Wireless technology has put home security within reach for most U.S. homeowners. Those willing to spend a few hundred dollars can get basic systems that include one or two wireless video cameras. All that said, there is one sticking point with wireless video: batteries.
A fully wireless video camera does not rely on wires to connect to either a power source or home security hub. Power is provided by batteries while the hub-camera connection is made through wi-fi. It is a very convenient system and one that is pretty manageable, at least for interior cameras. Exterior cameras are another matter.
Exterior Mounting Locations
If you are going to go completely wireless, one of the things you have to consider is the mounting locations of your exterior cameras. Remember that these are battery-powered cameras. They generally take standard rechargeable lithium-ion batteries – like those sold by Pale Blue Earth. How you actually charge them is the challenge.
Taking the batteries out every few weeks to put them in the charger is doable, but it could be quite inconvenient if your cameras are located out of reach. The last thing you want to do is pull out the ladder every time you need to change batteries. One way to avoid that is to mount your cameras in more accessible locations. But that might hinder your views.
Solar Charging Kits
The cheapest video cameras on the market do not give you any other option but to manually replace batteries when they need charging. But your higher-end cameras sometimes offer a solar solution. This can be accomplished in one of two ways.
Some manufacturers offer solar charging kits at an extra charge. These are mounted alongside the cameras themselves, with a wire that plugs in to keep batteries charged. Other manufacturers build small solar collectors and chargers right into their cameras. This is the best option for mounting wireless cameras in inaccessible locations.
Lithium-Ion Batteries and Weather
Exterior video surveillance cameras are designed to be weather resistant. You will not have to worry much about rain and snow. As for temperature, that is another issue. The good news is that lithium-ion batteries are not bothered by cold temperatures. Unless you live in an extremely cold environment, you shouldn’t have any problem. The same is not true when it comes to heat.
Thermal runaway is always a risk when lithium-ion batteries get too hot. Therefore, it is never a good idea to mount an exterior video surveillance camera in any location subject to direct sunlight. Exterior cameras should always be underneath some sort of shade. In extremely hot environments – like Arizona or Nevada, for example – homeowners should think twice about installing wireless cameras outside.
Interior Video Cameras
Homeowners do not face any of these concerns when dealing with interior cameras. One possible exception is camera location. Mounting an interior camera high up in a great room or two-story portico could be problematic. But other than that, battery issues are a lot less common indoors.
No matter where wireless cameras are installed, battery quality is something to consider. When it comes to rechargeable batteries, you do get what you pay for. It is better to invest in a brand name product with a proven reputation than save a few dollars on a generic product that may give up the ghost fairly quickly.
Wireless security systems are all the rage these days. They make home security more accessible to more people. Still, anyone thinking of investing in a system needs to think about batteries. These are the one sticking point that can make wireless security more trouble than it’s worth.