How long do your Camera batteries/solar last?

MadMadHoosier

5 year old buck +
Living over 600 miles from our farm has it's challenges. One of them was how often cameras went dead between our occasional visits.

This is not meant to be a commercial for them, but CuddeLink has made life much easier. I have solar panels on a few places that work, and look forward to their new solar panels that are supposed to work in the woods. For areas that solar has not previously worked, it's (mostly) 4-D cells in the camera, and a 6-D booster on each location. The home cameras, and a few high volume cameras, have the 12-D booster.

The results have been astounding! My longest solar is at 1167 days without being touched!!! Actually one solar set up would have that beat, but a squirrel chewed through the power cord between the camera and panel, and it reset the days (707 now) when repaired. The other solars are at 830 & 535 days.

My best battery set up is at 411 days. This is a low picture volume location - but still. Most of the set ups get over 250 days between battery swaps. Even the high volume areas seldom get less than 100 days.

While I wish the transmitted resolution was higher, getting up to 24 cameras per cellular account is an acceptable compromise. And the SD card can always be pulled for a full resolution image.

Prior to CuddeLink I had about a dozen cameras and 8-10 corn feeders. Of course the feeders caused a high volume of pictures and the camera batteries were lucky to last a month. Now I only have 3 protien feeders, in the center of the farm, and where solar will work. The money spent on prior feeder maintenance and corn is now spent on more cameras. It seems to give a better survey of the wildlife around the farm. But I'm still learning as I go, and trying new things when they make sense, so we will see where it goes.

Edited to add: And of course, being able to view images on a daily basis is another game changer!
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
I run about 10 cameras year around, on a few of the cameras I change batteries 2 times a year, the rest I can get by with 1 time, usually before hunting season.

I just use AA Lithium batteries, I buy bulk packs off Amazon. This summer I am working on running power out to 2 of my food plots, that are within 100 yards of my house. I am planning on installing outdoor security cameras with video. I bought a new security camera set with 10 cameras, the cameras can run wired, or wireless internet. I don’t need 10 cameras around my house, so I am going to experiment with running them in food plots.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Living over 600 miles from our farm has it's challenges. One of them was how often cameras went dead between our occasional visits.

This is not meant to be a commercial for them, but CuddeLink has made life much easier. I have solar panels on a few places that work, and look forward to their new solar panels that are supposed to work in the woods. For areas that solar has not previously worked, it's (mostly) 4-D cells in the camera, and a 6-D booster on each location. The home cameras, and a few high volume cameras, have the 12-D booster.

The results have been astounding! My longest solar is at 1167 days without being touched!!! Actually one solar set up would have that beat, but a squirrel chewed through the power cord between the camera and panel, and it reset the days (707 now) when repaired. The other solars are at 830 & 535 days.

My best battery set up is at 411 days. This is a low picture volume location - but still. Most of the set ups get over 250 days between battery swaps. Even the high volume areas seldom get less than 100 days.

While I wish the transmitted resolution was higher, getting up to 24 cameras per cellular account is an acceptable compromise. And the SD card can always be pulled for a full resolution image.

Prior to CuddeLink I had about a dozen cameras and 8-10 corn feeders. Of course the feeders caused a high volume of pictures and the camera batteries were lucky to last a month. Now I only have 3 protien feeders, in the center of the farm, and where solar will work. The money spent on prior feeder maintenance and corn is now spent on more cameras. It seems to give a better survey of the wildlife around the farm. But I'm still learning as I go, and trying new things when they make sense, so we will see where it goes.

Edited to add: And of course, being able to view images on a daily basis is another game changer!

All my cameras are using rechargeable SLA or AGM 12 ah batteries. I find that if you let the charge level stay low for any significant period, it significantly shortens the life-span. They can die after several months. If I'm careful to balance the programming with the power input from the solar panel they can last several years. I date all my batteries when I get them because they have a 1 year warranty. I'm still using some that are dated 2018.

RF transmission is power expensive compared to operating the camera and taking pictures. That is one reason cuddelink limits transmission to highly decimated thumbnails. My system transmits full size pictures, so power management is even more critical. That is why it allows user configuration of the network rather than the self-directing network topology cuddelink uses. When those self-directing network topology systems are used, they don't consider power availability in the path cost calculation. It is mostly based on signal strength and hop count. With a user defined network topology, I can direct the signal paths so that repeater cameras have more solar capability than terminal cameras. This is more important to a system that is capable of transmitting full resolution pictures.

Thanks,

Jack
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
Just a question, would using a 6v golfcart battery be more efficient then all of these seperate battery packs being used on the cameras?
 

