When you read the marketing term ‘Wireless Security Camera’ most people would assume that it meant just that – that there are no wires or cables required. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
The term ‘wireless’ can just be referring to the fact that it communicates to your local network via a wireless network protocol – usually Wifi. So not all “wireless” cameras are actually 100% wire-free. ALL cameras need to be powered somehow.
Some models of wireless CCTV camera give you an option of how to power them, others restrict you to only one way.
Let’s take a look at the different ways to power a wireless security camera.
How Do Wireless Security Cameras Get Their Power?
The most common way that wireless cameras get their power is from a rechargeable battery. The idea behind these cameras is that they run on a low power standby for the majority of the time, and only activate their WiFi and recording capabilities when movement is detected or when someone wishes to view the live footage.
Recharging a battery in a camera constantly might seem like a pain, but if you spend the money and buy a decent camera then you might find that they only need charging every 4-6 months! This is thanks to recent innovations in battery technology (thanks Li-ion!).
The next option for powering your wireless CCTV system is replaceable batteries.
These are exactly what they sound like – batteries that are used once then replaced when they are out of charge. They typically last just as long, or even longer, than rechargeable batteries and can be a viable way to power your wireless devices.
Security cameras with rechargeable batteries are ideal for devices that are relocated regularly. A good rule of thumb is to replace the battery whenever you need to relocate the camera.
Now onto a type of power that is a little more self-sufficient – solar power.
Solar power is by no means a new technology, but the recent advances in solar cell technology coupled with the vast improvements in battery capacity means that solar-powered security cameras are a real option for those looking for a truly wireless system.
Solar-powered cameras have a built-in battery, that is charged from a solar panel that is either build onto the camera, or mounted nearby. The battery is charged up enough to power the camera through the night and can even last through numerous successive days of cloudy weather.
While this option is technically not wireless, it still needs to be mentioned as many cameras that connect to a network wirelessly have the option to be powered by DC.
DC (direct current) is how all of the other options above are powered. While they get their DC from a battery, this option supplies the electricity via a cable.
This option also has the distinct advantage of being the most reliable way to power a security camera as it usually originates from a power source that is available 24/7….mains power!
A power supply is plugged into mains power which converts the AC voltage to a lower, DC voltage. This can then be run over a 2 core cable to the camera itself.
This option is useful as DC power is very safe and forgiving. If you have an old cable which isn’t cable of carrying data signals, it may still be able to carry a low DC voltage and power up a camera with WiFi connectivity.
Choose your power
So as you can see, there are a number of ways wireless surveillance cameras can be powered. They aren’t always truly a wireless option, but knowing the different options means that you can choose a model of camera that suits your requirements.