Blink cameras are a popular brand of wireless, battery-powered security cameras. Their convenience and easy installation make them ideal for home monitoring. A common question from Blink owners is whether solar panels can charge the cameras instead of batteries.
Blink offers both wired and wireless camera models. Their wireless cameras are powered by two AA lithium batteries, providing around two years of battery life. This avoids the need for wiring or electrical outlets to install cameras anywhere. Blink does sell an optional Sync Module 2 with a power adapter to enable continuous recording. But the cameras themselves are still wireless.
This is where solar power comes in as an option. Solar panels can provide an endless power source to keep batteries perpetually charged. However, some important factors should be considered before relying solely on solar for your Blink cameras.
Unfortunately, Blink cameras cannot run directly on solar power from panels. The cameras lack built-in solar regulators or charge controllers to charge the batteries this way safely. The AA batteries must be removed and assessed externally using a solar battery charger.
Trying to connect solar panels directly to the camera terminals risks permanent damage. The variation in solar power input is too unstable without a charge controller regulating the voltage and current to the level required for the batteries.
So, while the cameras can’t natively run on solar themselves, using solar-charged batteries is definitely possible with Blink systems.
To leverage solar power for Blink cameras, you’ll need:
- Solar panel kit designed for AA NiMH batteries
- Matching capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries
- Battery holder/enclosure with charging circuitry
The solar panel keeps the rechargeable batteries charged up. You then swap these freshly charged batteries into your Blink cameras as needed.
Ideally, you’ll want enough solar battery capacity to operate the camera fully on solar-powered batteries. But even having the solar setup charge just one set of batteries to rotate through the cameras helps extend operation.
What are The Options for AA Battery Solar Chargers?
There are a few versions of AA battery solar chargers specifically designed for NiMH rechargeables:
- Allpowers Portable Solar Charger – compact 7W panel charges AA or AAA NiMH. Includes 2 batteries.
- POWOBEST Solar Power Bank – folds open to reveal six solar panels with a built-in 3000mAh battery pack. Can charge NiMH AA and AAA batteries.
- Sunnytech Solar Charger – 2W panel charges AA and AAA batteries directly in a USB port.
- Venom Solar Battery Charger – 10W solar panel hub charges AA and AAA batteries through multiple ports. Includes 4 NiMH AAs.
These offer an all-in-one solar solution optimized for NiMH batteries. However, you can also piece together your own system.
How To Create a DIY Solar Battery Charger
If you want to build your own solar charger, you’ll need:
- 6V+ solar panel or kit sized for your needs
- AA battery holder for 2 or 4 batteries
- NiMH AA rechargeable batteries – 2000mAh+ capacity recommended
- Solar charge controller or regulator
- DC jack connectors and wiring
You wire the solar panel directly into the charge controller to regulate voltage and current. Then, connect the battery holder terminals to the controller’s output. Insert batteries into the holder to charge up from the sun.
With this DIY approach, you can customize the panel size and battery capacity. Just use a charge controller to avoid overcharging or undercharging the batteries. Size the solar panel and batteries to match your camera power consumption.
Setting Up a Solar-Powered Battery Rotation
Once you set up your solar battery charger, create a rotation to swap the charged batteries into your Blink cameras regularly.
For example, charge one set of batteries during the day while another set operates the cameras. At night, swap the depleted batteries out for the fully charged pack. Rinse and repeat to keep your cameras powered 24/7.
Set up enough solar capacity to charge two or more sets of batteries simultaneously. That way, you can hot-swap one set out while the other sets remain charging. More battery sets give flexibility.
How to Optimize Your Solar Battery System
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Blink camera solar battery setup:
- Maximize solar panel exposure – aim for 6+ hours of direct sun daily.
- Position cameras in areas with the best sunlight access for solar charging.
- Use high-capacity 2000+ mAh NiMH batteries to extend operation.
- Add extra battery sets for redundancy and to allow for cloudy/rainy days.
- Check charge levels and swap batteries proactively before they deplete fully.
- Shelter batteries and solar panels from extreme weather when possible.
- Clean solar panels regularly to increase power output.
With thoughtful planning and maintenance, you can effectively power Blink cameras using free and renewable solar energy. Just be sure to use proper solar charging components for safe and reliable performance.
The Blink Sync Module 2 provides continuous recording and live view for Blink camera systems. Since it must be powered constantly, the Sync Module is also a candidate for solar energy.
The Sync Module requires 5V DC input at 1.5A. You would need one or more 5+ watt solar panels and a 5V USB charge controller to maintain continuous power.
An outdoor-rated 10W panel with a backup battery provides enough juice to operate the Sync Module full-time. Connect the solar panel’s charging cable to the Sync Module micro USB port. Place the panel in optimal sunlight.
The wire-free Blink cameras can record nonstop with the Sync Module solar-powered. You’ll need to swap their batteries connected to the solar charger periodically. This creates a 100% solar-powered Blink security camera system.
While Blink cameras can’t directly utilize solar panels, with the right solar battery charger setup, you can supply renewable solar energy to keep the cameras running indefinitely. The key points are:
- Blink cameras require removable batteries charged externally.
- Using a solar panel kit designed for NiMH batteries provides renewable charging.
- Swapping solar-charged battery sets enables continuous camera operation.
- Optimize solar exposure and capacity to meet your camera’s power needs.
- Solar power can eliminate the need for batteries or electrical outlets with proper components.
Solar energy provides an eco-friendly way to deploy Blink cameras in optimal outdoor positions without wiring constraints. Do your homework to create a solar-powered Blink system tailored to your unique needs and sunlight availability. Then enjoy free power from the sun!