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"Outdoor" magnetic cable?

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Apparently the camera can tell if an "outdoor" cable is being used or not, as I get the message "The camera and light are disabled while charging" if I use any of my other Arlo magnetic cables, including 2 others that I bought from Amazon that claim to be "outdoor" cables.  

Does only the official Arlo 25ft magnetic outdoor cable work to keep the camera charged while using it?
I bought the 3rd party cables because they were shorter, and my camera is located right next to a power outlet, so a 25 foot cable would not be optimal.

 

Here's one of the 3rd-party cables that I tried:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q1KP8WQ/
EDIT: I don't know why that amazon link goes to a 25ft cable, it was 6ft when I ordered it and link is right from my past orders page 🙂 

Model: FB1001 | Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight
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So I just ordered the official outdoor 25ft cable. I will find out if what the camera is detecting is the cable itself, or the power adapter that it comes with. I'm hoping its the power adapter and that I can use it with a shorter 3rd-party cable. 

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Community Manager
Community Manager

CharlesJones,

 

We do not recommend using non-Arlo branded accessories with your Arlo cameras. These accessories are not designed specifically for Arlo and often times do not meet the necessary spec requirements for your Arlo cameras.

 

JamesC

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Perhaps Arlo will consider selling outdoor cables in lengths other than 25ft? 🙂 

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Sensei Sensei
Sensei

@CharlesJones wrote:

Perhaps Arlo will consider selling outdoor cables in lengths other than 25ft? 🙂 


There are limits to the permitted (by standards) length of these things.

 

Perhaps 25 feet is as far as is allowed if you want stuff certified.

 

Third party manufacturers can ride roughshod over that sort of restriction.

 

 

 

 


Just another user
Arlo hardware: Q Plus, Pro 2 (X2), Pro 3 (X3), Pro 3 Floodlight, Security Light (X2), Ultra (X2), Doorbell, Chime
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Um, I don't need MORE than 25 feet, I need LESS. My cameras are within 2 feet of a power outlet, So having 25 feet of cable (the only size they sell for outdoor cables) is not optimal. 

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Guru Guru
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It's really that there's physics involved. The longer the wire run, the more resistance will be introduced, leading to voltage and current drop. Many cheap USB cables use thin wires which are a real issue over distance - heavier gauge wires are needed as the distance increases. The Ultra/Pro 3 outdoor chargers use 25 feet of wire and 9v to combat this compared to the short indoor cables and 5v chargers.

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I understand, but as I have stated multiple times now, My cams are within 2 feet of a power outlet, so a 25ft cable is a bit too much, would be nice if they also sold shorter cable lengths for outdoor. 

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Sensei Sensei
Sensei

@CharlesJones wrote:

My cams are within 2 feet of a power outlet..... 


How exposed is the camera?

 

If it isn't in driving rain, then the sort of short cable that comes with the camera is OK. I used one to power a camera that is in a lean-to.  With a little protection it should be fine. It was fed from an adapter in a waterproof mains outlet.

 


Just another user
Arlo hardware: Q Plus, Pro 2 (X2), Pro 3 (X3), Pro 3 Floodlight, Security Light (X2), Ultra (X2), Doorbell, Chime
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That’s not an option for the Floodlight Cam. The only way you can use it while charging is via specifically the “outdoor” cable and power adapter. The outdoor cable only comes in one length, 25 feet.

Other Arlo cams including the Ultra do not seem to have this restriction.
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Sensei Sensei
Sensei

@CharlesJones wrote:
That’s not an option for the Floodlight Cam. The only way you can use it while charging is via specifically the “outdoor” cable and power adapter.


The fitting is the same on the Floodlight as on the Ultra and Pro 3 cameras. I do know that the short indoor lead will attach to the Floodlight. But I haven't tried running a Floodlight on the lead. 


Just another user
Arlo hardware: Q Plus, Pro 2 (X2), Pro 3 (X3), Pro 3 Floodlight, Security Light (X2), Ultra (X2), Doorbell, Chime
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Yep the Pro3 Floodlight has the same connector and can use the same charge cables - to charge, but where the floodlight cam differs is that it cannot charge + be used at the same time unless it is using the "outdoor" cable (per the error message). I suspect this is due to the outdoor cable coming with a 9v QuickCharge3 charger, and that the floodlight cam requires this to run while charging because of the extra power draw of the lights (you also cannot use the 3000 lumens max brightness setting unless using the outdoor charge cable). 

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Sensei Sensei
Sensei

@CharlesJones wrote:

I suspect this is due to the outdoor cable coming with a 9v QuickCharge3 charger, and that the floodlight cam requires this to run while charging because of the extra power draw of the lights (you also cannot use the 3000 lumens max brightness setting unless using the outdoor charge cable). 


I have used  9v QuickCharge USB adapters in weatherproof outdoor mains sockets to feed cameras with the short indoor connectors. 

 

Not, though, the floodlight. Just Ultra and Pro 3 cameras.

 

I could try it, but that would require messing around. If you really want to explore that road, perhaps you also have various adapters and cables, After all, 9v QuickCharge isn't proprietary to Arlo.

 

 


Just another user
Arlo hardware: Q Plus, Pro 2 (X2), Pro 3 (X3), Pro 3 Floodlight, Security Light (X2), Ultra (X2), Doorbell, Chime
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Yep I will be testing the 9v quickcharge combined with various different cables with the floodlight cam this evening. Will post my results 🙂  I'm hoping I can use the 9v charger with a short indoor cable - my cam is located in an area where it doesn't get wet, so I'm not worried about it being an "outdoor" cable or not. 

