We have reviewed the battery power Wi-Fi bird box camera system in previous articles. With 20AH DC12V sealed lead Acid battery which is the most common battery, the WiFi bird box camera can continuously live stream and record up to 4 days before you have to recharge it. You still have to bring back the battery to recharge periodically. If you are looking for the solar panel to keep the system running 24/7, the below you may find your answer.
The solar panel can convert the energy from the sun to the power. It is important that the solar panel can receive sunshine. The sun will move from east to west every day so you may need to observe how good the solar panel can pick up sunshine. If there are trees or houses blocking the view, you may need to consider changing the installation place of the solar panel.
Now let’s see how to pick the solar panel for the bird box camera system. We just need to consider the cloudy days. While the sunshine is strong, the battery will be charged fast. In the previous article about the battery, we know 20AH Sealed Lead Acid batteries can supply 4 days which means the system will keep running even if there is charging (sunshine) in 4 days.
The current consumption is 0.135A of the camera. We can calculate the power demand from the solar panel. 2.43W (0.13518V) The voltage output is DC18V in the solar panel, but not DC12V. We will discuss the solar panel converter in the next article about the voltage of the solar panel. It only requires a 2.43W solar panel. Of course not. In the cloudy days, the solar panel performance is around 10%. It will be 24.3W (2.43/0.1). Like the battery we have reserved 4 days extra. We need 3 times solar panel 72.9W (24.33). The final specification is a 20AH battery plus 75W solar panel. It should provide power for 24/7 continuous running. If you worry about the power not enough, increase the battery to 40AH which is the insurance mechanism. The system will keep running in 8 days without charging from the solar panel. Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are a low cost solution.
Now we have gone through the mathematical calculation. We still need one more component to set up the solar panel power system. As we mentioned the solar panel actually outputs DC18V. The solar panel control is the key component to protect the battery over charge, overload short circuit. We do even need the DC12V power regulator built-in, we will explain why in the solar panel controller.