I'm trying to install security cameras around my house. My problem comes when I try to find power for the locations I want to monitor. I have one camera mounted already, but it is 25 feet away from the nearest outdoor outlet. I was just going to use an extension cord to run power closer, but heard that this is not a safe thing to do.

The camera is the Zmodo 720p outdoor (https://www.zmodo.com/720p-outdoor-wifi-camera/).

It comes with a 5V 1A adapter with a micro usb on the end to power the camera since data is sent over wifi. I was thinking of using a usb extension, but found out that power can only travel about 16 feet over usb.

That leaves my last option which is POE. I hear most people use it for both power and data, but I only want to use it for power. Would it be possible to get a POE switch, plug it in to the outside outlet, and run ethernet cables to each of the cameras without worrying about data? Can power travel 25 feet over ethernet?

Is there any better way to get 5V to the camera?


  • 2
    power can travel 25' on USB, so long as the cables are not pure crap; the 16' USB spec limit is how far 480Mbps data can travel unimpeded. you can also use speaker wire (cheap 18awg should do) to run the DC from the adapter to the camera, outside; it's safe because it's low voltage...
    – dandavis
    Mar 16, 2018 at 23:29
  • 2
    Be super careful with voltage drop on 5v circuits, just using any random light cable may result in a rude surprise. You can always use #14, bulk manufacturing makes it cheap. I tried to find 600V wire for use in fluorescent lights, and the #18 is more expensive than #14 THHN. wth... Mar 17, 2018 at 2:55
  • A photo of the power supply showing the "boilerplate", cable and plug would be useful. (edit your question and click the "landscape" button above the editor.)
    – Jasen
    Aug 21, 2022 at 6:36
  • If you're considering PoE then you should consider a PoE camera. This is what they call an X Y problem. Your solution is not converting PoE to USB, but to get a PoE cam.
    – user19565
    Aug 21, 2022 at 16:05

5 Answers 5


I tink a PoE splitter is your best bet.

I have a wifi camera that's connected to my network using wifi, but gets power from a POE splitter. You'd need access to either either a PoE switch or injector, properly wired Cat6 cable, and the PoE splitter.


The POE splitter's input jack takes a Cat6 cable that comes from my PoE switch in the attic, down to my front porch, and the splitter splits the PoE cable's power+data into a micro USB power plug (power), and Ethernet data via RJ-45 connector that is left unused (notice it's taped up).

note: However, I will say that the setup as pictured is not ideal. You want to not expose the splitter or the cables. In the future I plan to change this camera with an actual PoE camera, and hide the cables better.

  • "In the future I plan to change this camera with an actual PoE camera, and hide the cables better." Yep. Need a PoE cam.
    – user19565
    Aug 21, 2022 at 16:06

I don't believe you need to spend the big bucks for POE, as your requirements are straightforward. If you would install CATx cable for POE, you can easily enough install a pair of wires and add a micro usb pigtail at the camera end. Even though you are running only 5V, to reduce voltage drop, consider to run something as large as 16 gauge wire to the pigtail. Ensure that you provide correct polarity on the added wiring, of course.

  • Are you suggesting splicing wires from PoE into a USB? That's a bad idea.
    – user19565
    Aug 21, 2022 at 16:07
  • I'm not suggesting anything involving a POE device. The recommendation is that as the OP is considering to install a cable, install a cable and two wires for the five volt supply. I hope that if you're the down-vote, you'll correct it.
    – fred_dot_u
    Aug 21, 2022 at 23:31

this is how PoE is usually used (picture below)

the PoE injector feeds around 50VDC into the cable

in your case you could also use the ethernet cable to carry power

connect a 12V power supply at one end

use an automobile USB charger adapter at the other end to power the camera

enter image description here


I've done this before with Dlink cameras. Cat 5 cable will have 4 twisted pairs. Two are used for data and the other two for other things. I used one pair for positive and one pair for neg. I simply cut the power cable and spliced in the source somewhere near the router and spliced in the termination end right at the camera. So all that ran to the camera was the cat 5 cable. I used zoneminder for 4 camera this way. Ghetto POE, but it works.


Extendiong USB is tricky, but given that your powersupply has a captive cable it's probably not USB (just a USB shaped plug),

so yeah you can cut the cable and extend it using speaker wire or similar, and it will probably still work.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.