Off-Grid Construction Camera System - Solar Power Solution for ATL3500

Nov 10, 2023    5 min read

ATL3500 construction camera Off-grid Solution

When it comes to long-term time lapse recording projects in off-grid environments, a self-sustaining power source is the utmost issue that needs to be resolved.

Among all, using solar energy is the most popular and economical choice. With the proper choice of solar panel, solar power together with a rechargeable battery can offer a reliable power source for most geographic locations.

Below is a typical topology diagram for deploying an ATL3500 Construction Time Lapse Camera in an off-grid environment.

solar power - mb.png__PID:014144fc-30ae-46a3-93ec-65d24097ea95solar power system.png__PID:53bb92cf-767b-4edc-b3f4-09a41c945524

The 3 Major Components of Solar Power System

The key component added is the solar power system which includes:

  • 1. Solar Panel
  • 2. Solar Charge Controller
  • 3. 12V Lithium Battery – This battery provides power to the camera at night time or when there is not sufficient light to generate enough power for the camera.

It is recommended to buy the solar power system as a kit when available. In some countries, you can only buy the solar panel and the charge controller as a kit and buy the 12V Lithium battery separately.

Calculate the Power Consumption of All Components 

When mobile service is available, an optional 4G LTE can be added for internet connectivity as shown in the topology diagram above.

Before choosing the right solar power system, it is important to know or estimate the power consumption of the ATL3500 and the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot:

1. The ATL3500 consumes no more than 30WH daily.

2. Mobile Wi-Fi Router (optional) – Please check with the technical specification of your router to estimate its power consumption.

Most routers may not specify its power consumption explicitly. If you buy one with a built-in lithium battery, you can then estimate its power consumption from its battery capacity and working hours.

For example:

If the battery capacity is 1800mAH and working hours is 6hrs. Then its hourly power consumption is 0.3AH. In general, lithium battery voltage is less 4V. This means the daily power consumption is roughly 30WH.

Which Solar Power Kit is Right for You?

For most sites, we recommend the following Solar Panel kit and Battery for off-grid ATL3500 deployment. This setup should cover most of the weather and geological site.

However, if the site has very strong and long period of sunlight, you could lower the solar power and battery capacity requirements. On the contrary, you could also increase the requirements if necessary.

The most important consideration is to secure adequate power supply to ATL3500 and the mobile Wi-Fi router (if any). Please make sure that there is enough head room for extreme conditions that may occur.

 ATL3500 onlyATL3500 &
Mobile Wi-Fi Router
Daily Power Consumption30WH60WH
SolarPanel Size12V / 25W12V / 50W
Battery Capacity12V 20Ah12V 40Ah
Running time with
very low daylight 
Min. 8 daysMin. 8 days

5 Tips To Consider When Installing Solar Power for Construction Camera

Each installation site for the ATL3500 construction time lapse camera presents unique challenges and considerations. To ensure a smooth and successful long-term time-lapse recording, please read the following tips carefully.

  • Ensure the installation area's stability and security.
  • Put the solar panel in maximum sunlight location
  • Select a battery with sufficient capacity
  • Ensure that all components are weatherproofed
  • Periodically inspect all components

1. Site Assessment

Before installing the camera and solar panel, carefully assess the site. Factors to consider include the availability of direct sunlight throughout the day, potential obstructions like trees or buildings that may cast shadows on the solar panel, and the overall stability and security of the installation area.

2. Solar Panel Placement

Position the solar panel in a location that receives maximum sunlight exposure.

Ideally, it should be tilted at an angle and face true south (in the Northern Hemisphere) or true north (in the Southern Hemisphere).

This orientation optimizes solar energy absorption and enhances the charging efficiency of the battery.

In the next chapter, we will provide recommendations on the appropriate size and type of solar panel as well as the ideal choice of solar charger controller.

Click here to read>> Choosing Appropriate Solar Power for ATL3500

3. Battery Capacity

It is essential to select a battery with sufficient capacity to meet the power requirements of both the ATL3500 construction time lapse camera and the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. In adverse weather conditions, it’s crucial to ensure a reliable power supply.

In the next chapter, we will provide recommendations on the type of battery and appropriate battery capacity required to ensure uninterrupted power supply even during extended periods of inclement weather.

Click here to read>> Choosing Appropriate Solar Power for ATL3500

4. Weatherproofing

Ensure that all components, including the charging controller and battery, are adequately weatherproofed. This prevents damage from water, dust, and other environmental factors, ensuring the longevity and reliable operation of the equipment.

5. Regular Maintenance

Periodically inspect the solar panel, battery, and connections for any signs of damage or deterioration. Clean the solar panel surface to remove dirt or debris that may hinder its performance.

Additionally, monitor the battery’s charge level and recharge as needed to avoid depletion.