For long term time lapse, your power solution needs to be reliable, requiring minimal to zero user intervention. While the use of a small solar panel (SolarX) with our power conserving time lapse controllers (Blink/BlinkX) provides a great standalone camera system, for locations that receive low sun exposure or use a 3G/wifi hotspot, solar power may not be an option. On many construction sites, typically some source of AC power is available for workers via a mains power electrical outlet or generator. These can provide an excellent option to maintain power or regularly top up the battery pack of the camera system. This article describes how an AC extension cord can be used to provide a weatherproof power connection within CamDo’s Outdoor Enclosure (DryX).
*ensure any electrical parts have the required safety ratings, such as “UL”
When you have a stable and reliable power supply, this can be used to directly power the camera system. However, where reliability of the AC power supply can be an issue, such as when there is risk workers tripping the circuit breaker, or the requirement to temporarily shut off the AC power supply, the V44 battery can be used as an Uninterruptible Power Supply to maintain power to the camera system. The V44 can power the time lapse system for days or weeks on a signal charge (approximately 20 days when capturing images 9am-5pm with a 5 minute interval).
CamDo has a simple Time Lapse Calculator to determine how long your battery pack should last without recharging if permanent power becomes unavailable or briefly lost. It can also guide you through the shooting schedule required to produce your video clip and the SD card capacity needed to capture the full length of the project. These tools are specially handy in planning for a construction time lapse setup.
Note that most USB battery packs often have an automatic turn-off circuitry that detects when no power is being drawn and automatically turns off the internal battery circuitry to save power. They, however, do NOT turn back on automatically and require user intervention. Our V44 and V15 battery packs differ from other standard USB batteries due to an Always On mode, that is important to prevent the battery from automatically turning off due to inactivity, since very low current is being drawn when the camera is turned off between triggers by our controllers to conserve power.
The extension cord end can be inserted into the DryX enclosure to provide a weatherproof connection for the camera system, while the male end should be protected at the electrical outlet. To insert the AC extension cord into the DryX enclosure, the female end of the cord must be removed to allow for the cord to enter the housing through the cable gland. This can be done by following the steps below. If unfamiliar with electrical repairs, have a professional perform these operations.
That's it, you now have a permanent power supply for your long term time lapse using a GoPro camera. Make sure to click here for more information on our DryX weatherproof solution, and start your construction time lapse project today!