Hoytvectrix

5 year old buck +
Just a question, would using a 6v golfcart battery be more efficient then all of these seperate battery packs being used on the cameras?
I have tried this with Cuddebacks. I used 9v 12ah batteries and would cycle them. The problem, as Jack said, is that if you let them get too low it limits the life of the batteries. There are limitations with that setup for knowing how much battery is left, so you're having to visit the cameras to preserve battery life, which defeats the purpose of the Cuddelink system.

@MadMadHoosier there is another thread on this forum from this past winter where someone custom built their own solar panels in deep timber to some apparent success. I want to figure out a way to incorporate the solar with the rechargeable 9v because I hate all of the battery waste. I've just been too busy to tinker with it.
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
I have tried this with Cuddebacks. I used 9v 12ah batteries and would cycle them. The problem, as Jack said, is that if you let them get too low it limits the life of the batteries. There are limitations with that setup for knowing how much battery is left, so you're having to visit the cameras to preserve battery life, which defeats the purpose of the Cuddelink system.
I was thinking to also have a cell charger on it.
 

MRBB

5 year old buck +
something to really consider when talking battery life, is, HOW many pictures will the camera take, and will the majority be day time or night time pictures
I have found personally the BRAND of the camera also matters

I have trail cam's now running 24-7-365 since the late 90's
and there has been a lot of differences in brand of camera's I have used on battery life, and how many pictures they will take on a set of batteries!
same can be said on solar power add one's
almost all the added on solar panels worked well to last all yr, on cam's that ONLY took pictures
when on video mode or on sending email pictures, many couldn;t keep up
but this again came down to the location of the camera and how many times it was used, big difference in having a camera taking a 40-100 pic's a day or videos, as to one on a slow trail maybe taking 1-10 a day if you follow!

so location of camera matters as well, and not just due to how much sun it gets
Night time pictures seem to suck battery's down faster to IMO, so that can play a factor in how long a set of battery's will last

IMO< larger battery set ups with solar should last all yr pending the amount of pictures and or videos there taking, but over a feeder or likes, it may not last

at my one property as an example, I have 3 camera's set up over the front of the property, that actually catch things that run up/down the road, its a DEAD end road!
on average I get about 1100 pictures a week , 2 cams are of one brand other is another, all are different models
two of them will last me 8-9 months, other one will MAYBE make it 5 months, ! and they petty much capture the same things, just from different angles!
so, just make and model alone matter as to how long they last on batteries
and I am SURE if I only got 10-50 pic;'s a week, they ALL would last all yr and then some, so, how many pic's they take matters

so just witching same camera from pictures to video alters the battery life a LOT
NOW< IF I put either of these 3 camera's on VIDEO< NONE Will last more than a few weeks
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Just a question, would using a 6v golfcart battery be more efficient then all of these seperate battery packs being used on the cameras?

a golf cart battery is no different than a smaller SLA or AGM battery of the same voltage. The just generally have a higher amp hour rating. What tends to happen with an SLA battery that shortens the life when it sits for a period with a low charge is sulfation. I find this occurs when you get much below 80% or so on the battery. So, much depends on both the camera programming (how many pics per day), and signal level (for cameras that transmit at 900mhz) and the solar panel and charging system that is being used as well as the sun and weather.

If I have a smaller amp hour rated battery then using x amount of power will be a higher percentage of the capacity than using a larger amp hour rated battery. If the charging system charge the battery quickly, and the battery is drained slowly, you may recharge the camera completely for each daytime pic and it my take little time to charge it to full charge after a night of pictures. In this case, a smaller ah battery may be fine. Keep in mind that a few days of cloudy weather will affect charging time though.

If you don't care about battery life, you only need a battery with a storage capacity large enough to keep the camera running until it can be recharged. If battery life span is important, you want the battery to be recharged before it gets much below 80% capacity.

None of this applies to LI, Ni-MH, or Ni-Cad as they have different charging characteristics.

I find that PWM adn MPPT charge controllers work pretty well for SLA and AGM type batteries.

Thanks,

Jack
 

bigboreblr

5 year old buck +
I have a moultrie that takes 6 C batteries. I have used the same set fr over 3 years. Camera settings help too. Never tried video, but can imagine they hog batteries. I usually take 3 low res pics and have a bit longer pause between pics, like 60 sec or so. I may miss a deer here n there, but those windy days dont seem to go on forever while looking at the pics.

Wish I had a camera Icould shut off at night, or program separately to make 1 pic instead of 3.... Blackout or not, I seem to have deer staring at my camera at night all the time. It does freak out mature bucks for sure. I pretty much only use cameras in the summer. Come hunting season, I limit the number of cameras out so I dont spook bucks.
 

