Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras|NETGEAR
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Guru

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

At least part of the issue is that the connectors need more force to connect and seal than normal indoor connectors. I've had my own problems getting the connectors properly seated (and taking the cable off the panel so you can reseat can be very frustrating) but some perseverance is useful.  I won't go as far as saying that ll of the "wrong charger" messages are due to improper seating but based on my experience, it's a likely candidate.

Message 151 of 298
Star

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

You are correct, I modified the fitting that goes into the solar panel and have had no problems since, over six weeks now.

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
Message 152 of 298

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

I am using the Arlo Solar Panel (VMA4600).  I have two of the cameras. Both would use their batteries at about the same rate. I attached this solar panel to one of the cameras. While it occassionally shows charging, most of the time it shows the compatible device error. In addition, not only does it not charge but it seems to cause the cameras battery to drain at an alarming rate. Cameras both charged to 100%, installed solar panel on one. The one without shows 97%, the one with shows 67%, and it has less security events.

 

I contacted support. Told them I followed all of the directions on the web page about the solar panel not charging (and most of the recommendations on this forum). Their only solution was to swap cameras. I explained that it would take me three hours to get there and three to get back, so I asked that they send me replacements, so that I could address the issue when I was there. They said no, that I had to swap the cameras out first because that was their protocol. I explained that this would require 6 additional hours of driving (a total of 12 hours) to make that happen because whether it is the panel or the camera, I would have to get a replacement from them to do the swapping. They basically said that they wouldn't help me until I swapped to my second camera because of their protocol.  I don't know if the problem is the solar panel, the camera, or both, but their approach to support is absolutely terrible. If you sell security cameras to install in remote locations and you sell solar panels to keep the battery charged, then you need to be prepared to send out replacements without requiring customers to go to extreme travel to make that happen.

 

One additional funny thing. When I told them I was having a problem with the solar panel and the camera, they told me that the solar panel was not intended for charging the battery but simply to keep the camera running. The support people didn't seem to even know what their solar panel was for. No surprise that they follow a "protocol" and don't help customers.

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
Message 153 of 298
Guru

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

The solar panel will charge the battery but only in full sunlight. Otherwise, the battery will slowly discharge (assuming the battery indicator has the charging lightning bolt) as the panel provides some current but not enough to charge. Is the panel getting good sunlight for a few to several hours?

 

The wrong charger message seems to frequently, but not always, come from the connectors not being fully/properly seated. Many folks have taken the pains (and it can be a real pain to remove and reset the connectors) to do so which resolved the issue. Of course, it could be a bad panel, too, which would require troubleshooting and physical presence before a replacement can be sent.

Message 154 of 298
Master

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

I don't think it's unreasonable for companies to get you to troubleshoot BEFORE they start sending you replacement goods. A huge number of problems occur from user error; perhaps not in your case but it happens frequently. 
The whole ordeal of driving 6 hours is nothing to do with Netgear. You chose to install them far away. It's your choice that means troubleshooting includes a lengthy drive. 

Message 155 of 298

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

I in fact completed all of the diagnostic steps listed on their support site and in the forum for solving this problem. If this was a unique problem for me, then I would take the hit on driving to see the camera, but they have got to realize that people installed these battery operated cameras in locations that are sometimes difficult and sometimes distant. 

 

My main beef isn't that the solar panel isn't charging which can depend on weather, temp, etc. My main beef is that the camera's battery is draining faster when connected to the solar panel. 

 

The other point was that he was giving me a step, "Just swap the camera". When I asked what would happen if I only had one camera, and he said that they would have me repeat all of the diagnostics on the site and then they would send out replacements. I'm not sure what I would gain by repeating the exact things they list on their support site. The camera occassionally shows charging, most of the time it says "incompatible device", and the battery drops like a stone. Unhook the solar panel, and the battery last longer. Seems like a no brainer. If I had it connected wrong, it would never charge. The camera seems to work without the panel, so why would switching to another camera give any more useful information especially since I will have to wait for many days beside the camera in the hopes that the sunlight will happen, and the charging will occur or fail over time.

