Inverter power for security cameras

#1
Hello All,
Newbie here.
I am building an offgrid cabin that gets cell signal. I have cameras that work on a cell account. I believe the three cameras will draw very little power. They have 110 volt plugs (it is an adapter plug that converts power from 110 to 12V to the cameras). My question is, if I have 2 x 12 volt batteries dedicated to the camera system, and have an inverter connected for the cameras to plug into, is it safe to just leave the system/inverter "on" while I am gone? (properly fused of course).

Thanks

O
 

HandLoad

Yikes...
Brass Subscriber
#3
Yes, BUUUT: When You convert from 12 Volts to 120VAC, ya lose maybe 30% of the power in the batteries to heat and noise, then when the little converters for each Camera convert 120VAC back to 12VDC, ya lose even more power.

Wouldn't you prefer to have longer runtime for the Security Cameras?

And, Yes, it would be OK to use the system You proposed in that way. Just have to protect the outlets and wiring used from someone plugging something else in and dragging the system down to Zero, accidentally or not....
 

sarco2000

Beyond the Grid
#4
Hi Orto and welcome to the forum!

What they said above, plus,

It would be "safe" as far as not causing a short or a fire as long as the the fuse is rated for the wire size and the electronics amp draw, and is as close to the battery bank as possible. Any wire on the non-battery side of the fuse is not protected.

Another thing to consider is how long will the batteries last? If they get drained too much, they will be permanently damaged.

If you want to do it right, you should

1) Find out how much power the cameras draw in a day (in KW Hours).
2) Decide how long you want to run them without charging the battery.
3) Decide if you're going to charge the battery with solar panels and we can figure out how many panels you'd need.

It might be hard to find out exactly how much power the cameras draw, but look at the specs for it. There should be a voltage spec and an Amp spec. Using the amp spec you can figure out how many KWH per day they would use. Note that the Amp spec is usually higher than actual, but that's okay for these purposes.

If you want to bring all the specs and requirements into this thread, we can work up some numbers for batteries and solar panels if needed.

.
 

sarco2000

Beyond the Grid
#6
Personally, I'd be cutting the plugs off the AC adapters (leaving lots of wire) and connecting them right to the 12V system.

If you don't want to cut the adapters for any reason in case you want to be able to return them to the store, go to the thrift store and find some ac adapters (they cost $1-$3) with plugs that fit (the rest of the adapter doesn't matter), and cut those plugs off and use them.

In fact, I've done exactly that for a few things around my house.
.
 
#7
Thanks all! Great help. Yes, I was thinking about not using the adapters and just going 12volt, but wasn't sure if that was safe either. I guess if I fuse it that should be okay, right?
Also, here are the specs for the cameras. I will eventually have a solar system that I can tie it into, I am just trying to get the cameras up first for monitoring while I am away.

Thanks again, this is great help.



Specificactions:

Camera
Operating system
Embedded Linux OS
Processor
HI3516C
Sensor
1/2.9" SONY323 low lux CMOS
Lens interface type
M12
Lens
2.7-13.5mm 5X optical zoom auto focus lens
View angle
96° - 26.2°
Min. illumination
0.05lux/ 0lux (IR on)
Day night mode
Auto IR - CUT
Night vision distance
4pcs 850nm array IR LEDs, IR radiation distance 60m
Video
Video compression
H.264
Video streaming
T streaming
Video resolution
Main stream: 1080P (1920x1080)@25fps, 720P (1280x720)@25fps
Sub stream: 640x352@25fps, 320x176@25fps
Video code rate
32 - 6144Kbps, supports constant bitrate/ variable bitrate
Video frame rate
25fps
Image settings
Brightness, saturation, contrast, sharpness, exposure, flip, mirror
Image enhancement
Backlight compensation, automatic white balance, digital WDR, 3D digital noise reduction
Function
Motion detecting
Can set 4 independent detection region (1-100 sensitivity can be set)
Alarm linkage
Send pictures to the specified mailbox,
upload pictures and videos to the FTP server,
write pictures and videos to Micro SD card,
mobile phone message push
Privacy mask
Maximum support 4 users browsing simultaneously
OSD
Support camera name, date and time information superimposed
User management
Supports user and rights management
Simultaneous viewers
Maximum support 4 users browsing simultaneously
Network protocol
TCP/IP, HTTP, TCP, ICMP, UDP, ARP, IGMP, SMTP, FTP, DHCP, DNS, DDNS, NTP, UPNP, RTSP etc
Connection protocol
Support ONVIF 2.1 (backward compatible)
4G
4G standard
FDD-LTE
Frequency range
B1 (2100MHz), B2 (1900MHz), B12 (700MHz), B13 (700MHz)
Transmission rate
Upload max 50Mbps, download max 150Mbps
Security
WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/ WPA2-PSK
PTZ
Rotation angle
Horizon 0-300°, vertical 0-60°
Horizontal speed
12°/ s
Vertical speed
12°/ s
Preset
Support 8 preset points
Interface
Power interface
5.5mm power interface
Ethernet
-
TF card slot
Maximum support 128GB TF card, can set automatic capture and timer recording
Reset button
Support
General
Power supply
DC 12V 2A
Power
Day <3W, Night <8W
Operating temperature
-20℃ - +60℃ (-4℉ - +140℉)
Operating humidity
10% - 95%
Waterproof level
IP66
Material
Aluminum
Installation
Rack mounting
Dimention
150 x 90 x 125mm (W×D×H)
weight
1.0kg
 
