The use of cameras to monitor objects or properties has become so common and everyday that the sight of such equipment not only does not surprise anyone, but most of us cannot imagine functioning in the current reality without such equipment. Usually, the main reason why we decide to buy video surveillance is to strengthen our sense of security. The cameras allow us to protect our property against theft or devastation, but also enable the documentation of various events happening in the vicinity of its installation, e.g. the effects of storms, storms or hurricanes. Free access to many models of cameras with a whole lot of different functionalities has also opened up the possibility of using them also outside the place of permanent residence. Currently, we often install them on plots, summer houses or the area of ​​​​a newly built house. However, what to do in a situation where in such a location there is not only no access to the Internet, but also no electrical infrastructure? Then it is possible to use solar power for our camera - GSM or WiFi.


          The most important element of such a set is a photovoltaic panel, which is responsible for the process of producing energy from a free and renewable energy source - solar radiation. This process - in short - occurs thanks to a phenomenon called the photovoltaic effect, during which a single particle of light (photon) falls on a photovoltaic panel made of silicon, sets an electron in motion, which causes the generation of electricity.

          In this process, solar energy is converted into direct current (this solution will be discussed in our article), and after using devices called inverters (or solar inverters), alternating current with parameters consistent with the parameters of the public grid is generated. The alternating current is then used by household appliances.
          The photovoltaic panel "produces" electricity only when the sun's rays reach it. That is why its proper placement and inclination is so important. The optimal choice of the panel mounting location should be a location where the panel surface will be illuminated for most of the day and no shadow will fall on it, most often it is the roof. In Poland, the journey of the sun across the sky looks different in winter than in summer, so the length of the day in different seasons will be different, which will affect the battery charge level. The best direction for mounting the panel is the south direction - setting in this direction (azimuth 180) at an angle of 30-40 is the "gold" standard of photovoltaics, because then the most solar radiation reaches the panel. In this setting, the most electricity is generated around noon.
          The set also includes a battery and a solar voltage regulator. The battery must be charged with specific parameters that the photovoltaic panel itself does not meet, so you need a regulator in the set that will be responsible for the correct charging of the battery. If we connected the solar panel directly to the battery, without using the regulator, we charged it with too high voltage, leading to its destruction. Therefore, the regulator is necessary in such a set, because it is responsible for the proper charging characteristics and maintaining the battery in good condition. In the proposed set, we used a PWM 10A solar voltage regulator, an MWP 7.2-12L battery with a capacity of 7.2 Ah and a 40W photovoltaic panel from Volt Polska. This set ensures proper power supply for a GSM or WiFi camera that requires 12V power supply.

The connection diagram of the entire set is presented below:

          The voltage regulator and the battery should be protected by using, for example, a hermetic SCAME S686208 installation box with dimensions of 240x190x90 mm, which will allow these elements to be mounted inside the box. The box does not have glands, so it will be possible to make holes for wires anywhere in the bottom part of the box so that everyone can adjust it to their own needs.
An example of mounting in a box is shown below:

          Based on the length of the cable connecting the panel with the regulator (5 meters) and the power cable to the camera (3 meters), we can plan the right place for mounting the panel, the box with the regulator and battery, and the camera.


          In order to ensure proper operation of our camera, it is recommended to connect the elements of the set without connecting the camera at the beginning. Only after the battery is fully charged, attach the power cord to the camera and turn it on. This will allow for continuous operation of the camera, which will consume more energy at night (infrared diodes activated) and less during the day, when the battery will replenish its capacity due to the greater efficiency of the panel operation.

          This set can be perfect for connecting most GSM or WiFi cameras, because they require 12V and 1A power, and this is what we get from "ecological" electricity. A natural application seems to be the use of such a set in places where there is no access to any energy and Internet infrastructure, i.e. with a GSM camera. In the proposed set, we used a 40W panel, but you can use a higher power panel, which will ensure faster charging of the battery (saving on cloudy days or in winter), and this in turn will allow the camera to work longer without charging it. It should be remembered, however, that the use of a panel with less power means its smaller dimensions, but also longer battery charging. It may then turn out that the panel is not able to fully charge the energy "storage", which in turn will result in its undercharging. Such an effect, in addition to shorter camera operation, will cause its faster wear. Therefore, we recommend using this set for each single camera, i.e. in a situation where we would like to power more than one camera, we should consider using as many such sets as the number of cameras we intend to use.