Solar charger setup

Hey guys,

I just got my solar charger and it looks like a premium product; well done on this one!

My question: will this work adequately if it is not getting full sun exposure with a good 45 degree angle? I don’t want to mount this on my fascia board as the black will be a very stark contrast with the white fascia, and I don’t want this to be an eye sore. Since the battery should only require a minimum amount of energy to stay charged, I wonder if I can cheat a little and not optimize the position of the panel.

In any case, after I discuss it with the wife, I may just try it and see how it goes.

Thoughts?

Okay, I set it up in a way that may not get too much direct sunlight, but it shows charging even with the panel under the porch. We shall see.

I took a couple photos but I’m not finding a way to upload them on my phone. I’ll add them later.

Hi @rcworship, I have tried one solar panel in two cameras and unfortunately, looks like the panel absorbs the battery from the camera when there is not sun/light. Yes, it sounds crazy, isn’t it?
Tested cameras were fully charged, solar panel was in the right spot with direct sun. Having it connected, the cameras were loosing connectivity too often, but when I was able to connect I had the charging symbol so I supposed everything was ok. Leave it connected for the night, because the idea is to leave 24x7x365, next morning the camera ran out of power.
I put the camera to charge and I repeated the same test with another camera and lamentably I got the same result as in the first test.

@Tim, did anybody report the same issue? Could it be a faulty solar panel? Firmware error?

Hi @ndabar, yes there is another customer in the US who met the same problem. But since the difference in location and environment, we are still gathering information before making a conclusion.

Currently, there are two factors to be reviewed on:

  1. The location (would be better with longitude and latitude) and the environment (weather) for the solar panel.
  2. The comparison between power output and power input on the camera. Output means any actions that consume the battery, input means the charging. The rough data about how frequent your camera is activated/wakened per day will help us to review this.

Hi @Tim has there been any progress on the solar panel issue?

@ndabar @IslandLife
This issue is a terrible oversight on the part of Vacos engineers. Solar panels both generate electricity and consume it. When the sun is out they’re producing, so no problem. When the sun is down, there is supposed to be a night mode so that the solar panel does not consume battery power. This is pretty basic stuff, so I am super surprised the engineers didn’t plan for this. I was told that the next camera will have this corrected, but that is pretty much just unacceptable! So, no, as far as I understand, there won’t be a fix for this iteration.

Anyhow, for mine, I just left it plugged in and it started keeping alive. Not much activity, so that may be my saving grace…but obviously this is not good enough…

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I understand the situation @rcworship, in my case the battery is not strong enough for keeping the camera alive for 2 days in arrow while the solar panel is connected. So at the moment, I’m waiting for a firmware update to fix this issue.
Because apart of loosing battery I was having troubles with the networking.
@Tim I hope the solar panel issue is included in the next firmware release!

Agreed. I haven’t fully installed my cameras as of yet because i don’t plan to use it without the solar panel. At the same time I want to add a second solar panel when it is available and working correctly.

You know, it would be interesting to test out the camera battery, with and without the soar panel, with no motion sensing active. This way it would sit there and not run down the battery due to many triggers, and we could see how it actually performs…while not performing! Just a thought–curious.

Hi @IslandLife @ndabar @rcworship , sorry for the late response.
According to the testing, we found it’s a hardware issue on the Vacos camera that causes the power consumption issue when working with the solar panel. This will be fixed on the new Vacos camera (with hardware upgrade).

Can you explain what you mean by hardware upgrade?

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Yes please, could you explain that? New Vacos camera sounds like a new device… :thinking:

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Hi @IslandLife @ndabar The new Vacos camera will include a regulator to make it work properly with the solar panel. So the battery won’t be drained out at night.

So does that mean the cameras we have need to be upgraded?

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ok so the question here is: what happens for these users that bought the camera and the solar panel but they are not working as expected?

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Maybe there can be a supplemental regulator that can be installed inline, between our cameras and the solar panels. That would be a much more affordable option than replacing cameras.

I know I’ve seen controllers (regulators) and even seen some very inexpensive home built projects for charging batteries via solar, but I would rather one be manufactured for micro USB…

Can you provide a schematic of the solar charger? That was I can figure out my own solar controller to install inline on my 4 meter cable. I could make one for maybe $5.

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Hi @ndabar, this question is still being discussed. Will update once we have the conclusion :slight_smile:

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Thank you @Tim, I guess the current users must be considered with the new hardware upgrade, because currently they have a device that doesn’t have the features advertised.