I have had a Spotlight Cam + solar panel up for a while (I think installed it last spring). It was working great, charge was always topped off for the single battery I had in the camera. The camera itself was very protected from the elements as it was mounted to the underside of an overhang over our backporch (at least 7' to the roof edge in any direction). The solar panel was mounted just outside the roofline with great sun half the day and so-so sun the rest of the day.
Fast forward to late fall/early winter and the camera stopped working. I finally (I know, I know) got around to taking a look at what was going on., so I hauled out the ladder, climbed up and unmounted the camera and everything looked fine... same with the solar panel. Just in case I took them both down to do some extra troubleshooting.
After charging the battery via USB cable and popping it back into the camera, all camera functions appear normal. I ordered a new solar panel, assumign it was the culprit, but the replacement didn't work either. I then checked both the old and new solar panels with a multimeter and they both were pumping out the same voltage/current, so they were apparently fine.
I read a thread that said there was a potential issue in the app itself not reporting a connected soalr panel correctly (or at all?), so I drained the batter a bit and then connected the panel to see if it did, indeed, charge, and just wasn't reporting the resence of a solar panel correctly. No dice... camera battery continued to drain slowly.
Finally, I'm on a call w/ Ring support right now and they said they can see the camera and that it has 2 batteries, one of which is correct, and the other of which is at 208% (!). So yeah... first off, there is only one battery in there. Second of all, 208% is bogus, ha ha. I was told that because it says 208%, it means the solar panel is connected and working, as if it's a special code or something (nevermind that it would mean it wasn't reporting the actual second battery leel if one had been there...). The support person came back after checking on things again later to let me know the 208% had dropped to 0%... meanwhile nothing had changed on my end other than me leaving the cover of the cam open after checking the batteries.
So yeah. I'm stumped. CS seems to be stumped (I'm seeing if I can talk to someone more technical).
Hey @Wilsons. Thank you so much for informing us of what has happened to you. I appreciate you taking the time to detail out what has happened and what you have done. After escalating this up to our appropriate team, they have recommended that you do another power cycle of your batteries in your device.
Preforming this power cycle will help do a full reboot of the device. If you can, please make sure the batteries are out for 20 seconds and then put them back in, but in the opposite slots that they were in before. It would also be best to fully charge said batteries, and then test this. If you see the same behaviour you have been seeing, please reach out to our support team for further escalation and to see if you end up needing a new device!
I assume you mean a power cycle of the device and not the batteries themselves? I don't have a quick way of discharging the batteries other than constantly turning the lights on and refreshing the live feed to force it to use as much battery power as possible... if there's a faster way, let me know!
As for power cycling the device, I'll try it right now: 20+ seconds without power and swapping the slot the battery is in...
Nope. Battery is still draining. No indication that a solar panel is connected.
For what it's worth, the CS rep I spoke with is sending something out... it was unclear whether it was yet another solar panel to try or a replacement for the camera itself. We'll see how that goes...
@Wilsons You did exactly as I asked so no worries, I really appreciate that! Since we are both unsure of what CS is sending out to you, can you call them back to see if they can confirm? If it's a new solar panel, I would recommend requesting them to instead send you a replacement camera if possible and you are still within warranty! Once you have a new camera, this should help with the draining of the batteries since you had that error of the 208% that the rep had informed you about.
Alright, I received both a Ring solar panel and a Ring Spotlight Cam from customer support. I don't think things are working still... it's very confusing. Here's what I did so far:
1. Compare power output from Ring solar panel and 3rd party (Wasserstein) using a multimeter: the power output was very close, so I think all of my solar panels are working as expected, assuming I don't have 3 busted panels here
2. Setup replacement Spotlight Cam (I noticed that setup has an option for Spotlight Cam battery and one for Spotlight Cam solar panel... other than the solar panel options showing a slightly different set of screens during the setup phase, I didn't notice any anything else that was different once it was setup.
3. I put a fully-charged battery in the replacement Spotlight Cam (Device Health showed 100%) and then tried to run down the battery by running live streams over and over with the light on, too.
4. I got down to about ~82% on the battery, stopped the light/live view, and connected the Ring solar panel to the replacement Spotlight Cam. I've been keeping an eye on the battery level on the Device Health page and it dropped. So far, it's dropped to about 78%.
As of now, I have 3 Spotlight Cams and 3 solar panels that all appear to be working on their own. Unfortunately, none of them appear to work together. This is in contrast to the combination I had working for months last spring/summer/fall that stopped working at some point. As the devices appear to be working normally on their own, and the replacement hardware appears to be behaving the same way, I'm guessing the hardware isn't necessarily at fault... which would leave software. Given the solar panels are basically just dumb hardware, that would specifically point at the camera or app software itself.
Could this be escalated to a software engineer who could track this down? I've also noticed other related threads (e.g.,https://community.ring.com/t5/Security-Cams/Spotlight-Cam-Battery-not-charging-with-solar-panel/td-p...), and it doesn't appear as though there is a lot of help coming from the Ring side. It would be great if someone could step in and help resolve this.
@Wilsons Thanks for getting back to me! For testing, are you positive you have the correct device that are you testing? It seems as if your old Spotlight Cam was not functioning as it should, so when it comes to testing, I would recommend removing the old Spotlight Cam from your account, and only testing on the new one you just got! Feel free to also do this with the new solar panel as well, since you got this.
I appreciate your proactiveness in trying to wear down the battery, but I recommend to just use the device as you normally would. When it comes to testing, you don't want to over work a Live View, as it's not natural and places more wear down on the battery faster over time.
For testing, let's do this. Make sure all motion settings are as they should be and how you would like it, and then set a reminder to record the battery % during three times a day. First, record what the battery is like for the morning when you wake up, then around lunch time and for the last, before you go to bed. See how the charging levels are over time, and normally around the evening, you should see a more positive number than in the afternoon. This is because it takes time for the solar charger to then charge up the battery, and it report as so in the app. Draining the battery like you did and then waiting a couple hours doesn't seem to be enough time. Also, my team that I have looking over this with me said that keeping it normal activity levels and looking over a few days is best. If you're running down the battery exceptionally hard like you did today, then the solar panel won't keep up.
Lastly, if you've verified you have the correct, new camera you received from support set up with the new solar panel, and you've done this testing over 3 days, and all over 3 days the battery percentage has not been stable or has gone down the whole time, I would reach back out to support. They will see you've been doing testing and can forward this Community thread to be sure of the timeline! This will ensure you're crossing all t's and dotting all your i's to present our support team what is happening. From there, it can be escalated up, like seeing if you need a Super Solar Panel instead to keep up with the camera's usage, or further escalation if this is a bug. There are a lot of variables to take into consideration with these solar panels and devices working with each other, which is why we have a thread similar to the one you linked!