Arlo Pro External Battery details
In short: one cannot use an external battery for continued operation on an Arlo Pro set. Recharge, yes. Operational, No. Why I wanted this is described below.
After reading positive/encouraging earlier posts I purchased a standard fast charge USB external battery which does not function nor charge. Then further reading uncovered a 9V requirement for which I purchased a QuickCharge 2 external battery: neither functions nor charges. Both these solutions gave various amber LED blinks and error messages confirming No Go. Very clear feed back (big thanks Arlo.) Still further reading found the requirement for Qualcomm QuickCharge 3 (QC3.0) capability. I ordered a 30,000mAhour external QC3, an outstanding product from Zerolemon ToughJuice. 600 grams.
This immediately proved successful at charging the internal battery but will not operate the camera w/o the internal battery. And due to the QC3 implementation once the internal battery is charged and quiescent operation begins, the draw is not enough to keep the QC3 protocol activated and the external battery power management shuts down. These do not automatically “restart” a charge; they must be clicked, pressed or poked.
QuickCharge uses a communications protocol to optimize the charge rate and duration. Most implementations retained standard USB operation as well as adding rapid or QC capabilities. Arlo Pro did not keep the compatibility but delivered a terrific package and form factor plus the new solar charger, which unfortunately for my shade and HOA restrictions I cannot fulfill my video monitoring without 110V AC addition.
My main entrance location (outdoors) is a deep overhang on a northern exposure (zero solar) and the attic is 40“ deep of blown-in (very messy to hard wire.) The internal Pro battery is 2500mAh spec. In order to take advantage of the security capability with motion, night vision and reasonable resolution I was recharging every 5-7 weeks. The 30,000mAh USB is about 10x extension and would have been reasonable to drag the ladder, recharge and reposition periodically, and my intention was to use the internal battery’s indicator to notify my recharge event.
Last note: I did not try the 12V automotive version of QC3 with a small, deep cycle ATV battery. Its possible the 12V adapter may not shut down although it is an exact QC3 protocol requirement. And as a Rube Goldberg fan I was tempted to implement a standard USB-powered actuator on a 555-timer, mechanically squeezing the external ToughJuice battery’s Go button once per week to “top off” the internal battery. These excellent external batteries have one QC3 port and 2 or 3 standard USB outputs. Pair that with a color-matched Sterlite or small power box to hide it all and one would have an annual recharge. Nope.
Any luck? I have a similar situation.
Nothing at all, Ed, I’ve beat it to death. I’ve ended up buying a couple of 3rd party, qualified USB plugs and hardwiring 110v to the cameras using those USB plugs at the camera with a short usb cable. I’ve hidden everything in a textured and painted outlet box but I really did not want to have to hide and external power line. I compounded my problem by buying a set of the new Arlo motion lights, which are terrific, but have exactly the same restrictions. Although, the light has a virtual zero load on the battery until “lit up”, I could have lived with that battery life but not so with the cameras.
If you do find another route please keep me in mind.
I’m really puzzled by the USB blocks (adapters). They provide both (?) voltages or do they switch depending upon what the camera is calling for?
(Also very smart on Arlo’s part because so few options for replacement.)
Yup, they are adaptive in the voltage and current limiter circuits. And there is a communications protocol between the two PMIC (power management ICs) and that protocol is what reports a mismatch. It’s a small signal on top of the existing usb DC. This triggers/reports the error “incompatible charger” or such. It was implemented both to optimize charges and minimize charge times, especially the latter. That would have nothing to do with us Arlo Folks but they (Arlo) decided very early to adopt the new spec and the battery improvements that come along. And… you’re right, it sure is effective at keeping most third party suppliers away unless you know that usb spec. That adaptive protocol is also what shuts off the current of an external battery pack once the internal battery signals “Full”. That’s what hosed me from using the nifty external. One has to literally re-punch the ON button on the external to restart the charge.
I have come across a little more information that you may find helpful @garyf.
Apparently, the same “quick charge” adapters that Samsung is using will also work for the Arlo Pro.
I’ve also heard tale that if you remove the battery from the camera, you do not need the adaptive charging. So, you could just use a big battery power supply and remove the Arlo battery.
I was able to get a deal on the dual USB Wasserstein adaptive chargers. I have two cameras on one side of my house and two on the other. So, I will run power to the adapter. Place the adapter in an eave (for weather protection) and run the USB cords to the cameras.
Thanks for thinking of me on the continued project. I did confirm that without the internal battery the external battery, even a QC3 spec, will not operate the cameras. You get an error message of something like “unauthorized charger” or such. I ordered 2 of the newest, best QC3 batteries just knowing(ha) that this would work. Then returned them. Qualcomm later confirmed that to be the spec but they (the USB team) always presume all USB devices will also maintain backward USB capability. Qualcomm was the originator (sponsor) of the QC3 spec and your note inspired me to check that indeed Samsung and a few others were original adopters. I’d guess all middle and upper end devices will become QC3, but unlike Arlo, most OEM or suppliers will have full backward compatibility.
I’ve added Arlo’s motion lights to my mix, which have exactly the same restriction but the motion light does not run down the internal battery nearly as much as the cameras (there’s virtually nothing “on” until the light is triggered.) So I have purchased a set of QC3 charger adapters in a small format and once the winter breaks I’ll put the adapters + light & camera onto 110V under an eave.
Regards from Sierra and good luck with your Arlos!