I wanted a security camera at the front door of my house with two criteria: the camera needed to be wireless and it needed to be accessible for viewing from my computer.

Check out Jake’s solar security cam howto. – Link

14 thoughts on “Jake’s Solar Webcam

  1. I can understand going solar if it was going on an outbuilding with no power in it, but putting it where its within reach of the house, surely the payback on the power from the solar, the cost of the battery replacement would outweigh the time taken to run a power feed from the light or similar to it?

    Also the solar panel looks to be quite shaded by the veranda and is vertical so would be no way near reaching its full potential.

  2. I agree with Richard, it is cool, but in this situation, a networked camera with some sort of power-over-ethernet system or simply a wireless one with a long extension cord.

  3. I wouldn’t call that thing secure by any means, and it would have made much more sense to use a POE type camera, and one thats made to go outdoors. That whole setup will probably fail in a few weeks or months depending on the weather and humidity. Thats of course assuming it lasts that long and that someone just doesn’t steal the camera thats just hanging on the wall.

  4. Top points for convenience, but yeah, he’s mistaken to think he’s helping with carbon neutrality because what he has done is just the opposite – replacing a wire to the grid with a rechargeable battery pack has much higher energy, carbon, and pollution costs per watt. This trades higher environmental impact for greater wiring convenience. (As you can tell, it’s a bit of a pet peeve – solar power is greener than the grid when it’s (helping) powering the grid. When it’s used as an excuse to introduce an otherwise unnecessary battery into the system, to be charge-cycled every day, it’s much worse than the grid. Exceptions are only for batteries that were going to exist and be charged anyway. Solar cellphone/mp3/laptop charger: good. Solar webcam: bad. Budget solar garden light with cheap NiCd battery: very bad.

  5. Awesome feedback from all who have commented so far – I may ultimately adjust the solar panel placement, the video of the actual solar panel placement was shot late in the day, which is part of why it’s hard to tell about placement – throughout the time of day where there’s good sun it’s completely unobstructed.

    I’ve tested several other electronic components on the same porch and never had any of them fail due to weather, so I’m reasonably confident the camera won’t fail because of weather either. Stealing it might be a possibility, but would be more effort than it appears from the angle in the video.

    I originally started down the solar path because I was curious whether it would actually work. It does. I haven’t done any kind of scientific assessment of whether or not the solar power is actually more effective or not. From a purely economic perspective (my own, not the greater good’s), I could replace a ton of batteries in the time it would have taken to wire to the location of the camera because the house is old and the porch light really should be re-wired before running anything else off that circuit, so solar made much more sense.

  6. Also, on the security part, the power wire to the camera can easily be cut, so if you completely cover up the wires then it would be more safe. But still, cool project.

  7. PoE cable lengths are a max of 50′ if you can find cat5E cables with 18 guage (I doubt it). I think 802.11g will do better than 50 ‘.

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