Smart Home security cameras are becoming more popular and this also means that many of them are powered by USB power. Sometimes, you want to install a security camera where there is no household power outlet nearby. Even if you have the longest available USB cable on Earth (5 meters / 16 feet) it still may not be long enough.
If you’re trying to power a device that uses USB power like smart security cameras and need a USB cable longer than 5 m [16 ft] then I have a solution for you! With this easy solution you can provide USB power up to 45 m [150 ft] away from a power outlet and it doesn’t require any splicing or soldering of wires. Whether you’re trying to power your own USB devices or are trying one of our external power or solar power solutions for smart cameras like EufyCam, this may be what you’re looking for.
Watch the full video here!
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USB cables have their limitations such as maximum length because they have to maintain the data signal integrity. Sending data over any length of cable has its challenges as the noise and signal loss encountered through the cable can corrupt the data. That’s why there are specifications for different standards of USB [USB 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, etc…] and why you cannot get USB cables that are over 5m in length without any kind of additional hardware used like USB repeaters.
But when we only care about power and not the data then cheap existing solutions exist for us to use off the shelf. In this case, I have these USB Ethernet adapters that can be used with an ethernet cable up to 45 m [150 ft] in length. Check further below for links to these adapters and others.
You just take these adapters and plug in your ethernet cable and voila, your extra long USB power cable. Ethernet cables are well-designed cables and so are great for powering your USB devices over long distances.
Next, we can compare the power draw of this Yi security camera with and without using the adapter and we can see that it is more than capable. I’m using a 7.6 m [25 ft] CAT5e ethernet cable here and if you add the lengths of the camera’s USB cable and adapters too, we effectively have about 10 m [33 ft] range.
Find links to these adapters and other options further below.
One Important Point
One important point to mention, which might affect your usage of this solution, is that depending on the device, the charging circuitry that controls the amount of power going through the device for charging, may limit the output. For example, if I use a 2000 mAh charger and I try to charge my phone, it’s only letting about 120 mAh through [120 mAh].
Whereas if I just plug straight into the charger, I can get higher charging output [1260 mAh]. In this case, the device is limiting how much power is going through. This may happen for your specific device, so keep that in mind. You might want to test it out before you use it for an install.
Find links to these and other USB testers below!
It is a good idea to have a USB tester to test the power draw to ensure your device is sufficiently powered. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of finding out where in the chain the issue is. In our case, it could be the USB-C adapter, ethernet cable or even the USB cable so swapping out one item at a time and comparing the power draw can lead to to the culprit and a solution to the problem.
See additional tips for this solution below!
Other options (USB 2.0 extenders)
Some prefer PoE (Power over Ethernet) with a splitter
Here’s an additional tip for you… If you are installing your device outside, for example a security camera, then you can pair it with a waterproof junction box. Install it somewhere near the camera and have your USB cable, adapter and ethernet cable connected and secured inside to protect them from the elements.
Also note that if you plan on using these for both data transfer and power then these adapters and any that do not use external power (Power adapters) likely only support USB 1.0 or 1.1 standards. If you need USB 2.0 or higher you will have to use a powered USB extender or a USB hub or USB repeater.
And if you haven’t already checked out our posts on DIY Solar power and DIY External power for your smart home security cameras, then check them out here! It may work for your security cameras too.
Thanks for reading our post! We hope you found this useful and that it helps you power your USB devices over long distances.
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