MadMadHoosier

5 year old buck +
I have tried this with Cuddebacks. I used 9v 12ah batteries and would cycle them. The problem, as Jack said, is that if you let them get too low it limits the life of the batteries. There are limitations with that setup for knowing how much battery is left, so you're having to visit the cameras to preserve battery life, which defeats the purpose of the Cuddelink system.

@MadMadHoosier there is another thread on this forum from this past winter where someone custom built their own solar panels in deep timber to some apparent success. I want to figure out a way to incorporate the solar with the rechargeable 9v because I hate all of the battery waste. I've just been too busy to tinker with it.
I've considered using other (car/cart/security) batteries to boost the CuddeLink life, but without solar recharging it would kill those batteries unless you visited and recharged them near the 80% rule mentioned previously. And recharging and replacing those would be a pain. Or, searching for a solar panel that would work in the woods, building custom housings, and finding rodent/bug proof wiring solutions for all the trail cameras I have deployed.

It is doable, because I built a setup to power a Wyze video camera at my remote gate - about 1100' from the cabin with descent sunlight. It uses a 12 volt car battery, which is kept charged with a 50 watt (I believe) solar panel and a 30 amp charger/controller. This particular charger/controller is nice as it has 5 volt USB ports that are used to directly power the Wyze camera without a wall wart. All of this is elevated in a housing about 12' up on the gate post, to avoid theft or vandalism. It's going on it's 3rd year of unattended operation, except one ant infestation that killed a previous charger/controller. Talk about debugging electronics, so I had to tighten up the housing. (For those interested, it has WiFi beamed from the cabin using a 2.4 GHz Backfire Antenna, DAVPBF-2400-15-01, on a Ubiquiti Bullet M2, Outdoor Access Point. I've tested with my iPad, and that setup is throwing good WiFi signal over 1/2 mile from the cabin!)

Anyway, for me, the new in woods solar panels from Cudde will be the perfect solution if they work as hoped. Along with the metallic power cord between the panel and camera, I hope to seldom need to visit and spread scent around the camera locations.

PS: Several of my cameras are in flooding bottom land, so they are placed 6-9' high in a tree, and angled down to take photos. While I do believe I might miss a few photos with this type of install, I think they seldom spook the deer, and I'm thinking about moving all my cameras to the higher placement. These guys are playing in front of this camera all the time and don't seem to care about it at all. I pull the Kawasaki Mule right up to a tree and stand on the front bumper, then place the camera as high as I can comfortably reach.
5-bucks.jpg
 

356

5 year old buck +
Having just replaced batteries in two of my J-unit (12 AA) cameras, this thread is interesting. I have my G-cell home unit on solar. This was a late addition, but I am about 90 battery days and it is working great. I have a Spypoint Link-Micro-S-LTE that I am testing at home. It has been up 190 days and is still at 100%. For the price (I believe I paid $99 on a sale), it has been an impressive camera, especially given they have a free cell option. I have a property that is six hours away....and the last 1/2 hour is UTV or jeep, so its not just a "six hour drive," it is a six hour drive with the trailer or jeep. I plan to employ the Spypoint for that location between now and deer season.

At home I use the Cuddelink system with four Js (12 AA) and a G-cell with solar, along with several non-cellular cameras. I used Moultrie Mobile from 2013. I retired the 3G version in 2019 and the 4G in 2020. The MM took 16 AA batteries and would run 75-110 days. I added solar toward the end, and it worked great, even in a shady area.

Right now I am debating on adding to the Cuddelink system or adding more Spypoint cameras. I'll likely wait for the Black Friday deals, as the 14 cameras I have deployed are serving me well--including several 10 year old Moutrie non-cellulars that have been great on battery life and quality pictures.

You may consider the Spypoint Link-Micro-S system with built in solar and lithium battery pack. If you do not need a linking system, it has been a good purchase.
 

TreeDaddy

5 year old buck +
Tractor Supply batteries work just as well.........for about twenty minutes

bill
 

Hoytvectrix

5 year old buck +
Having just replaced batteries in two of my J-unit (12 AA) cameras, this thread is interesting. I have my G-cell home unit on solar. This was a late addition, but I am about 90 battery days and it is working great. I have a Spypoint Link-Micro-S-LTE that I am testing at home. It has been up 190 days and is still at 100%. For the price (I believe I paid $99 on a sale), it has been an impressive camera, especially given they have a free cell option. I have a property that is six hours away....and the last 1/2 hour is UTV or jeep, so its not just a "six hour drive," it is a six hour drive with the trailer or jeep. I plan to employ the Spypoint for that location between now and deer season.

