Make a Solar Wifi 3g Outdoor Camera Webcam From an Old Android Phone !




Introduction: Make a Solar Wifi 3g Outdoor Camera Webcam From an Old Android Phone !

I'm a French freelance engineer. I enjoy hacking and disassembling this electronic world... I love …

News from April 2017.

The project evolved, I now sells directly SolarCam with the phone and box. it works very well, surfers from around the world are interested !
I keep this instructables open, for DIYers.

There is a lot of change:

  • webcam is totally remote control, SMS or web.
  • there GPS and temperature
  • auto update -Very simple to use, it works worldwide.
  • ...

please visit the website for more information.



Transform your old Android smartphone into a wireless solar camera !

You can use it indoor or outdoor.

And communicate using wifi or 3G.

Very easy, cost nearly nothing...

I worked on this project, for 2 years in France.

The website is here : Solarcam

As I am a lazy surfer, the idea first was to check swell on the sea from home,

But no electricity and no intenet on the beach, so I decided to create an Android application to do that, and after 30 versions and hundreds of tests, It works !

Maybe now, it can be great to share & build a community of solar camera around the world.

Give a second life to your old phone, and share live images around the world !

See exemple on this page : Live

Step 1: What You Need

  • Adhesive tape.

  • Neoprene glue.
  • Metallic L.
  • Wires
  • Solar panel from seeedstudio :

You can buy 1W panel is enough to have 1 image every 5 minutes, at day time.

the 0.5W works fine too, but with 1 image/hour.

you need to have the sun !

Step 2: Your Old Android Phone

This one is Galaxy Ace, broken screen, but high quality pictures, 5Megapixel autofocus.

  • Directly, connect the wire to the battery ! fix it with tape.
  • + is red
  • - is black

more detail in this video, in French : Video1

You can do that, phones batteries are self protected.

but !

Disconnect solar panel if you are not using, or the panel will drain the battery to death !

You can directly solder wires on phone's connectors , photo 2.


  • You can found galaxy phone, on ebay.
  • The Xperia series, from Sony Ericsson are good too.
  • Don't try with your Iphone, or your new S5, it won't work ! (above Android 4.2 is not compatible)
  • Battery should be in good condition,
  • Voltage shouldn't be above 4.2v when panel and battery are connected.

Step 3: Glue a L on the Panel

Use the neoprene glue

Clean before the surface, with alcohol

put some glue, on both surface, wait 10 min, and fix the two parts.

Wait 24h !

This glue is perfect but it takes patience...

If you have, solder the tiny wire with connector.

Step 4: Construction of a Weatherproof Case

To do this, use tape, this Video explains how.

The ideal is to find a waterproof box, but watch the size.

For example this one, found on ebay perfect for the small Samsung GT 5360.

I used Microscope Glass Cover Slide also found on ebay

Ok all the hardware is now okay, let's download software.

Step 5: Download Iwebcam

First, your phone must be :

Old !, above Android 4.2, it might not work at all.

  1. Run a factory reset. You don t need to login to your Google account after reset
  2. Prepare the wifi or 3g connection.
  3. Adjust time
  4. Full charge battery, remove GPS, synchronisation, sound.

Download iwebcam from here

If wifi is already set launch iwebcam.

your image will be sent to this address :

You can see the last 10 images, zoom, or even watch a timelapse of the week.

You can change parameters, 3G wifi, or create a new account.

Some SolarCam are working here more than a year, without any issue !

Hope it works !

* actually we don't have a lot of sun, camera are little bit lazy.

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    Question 1 year ago on Step 1

    Hi there, is this (Software) still available, and is there an update so a more recent Android phone could be used? Many thanks!


    5 years ago

    instead of soldering to the battery and ruining it why don't you use the wireless charging setup just connect the solar panel through a voltage controller so the wireless input is 5volts and tape the coil to the outside of the phone


    5 years ago


    The link "download iwebcam from here" is not working.

    What i do wrong?


    6 years ago

    Hi Instructables !

    After more than 3 years working on this project, I decide to sell complete system.

    I now stop selling, because support takes a lot of time.

    New issues appear, need software and hardware modifications.

    Next version will be more reliable.

    Today I m testing solarcam with a simple 1/2w solarpanel, good battery and sun, you can get 1 image every 5min in 5Mega Pix. 3G subscription cost not a lot in France (10€ = 5Go :) Casing is size of a cigarette box.

    I am thinking, to provide the application in September, to build your own solarcam, with your old android phone.



    6 years ago

    Hi, your project is really nice.

    I tried to watch the video but it say it is private. :c

    You said the solar pannel would drain the cell phone bateries when not using,

    so at night it will drain?

    Thanks for sharing.


    6 years ago

    Hi Solarcam - I checked out the Solarcam website but the enclosures are not available to buy. I would like to buy a complete system with solar power. Please let me know how to acquire one. Thanks!

    - Rich (California, USA)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, Samsung phones are very stable like ACE 1 or Young (GT5630), old Xperia series are good.

    That's such a cool camera, and I bet it's amazing for nature photography or timelapse projects! Welcome to instructables, I hope we see more of your awesomeness soon!