Spypoint Micro LTE Powered From Solar Panel (and old car battery) 100 ft. Away



I like the idea of solar panels so I wanted to see if I could power my Spypoint Micro LTE game camera with one. I knew I would need some kind of battery to keep the camera powered up through the night when there is no sunlight, since I seem to always have old 12 VDC car batteries laying around I decided to use one. I love the idea of being able to get your game camera pictures on your phone, very nice, I used to go to my camera, pull out the SD card, bring it to the house, connect it to my laptop to look at my pictures, now I get an alert on my iPhone about a minute after a picture is taken (this time varies a bit). Unfortunately where I wanted to mount the game camera it is very dark, thick red pine trees block the sun, I am surprised that I get a decent cell signal in this area (about 90 percent). I do have an opening about 100 ft. away where I can get some decent sun. When looking for a cell type game camera I did see some where they had a solar panel connected to the camera which in my opinion doesn’t give you much flexibility. The solar panel I bought is a POWOXI 10 watt about $35. I made a simple bracket out of 3/4″ x 2″ stock that I fastened the solar panel to, then roped it to a tree facing south. Initially I tried using Cat 5 cable 24 gauge, just because I had some on hand, I couldn’t get it to work and I think the reason why is because the wire is too thin/long to get enough current to the game camera. I couldn’t find the power requirements of the Spypoint camera on their website, they said it required 12 VDC but didn’t give the wattage, maybe that is because the wattage varies during different functions of the camera, but you would think they would give you the maximum power required. When trying the Cat 5 wire I would only see a maximum current draw of 420 mA, when I would take the Cat 5 wire out of the circuit I would see 630 mA. So I figured the Cat 5 wire was limiting the current, and thus the power (P = V * I) that was getting to the camera. Again, because I had a chunk of 14/2 UF wire, I tried that instead of the Cat 5 and everything worked great. I crimped and soldered the connections, used heat shrink, and taped them up. The battery pack that holds 8 AA batteries haws been removed from the camera so it is totally relying on the solar panel and car battery. I was thinking that it would draw more power at night but it must not be more than 1 amp as I have a 1 A fuse in the circuit and it hasn’t blown yet.

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