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Sensei Sensei
Sensei

@CharlesJones wrote:

 my cam is located in an area where it doesn't get wet, so I'm not worried about it being an "outdoor" cable or not. 


Sounds good.

 

I did find that the metal contacts showed minor signs of corrosion after a few months. I didn't try it, but a bit of plastic kitchen film might provide a bit of protection.


Just another user
Arlo hardware: Q Plus, Pro 2 (X2), Pro 3 (X3), Pro 3 Floodlight, Security Light (X2), Ultra (X2), Doorbell, Chime
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So did it work ?
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Im in the same situation I dont need 25ft for an outdoor cable. I only need 3 ft.

 

Looks like the non-official "Wasserstein" brand does not work.

Model: FB1001 | Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight
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Arlo, can you please create a shorter outdoor cable for the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight??

 

I asked 15 non-official providers on Amazon, no one has a shorter cable that fully works. I hope the Arlo accessories team is aware of this... 

 

Its a matter of time for a 3rd party to start manufacture of a shorter version that fully works (use camera while charging).

I will share a link as soon as I find one.

Model: FB1001 | Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight
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Okay, so I figured out the "secret sauce" of the outdoor cable. The outdoor cable has a 9vdc power adapter (which is permanently attached to the cable, it's not a regular USB power adapter), and in addition it uses a different pinout than the "indoor" magnetic cables. 

 
The Arlo "indoor" cables are like so:
                      o -5vdc
ground-   o  .   o -nc (not connected)
                    (   ) -magnet
 
 
Whereas their "outdoor" cable+power adapter is like so:
                     o -9vdc
ground-   o  .   o - ground
                   (   ) -magnet
 
So, even if you rig up a 9vdc power adapter, plus one of the shorter "indoor" cables, it won't work because all of their non-outdoor cables have that 3rd pin literally not connected to anything, so you can't even do a jumper or any other manipulation on the USB-A connector side.

The only way you could "make your own" shorter outdoor cable, is if you could buy a "dead" outdoor cable+adapter on ebay or something, and cut the power adapter off. You could then wire it to any 9vdc 1A power adapter.  It *may* even be possible to solder on a USB-A connector and use a USB "quick-charge" adapter (quick charge adapters can output either 5v or 9v), but not certain that would even work as the quick-charge adapters run at 5v by default unless they receive some signaling that allows them to output 9v.

Long story short, making your own shorter cable is possible but a real pain. From what I have seen most of the 3rd party sellers of "arlo compatible" outdoor cables will blatantly lie and say their cable is compatible with Ultra and Pro 3 Floodlight, but it is actually NOT. I have purchased a few of these from different sources for testing and all of them are just using the standard indoor cable pinout with a 5-9v "quickcharge" adapter - so they only have half of the required solution.

To Arlo:  Please offer the outdoor magnetic cable in lengths other than 25 feet  🙂  
Model: FB1001 | Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight
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@jrecasens LOL Wasserstein is one of the third-party cable makers that I found outright lies about their compatibility. I exchanged email with their tech support and even gave them my findings on how the floodlight cam relies on the 3rd pin of the magnetic connector to be grounded (and not disconnected like it is with the regular "indoor" cables). And they vigorously insisted that their cable was indeed compatible and would work - ordered one, and the 3rd pin on their cable is not connected, just like a regular indoor cable, and so doesn't work for anything more than regular slow charging.

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My idiotic workaround is to plug the normal indoor cable into a programmable switch (in this case using SmartThings) and turn the charging on at the times when the camera is not armed anyway.  The official outdoor cable doesn't isn't even sold right now.

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@platron That's pretty much back up plan. The outlet near my cam is a switched outlet, and I could just turn it on periodically to recharge and just deal with the fact that the cam can't be used while charging via an indoor cable. 

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So, after talking with Wasserstein support, and even sharing with them my findings on the different power (9v) and pin configuration (extra ground on pin3) for the Floodlight cam. I was vigorously told of a cable they had that would work, "Our engineers have also tested this and can attest that it will work 100%. "

 

I just received their "compatible" cable+charger today, and upon opening it I immediately knew it was a fail. The charger is just a regular 5v one. I pulled out my multimeter and checked the pins on the magnetic connector. Pin 3 was a dead pin, just like the "indoor" cables.  I connected it to the cam anyway, just in case the laws of physics had changed and the Wasserstein "engineers" had pulled off a miracle - nope, still same behavior as an "indoor" cable.

 

I've tried "compatible" cables from 3 different manufacturers, and they all vigorously insist that their cables+chargers will work with the Pro 3 Floodlight Cam, even after I inform them that the floodlight cam has different power requirements and pin configuration than the other pro3 cameras.  They are all either outright lying or just blind to the fact that their one product does not work with all the arlo camera models.

 

I'm considering taking this latest failure of a cable and drilling into the top of the connector to reach the back of the 3rd pin, so that I can solder a wire to it and give it the ground connection that the floodlight cam needs (will of course still have to use a 9v power source).  I wouldn't be surprised if Arlo reps were gleefully watching this thread and seeing how difficult it is to use anything other than their $50 cable, LOL 

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Guide
In some ways, the dysfunctional cable is a blessing in disguise, because any smart switch can now be used to control the camera, despite the lousy SmartThings/HomeKit integration. Since Arlo’s cable is both absurdly over-priced and back-ordered, I’ll live with this solution for a while.
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