Foscam Fi8904W With Poor Man’s POE (Power over Ethernet)

The Setup

This is an update of my setup for my home surveillance solution. I did a high level view in my previous post and realized that I forgot about the physical setup.

One of the pains people face when installing an IP camera is the problem with bring power to the camera. There’s no running away from this. There’s at least 1 cable to pull to the camera or 2 if you bring both power and UTP to it. My idea was to bring power to the camera via UTP.

Coincidentally, my home was due for OpenNet fibre installation, so I had to engage a contractor to open up my false ceiling and light boxes to run the fibre. I took this opportunity to piggy a pair of UTP to my door and balcony. Note that OpenNet installers will not install the UTP for you. It was my contractor who did the job but with the help of the OpenNet folks.


The Foscam Fi8904W that I bought was a budget entry level camera that doesn’t come with PoE. I initially harbored the idea of splicing the UTP and use 2 pairs of the UTP to carry power. This can be done by soldering a 3.5mm x 1.35mm DC plug on the camera end and soldering the DC output onto the UTP on the other end. After searching Amazon, I came across this product called the Air802 PASSPOE, which did what I wanted to do on my own.

On The Router End

Simply put. The Air802 PASSPOE take the AC input from the stock adaptor plus the UTP from your router and combines them into the UTP. 100BaseT uses only 2 pairs of the UTP, so there are 2 spares for carrying the power.


Poor man's POE

On The Camera End

On the camera end, the UTP goes into the Air802 PASSPOE and then splits into 2. One of the split is a 3.5/1.35mm DC male, and the other is a UTP plug. This way, power and network is carried over the UTP without the use of real PoE equipment. The Foscam Fi8904W that I’m using can now be accessed over wired and wireless network.


Poor man's POE

Why Not PoE?

The main reason is that PoE cameras are expensive. The Foscam that I got is less 100 USD. Works reasonably well for that price.

Another reason for using this is that I can reuse my router instead of placing a PoE switch. PoE switches are expensive, so it’s not justifiable for a home setup. There are PoE injectors, but they are also expensive they are hard to protect and conceal if placed outdoors.

So this is the poor man’s PoE. Simple and cheap solution for a home setup.

Author: yibi

YiBi's numb :) YiBi writes about anything. Technology, Gossips, Rubbish YiBi's a half f%#k geek :P

9 Replies to “Foscam Fi8904W With Poor Man’s POE (Power over Ethernet)”

  1. Hi, Thanks so much for the great write up.. I do have a question for you though.. I just bought a new Foscam camera F18918 and bought the PoE Injectors, a new 25 ft ethernet cable and would like to hook them up to my router which is a LINKSYS WRT5G. My PoE injectors have no directions so I’m sorta lost on the installation.. Do I need any more pieces this puzzle??
    Thanks, Confused

    1. Hi, by POE injectors, do you mean really POE, or the AirPOE that I’m talking about in my blog?

      If you are talking about the AirPOE, on the router end, use the AirPOE with the female DC connector and male for the camera end.

      If you are talking about real POE injectors, then you have a problem. I don’t think the 8918 supports POE. ie taking in power via the RJ45 port.

  2. Hi, Sorry, I have these that I found on ebay:
    They are the wrong size though so I think I’ll purchase the Air Poe(one set?) like you have..
    I think were I’m confused is where I connect it to the router..Is this correct- There are three plugs on the cable, the little female round plug gets plugged into the routers power supply, the other male Ethernet end gets plugged into one of the four spots on the router and the 3rd end (female) gets plugged into my long Ethernet cable that goes about 15 ft to my camera.. ?
    Is this correct? I guess I’m trying to make more out of it then there is maybe..
    Thanks Again..

  3. Yes, you are right. The female DC connector is at the router side. Male RJ45 into router, and your cable to the camera into the RJ45 female.

    there are a few sizes for the DC connectors for the AirPOE. Make sure you get the right size. My links in the blog points to the size that I’m using.

  4. Anyone find a better source for these things? I guess 6.00 isnt bad but paying 7 for shipping on top of it.. Maybe if I was buying more then one.. Anyone else have any luck?

    1. I guess there’s no way around it. There’s another source from China, but I think shipping would still be much more expensive than the stuff itself.

  5. Scott, this is not correct “the little female round plug gets plugged into the routers power supply”

    You plug the FOSCAM power supply into the little female plug, not the router power supply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.