I would like to power an outdoor USB camera from an outdoor outlet. We have a vacation rental so I don't want to plug anything in, I want it to be permanent. I have an outlet about 6 feet from the mounting point for the camera. The camera would point away from the property.

I would like to power a low voltage camera from an outdoor outlet so it is "Tamperproof" i.e. guests can not unplug the camera.

I don't think there is enough sun to power the Eufy Solar camera.

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    If thinking of hard wiring an USB into house wiring, do not think you can. The outlet and house wiring is 120 volts AC, but USB is only about 5 volts DC. Some outlets do have USB receptacles for charging/power, that you can plug a USB into. That or will need a plug in transformer for USB power.
    – crip659
    Jun 2, 2022 at 20:01
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    What voltage is the camera? USB --> 5 volts. Any reason you need to bring 120V to this location? "I need 5 volts there". Yeah, you need 5 volts, not 120. I would see about having a 5 volt power supply in appropriate utility space and run 5 volt power out to the camera. Use nice big wire to avoid voltage drop, #14 Romex would not be overkill. Jun 2, 2022 at 20:22
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    If a rental agreement, best tamperproof is to rental state it increases 5 times if cameras are tampered with.
    – crip659
    Jun 2, 2022 at 22:37
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    Why in the name of whatever you worship would you choose a USB camera for this task, rather than a POE camera which removes the power supply issue to your secure interior network closet and only needs one cable run to it? Wrong hardware, creating problems that the right hardware does not have.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 2, 2022 at 23:34
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    how are you powering the computer that the camera plugs into?
    – jsotola
    Jun 3, 2022 at 0:00

2 Answers 2


Frame Challenge:

I think the real question should be: How do I set up an outside security camera?

There are two issues with a permanently installed camera:

While the original question does not mention communications, that is pretty clearly needed. Without communications, a camera can only record up to a limited amount and requires physical access to retrieve the recordings. I highly doubt that is the intent here.

Conveniently, Power over Ethernet provides both power and communications. In addition, wired Ethernet is a far more robust method of communications than WiFi.

Ethernet cables, including Power over Ethernet, are low voltage and can be run "anywhere", as opposed to 120V AC power which has a lot of very strict rules for safety. Install a jack at the camera location (literally next to the camera, high up, so it can't be pulled out easily) and run a CAT 5e or better cable to a jack next to your router. Standard patch cable from jack to camera. Assuming you don't already have a PoE switch, you'll need to either add a PoE switch or a PoE power injector.

  • Or simply consider battery operate outdoor camera, no cables, no PoE, no CAT 5e, no drilling true the walls. And it is tamperproof.
    – Traveler
    Jun 2, 2022 at 22:51
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    I don't recommend batteries if (a) subject to extreme weather, (b) left unattended for very long periods of time - both of which may apply here. Jun 2, 2022 at 23:47
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    @Ruskes Maybe I'm just old-fashioned. Or maybe I'm used to people calling me up that their wireless mouse stopped working: did you change the battery?...oh...never mind. Jun 3, 2022 at 0:04
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    Excellent suggestions, not sure why the down vote.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 3, 2022 at 11:29
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    @FreeMan Thank you. I am pretty sure about why the down vote, but (a) my question is top right now despite that, and (b) frame challenges tend to be a little controversial Jun 3, 2022 at 18:33

You either need to buy a camera that uses 120V AC and has an integral junction box for hard wiring .... those exist, I've seen them on poles outside prisons and such. But probably not what you want. Or ... you need to provide a socket for your camera's power supply, in a tamper-proof installation. If your camera uses an external PSU, you cannot bypass it, or its plug. Certainly not in a rental where you ought to be quite strict about following rules.

To construct a tamper proof outlet for your camera's PSU, all you need is to put an outlet where your tenants cannot get to it. For example, you could mount the camera on the soffit (if your house has one), run its low voltage DC cable through the soffit into the attic, and install an outlet there. Or you could run the low voltage cable through a conduit into a locked kitchen or bedroom closet, where you place an outlet. Or you buy an outdoor outlet enclosure with facility for a padlock and again, use conduit to get the low voltage cable to the camera. Or you use a battery operated camera and have the cleaning service charge it or swap it for a charged one when they turn the house over.


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