 

Another point on this, the camera is reporting the "incompatible device" through Arlo servers to my phone app. Netgear should have all the "remote diagnostics" they need from the camera telling them what the problem is. 

 

Bottom line, poor customer service. And, the fact that this forum is filled with others experiencing similar problems with the solar panel says that there is something not working there.

Message 156 of 298

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

The app says that the camera is occassionally charging which would seem to indicate that the connection is solid.  The camera, when not connected to the solar panel, had a battery life similar to the other camera without the panel. With the panel connected, the battery life is terrible. So, two cameras, both receiving similar and relatively small video usage (one to three triggered events per day). Both cameras started out at 100% three weeks ago. The camera w/o the solar panel is at 94%. The camera with the solar panel is at 65%. Before the installation of the solar panel, both cameras were within 1% of each other in terms of battery charge. 

 

My complaint isn't that the panel isn't fully charging the camera. I realize that is driven by position, sun, weather, temp, etc. *BUT* I don't expect the panel to increase the battery use. I'm wondering if the "incompatible" aspect is somehow waking the camera up to send the message to the base unit thereby causing a drain. There must be some communication because when the camera is charging I get the charging indicator but much of the time I get the incompatible message (or no message at all). Perhaps the solar panel needs to be smart enough to not send any voltage to the camera when it falls below charging specs to avoid triggering the incompatible charging device message.

Message 157 of 298
Initiate

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

UPDATE:
6 days has passed since I forced the connections for a tighter fit as per previous discussion, and the units have been operating flawlessly. The panel actively charges even when it's overcast, and effectively stops charging during the dark. Zero error messages. The battery remains steady between 95 and 100%. Motion is constantly active and it makes several dozen 20 sec recordings daily.
Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
Message 158 of 298
Star

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Good to hear, mine has been working perfectly since doing a similar thing. 

The connection is obviously the problem 

 

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
Message 159 of 298

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Well, I made the drive to reach my camera, and I'm going to start fiddling with it. My camera showed that it was charging briefly, now it has gone to not charging as it went dark. I'm going to do the camera swapping suggested by support,  recharge them both, and see what happens with firmly seated plug (since it was charging some of the time, I concluded that it was firmly seated originally but what the heck). The problem still seems to be that when the solar panel falls below some threashhold, it sends too little power to the camera triggering the "incompatible device" situation.  The camera then appears to make connections to the base station to notify the app of this situation. I believe that it is this aspect of the low voltage issue that is causing the battery drain.  I don't think that the solar panel has any intelligence in it, so it has got to be a flaw in the camera in how often it reports the incompatible device issue to the base station. Someone at Netgear should be able to check the camera firmware to determine if that is what is happening.

Message 160 of 298

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

So, I've swapped the cameras, recharged them to 100%, and re-installed. The camera with the solar panel goes briefly between charging and incompatible device in the app. For a period of time, the app was showing the black battery icon and then it would show the battery with exclamation point. While it was doing that, I took a look at the camera. Each time the app's icon toggled, there was a yellow light on the front of the camera blink. I think I found why the battery drains when the solar panel is connected but not providing enough juice. The software in the camera is reporting the situation, so it is like the camera is being very active. Since this is the second camera to do this, my conclusion is that this is a firmware problem related to the trickle charging process.

 

My suggestion to Arlo would be that they remove the incompatible device check from the camera. This isn't communicating anything useful. Knowing that the battery is being charged by solar is useful, but otherwise, ignore when the power is too low.

 

I chatted with support about this, and they had no other suggestions or steps for me to follow. They are going to escalate to a higher level of support and email me.  I'm not particularly hopeful about a solution since many others have reported similar difficulty, but one can always hope.

Message 161 of 298
Aspirant

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

I have had the same battery drain issues when connected to the solar panel. After troubleshooting with Netgear, they told me to have Verizon replace the camera under warranty rather than replace the Arlo Go. I did that, and tested the new camera before plugging in the troubled solar panel. Same drain issues, and now the new camera's battery will not hold a good charge as it did before I plugged in the camera. I had the same issue with the first Go. Now the camera without solar plugged in is draining 20% a day as if the panel is still connected. I am getting a replacement panel from NG under warranty, but now I think I need a new battery, too.

