Will CCTV Cameras Work Without Electricity? [What You Need to Know]

If you are googling this, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about CCTV camera systems. Maybe you are just diving into this technology, or maybe you are encountering a new problem and wondering what solutions you may have. It’s all understandable and understanding every aspect of the CCTV system can take some time to understand.

They change so quickly and what’s trending and hot right now, may not be the best option for you 6 months from now. One of the questions I’ve seen arising more and more lately has to do with power sources for CCTV cameras and how they work.

More specifically, will CCTV cameras work without electricity? After plenty of time of purchasing my own equipment and some diligent research, here is what I can say on the topic.

So, will CCTV Cameras work without electricity? Yes. Alternative power options now exist for CCTV cameras. Power sources from electricity are still the most common but you can also use solar powered, and battery powered CCTV systems as well if electricity is not an option or happens to go out.

Wait for what? Solar powered CCTV camera systems are now on the market? Yep. I told you technology changes quickly, and these are a hot topic right now.

It surprised me as well when I saw these were the up and coming option. Let’s break this down more in-depth to give you a better understanding of all the options you have.

Alternative Power Options for CCTV Camera Systems

First and foremost, one of the biggest things to understand is that a CCTV camera system that’s not functioning due to a power loss does no good. We have no recording ability, and our protection and sole purpose of having the system has been defeated.

For the money, we pay for these systems, this is obviously not very ideal. Especially during a situation where things may go array.

Thankfully, we no longer need to worry about this issue if you opt to use some of the higher end technology and options that now exist. Let’s break these down briefly and see what I’m referring to.

Solar Powered CCTV Camera System Options

We discussed this briefly in another post about if wi-fi is necessary for these CCTV systems to work. You can see that post here. With newer CCTV systems you have the option to go completely powerless in the traditional sense using the solar powered options that are now on the market.

These CCTV systems can attach easily to most fixtures even including trees. Obviously, it’s recommended that you have adequate natural sunlight available with these systems, but this would be one example where if electricity is not an option you have nothing to worry about and will still have full power to record and receive live stream footage of your system.

Most of these systems are also battery powered but, in the event, batteries are dead, you still won’t have anything to fret, the solar panel will kick in and keep these systems up and running. One of the best solutions I have seen with these systems in a long time.

Especially when you break down all the potential uses, these could serve and protect including but not limited too.

  • Vacation Home
  • Remote Rural Homes
  • Homes Near Mountains
  • Farm Property to Protect Land or Cattle/Animals
  • Boating Docks
  • Vehicle Storage Garages
  • Remote Offices
  • Outdoor Sheds
  • Outdoor Pet Housing Such as Dog Houses

Battery Powered Options with CCTV Systems

This is also a perfectly viable use of a CCTV system, but I’m still a bigger believer in the Solar powered systems. The main reason being is that batteries will eventually run dry. We are all busy individuals and don’t always have time to double check if the systems are running on a full charge.

I like the idea that the batteries always serve as a backup to another power source and when you are running with no electricity or at least need the ability to do so, the options become limited. However, this doesn’t make battery powered CCTV systems a bad decision necessarily.

Conserve Battery Power Using Motion Detection Technology

One of the reasons that these systems are appealing to me is that they don’t necessarily need to be running all the time or 24/7. Many doorbell cameras and systems you can opt to purchase will only start recording when motion is detected.

This is the primary time that you need the recording to begin, but some individuals prefer the ability to play back footage from days before and not miss anything regardless if a motion sensor was tripped.

For example. A department store would never use an option like this. Obviously, the motion would be non-stop, but they also need the ability to have permanent 24/7 live streaming abilities in addition to the ability to replay footage with no gaps in the time frames.

Duration of a Full Battery Charge with CCTV Cameras

The motion detection capabilities have proven to make some of the batteries in these CCTV systems last up to 6 months or more. That’s pretty good if you ask me, but I could still see the potential of forgetting that your camera was getting low on battery.

Thankfully the app on your mobile device will; keep you informed when you are running low, but nonetheless, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can change the battery right away. Especially when the camera is in a remote location or somewhere, that would require travel to get to.

Will These Cost Me More or Less Money?

Overall, this is too difficult to answer since all systems have their own unique capabilities. You may opt for a battery powered device but remove some features such as 1080P and opt for a 720p resolution. With the number of customizations available, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cost breakdown that you may encounter on your final tab.

I can, however, advise you that the price you on these systems in the aisle at electronic stores such as BestBuy won’t usually be the final price tag that you pay when you are all said and done. You have other factors that can drive up the price further with these systems such as the original batteries, shipping and install if you are planning on installing in unique locations or in other odd random outdoor locations.

Do I Lose Any Features Using Solar or Battery Powered Options?

Nope, not at all. These CCTV systems have the same quality and other capabilities of standard systems that use 12V electrical hook-ups. You still have full 1080P options, night and day vision, and motion sensing abilities.

Also, the ability to change the field of view will still be present with these systems but the more often you zoom, rotate or play with the camera in general, the sooner you will begin draining that battery life from the system. This could prove to be an issue in the future for some users.

If you are a frequent user and like to scroll around all the views, you can expect the batteries to last closer to 4 months instead of 6 months in these situations. At the end of the day, it’s still not a bad option or bad power capabilities and definitely a good solution when no other options are possible.

Where Do You Recommend I Begin?

Well first, you need to think to yourself, do I have the option for a powered system? If you don’t, you have already narrowed down your search to a battery or solar options. Then you need to decide where you need it and where the cameras will be located. Also, how many cameras you need and what capabilities do you need the camera capable of performing?

At this point, you are close to being complete, but you would still need to do your homework on the system that you need to purchase.

The best way to ensure you do this correctly is by making sure you read in-depth reviews on the products before purchasing. Find popular cameras and products with strong reviews across the board to ensure others believe in the product strongly before pulling the trigger.

The Final Word. Electricity Is Not Needed but When Available It Should Be Used

Putting all this information together comes to a definite conclusion that not many scenarios apply where technology can’t come to the rescue. Regardless of your location, situation or capabilities, a CCTV camera system should be available to you and 100% usable.

Between battery-powered options, solar options or traditional 12V electric systems, you can find a way to protect the assets that matter most.

I see and predict more options coming to the market soon that will again open more doors for many consumers looking into a home or business security systems, but for now, you can consider these the main three and all are great options.

What’s your preference for a power source for your CCTV system? Have you experienced any issues with the battery life lasting or solar options not working correctly? Be sure to leave a comment below.

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