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How Often Do You Have to Charge Wireless Security Cameras?

How Often Should You Charge Wireless Security Cameras?

No hard and fast rules exist about the frequency of charging wireless security cameras because everything depends on camera usage, battery capacity, security camera settings, temperature, firmware, and other factors

  • Plug-in: There’s no need to “charge” plugged-in security cameras because they draw power continuously from the residential electrical system.
  • Solar: Solar-powered wireless security cameras automatically recharge their power units during the day. However, solar charging often slows down in overcast skies, which is why backup batteries are sometimes included. 

Top 6 Reasons Wireless Security Camera Batteries Run Out Quickly

Although improvements in battery technology allow the power cells to last longer than their predecessors, some factors can still contribute to batteries running out faster than usual.

1. Low Battery Capacity

The problem is when the battery has a low capacity (i.e., 1000mAh). Do not expect a wireless security camera battery to last as long as a high-capacity unit. It’s best to check the camera’s battery and replace it with a higher capacity option (i.e., 5000mAh instead of 2000mAh) if possible, but be aware of any product warranties this could void.

2. Continuous Video Recording

3. Low Temperatures

Security video camera in winter. Icicles on the camera block the lens. Frozen security camera in winter with ice crystals.

Check the battery’s minimum operating temperature and compare it with the average environmental temperature. A higher operating temperature rating might explain why the battery is quick to run out.

4. Weak and Unstable Wireless Internet Connection

Most people overlook the impact of internet signal strength on wireless security camera battery runtimes.

If the wireless internet connection is weak or unstable, the security camera draws more power from the battery to compensate for the poor signal. This drains the battery more quickly than a strong and stable internet connection does. 

AlfredCamera's Connection Report screen
AlfredCamera offers users a ‘Connection Report‘ that shows how the Camera device’s connections were throughout the week as well as WiFi/Power Level

Assess the security camera’s distance and line of sight to the wireless internet router. Obstructions and distances exceeding the system’s rated capacity could explain faster-than-usual battery drain.

5. Night Vision Technology

AlfredCamera’s Low-Light Filter (night vision) being turned off (left) and turned on (right)

Security cameras in dark or poorly-lit areas will activate this feature more often than in well-lit locations. Because the device uses power to fire up its thermal imaging or light amplification technologies, it drains the battery faster.

Check the wireless security camera’s position and lighting conditions. If the area is too dim or prone to extensive fluctuation, it might be why the wireless security camera battery runs out quicker than usual. It’s possible to turn off automatic night vision on most cameras.

AlfredCamera’s Low-Light Filter (night vision) settings

6. Outdated Firmware

AlfredCam firmware update support page screenshot
Firmware information about AlfredCamera’s first hardware camera AlfredCam

Wireless internet routers also require periodic firmware updates to ensure optimum signal stability, functionality, and strength.

Wireless security cameras consume more power every time they download firmware updates from servers. Firmware updates can contain tens to hundreds of megabytes that can strain the system and drain the battery. Moreover, bugs in the update can cause unnecessary battery drain. Keep up to date with patches.

4 Tips for Maximizing Battery Life

Knowing why a wireless security camera battery isn’t as long-lasting as it should can help you determine the solution. Here are four tricks for improving the wireless security camera battery’s lifespan.

1. Ensure optimal wireless security camera location

Check the wireless security camera to determine if its field of view is not in high-traffic areas, such as sidewalks and busy roads. Reposition the device, ensuring its viewing angle doesn’t trigger the motion detection feature unnecessarily. 

a hallway inside an apartment

Repositioning the security camera or wireless internet router to guarantee a clear line of sight can also help improve battery life. The camera should be about six to eight feet from the ground surface, ensuring its lens points 30 degrees downward. 

2. Turn on the wireless security camera’s energy-saving features

Check the User Guide to learn about different energy-saving features. Access these settings on the camera’s user control app and make the necessary adjustments.

AlfredCamera's Power-Saving help center page screenshot
AlfredCamera’s Power-Saving Mode Help Center Page

For example, reducing the security camera’s motion detection sensitivity can help conserve battery power. Choosing “people-only” detection also improves battery life by triggering the camera only when it detects human-related movements. Setting up predefined zones can also help.

3. Consider a solar power system

Solar technologies provide a more cost-effective and cleaner solution for running different electrical appliances and gadgets, including wireless security cameras. These systems include panels with photovoltaic cells that absorb “photons” or light energy and convert them into electric current. 

Ring Solar Panel

4. Have a backup battery

Although this trick doesn’t improve battery life, it can keep the wireless security camera running 24/7. Homeowners can remove the drained battery and replace it with a backup power cell. Meanwhile, they can recharge the battery in a compatible desktop or wall charger.

FAQ

How long do the batteries last in a wireless security camera?

Wireless security camera batteries should last one to five years, depending on the battery type and capacity. For example, lithium-ion batteries have an average charge cycle of 300 to 500, while nickel metal-hydride power cells can last up to 1,000 charging cycles. The good news is that these batteries are easily replaceable, allowing users to continue enjoying the many benefits of a wireless security camera safeguarding the property.

Do wireless security cameras need to be charged?

Whether wireless security cameras need to be charged depends on whether it has a built-in power supply or requires an adaptor to plug into an electrical outlet. 

Most people think “wireless” devices do not connect to an electrical grid system. “Wireless” only refers to the device’s method of data transmission, which is cable-less over the internet. The device might not be wire-free. Hence, a battery-operated wireless security camera requires periodic charging, while an electric unit does not. 

How do you charge wireless security cameras?

Check the wireless security camera for a port to connect an AC adaptor. Plug a compatible cable into the AC adaptor and the camera. 

Next, plug the adaptor into an electrical outlet to charge the wireless security camera’s built-in power supply. If the device has a removable rechargeable battery, one can remove the power cell and recharge it in an appropriate desktop charger. 

Reinsert the fully-charged battery into the wireless security camera. 

How long does a battery-powered camera last?

A battery-powered camera could last many years, depending on how well users maintain it. However, the battery might only last three to six months, contingent on operational settings and usage. 

Exposure to the elements can also impact a security camera’s longevity, although devices with excellent weatherproofing tend to be more durable.

How far away can a wireless security camera work?

A 2.4 GHz wireless security camera can continue functioning up to 700 feet from its internet source, while a device operating on the 5.8 GHz bandwidth can maintain communication lines with the internet hub for 2,000 feet. 

Although these figures are commendable, it’s worth pointing out that these distances require a clear line of sight between the wireless security camera and the router or hub. Any obstacles can interfere with the signals, shortening the camera’s working distance. Users can always boost the camera’s operating range with a wireless repeater.

How long do outdoor security cameras last?

Outdoor security cameras can last at least a decade. Sadly, technological innovations occur at a quicker pace, prompting many to ditch their security cameras for newer and feature-rich versions.

Conclusion

How often users charge wireless security cameras depends on several factors, including camera location, usage, built-in features, firmware updates, and battery operating temperature. 

Addressing these issues should help improve battery life and guarantee continuous wireless security camera operation. Alternatively, choosing a reliable, high-quality wireless security camera platform with robust battery capacity should make recharging less frequent.