 

Has anyone had this issue?  Thanks

Message 162 of 298
Aspirant

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

I have the same issue. Exchanged the panel and same message with the replacement. No luck with customer service
Message 163 of 298
Aspirant

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Finally got my Arlo solar panels to work with my Arlo Pro cameras. I had to reset my base station by restarting it and holding in the reset hole with a pin. After I reset my base station and then added all my cameras, the solar panels have been working flawlessly for the past couple months. I even pull the power cords out to give them a quick charge and when I plug them back into the solar panels they still work. It's been pretty cloudy for the past couple months so they don't all charge up completly every day. One of my cameras doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight so it loses some charge after a month, so I have to top it up with regular charger. 

Message 164 of 298
Star

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Since I modified the connection to the solar panel a few months ago I've had no problems.
I removed some of the rubber to allow a tight fit into the panel
Model: VMB3000 | Arlo Base Station
Message 165 of 298
Guru

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Again, this isn't recommended since it may let water into the connection. That's what happened with the outdoor power supply although it's unlikely that you would get a fire or meltdown as happened with those adapters. That doesn't mean you aren't risking corrosion or other issues from water infiltration.

Message 166 of 298
Star

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

It may not be recommended but it works and it is very easy to seal the connection with silicone preventing moisture ingression.

It is better than climbing a ladder every time it stops working 

 

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
Message 167 of 298
Aspirant

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

DO NOT USE Silicone or any liquid adhesive to seal the connections, you can use electric black tape on the back of the connection to prevent moisture, but it is not necessary the rubber seal on the back is good enough.

Message 168 of 298
Star

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Mate, I’m sure you mean well but that’s what silicone is designed for and it works and is easy to remove when necessary.

Unless you have a better solution to the solar panel problem I suggest you keep your negative comments to yourself.

As previously stated mine has been working fine since I made the modifications.

If I have a problem later it will be mine not yours and any cost will also be mine.

If you feel the need to reply go ahead but my conversation with you is over.

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
Message 169 of 298

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

After many rounds of diagnostics with Netgear about this, they concluded that it was a problem with the solar panel and they have sent me a replacement. They said that the solar panel has some kind of firmware in it that could cause this.  I haven't had a chance to re-install the panel; however, I've done a longer test on camera, and the battery drain is definitely slower than when I had the panel attached. I'll let you know if this new replacement panel does the trick.

Message 170 of 298
Guru

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working


Dayzee wrote:

It may not be recommended but it works and it is very easy to seal the connection with silicone preventing moisture ingression.

 


Just for the record, Netgear could disapprove warranty claims if it was found that this method is used. It's all in your level of comfort.

Message 171 of 298
Aspirant

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

So, if your charge is very low, and you are experiencing bad weather like below freezing temperatures - the sun rays are not bright enough - it is storming hard and you may have to charge your camera manually, are you telling me that you have no problem removing and reapplying the silicone constantly?

Message 172 of 298
Star

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Correct, silicone turns into a rubber type plug and just pulls out. Because I am in Australia I don’t have a problem with charging and it fully charges on overcast days. The coldest we would get to is maybe zero but only for a short time.


banking wrote:

So, if your charge is very low, and you are experiencing bad weather like below freezing temperatures - the sun rays are not bright enough - it is storming hard and you may have to charge your camera manually, are you telling me that you have no problem removing and reapplying the silicone constantly?


 

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
Message 173 of 298
Apprentice

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Hey guys,

 

I've had my panel set up for about 5 days and seems to be working OK until this morning, when; in full sunlight, it it isn't showing the charging bolt indicator (although the battery is at 100%), but even then; other times with the battery at 100%, the charging bolt was there and the blue LED was fully lit in the camera.

