MicroPower 2.0 Solar Wireless Surveillance

By: Ethan Ace, Published on May 13, 2013

When we first looked at MicroPower's solar surveillance system in 2010, key limitations existed, making widespread use challenging. However, late last year, a second generation was released to overcome limitations found in field deployments. In this note, we look at what changes have been made, which limitations still exist, and the future prospects for MicroPower's Helios compared to rival wireless solar surveillance offerings.

Updated Product Line

MicroPower updated their Helios product line late in 2012. This was not a fundamental feature upgrade, but included several incremental improvements:

  • Auxilliary solar panel: MicroPower now includes an additional 16W solar panel, in addition to those mounted on the camera enclosure. In some locations, cameras aimed north could suffer from insufficient power due to weather or short days. This panel is intended to compensate for these effects, while remaining relatively small (15"x14") to prevent wind load issues and poor aesthetics of larger panels.
  • Directional antennas: MicroPower now includes directional antennas with all Helios kits, specified for up to 1/2 mile range. Previous generations featured omnidirectional antennas with reduced range.
  • RF Improvements: According to MicroPower, improvements have been made to increase their proprietary wireless protocol's (TrustLinx) data rates and resistance to interference. 

The Helios system is available through MicroPower's distributors, with MSRP of $3,500 USD for the MPT2520 package including camera, antenna, and solar panel, and $2,500 for the MPT2720 hub, supporting up to six cameras, including antenna. MicroPower maintains a traditional security pricing structure, with deep discounts from MSRP for dealers.

Limitations

The Helios system supports a fixed camera only, and still has key limitations in resolution and framerate, despite improvements to power and transmission. Maximum resolution remains VGA, at five frames per second, using MJPEG compression. This video clip demonstrates MicroPower's resolution and framerate:

These limitations prevent the Helios system from being useful in many applications, as only small areas may be covered with any sort of detail. Micropower says that megapixel is a priority for future development though no timetable was provided.

Competitive Comparison

There are any number of options available for solar power in surveillance systems. However, most require custom engineering based on equipment load, battery size, location, and other factors, which many integrators may not be comfortable with.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

One pre-engineered system is the Dotworkz Solar Kit, which consists of solar panel(s), controller, batteries, and enclosure configured based on integrator requirements sent to Dotworkz. The kit is non-proprietary, meaning any camera and wireless equipment can be used.

When only using a single camera, Dotworkz is only modestly more expensive while supporting higher functionality cameras. However, with more cameras, the price gap becomes more significant.

The price comparison is as follows

Dotworkz

  • Solar surveillance kit: $5,000 USD average, not including camera or wireless.
  • Mid-range HD camera: $800
  • Low-cost wireless: $200, such as Ubiquiti.

MicroPower

  • MPT2520 Camera Kit: ~$3,000 estimated street price
  • MPT2720 Video Hub (supports up to 6 cameras): ~$2,100 estimated street price

For a single camera, Dotworkz would be about $1,000 more ($6,000 to $5,100) but for 6 cameras, Dotworkz would be ~$13,000 more (because the camera side components of Dotworkz cost significantly more).

However, MicroPower has the obvious disadvantage of limited framerate, resolution, and transmission distance which a Dotworkz kit overcomes. MicroPower also has no PTZ options, while they may be supported in a Dotworkz kit using their D2/D3 enclosures.

2 reports cite this report:

Micropower Fails on May 02, 2016
Wireless video surveillance is a tough business. Micropower sought to deliver...
Megapixel Solar Wireless (Micropower) Examined on May 12, 2015
A fully wireless professional surveillance offering, no networking cables, no...
Comments (2) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

IPConfigure Presents Orchid Fusion VSaaS on Apr 30, 2020
IPConfigure presented Orchid Fusion VSaaS at the April 2020 IPVM New Products...
Avigilon ACC Cloud Tested on Jul 08, 2020
Avigilon merged Blue and ACC, adding VSaaS features to its on-premise VMS,...
ZKTeco Presents SpeedFace Recognition + Body Temperature Detection on Apr 21, 2020
ZKTeco presented its SF1008+ reader with body temperature and face mask...
Milestone Presents XProtect On AWS on May 04, 2020
Milestone presented its XProtect on AWS offering at the April 2020 IPVM New...
Cisco Acquiring Fluidmesh on Apr 09, 2020
Cisco announced it is acquiring niche wireless manufacturer...
LSP Presents 2nd Generation FP Power Supplies on Apr 29, 2020
Life Safety Power (LSP) presented its FP2 power supply in the April 2020 IPVM...
Camio Presents Coronavirus Social Distancing Analytics on Apr 20, 2020
Camio presented its social distancing analytics for responding to coronavirus...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 27, 2020
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more...
Genetec Security Center 5.9 Release Examined on Feb 06, 2020
Genetec released the next major version of Security Center, less than a year...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used...
USA ICI Elevated Skin Temperature Detectors Examined on Apr 06, 2020
Infrared Cameras, Inc. (ICI) is aiming to help slow the spread of COVID-19...
Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in...
FLIR New Coronavirus Prioritized Temperature Screening Camera Examined on Apr 03, 2020
FLIR has announced a new series of thermal cameras "prioritized for entities...
Cobalt Robots Respond To Coronavirus on Apr 20, 2020
Startup Cobalt Robotics is responding to coronavirus with new features...
Bosch Presents MIC 7100 Extreme PTZs on May 21, 2020
Bosch presented its MIC 7100 Extreme PTZs at the April 2020 IPVM New Products...

Recent Reports

Dahua Taunts Australian Government, Continues To Sell Illegal Fever Cameras on Aug 10, 2020
Dahua is effectively taunting the Australian government by continuing to sell...
HID Releases VertX Replacement Aero on Aug 10, 2020
HID is replacing two established and broadly supported types of access...
NDAA Compliant Video Surveillance Whitelist on Aug 10, 2020
This report aggregates video surveillance products that manufacturers have...
Telpo China Temperature Tablets Tested on Aug 10, 2020
The provider for overseas companies ranging from Canon Singapore to US'...
Dangerous Hikvision Fever Camera Showcased by Chilean City on Aug 07, 2020
Deploying a fever camera outdoors, in the rain, with no black body, is...
"Grand Slam" For Pelco's PE Firm, A Risk For Motorola on Aug 07, 2020
The word "Pelco" and "grand slam" have not been said together for many years....
FLIR Stock Falls, Admits 'Decelerating' Demand For Temperature Screening on Aug 07, 2020
Is the boom going to bust for temperature screening? FLIR disappointed...
VSaaS Will Hurt Integrators on Aug 06, 2020
VSaaS will hurt integrators, there is no question about that. How much...
Dogs For Coronavirus Screening Examined on Aug 06, 2020
While thermal temperature screening is the surveillance industry's most...
ADT Slides Back, Disappointing Results, Poor Commercial Performance on Aug 06, 2020
While ADT had an incredible start to the week, driven by the Google...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Aug 06, 2020
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all...
SIA Coaches Sellers on NDAA 889B Blacklist Workarounds on Aug 05, 2020
Last month SIA demanded that NDAA 899B "must be delayed". Now that they have...
ADI Returns To Growth, Back To 'Pre-COVID Levels' on Aug 05, 2020
While ADI was hit hard in April, with revenue declining 21%, the company's...
Exposing Fever Tablet Suppliers and 40+ Relabelers on Aug 05, 2020
IPVM has found 40+ USA and EU companies relabeling fever tablets designed,...
Indian Government Restricts PRC Manufacturers From Public Projects on Aug 04, 2020
In a move that mirrors the U.S. government’s ban on Dahua and Hikvision...