#8
Personally, I'd be cutting the plugs off the AC adapters (leaving lots of wire) and connecting them right to the 12V system.

If you don't want to cut the adapters for any reason in case you want to be able to return them to the store, go to the thrift store and find some ac adapters (they cost $1-$3) with plugs that fit (the rest of the adapter doesn't matter), and cut those plugs off and use them.

In fact, I've done exactly that for a few things around my house.
.
Great news. Then I'll do that for sure.
 

sarco2000

Beyond the Grid
#9
Okay, so each camera draws 2 Amps. I have a feeling that is MUCH higher than actual but that's okay. I'll come back to that.

So each camera uses 567 Watt Hours per day. Because: EDIT - see below post with different numbers.

2 Amps x 12 Volts = 24 Watts, and 24 Watts x 24 Hours = 567 Watt Hours.

You have 3 cameras, so you use a total of 1,728 Watt Hours per day.

Normally you DON'T want to drain your battery bank more than 50% in terms of Amp Hour capacity. There are different ways to spec the AH capacity for batteries, but for now we'll assume the 20 hour rate. Also, many people don't want to discharge more than 25% but for now we'll use 50%.

We'll assume (for now) that you want the batteries to last one full day without being discharged more than 50%.

So your battery bank must have a capacity of 3,546 Watt Hours, because

1,728 / 50% = 3,546

Assuming a 12V battery system, 3,546 Watt Hours = 288 Amp Hours (AH). Which, I'll be honest, is a lot. It will take more than a couple deep cycle batteries to get that much power.

But, if you have (2) 12V batteries wired in parallel, and each battery was 150 AH, you'd have a 300AH battery bank and it would do the job.

But,

I DON'T think your cameras will actually draw as much as 2 Amps continuously. That is going to be the max amount of amps they draw, and they might never actually draw that much power. Which means you will actually have extra power stored if you use the numbers I gave you above.

You can't use a Killawatt Meter to find the actual power draw because they only work on 120VAC. But you could get something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LVTST80

to find the actual power draw and get a more accurate number to calculate with. I've used one similar before. You just wire them in series with the device and they'll give you a number. Let it run for a full day and get the Watt Hours used.

Then again, maybe I'm wrong and they actually do use that much power. If they're constantly uploading pictures, maybe so.

.
 
Last edited:

HandLoad

Yikes...
Brass Subscriber
#10
The 8W@night figure implies IR illumination. Unless the cameras are pretty durn close to the objects in field, the IR illumination will be inadequate. Plan on installing a few additional IR Emitter panels where it is important to be able to recognize faces, Tools, etc.... Those will be a draw on the power bank.
 

HandLoad

Yikes...
Brass Subscriber
#11
If You have a DC clampon ammeter attachment for your Multimeter, you can find exact draw figures. For more accuracy with small currents, wind ONE wire around one clampon jaw Ten times (or Five), and divide the Current readout by Ten (or Five).
 
#12
Okay, so each camera draws 2 Amps. I have a feeling that is MUCH higher than actual but that's okay. I'll come back to this.

So each camera uses 567 Watt Hours per day. Because:

2 Amps x 12 Volts = 24 Watts, and 24 Watts x 24 Hours = 567 Watt Hours.

You have 3 cameras, so you use a total of 1,728 Watt Hours per day.

Normally you DON'T want to drain your battery bank more than 50% in terms of Amp Hour capacity. There are different ways to spec the AH capacity for batteries, but for now we'll assume the 20 hour rate. Also, many people don't want to discharge more than 25% but for now we'll use 50%.

We'll assume (for now) that you want the batteries to last one full day without being discharged more than 50%.

