Power Over IP Dongles

jrfuda

Active Member
Guys,

I'm putting together a "nanny cam" system based on IP cameras. I know it's not the best way to go about this, but I already have a good bit of the hardware. We're hiring an au pair to help my wife with the kids while I'm deployed ( http://www.cocoontech.com/index.php?showtopic=4852 ) and the wife would like to be able to check in on the au pair remotely, allow me to see the family when I'm near an internet connection, and allow us to have recorded evidence "just in case."

I already have 6 d-link DCS-900 IP cameras, which I've used successfully in the past (though they have no low-light capability at all, and IR doesn't help). The full-version of the IPView Software (which does not come with the DCS-900, but can be downloaded from dlink) is rather powerful and supports up to 16 cameras, ftp and email. The individual cameras have a webserver for direct access.

To simplify installation, I'd like to be able to run a single cable to the location of each camera. The cameras currently require a network connection and 5VDC. A PoIP/PoE dongle that can combine these onto a single piece of CAT5 is ideal.

I've looked around and found complete solutions (both ends, with AC adapter) for $80-$100, which is more than I want to spend.

I've also found some individual devices (would need two per cam) for $15-$20, but these will require a little hacking (I'd have to adapt each camera's power supply to the DC in/out on one dongle, and then adapt the DC in/out on the dongle on the camera-side to match the DC input on the camera).

Has anyone out there used any PoIP devices before? Any advice? I'll need hardware for 6 cameras.

My idea for the setup is to have a dedicated PC just for this function. I've ordered one of Geek.com's $219 P4 systems to take on this function. It will run WinXP Pro, IPView and WebCamXP... and maybe girder.

IPView will be ran to fill the entire screen, which essentially makes it look like a normal securty camera matrix screen. I'll use WebCamXP to stream this screen (essentially the desktop) to the web, which will allow the entire "matrix" of cameras to be viewed, and each camera can also be viewed directly for their built-in browser. I'll create commands in girder to allow the current view in IPView to be controlled remotely, and let IPView manage FTPing and/or emailing motion detected, as well as recording it locally. Alternatively, I can use one of the newer versions of WebCamXP exclusively (leaving IPView out of the picture) since it can communicate directly with the IP Cameras. However, I am leaning towards using IPView becuse it will enable me to output its current view over composit video and into my modulated video system, allowing the wife to view and control (via IR) the current view in IPView.

Anyway, I'm mostly looking for advice about PoIP dongles...
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Remember official POE is transmitting 48V down the line and then converting it to the voltage you need at the device dongle. This is not going to be cheap. I would use the existing power supplies and hack the connectors using plugs and power leads found HERE. They don't show prices on the web page for some reason but adapters with 12 inch leads are about $5 and just the power plug (or socket) is arounf $1.45
 

jrfuda

Active Member
OK, here are some ideas I've come accross. This is a PoE 8-port switch:

http://www.cispc.com/ssproduct.asp?pf_id=10625927

It's a little pricey, but will greatly simplify the installation.


This is a PoE "splitter" made for LinkSys VoIP phones, but seems like it will work with my cameras, since they are also 5VDC:

http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c...FVisitorWrapper

I'm not too familiar with how PoE works, but based on what I've read concerning the PoE switch (which outputs 48VDC) I'm assuming that the "splitter" converts this to 5VDC and does not just pass the "raw" 48VDC through.

With this setup, I can get all 6 camera's PoE'd for $285 plus shipping (6x$20 for the splitters, plus $165 for the PoE switch).

That would put my whole 6-camera system at:
$219 for PC
$120 for PoE splitters
$165 for PoE switch
$504 total

Figuring in things I already have:
$354 for 6 cameras (refurbs at $59 each)
$50 for 1000' CAT5

That'll put me at $908 for a 6-camera system with full local and remote access, what do y'all think?
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Mike, we posted at the same time.

Those leads do look intersting, and would save me about $220. What I'm wondering, though, is which wires on CAT5 actually carry data? I'm assuming I'd split-up the balance of the wires and attach the leads at each end (ensuring that these "hot" wires in no way touch either the switch or camera, meaning my RJ45 connectors would only be connected to the data wires (Aren't only 4 used for 10/100, and all 8 used for gigabit?) So I'd have 4 wired for power and connected to the leads, and 4 connected to the RJ45... Am I tracking?

The advantage of using the PoE switch is I can have all the cams plugged into a single UPS outlet, vs. having to split-up several outlets to power 6 individual wallwarts... The price is high, but not as high as I though it would be.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
True, the price is better than I would have expected. I just can't deal with trying to tuck a dongle behind my cameras. I also haven't found 12V dongles as cheap as those 5V ones.

Ethernet uses the orange and green pairs. POE puts +48V on the blue pair and -48V on the brown pair so I would follow the same convention.
 

smee

Senior Member
One other thing to consider if you go the "build your own fake POE route" and make adapters is voltage loss due to long cables. As the distance between the power supply and the camera increases, your voltage will decrease. You may find that you need to pump more than 5v into one end to get 5V out the other. Depending on the actual supply range for the cameras, you may need to put, for example, 12V into one end and use a regulator (or other power supply option) on the other end to produce 5V for the camera.

