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Charging a 12volt (about) Lithium Pack from a small Solar Panel

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To power a Weathernet camera, by Ambient Weather, requires 12volts DC, or so I am told.  I am not sure the current requirements, but I doubt they it would be that much.

If I were to weld together, maybe 6 18650 batteries is series and parallel, to power the camera (two sets of three in series and then the sets paralleled???), is it possible to charge the pack from a small solar panel which is typically only 4.5-5volts out?

Is there such a things as a boost converter, battery charger that can do this?

I have searched for WiFi cameras, and have three, that have Solar panels, but none I found, so far, will do FTP upload to weathernet.

I think I would have tried this:
- single 18650 and step-up converter to 12V
- 18650 with BMS, and solar panel plus diode connected to the cell

If you read their manual, its a regular security camera that they've told you to go into the settings and turn on 60s snapshots.
Here is a FTP example from hikvision:

But anyway, power consumption is rated at 5W max. You should check what power its actually using during use, to make sure that a small panel can sustain it. You might need a larger panel than you think.
If the software is good maybe it shuts off the camera between timelapse captures to reduce power.

I have Argus 2 wifi solar camera, timelapse, no FTP though as its more of an IOT thing, so probably not useful for you. Panel is only 3.2W, but the camera has deep sleep modes.

I don't know of a solution for charging 3S cells from 5V.  I expect it would be complicated by the need for balancing the cells during charging.  I agree with tunk that boosting a single 18650 (or several in parallel) to 12V with a boost converter would be the simplest approach.

Here are panels available on Amazon that I have used, which seem to work to spec:

They are 5V, 2.5W each, so nominally you would need to use both of them just to power your camera, plus additional panels to charge the battery.  If your camera runs 24 hours, I doubt you could keep it going with "a small solar panel".

There is the additional issue of a load sharing circuit that would allow you to properly charge the battery to termination while powering the camera at the same time.  Such a circuit is complicated when solar panels are the charging source.

But I assume there must be security cameras out there that run on solar panels and batteries.  So maybe there's a reasonable way to do it.


--- Quote from: thm_w on December 08, 2022, 12:30:35 am ---You might need a larger panel than you think.
--- End quote ---
This is true. You can't expect the weather to be perfect every day. You have to take into account cloudy weather, and the fact that you're going to need decently sized power bank capable of storing enough charge to last the camera through the night. I think there are enough 12V lead-acid battery solar chargers available. Perhaps you can use them to charge the battery during daytime and have the camera power itself from the battery?


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