How to Power Wireless Security Cameras: 4 Easy Ways

If you’ve chosen wireless security cameras to help protect your residential or commercial property, it’s time to power them up. Although wireless cameras are going to transmit data without wires, you still have a few choices at hand when it comes to supplying energy. Let’s take a look at a few of them!

Ways to Power Wireless Security Cameras

Although wireless cameras have an edge over traditional security cameras in terms of flexibility, providing them constant power is still a problem. These cameras require a large amount of energy to help them monitor your surroundings. However, it also depends upon how often the camera records and whether it supports continuous video recording (CVR) or not.

Here are four ways to power wireless security cameras:

1. Power Cables

Wireless security cameras aren’t truly wireless in terms of an energy source. Though some can be powered by batteries or power supplies entirely, some models are only powered by power outlets. This, however, can be considered a drawback as you’ll have to compromise on the positioning of the camera.

Often, we place these cameras on higher grounds such as trees to monitor a wider field of view. But if you’ll be using a power cable to supply power, you’d also have to keep the position of the outlet in mind. Though you can still be sleek in terms of placing your camera, for most people, it’s troublesome to manage supply from the mains.

Now, you might be wondering:

What are the benefits of powering a wireless camera with power cables?

As we’ve mentioned before, wireless cameras are quite demanding in terms of energy. Since your main supply won’t deplete like a battery, it’s the most efficient. You can easily power your camera while also receiving footage (from the camera) directly to your desired device (through your wireless network connection).

In case of power outages, most security cameras also have an on-board storage and backup battery to temporarily power the camera. Once that depletes, the footage will, most likely, stop.

2. Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Similar to power cables, several security cameras also support PoE to power them up. Power over Ethernet helps network cables supply power to electric devices. If the camera is PoE-enabled, only a single connection needs to be established with the router.

Once the connection is established, both the power and the data (footage) will be passed through the same connection. This method is also quite cost effective as most PoE-enabled security cameras come with CAT5 or CAT6 cables to connect to the router.

Since the router is already needed to fulfil the wireless aspect of the camera, why not use it to power the camera as well?

3. Battery-powered

Wireless security cameras can also be run by batteries. You won’t have to compromise the position of the camera with a battery-based supply. Whether it’s indoor monitoring our outdoor surveillance, simply place the camera with a fresh pair of batteries and you’re good to go.

So, where do battery-powered cameras lack?

No wires, check. No compromise on positioning, check. Constant supply of energy? Now, that might be an issue.

Batteries tend to deplete much quicker and are generally considered to be high-maintenance sources. It’s better if you choose a camera system with a rechargeable battery pack so you can save a few bucks on batteries every now and then.

Batteries can last longer than 3 months depending on the usage of the camera. Some camera systems only monitor movements and, thus, their active time of monitoring is much lesser. This in turn extends the battery life!

However, if your camera is on constant monitoring, your batteries will deplete much quicker. You’d find yourself constantly charging and placing batteries in the camera.

It’s not as if replacing batteries is a tedious task. But it can be so if your camera is placed on higher grounds and you’d have to ladder up everytime the battery dies. Relying on battery backups is an effective option if your camera is placed indoors and within your reach.

4. Solar Panels

Solar panels are one of the easiest ways to power your wireless cameras. Though solar panels aren’t available on every wireless camera model, these are also available as add-ons to several cameras. These can also be a bit more expensive than traditional cameras but are worth the expense since they’re typically low-maintenance.

High-quality cameras can hold charge for as long as a week if they’re placed in direct sunlight for one whole day. This means you’d have to place the solar panels of the camera at a position where they’re both protected and under maximum sunlight exposure. Solar-powered security cameras are also cost-effective. Your power bills won’t hike as much as they would under a power-cabled camera.

One small drawback with solar-powered cameras is the placement. Since the camera and the panels which supply power to it are separate, you’d have to plan the correct placement. This is also dependent on the length of the cable connecting the two accessories together.

Frequently Asked Questions About Powering Wireless Cameras

We’ve got a short FAQ section to help answer a few more queries you might have related to powering wireless cameras. Here you go:

How do you power a wireless security camera?

Wireless security cameras can be powered by power cables, batteries, solar panels, or power over Ethernet (PoE). You may have to choose one of these based on the placement of the camera, maintenance, as well as monitoring modes.
If you’re going for a completely wireless model, you might want to ditch the main supply and PoE. Make sure to get rechargeable batteries so you can save a few bucks on getting batteries.

Do wireless security cameras need to be plugged in?

Most wireless security cameras require a steady source of power and need to be plugged in to the main supply. However, you can also choose a security camera model which relies on batteries or solar panels to power itself. 
The ‘wireless’ aspect of the security camera is the wireless connection between the camera and the receiver of the footage. If you don’t have a main supply and the wireless connection isn’t great, you can shift to a PoE connection at any time and let the router support your camera.

How long do the batteries last in wireless security cameras?

Batteries in wireless security cameras can last anywhere from a day to 6 months. This depends on the usage of the wireless camera. If your camera is on active monitoring without movement-based recordings, it’s going to need much more power.
Otherwise, several camera models only record based on motion or on schedule-basis which can help save some battery power. Review the specifications of the camera you’re going to purchase to see what recording mode it supports.

How do you hardwire a wireless camera?

You can easily hardwire a wireless security camera by connecting it to the router for power. First, make sure the camera is within a 30-foot radius of the router. If so, connect an Ethernet cable from the security camera to the router for a steady connection.
Though wireless security cameras are great for ease of concealment and placement, a wireless connection is still unsteady. If your router is within the range of the camera and placement isn’t an issue, a wired connection via PoE would be best.

How do I connect my security cameras to my TV without a DVR?

Security camera feeds can be connected to a TV without a DVR via a suitable adapter or converter. For example, an AHD to HDMI video converter can use a coax cable (input from camera) and an HDMI cable (output to monitor). This helps display a live feed from the camera.
Most video processors have support for a DVR/NVR, as well. Using a BNC cable, a connection can be made from the converter to the DVR. This way, the DVR records the footage and the monitor displays the live feed via the HDMI cable.

There you go – you’re now one step closer to protecting your property. If you’ve decided where you’re going to place your camera and whether a cabled supply is manageable or not, it’s time to make a choice. Are you going wireless or will you be choosing a hard-wired connection?