So your battery bank must have a capacity of 3,546 Watt Hours, because

1,728 / 50% = 3,546

Assuming a 12V battery system, 3,546 Watt Hours = 288 Amp Hours (AH). Which, I'll be honest, is a lot. It will take more than a couple deep cycle batteries to get that much power.

But, if you have (2) 12V batteries wired in parallel, and each battery was 150 AH, you'd have a 300AH battery bank and it would do the job.

But,

I DON'T think your cameras will actually draw as much as 2 Amps continuously. That is going to be the max amount of amps they draw, and they might never actually draw that much power. Which means you will actually have extra power stored if you use the numbers I gave you above.

You can't use a Killawatt Meter to find the actual power draw because they only work on 120VAC. But you could get something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LVTST80

to find the actual power draw and get a more accurate number to calculate with. I've used one similar before. You just wire them in series with the device and they'll give you a number. Let it run for a full day and get the Watt Hours used.

Then again, maybe I'm wrong and they actually do use that much power. If they're constantly uploading pictures, maybe so.

.
Great info. This gives me some things to consider to start with. I think I'll go with two cameras to start until the solar system gets going in order to conserve battery power. Thanks tons, I'll use this to guide my install.
 
#13
The 8W@night figure implies IR illumination. Unless the cameras are pretty durn close to the objects in field, the IR illumination will be inadequate. Plan on installing a few additional IR Emitter panels where it is important to be able to recognize faces, Tools, etc.... Those will be a draw on the power bank.
Would they need 12v power too (I'm guessing yes)? And, would I install them right next to the camera? Thanks
 
#14
If You have a DC clampon ammeter attechment for your Multimeter, you can find exact draw figures. For more accuracy with small currents, wind ONE wire around one clampon jaw Ten times (or Five), and divide the Current readout by Ten (or Five).
As a Newbie, you have just handed me a dictionary! Ha. But, I am willing to do the work and will work through this. Thanks.
 

sarco2000

Beyond the Grid
#15
I totally missed the watt figures in the specs. Too much of a hurry.

But using those numbers:

3 Watts x 16 hours = 48 WH
8 watts x 8 hours = 64 WH

48 + 64 = 112

112 x 3 = 336 Total Watt hours per day. That is way more manageable.

So for a full day of battery power you'd need around 672 Watt Hours or 56 Amp Hours. Start with that!

.
 

HandLoad

Yikes...
Brass Subscriber
#16
For more accuracy, might want to bump up the Voltage in your calculations to 13.5 VDC, nominal in circuit Voltage from 13.8 Batteries...
 

Mel's Cookin'

Well-known member
Moderator
Silver Subscriber
#17
A security camera system is a low voltage system. The only reason it is adapted up from LV to 110v is because that is the normal electricity provided.

Will each camera be operating individually and feeding to your cell phone or will there be a Local Area Network of some type (controller, with DVR if you want any recorded information) the cameras will feed into. Your LAN is likely to be the power hungry monster in that sort of system.

If the cameras are going to feed individually to your cell service, then you need to make sure more than one can utilize the program/application so they can each feed to one cell phone. As the application used to communicate with the cameras will be the same, there will need to be some part of that application that will let you switch from one camera to the other. Normally, a CCTV system (which is what that is) feeds to a controller/LAN and then to your cell service.

Just something for you to check out before you get too far into it.
 
#18
I totally missed the watt figures in the specs. Too much of a hurry.

But using those numbers:

3 Watts x 16 hours = 48 WH
8 watts x 8 hours = 64 WH

48 + 64 = 112

112 x 3 = 336 Total Watt hours per day. That is way more manageable.

So for a full day of battery power you'd need around 700 Watt Hours or 28 Amp Hours. Start with that!

.
So, I'm interested in planning on being away up to 30 days at most (usually just two weeks at a time). How many batteries would you recommend?
 
#19
A security camera system is a low voltage system. The only reason it is adapted up from LV to 110v is because that is the normal electricity provided.

Will each camera be operating individually and feeding to your cell phone or will there be a Local Area Network of some type (controller, with DVR if you want any recorded information) the cameras will feed into. Your LAN is likely to be the power hungry monster in that sort of system.

If the cameras are going to feed individually to your cell service, then you need to make sure they can each feed to one cell phone. As the application used to communicate with the cameras will be the same, there will need to be some part of that application that will let you switch from one camera to the other. Normally, a CCTV system (which is what that is) feeds to a controller/LAN and then to your cell service.

Just something for you to check out before you get too far into it.
These each have sim cards and will be working on a dedicated phone line on my Verizon plan. The app I am using manages up to 10 cameras feeding to it. The app is called CamHi