Batteries are main components for wireless trail cameras and each manufacturer has their own likes and recommendations for optimal performance.
On average between 4 and 12 batteries are required, however certain modules are built with additional power options which will be covered bellow.
Some devices would recommend using high performance alkaline, lithium or rechargeable NiMH batteries only.
For others, NiMh Rechargeable batteries are not recommended, as the low voltage they produce (1.2V) can cause operational issues.
The bottom line is learning to understand which option is more convenient for you on the long run before making a purchase and being prepared for the expense it will cost.
Wireless game cameras battery life
Most dissatisfied customers aren’t aware that cellular trail cameras eat a lot of energy. The main fact that manufacturers have considered other power options should give a hint on this.
For example, It is clear that a good set of lithium batteries will keep a wifi trail camera running much longer than other batteries, but it is still hard to provide exact days or months. Anyway, for those who are seeking a direct answer, 3-4 months is the average time.
There are a number of reasons that influence over expected battery life:
- Temperature and environment
- Settings and configurations
- Number of images the camera is configured to take and send wirelessly
- Number of batteries installed in the camera
- Delay between each detection before the camera records another photo or video
- Poor quality SD card
- High-capacity memory cards use more battery life
Problems caused by low batteries
Here are some known issues that can be attributed to a low batt:
- Unable to access the setup menu or main console
- The camera has a blank screen or gets unresponsive
- Black photos or video shots
- It goes into a limbo state not sending any pictures (there is something called “memory effect” that technically
shouldn’t affect NiMH batteries but even so, they could go into a voltage depression. To completely eliminate the possibility of NiMH batteries going into any voltage depletion effect manufacturers suggest an occasional complete drain out of NiMH batteries followed by a full recharge)
Recommendations to improve performance
- Completely remove the batteries if the camera is not in use for an extended time. This will help to avoid battery leaking.
- Use a good quality memory card
- Whenever available, use the remote option to have the device stop taking and sending images
- Having the device permanently connected to cell tower ready to send and receive commands can significantly drain battery as well. To save batteries, this option could be turned off
- Depending on settings, a shorter delay between each time the camera detects a subject and before it records the next photo will require more battery power, unlike a longer delay
Other power options
- Solar panel
Is the most popular power alternative option for cases where battery life is being drained out fast.
If the surveillance device is situated in an area that has lots of shade (typically under a three), it would be necessary to place the panel in a position where it can be charged up correctly.
- External battery
Some providers offer an external 6V or 12V battery pack.
They usually include the 6 or 12V unit, weather-resistant plastic case, cable to connect the battery to the camera, a mounting strap, and a charger.
Spartan models can operate with 6V while Spypoint models can operate with 12V external batteries.
- Lithium battery pack
A Spypoint wifi game camera can also be powered by a rechargeable lithium battery pack, which delivers twice battery life than alkaline batts.