Extending Power 600ft from house to a Cabin

Thread Starter


Joined Jan 13, 2018
I have to run some IP security cameras and a DVR to record the footage in a cabin ~600ft from my house, the setup is only during certain parts of the year. The cabin doesn’t have power and the DVR runs off 12V and supplies the 4 cameras with power via POE ports. I thought there would be too much lines loss in 600ft of Ethernet cable to power the system on 12V directly, and it would be too expensive to buy a 600ft extension chord to run 110V AC out. A solar setup would work but that would be too costly as the system draws about 5A on average so too many panels and batteries. I was thinking the best approach would be running power out to my cabin but wasn’t sure the best way to do that.

My thought for bring power out was to use Cat 5 waterproof Ethernet cable because it’s cheap and stepping up the voltage with a transformer from the outlet to a higher voltage which would reduce line loss, then stepping down the voltage at the cabin and rectifying it to 12V. I could combine all the wires in the Ethernet cable to get two twisted pairs to handle the current. Is there a reason this wouldn't work or a better way to do this? Are there specific names for these components like a "power transformer"?


Joined Sep 22, 2013
~50 watts at 600 ft. .........run 120vac. on a separate line. Use a 12v switcher that can run down to 80vac. at the cabin.

We use to have to run 1000s of ft. up mountains for battery chargers at repeater sites......before solar panels. We could have large voltage drops, depending on the weather, but we could still charge batteries. This was tube equipment and used electronic multi-vibrator circuits, for high voltage generation. Today, they are called split fed blocking oscillators.

That's what I would do, til you get proper power and communication lines installed to the cabin.

Has it got indoor plumbing?

It's a real mystery........an off grid cabin.....with recorded video.......hmmmmm.


Joined Feb 22, 2014
From the net 1 strand cat 5 cable = 2.6 Ohms/ 100ft -> 15.6 Ohms per 600ft -> 31.2 Ohms + & - @ 5A -> 156 V drop... even if you use all the wires, its a big voltage drop really.

It actually seems a lot of current you are using, though. Would it be possible to move some of the power hungry stuff to your house? If you could drop the power considerably, then it might get more feasible.


Joined Jan 27, 2019
You may be cost sensitive but there is no way to cheap out on physics.

I fear that 12/2 UF is the cheapest you are going to be able to reasonably use. Every attempt to cut corners beyond that is either unsafe or will require more money be spent elsewhere. It looks like you could get the UF for about $350.


Joined Sep 22, 2013
I don't know where the TS lives....a quick search locally here shows a good deal cheaper.

The real cost might be further code regulations. Maybe a lower voltage might bypass the regulations.

Storage batteries always work.


Joined Jun 19, 2017
60 Volts DC and below is considered "low voltage" wiring ...

So, put a 60 Volt @ 3 Amps DC supply at the house.
Then parallel each of the 4 Pairs of CAT-5 into one pair.
Now, the round trip resistance drops from 32 Ohms to 8 Ohms.
At the Cabin, you will have approx 52 Volts = 60 Volts - ( 8 ohms x 1 amp )
Use a 0 - 60+ Volt Input to 12 Volt Output Buck Converter at the Cabin.

Rate all devices for cool operation and continuous duty ( 24 x 7 )
Total cost = approx $100.00 ?
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Joined Dec 31, 2017
You can run 120vac on 14/2 UF for about $200.00.
With Cat5, using all the conductors drawing 5 amps, you will lose 40 volts at 600 ft.
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