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Some quick thoughts on the Arlo solar panel

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Apprentice
Apprentice

Received them today from Best Buy. The panels work exactly as you would expect.... build quality is fantastic, it feels much more solid than the Ring solar panel I tried a few months back.

Cable connection to the panel is snug and secured with a latch to keep it in place. Cable connection to the camera itself is also very snug, no concerns about water seeping in. It does protrude slightly from the camera itself, which required enough additional space on my camera mounts that I had to remove the head ring thingy, but otherwise no hiccups.

 

The panels come with high quality metal mounts, presumably the same as the regular outdoor mounts, but my memory is pretty useless.

 

Anyway, the cameras themselves immediately registered as charging and that's really all I was expecting out of it.

 

So, all in all, worth the 70 bucks and the 5 minutes on the roof to, hopefully, never ever ever have to charge that battery again.


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Apprentice
Apprentice

A little update:

 

When I woke up this morning at 6, battery on my roof camera was at 50%... which is totally expected as the camera wasn't fully charged before I installed the panel and obviously it wasn't getting any sunlight overnight.

I have this particular camera set to best video quality, motion sensitivity 100, and record until movement ends to maximize drain during testing. So far, in just morning light, it has charged over 5% in less than 2 hours while still in use. 

 

Given that result, I'm confident that these panels will work out fine for my needs.

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Star
Star

Great to hear the solar panel is finally out there in the wild!

Would be good to get a long term update of your battery charge, if it is efficient enough to eliminate the need to change the battery or if it just prolongs the need for a proper charge.

 

Cmon Netgear, start making this available in Australia! It's not even listed on the Arlo AU site yet.

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Luminary
Luminary

Looks like you and I both received them today from Best Buy. Although I won't put them up until tomorrow, I agree they seem well built. It was a long time waiting but it's nice to finally get them.

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
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Apprentice
Apprentice

ckdxxx wrote:

Received them today from Best Buy. The panels work exactly as you would expect.... build quality is fantastic, it feels much more solid than the Ring solar panel I tried a few months back.

Cable connection to the panel is snug and secured with a latch to keep it in place. Cable connection to the camera itself is also very snug, no concerns about water seeping in. It does protrude slightly from the camera itself, which required enough additional space on my camera mounts that I had to remove the head ring thingy, but otherwise no hiccups.

 

The panels come with high quality metal mounts, presumably the same as the regular outdoor mounts, but my memory is pretty useless.

 

Anyway, the cameras themselves immediately registered as charging and that's really all I was expecting out of it.

 

So, all in all, worth the 70 bucks and the 5 minutes on the roof to, hopefully, never ever ever have to charge that battery again.


thanks for the great review!

 

if you don't mind me asking,  how long is the usb cable?  

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Apprentice
Apprentice

if you don't mind me asking,  how long is the usb cable?  

 

6 feet, which definitely felt like more than enough. Although if it's going to be super tight, plan for losing a few inches due to the way the camera end of the cable has a right-angle bend that points down from the camera.

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Apprentice
Apprentice

A little update:

 

When I woke up this morning at 6, battery on my roof camera was at 50%... which is totally expected as the camera wasn't fully charged before I installed the panel and obviously it wasn't getting any sunlight overnight.

I have this particular camera set to best video quality, motion sensitivity 100, and record until movement ends to maximize drain during testing. So far, in just morning light, it has charged over 5% in less than 2 hours while still in use. 

 

Given that result, I'm confident that these panels will work out fine for my needs.

View solution in original post

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Aspirant
Aspirant

This is awesome. Please keep us posted 😃

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Apprentice
Apprentice

So, under relatively heavy use, that particular camera is up to 57% charge...  so, what, like 5.5 hours later? we've charged an additional 2%.

They are quite clear in the installation guide that you should fully charge your camera beforehand, as the panel is intended to keep the charge level topped up and not charge it from empty. But, well, I'm lazy and I imagine it'll catch up eventually after a few days in the sun.

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Luminary
Luminary

I just installed my 2 solar panels (in the 100 degree heat!) and after reading the Quick Start Guide twice, it says nothing about having the batteries fully charged to start with although it does make sense. At this point my camera's are at 42% & 48% with the panel's in direct sun. It'll be interesting to see the change by night fall.

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
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Apprentice
Apprentice

Hah! well, truth be told, i didn't bother reading any of the included paperwork, tossed them in the recycling bin immedately...

 

I did recall reading it before, and it was in this document:

 

https://community.netgear.com/t5/Arlo-Knowledge-Base/How-do-I-set-up-the-Arlo-Solar-Panel-to-power-m...

 

But obviously I'm not entirely sure the printed material included that guide.

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Luminary
Luminary

Your right though, this is about as basic of an install as they come.

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Retired_Member
Not applicable

I have 2 cameras that are in the shade.  Will the solar charger charge my cameras in indirect sunlight?

 

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Luminary
Luminary

I guess time will tell, from reading the paper work that came with these it appears that they only require a limited amount of sunlight though. Of course a lot also depends on how active your camera is. 

Model: VMC4030| Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
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Guru Guru
Guru
I would mount the panels where sunlight can directly strike them or the battery will slowly discharge. My house solar panels charge little (20% or less) in overcast.
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Retired_Member
Not applicable

jguerdat wrote:
I would mount the panels where sunlight can directly strike them or the battery will slowly discharge. My house solar panels charge little (20% or less) in overcast.

Depending on camera location somtimes this is not possible. I guess i will buy one and test it out.

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Guru Guru
Guru

You may be able to use a micro-USB to micro-USB cable to extend the connection to the panel although all I can quickly find is OTG cables for this.  And then there's the need to weatherproof the connection.  Because of the proprietary connection to the panel a substitute would be difficult to find unless Netgear has such an option in mind.

 

If nothing else, take time to aim the panel as best you can towards the strongest lighting you can - open sky would be better than nothing.  The angle is important so try to get the panel flat to the light source for maximum absorption.

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Apprentice
Apprentice

jguerdat wrote:

  Because of the proprietary connection to the panel a substitute would be difficult to find unless Netgear has such an option in mind.

 


 

The connection to the panel is standard micro USB, there is just an additional piece attached to the panel end of the cable to help secure it to the panel body with some additional strain relief. I don't recall whether or not it looked easy to remove and attach to another cable, but I suspect it's largely there to mitigate the chance of wind/debris knocking the cable out of the panel and isn't entirely necessary.

So a longer cable should work just fine if you're comfortable that the weatherproofing is sorted out.

 

 

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Guru Guru
Guru
That's just it, the weatherproofing makes it custom. I agree about the lock, which may be very important, but the need to keep water out is King.