 

Could any of you kindly share or explain how the connection to the camera is supposed to properly fit? I've tried gently settling it first, then pushing as hard as possible (no brute force, of couse), in order to obtain the best waterproof connection. Even so, the rubber thing seems ot be half of it outside the camera. Although I don't see any gaps in the fitting, I'm not sure if it's properly fitted. Even then, if the camera was charging all these days, that should mean that it's connected OK and pushing further wouldn't do anything to make it fit better, since it's already touching the back of the connectors...

 

If somebody could explain how it should go; or even better, share a picture of how you connected, I'd be tremendously appreciative and I'm sure that will help most of the other folks here with the same issue.

 

Thanks in advance for your time, best regards.

Message 174 of 298
Apprentice

Re: Arlo Solar Panel not working

Well, a quick update. I went to the roof again, pushed, wiggled and settled the cable on both sides as hard as possible, so IT HAS to be connected OK.

 

The camera has been reporting 100% the whole day in the app. I've checked every 15 minutes or so, to see if the charging bolt would appear above the battery, but it didn't. When I got to the roof, I noticed that the blue LED was solid lit, so it should have been displayed as charging; even though it was 100% on battery (the same behaviour than my other, plugged to AC camera; it always shows the charging bolt + 100% in the app).

 

After continuing opening and closing the app every 15 minutes, I checked and the battery went from 100% to 88% since the last time I accesed it! Without any recordings in the middle, with full direct sunlight and blue LED lit on camera!

 

The Arlo magic is at work here again... oh dear Lord, how I wanted to love this cameras since the day I got them. I've really tried; very hard. But this Arlo magic quirks has been present since day one and never go away. And pretty much everone else in these kinds of threads experience(d) the same odd behaviours at a point in time:

 

  • The dreaded "Can't charge. Plug an official charger" - when you are just using the one that came in the box
  • Battery percentage reporting crap. With all those threads about the battery only charging 80%, but the system informing that as 100% (or whatever) as Arlo was designed. You can even see this while charging a battery inside a camera. It stays stuck in whatever percentage was at that moment, and only update the number every half an hour or so, or you have to "force" to update by going through all kinds of hoops, like forcing a "Live view", turning off/on the camera, checking the battery % and THEN it updates
  • The stuck on "Getting status..." message forever, without any possibility to do anything or accesing the system. From any browser I try on my computer, the web interface is missing all the status icons and going to "Modes", "Settings" or whatever display "Getting status..." forever. Or course, the support playbook of "turn off the Base Station, wait, plug again, check internet, check browser, clear cookies, is your computed plugged in?, etc" is completely useless, as most of us here have more hands-on experience on this that whatever automated bot is the official Netgear response
  • IFTTT never triggering when connected; even after dozens or repairing the service. Never worked for me, gives a "Can't check app right now error" that was never solved
  • The OAUTH security issue that I raised wayyy back ago and only recently has been incorrectly "fixed" by having to reset your Arlo password (that's not a way to handle OAUTH tokens). It is even the first Google result if you search "netgear oauth security issue", but even then, it wasn't properly fixed
  • Changing the password in the Arlo account doesn't disable the Arlo connected App on mobile. Awesome! Great for the thief that got your phone and now can see your cameras 24/7. I won't even bother to create a post/case to try to address that; I'll just remotely wipe my phone if need arise
  • Got an Arlo Pro 2 (that I haven't even set up), but did so with a leap of faith; after reading countless of problems with night vision not working properly and not charging (again...)
  • Now, the solar panel with the fully LIT blue led on but not charging; not even with the "This power source can't charge the camera" common issue that we all know about... without displaying anything at all, and dropping from 100% to 88% in 15 minutes; hence, I don't know what the camera was doing with the solar panel and the lit LED

Anyway... sorry for the rant, we all keep trying to make this system works and I've read over and over again here how we are permanent beta testers... I don't know what else to add to that, but I'm retiring from the Netgear products once and for all. These will be my lasts. Let's see what new set of problems the "Smart Lights" introduce in Spring '18.

Message 175 of 298