16 Apr How to power a wireless security system with solar energy
We have talked about the different types of security systems for solar farms: closed television circuits, access control barriers, fence sensors, alarm receiving center. But in this post we are going to talk about how to power a wireless security system with solar energy.
Security Cameras Types
There are different types of outdoor surveillance cameras. On the one hand, we have conventional cameras, which record the video image they capture with natural light. We also have thermal cameras, which use infrared radiation emitted by the monitored subject to form the image. And finally, PTZ domes, which are cameras that have the ability to rotate up to 360 degrees in the horizontal plane, 180 degrees in the vertical plane, and zoom in on the image to follow a target.
All these cameras need to carry at least one cable to provide the power they need to operate and another cable for data transmission if it is a closed circuit television. They can also carry a single pop Ethernet cable, which is used to supply power and for data transmission (audio or video) to the reception and storage center.
What is a wireless security system?
In front of these wired video surveillance systems, we have video surveillance using wireless or IP cameras. They are cameras that connect to the internet to transmit information, either via Wi-Fi or via radio signal.
With this type of wireless cameras, installations are simplified and costs are reduced, since we can place the cameras in remote points where it is difficult or expensive to carry the data transmission cable. The cameras have a wifi or radio antenna inside, which transmits the audio and video signal to the receiving unit.
With the antenna we managed to eliminate the data transmission cable, but we still need energy to power the camera.
Until recently, this was supplemented by batteries, but this has the drawback that batteries drain quickly, they need to be changed periodically as well as more maintenance.
Powered by solar energy
When we have to place security cameras in a space that is difficult to access or where it is difficult to carry the electricity supply, we can use modern surveillance cameras with solar power.
There are two types of solar cameras: those that have the panel built into the camera itself. It is a compact and easier solution to install. The solar panel that captures the energy is located on the camera and makes it work without the need to connect to the electricity grid. Other solar surveillance cameras carry a separate solar panel. They are normal cameras to which an independent solar panel is connected that provides the necessary energy.
These types of cameras are valid for outdoor and day surveillance, but what happens when the sun goes down? We have the solution in rechargeable batteries with solar energy. The solar panel that serves to power the camera during the day, also charges a smaller capacity battery that supplies the necessary energy when it is night or during the day, but there is no sun.
Compact kits and kits with separate elements
Some manufacturers sell a type of camera in the form of a compact kit. In a single element, we have the camera, the photovoltaic panel and the rechargeable battery to work when there is no sun.
We also find kits on the market made up of separate elements: on the one hand, we have the panel, and on the other, the camera and the rechargeable battery. For them to work we have to connect these elements together.
For more intensive uses and with higher energy requirements, there are ad hoc solutions for conventional cameras, PTZ dome type, which are placed on a metal pole in height. A powerful solar panel is also installed on this pole, which powers the camera and a generous battery that guarantees the supply for long hours without night light or periods of low solar radiation.
On the same pole would also be the antenna and link equipment to transmit the audio and video signal to the central station.
Pole installation is very frequent in isolated places where it is difficult to carry the necessary wiring. They are widely used in video surveillance of crops, on roads and in quarries or mines, where it is difficult to carry the electrical installation. We can also see it in photovoltaic parks or in large isolated logistics areas.
The advantages of these pole installations are:
- Easy and fast assembly .
- They are reusable when we need to take them to another location.
- They are safe and reliable since they usually have a photovoltaic panel and a high capacity battery.
- They may be the only affordable solution to monitor certain facilities.
- We can take advantage of data transmission equipment and normal cameras that are easily found in the market.
- They are very useful for monitoring the storage area at the beginning of the works.
What do we have to take into account when buying surveillance cameras powered by solar energy?
Whether we choose a kit or a pole installation, we have to take into account the following aspects when purchasing the equipment:
Solar panel capacity
The solar panel must be suitable to power the surveillance camera and to recharge the installation’s battery. We need the advice of a specialist to calculate and optimize the electrical installation, so as not to overspend or under-spend.
Data transmission capacity
The video and audio signal can be transmitted via wifi when possible. In case we do not have a nearby Wi-Fi facility to connect the camera to the internet, we will have to make a connection through the mobile phone network (3G or 4G).
The installation of cameras and panels should be in places of difficult access, at height on a pole or on a building when possible. We can also configure the camera to allow intruder detection or equip it with video analysis systems and sound or light alarms using sensors to deter possible attacks.
We have different solutions to protect our facilities when it is difficult to carry the wiring. But it is always necessary to entrust the design of our surveillance system to a specialized company. They will make us invest the necessary amount to have a good safety equipment and they will avoid us buying equipment that is not adequate.