Hello. Love the cameras and ordered a bunch. My house has existing wiring on key junctions for motion detectors I no longer use; all these wires powered the detectors from a central alarm box. Is there any way, I can split the usb cable and attach to these wires if the amperage/voltage are correct?
I imagine this is a possibility for thousands of customers and if it is possible. I would gladly pay for some connector that did this.
It is very unlikely that the voltage is the correct 5vdc that USB provides. However, the first step would be to get a meter and see what is actually being served from the alarm box. Assuming it’s not 5vdc, you may be able to get a transformer. Just one such example:
More important would be the fact that DC voltage drops drastically with distance, and the wires typically used for alarm systems most likely couldn’t handle the current draw. However, pushing a higher (12V) voltage (or even low volt AC) through the wires and rectifying back to DC at the end could be an option. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for this, but it’s worth looking into.
Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I don’t have a voltmeter but when I opened the motion detector, the little board labeled it had 12VDC coming in. The battery backup in the panel pushes out 12V. 7 amps according to the side label it has on it. I bought a converter to use at the end and see if it works. If it does, I have the added benefit of having the cameras on battery as well as my wifi (separate backup already used). Attached is a picture of the board.
Most alarm systems run on 12VDC - looks like yours does. If that’s the case, you could rewire the alarm loops to draw 12V from the alarm panel. Then use a converter at the far (camera) end to get 5V. Rick suggested one such device.
There’s a category of such converters intended for powering dash cams and other automotive accessories. You’ll find lots of them on-line. They generally come with either a miniUSB or a microUSB cable. For the Wyze cams, you want the latter.
To minimize power loss across long runs of alarm cables, it’s best to twin the wires. It’s common for alarm installers to use ‘quad’ (4-conductor) cable: one pair powers active detectors, like your motion detector. The other pair is for the alarm contact. If you twin the wires (use red+yellow for the positive, and green+black for the negative), the wiring resistance will be lower. Hence less power loss.
I want to use my security system wires as well. I am doing some things you may want to be aware of. First, I has sent an email asking the Wyze tech support for the current draw for the camera. Note, the label on the bottom says 1 Amp. That seems high to me but I hope to have it confirmed. Once I have that value, I can run a voltage drop calculation. Here is a website to use. Voltage Drop Calculator
To use this calculator, you need to know the wire size, the voltage (5 V), the current, and the length of the wire. My four wire cables have size 22 AWG conductors. Using the suggestion above, if I couple both pairs to “create” two wires, the wire size is very close to AWG 19.
Anyway, using 1 amp, 5 volts DC, copper wire, 50 foot wire length, 19 AWG wire size, the calculator indicates the voltage drop is 0.81 volts. Then, Wyze will need to answer the question "will it operate at 4.19 volts?
If the answer is yes or if the real current draw is below 1 amp, then the next challenge is to find a way to make a connection. My plan, as probably yours, is to put my 5 volt power supply in the basement where my security wiring is located. I assume I need to take a USB cable, cut it and use the wiring in it to attach to the security wiring. In the other end, I will take the other part of the USB cable and attach to the security wiring and plug into the Wyze supplied power supply.
So, if anyone has and additional information, please share.
You’re asking for problems if you run 5VDC over long distance. The current draw will vary depending on camera state (night mode on/off, panning motors on/off, WiFi streaming or not, etc).
You’d do better to put a 12VDC supply in the basement, and use DC-to-DC converter (such as a dashcam power kit) to down-convert to 5VDC at the camera(s). That approach also solves your wiring problem, as the dashcam kits have an integrated microUSB plug.
I was using the same calculator and tried a 6V from my universal adapter (2.5A), the camera seemed to try really hard to boot, going from yellow to blue, and then back to yellow. I am going to try 6.5V, hope it doesnt fry it
I just realized that I never finished with a result. This setup worked just fine and I have had the cameras working from the security system for 2 years now. The benefit being that they are on a battery backup as well.