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How to Power Water Tower Deployment

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KV3T's picture
How to Power Water Tower Deployment

Hey Team,
The Chicago CAREDN group is planning to deploy on a water tower this summer.  The current plan is three nodes, a point to point, and two sectors.  Plus a PTZ IP camera.  The water tower is 180' tall, and we plan to deploy at the very top.  By the time the cables are run, we are probably going to be somewhere between 230 and 250' from the power source.  I've done a bunch of looking and have settled on a Mikrotik powerbox pro to power them all, and am leaning toward the basebox5 for the nodes.  That device needs 57v in, and with that can power the rest of the nodes.  Total power consumption should be 36w for the nodes, plus another 25w for the camera.

The IP camera is PoE at compliant, and for the nodes, I'm planning on using the Ubiquiti instant PoE adapters so that I can use the higher voltage as as much as possible, and only step it down to the passive poe at each of the nodes.

Do I have to run class 1 120vac and put the power adaptor up on top of the water tower, or can I put in like 60vdc at the ground and run it class 2 up the water tower? 

Or do I just bite the bullet, spend more money, and run each ethernet line up the tower individually?

We are  using the ubiquiti tough cable pro as we already have most of a spool from a past installed, but we would need another spool to homerun all of them.

I'm trying to figure out what are the best solutions, and then figure out the most economical of those to go with.

K6CCC's picture
For that length, you are

For that length, you are likely going to be iffy trying to power three nodes and a PTZ camera over a single Ethernet cable.  You could try it (on the ground), but I would not hold my breath...  Assuming you don't need Ethernet at ground level from any of the devices, you could try running the just under 60 volts over a heavier cable, and then in a small junction box at the top connect that to the voltage regulators you already mentioned to get the correct passive POE to the nodes.

Everything depends on the

Everything depends on the design of the water tower.  With all of the equipment installed on the top there is a greater chance for interference, and the radios are not typically able to provide coverage for areas close to the tower.  One option might be to separate the sector nodes down along the side of the water tower if that is permitted.  Those sectors should provide coverage closer to the tower, and they should be shielded from each other and the other equipment on top of the tower.  An option for power might be to design a standalone solar power unit for each node, so that they are not dependent on cable locations for power.  Just a thought.

KV3T's picture
Here are a few images of the

Here are a few images of the tower. It is sparsely populated, and the city doesn't have any additional plans to add anything at this time.

The only other items at the top are two repeater Antennas maintained by our club. It does appear that there is some cellular but they are much lower at the tower:

I don't need ethernet to the ground, although it would be nice just in case.

The powerbox pro has a barrel connector for power. I could run an ethernet for data and a separate power run to a regulator as discribed above. Does anyone have any practical experience with this strategy?

I did think about solar, and I'd love to be able to make that happen, but i fear that ups the expense and complexity of the install beyond what we can handle right now. I'm already nervous about the time it will take to install, because we need a chaperone from the city to work on the water tower and i don't want to stretch that relationship anymore than i have to. We can access the service building, just can't go up the tower without them.

KM4TBQ's picture
Power Consumption?!

Where are you getting those power consumption numbers? I've been testing for months in preparation of our upcoming installs, and I'm getting numbers between 3-5 watts for the nodes. The reason I ask- the only thing I'm worried about is if the nodes use way more power if they are farther apart. Since all mine are within a few yards of each other, the power numbers do not even increase when I max out the TX power or stream 4 cameras simultaneously. Did you actually measure 25 watts from a PTZ cam? Because I'm drawing maybe 6 watts, and that's with the IR on. You have me worried that I'm grossly under-purchasing batteries and panels. Thanks,

KV3T's picture
From the manufacturer

From the manufacturer specifications for the device. That value should be the absolute maximum that could ever be theoretically consumed by the device. The ip camera is a Sunba something or other.

TThat does bring up a good point. I work in an.... Electrically adjacent field. I'm neither an engineer nor an electrician but I work with both every day. I'm used to using that value as it is how an engineer would size a circuit, but maybe I'm causing myself too much of a headache. Perhaps it would be more prudent to set the poe priorities such that the camera is last, and then just use standard poe at / af.
I've also gotten some advice to look at 802.3bt, but that would add over 300 to the budget, and for the price i would be nearing the cost of a solar setup.

KD1HA's picture
Can you gain entry to the

Can you gain entry to the interior of the tower from the ground? If so there may be AC power at the topside. We have a newer tower and you can access the top though the center. We only used about 60-70 feet of cable. If you email me I will send you pictures.

KV3T's picture
I don't think so, but I'll

I don't think so, but I'll double check.
Email sent.

nc8q's picture
If so there may be AC power at the topside.

+1 Denis.
I was wondering the same thing.
How far is it to the closest 120VAC outlet to the top of the tank?

73, Chuck


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