backed with $20 Million Funding on Jun 17, 2019
An EU / USA video surveillance startup, Vaion, founded by ex-Cisco Senior Directors is launching an end-to-end VSaaS platform with $20 million in...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 17, 2019
While face and fingerprint recognition are used regularly for smartphones, it is not as common in physical security. In this note, we examine...
The Scheme Hikvision and China Importers Use To Avoid Tariffs on Jun 17, 2019
Hikvision and numerous China importers are avoiding 25% tariffs by including an SD card slot in their IP cameras to claim they are 'digital still...
Sighthound Transforms Into Enterprise AI Provider Profile on Jun 14, 2019
Sighthound is now rapidly expanding its R&D team, building an enterprise AI service. This may come as a surprise given their origins 6 years...
ADT Eliminating Acquired Brands, Unifying Under 'Commercial' Brand on Jun 14, 2019
ADT is eliminating the brands of the many integrators it has acquired over the past few years, including Red Hawk, Aronson Security Group (ASG),...
NSA Director Keynoting Dahua and Hikvision Sponsored Cybersecurity Conference [Canceled] on Jun 13, 2019
The technical director for the NSA’s Cybersecurity Threat Operations Center will be keynoting a physical security cybersecurity conference that is...
Farpointe Data Conekt Mobile Access Reader Tested on Jun 13, 2019
California based Farpointe Data has been a significant OEM supplier of conventional access readers for years to companies including DMP, RS2, DSX,...
Embattled $400 Million China Funded Philippines Surveillance System Proceeds on Jun 13, 2019
An embattled 12,000 camera surveillance system project that will cost ~$400 million will proceed.  The project contract was awarded, had its...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact