Dotworkz Solar Surveillance Kits Examined

Author: 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

Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Axis Supports HD Analog on Apr 15, 2019
In 2017, Axis declared 'Everything is IP': Now, in 2019, Axis has released support for HD analog, with their new encoders.  Why the change?...
Pole Mount Camera Installation Guide on Apr 11, 2019
Poles are a popular but challenging choice for deploying surveillance cameras outdoors. Poles are indispensable for putting cameras at the right...
UK Installer CCTV Aware - Flat Pricing, No Salespeople on Apr 10, 2019
This is a different kind of company. They do flat pricing, they do not have any salespeople and 50% of their sales are sold and booked...
Spring 2019 IP Networking Course- Register Now on Apr 04, 2019
Register now for the Spring 2019 IP Networking course here. Just $299 for the course. This is the only networking course designed specifically...
Bezos-Funded Deep Sentinel Tested on Mar 28, 2019
Backed by Jeff Bezos, the Silicon Valley startup, Deep Sentinel, has declared: No One Does Home Security Like We Do Our Surveillance Team has...
Outdoor Camera Installation Guide on Mar 25, 2019
Outdoor camera installation can be fraught with problems. Creating a sturdy and weather tight mount is key for camera performance and longevity,...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled on Apr 23, 2019
IPVM interviewed 19 facial recognition providers at ISC West to understand their claimed accuracy, success and positioning. 9 from China, where...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Hikvision Admits USA Sales Falling on Apr 22, 2019
Hikvision, in a new Chinese financial filing, has admitted that its USA sales are now falling. Less than a year after the US government passed a...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
 Register for the Spring 2019 Access Control Course----Closed IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...

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