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Arlo surveillance cameras are good at what they do, but almost everyone agrees the batteries drain too quickly. That’s why Arlo came up with a solar panel accessory so you can use the camera without draining the battery. The solar panel isn’t cheap though, so the search is on for Arlo Pro solar panel alternatives. The top candidate so far seems to be the Wasserstein solar panel.
The Wasserstein solar panel runs as well as you’d expect it to. First off you’ll get the best results if you use it with the Arlo Pro, Pro 2 and Arlo Go as it’s designed for those. Once the cord is plugged in it’s just a matter of waiting for the charge to hit 100%.
Charge time ranges from a few hours to a day or two. It depends on how much sunlight is present, the panel’s position and how drained the camera battery is. Naturally the less drained the battery the faster the panel charges. But if there’s enough sunlight it should only take a few hours before the charge indicator starts going up.
A lot of reviewers say the solar panel doesn’t work, doesn’t charge, isn’t working etc. Based on our experience, it’s usually a case of poor solar panel location, The charge area must be completely obstruction free. A single leaf falling on the panel can slow or halt the charge entirely.
The other factor that affects performance is the battery. As we mentioned in our Arlo Pro Solar Panel review, these solar panels are most effective if the battery is fully charged. You can use the panel to run the camera yes. But it’s better to fully charge the battery and then keep the camera connected to the panel.
Doing that ensures continuous charge without using any battery power. This applies to both the Arlo Pro and Wasserstein. That’s how you get the maximum performance out of this solar panel. As long as there’s sunlight -and no shade or obstruction – the panel will keep charging.
The camera runs fine on this solar panel. There are no glitches and the device doesn’t behave differently even though the solar panel is a different brand. That’s not surprising as Wasserstein said it’s compatible. But if you try this with the Arlo Pro 3, results could be different. Could it still generate solar power? Sure, but if it halts or you get an error message, you’ll know why.
Wasserstein says it’s compatible with Arlo cameras, but does it really work? Yes, it does, but its performance depends entirely on how much sunlight it gets. There are also some compatibility matters you need to consider if you decide to buy this.
Wasserstein states this solar panel is compatible with the Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Go cameras. It also works with Arlo Light. There is no official support for the Arlo Pro 3 however. That means the solar panel may or may not run, and there’s no guarantee either way.
As customers have pointed out, Arlo cameras often don’t support other manufacturers. Various solar panel brands have been tried but the camera only produces an error message that the solar panel is incompatible. Wasserstein has emerged as the top Arlo Pro solar panel alternative because it seems to be the only one that works consistently.
Features and Specifications
The 360 degree mount makes it easy to adjust the solar panel’s position. As everyone knows, panel positioning is key to getting maximum sunlight and charge. With the mount you can rotate the solar panel precisely where it needs to be to capture sunlight.
The USB cord is serviceable. It could have been longer and unfortunately there are no extension cords available. But at 6 ft (2.4m) that should be sufficient. You don’t really want the camera too far from the solar panel. The further the cord, the more energy gets lost during the transfer. A very long cord also slows down charging. Speaking of which, here are some more tips to speed up charging for electronic devices.
The solar panel has a compact design with a solid feel. It is weatherproof as does the mount and the other components. Yes that includes the micro USB cord. In fact Wasserstein intends to patent the cord’s weatherproof design.
The panel consists of high efficiency photovoltaic cells for optimum results. What this means is faster solar charging even with a few hours of sunlight. High quality photovoltaic cells also means the continuous charges during winter days. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. In the performance section we’ll take a closer look at its performance.
The package comes with:
- 1 solar panel
- Micro USB cord
- User manual
- 3x wall anchors and screws
- 1 360 degree mounting bracket
Installation and Setup
The user manual gives clear instructions so it’s easy to follow. If you’ve used solar power before then installation could not be easier.
- Take the solar panel and mount outdoors.
- Put the solar panel on the mount. Secure it. Find a sunny spot without any shade to block the sun. Put the solar panel there.
- Use the micro USB cord to connect the camera to the panel.
That’s it. You can leave the panel and camera there and let it charge. Once charged you can use the camera like before. The only difference is it’s now running on solar power so the battery won’t drain. The only time you’ll use the battery is when the panel no longer receives sunlight or you unplug the camera.
So is the Wasserstein solar panel worth it? First off if budget isn’t a problem get the Arlo Solar Panel. That is made specifically for Arlo cameras so compatibility issues will never be a problem. Second, there’s no guarantee the Wasserstein solar panel works with the Arlo Pro 3 so there’s a risk it won’t charge. Then again it could work, it’s up to you.
If you have an Arlo Pro, Pro 2 or Arlo Go, and you have a limited budget for a solar panel, the Wasserstein is indeed an alternative. It’s cheaper but is just as effective. As long as there’s lots of sunlight, the Wasserstein should keep the battery full and save you some serous dollars.