I do this with my RS485 network which uses cat5 cable. I put in 9V at the root end and every device has it's own regulator to get 5V.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Thanks guys.

I may try Mike's trick with one camera and see how it works. I think the longest run I'll have will be right at 100', so perhaps I'll do a test with a 100' length of CAT5 and my voltmeter to see how much loss I get.

I agree that besides being cheaper, it's much less obtrusive to have a little lead coming off of the camera-end CAT5 than it is tohave a dongle.

I think the camera's AC adapters only put out 200mA, so if I get a nice, regulated 2A 5VDC power supply, I could have all 6 leads run back to the one power supply, thereby negating the requirement to plugin 6 wallwarts, and perhaps giving the power a bit more of a "kick" to make it to the cameras intact. I think I may already have a 2A 5VDC PS somewhere too.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
jrfuda said:
I agree that besides being cheaper, it's much less obtrusive to have a little lead coming off of the camera-end CAT5 than it is tohave a dongle.

I think the camera's AC adapters only put out 200mA, so if I get a nice, regulated 2A 5VDC power supply, I could have all 6 leads run back to the one power supply, thereby negating the requirement to plugin 6 wallwarts, and perhaps giving the power a bit more of a "kick" to make it to the cameras intact. I think I may already have a 2A 5VDC PS somewhere too.
My plan at the moment is to use an ELKP412 power supply and an ELKPD9 to power all of my cameras. To make sure I don't mess up on the wire assignments, I am going to use a Leviton Cat-5 jack and a 1 foot ethernet patch cable at the camera. I will leave the blue and brown pairs off of the jack and just put a power connector directly on them. To keep things small, I will not put the Leviton jack into a a plate or anything, but will put some heat shrink on it instead.

Or I may change my mind and crimp the RJ45 right onto the cable and forget the jack. Just have to be careful to get everything lined up right with only 4 conductors in the connector.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Mike, I agree it may be a bit of a challenge to get only 4 wires into a jack made for 8 and keep them properly aligned... I guess we could just take a 1" length of brown & blue pairs & stick 'em in the jack with the orange and greens to help everythin line-up.

Also, The more I look at this, I think I can pullit off without even buying the leads. All of my wallwarts already have the male end of the DC adapter on them, so I can cut them off an put them on the camera-end of my CAT5's brown & blue wires, and plug that directly into the camera. On the power/switch end, I can just mount the brown & purple wires to a screw terminal or something, or use something cheap like molex connectors (IDE HDD power connectors) like I do on my Ocelot.
 

mustangcoupe

Senior Member
jrfuda said:
I guess we could just take a 1" length of brown & blue pairs & stick 'em in the jack with the orange and greens to help everythin line-up.
This is the easiest fix. I do this all the time making RJ-45 test cables for misc purposes here at work...then just cut them flush with the connector being careful not to cut the pairs you need...
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Thanks Todd, good to know someone else has tried it.

As far as power supplies go, I did some research and it looks like the one I have: http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cf...tnumber=120-536 can be set to 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9, & 12V DC 2A, so it looks like I could use it at 6V, and then use various resistors at each end to get the voltage down to 5V - longer runs won't need anything, short runs will need a small (5-10 ohm) resistor... however, given my limited knowledge of Ohm's Law and based on what I've gotten from various online calculators, my 2A PS may be strong enough to maintain 6V across even long runs of wire, meaning they all may need resistors, but I guess only expirementation will prove this.
 

smee

Senior Member
I have 2 of those Parts Express power supplies. One of them will be powering my RS485 network (mentioned previously) when I get around to it. It's actually sitting right next to the wall wart it's going to replace.

I don't think I'd recommend using resistors to drop the voltage down. If you are going to take the approach of using a higher voltage and dropping it at each camera, I'd recommend going ahead and using a regulator. A 7805 and a capacitor or two won't add much cost and fabrication is pretty easy. That will give you a clean 5V no matter what your input is as long as you are above the required voltage at each drop. You will need to be above a certain voltage because the regulator requires a certain "drop out" voltage to function. The higher you are above this voltage, the more heat you will generate from the regulator.

I have built similar devices (although not for ethernet) into simple boxes made to hold 2 keystone jacks which surface mount on walls, etc. You can pick these up at Home Depot.

You will need one box on each end - at the home end, you could build a single larger box, though.

Wire the two keystone jacks to pass through the 4 data lines for your ethernet. You will connect two boxes with a single longer cat5. The jacks that are used for this cat5 should have their extra contacts connected to power cables - either input or output. The ones with just the 4 ethernet wires go to the camera or switch.

These two boxes, two short patch cables, and one long cable are all you need. This is pretty much what you described above. The difference is the box. By using a box, you can easily include the regulator circuit - in the camera end only. This will give you a clean install and clean power.

Another benefit of this is you won't have to worry about crimping only 4 wires - all cat5 cables can have all 8 wires connected. I use cat5 cables for a lot of different things - all differentiated by the box they plug into - I use patch cables a lot.
 
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