So, I finally did it. I completed my Solar Powered Wyzecam Mailbox! It is standalone and “watches” everything passing by on my street. It is powered by a 30 Watt panel, 65AH AGM battery, stepdown transformer 12-5v, has 1/2 watt LED lights, etc. Power generation is located inside out of site and is easily accessible via a “door” on the back.
It obviously powers the camera 24/7 and provides 2 1/2 days of backup during cloudy/rainy weather. If anyone is interested in the specs or parts list, let me know.
Thanks guys! The neighbor to the right of me had kids break in to his truck and steal tools, and the neighbor to the right of me had a bike stolen right out of his garage in broad daylight. High school kids cut through our neighborhood as a shortcut to school and are always looking for opportunities.
I have cameras on my house that captured the incidents on video, but being they are for my house, the resolution at that distance wasn’t great. So, I put this out on the street to view everyone coming in from the West end of the street and my neighbor across the street has one on his mailbox facing East. It takes a village…
I just have the one for now (located under the mailbox) in a weatherproof sleeve. You can see it in the first photo. The camera and lights run directly off the battery at all times, and the solar panel tops the battery off each day. I designed it to have 2 plus days of backup power when we have storms down here in FL. I could add an additional camera, but then my backup time would basically be cut in half.
Just a few more pics. I had to staple tar paper to the sides (just near the electronics) and a portion of shingle to the front to deal with blowing rain through the slats and runoff from the panel above. The solar panel has a bit of pitch to it so the rain can keep it clean by running off. It was a learning experience. Hopefully it will help any of you interested.
BTW, you can only see the voltmeter in the pic. I put an ammeter in the empty slot as well, to see how much juice is flowing to the battery. It’s pretty efficient with the charge controller I am using. It’s usually full by noon.
This is the majority of the parts list… minus the wood (four 4x4 posts and finish grade 1x4) , stain, screws, mailbox, terminal strip, quikcrete, etc. which I purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. This is all left up to your individual style and taste. Get crazy with it and post back on here so we can all see!
Oh, apologies for the battery size. I indicated earlier that I used a 65AH. It is a 35AH. I was going back and forth during the design and once I ran the calculations, realized the 30 watt panel wasn’t sufficient to properly charge the 65AH battery at the proper rate of c/5 to c/10. The 35AH gives 2 1/2 days backup while maintaining battery health (discharge to only 50%). So, theoretically it could go about 4 days without sun but that would be BAD for your battery…
One more thing… If you are intimidated by wiring in the ammeter or voltmeter, don’t be. It’s easy. On the other hand, if you don’t want to bother with them, you don’t need to. I’ve done all the design work for you and mine has been running for about two months now with no issues. I’m an engineer and as such, tend to want as much data as possible. Looking at the voltage and amperage readings just soothes the geek in me.