At home I use the Cuddelink system with four Js (12 AA) and a G-cell with solar, along with several non-cellular cameras. I used Moultrie Mobile from 2013. I retired the 3G version in 2019 and the 4G in 2020. The MM took 16 AA batteries and would run 75-110 days. I added solar toward the end, and it worked great, even in a shady area.

Right now I am debating on adding to the Cuddelink system or adding more Spypoint cameras. I'll likely wait for the Black Friday deals, as the 14 cameras I have deployed are serving me well--including several 10 year old Moutrie non-cellulars that have been great on battery life and quality pictures.

You may consider the Spypoint Link-Micro-S system with built in solar and lithium battery pack. If you do not need a linking system, it has been a good purchase.
I would strongly consider buying the 6D adapters for the 12AA Js. Not only will you get better life out of your batteries, but it also will allow you to run solar or booster battery kits with the cameras. Unless I am misremembering something @john volkman .
 
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MadMadHoosier

5 year old buck +
I would strongly consider buying the 6D adapters for the 12AA Js. Not only will you get better life out of your batteries, but it also will allow you to run solar or booster battery kits with the cameras. Unless I am misremembering something @john volkman .
I had replaced the 12AA backs on my J-cameras with the 6D backs, and they do last longer that way if you run them without any boosters. But then adding the 6D booster was not doubling the run times as I had hoped. There is another thread somewhere that discusses the logic cudde uses to switch between the booster and internal camera batteries. Apparently 6D internals with a 6D booster will not usually suck all the available juice from all 12 D batteries before showing dead.

Since my longest lasting set ups were the 4D G-cameras with a 6D booster, I've recently started swapping the J-cameras to the newer 4D backs and then still use the 6D booster. They now seem to rival the life of the G-camera set ups.

But I'm still hoping none of this will matter when the new solar panels start shipping. If so, I'll have lots of good used boosters available.
 

Ed Brodt

5 year old buck +
Depends on the sun you get. You can see from this report that one has been going for a few years. Some others just recently needed recharging. The ones showing a low number of days finally died out when the leaves started to fill in the canopy. They had been running all last fall into this spring. The one showing 1238 days has exposure to sun year round.




#ModeLocation IDCamera IDLevelLinksBatteryBattery DaysImage QueueSD ImagesSD Free SpaceHW VersionFW VersionCL Version
1Home001--Ext Low !420030428 MBG-237.7.01.0.8
2Camera0029AB A261Low !440015188 MBG-237.7.01.0.8
3Camera003862Ext Low !173003779 MBG-237.7.01.0.8
4Camera004641Ext OK12380107677 MBG-237.7.01.0.8
5Camera005281OK247007577 MBJ-27.7.01.0.8
6-
7-
8-
9-
10-
11-
12-
13-
14-
15-
16-
 

356

5 year old buck +
I picked up two of the current PW3600 solar panels for J-series Cuddelback cameras in locations decent light. I will need to wait for the new panels or get the 6D extenders for the other cameras. I also picked up a second SpyPoint solar cell camera for a remote location. My goal is to have solar Spy-points on my remote properties (3 hours and 6 hours away), and the cuddelink system on solar at home.
 

MadMadHoosier

5 year old buck +
I picked up two of the current PW3600 solar panels for J-series Cuddelback cameras in locations decent light. I will need to wait for the new panels or get the 6D extenders for the other cameras. I also picked up a second SpyPoint solar cell camera for a remote location. My goal is to have solar Spy-points on my remote properties (3 hours and 6 hours away), and the cuddelink system on solar at home.
In case you were not already aware (I just learned a month ago), the PW3600 can actually hold two NiMH batteries, even though the are only shipped with one. Not really necessary if you have a spot with consistent sunlight, but has helped me in one location.
BD39A70E-DEA1-48B0-BD08-870BAE305D7C.jpeg
 

buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
I use the brownings and really like the solar panels but the brownings are out of stock everywhere
 

Hoytvectrix

5 year old buck +
In case you were not already aware (I just learned a month ago), the PW3600 can actually hold two NiMH batteries, even though the are only shipped with one. Not really necessary if you have a spot with consistent sunlight, but has helped me in one location.
View attachment 44493
Does Cuddebacks sell the extra batteries separately?
 

356

5 year old buck +
In case you were not already aware (I just learned a month ago), the PW3600 can actually hold two NiMH batteries, even though the are only shipped with one. Not really necessary if you have a spot with consistent sunlight, but has helped me in one location.
View attachment 44493
I read about adding a second PW-001 battery in another post. If needed, its $20, so a viable is option if the solar can't keep up. I am going to see how the solar works on my 12AA J-series cameras mounted in transition points during deer season and into winter. Hopefully the solar will be a big help.
 
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