Battery Life For Trail Cameras!!!

I keep hearing about how people get over a year's use of their trail cameras with a single set of double AA Lithium batteries.
I'm only gettin 3 weeks use out of them. What gives??

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  • I keep hearing about how people get over a year's use from their trail cameras with a single set of double AA Lithium batteries.
    I'm only getting 3 weeks use out of them tops. What gives??

  • I've never got a year out of lithiums on a Moultrie, but they don't claim to get a years worth of battery life. 3 weeks is a problem. What cam do you have? Your cam may need a firmware update or it could be defective.

  • My Moutrie model # is MCG-13183 and product name is S50i.
    I hear people on Facebook say they get a year's life out of their batteries. I just expected at least more than a month's worth on battery life.
    Thanks.

  • edited February 2018

    Yes the s50i is a battery eater, but should get more than 3 weeks on a set of lithium, unless you are set up on a feeder taking a ton of pics. You should atleast get 4-5 months on lithium. I would check to see if the firmware is current. Updating the firmware fixed an 888 that I had that would eat lithiums in a day. Check out Trailcampro's review of the s50i https://www.trailcampro.com/products/moultrie-s-50i. My s50i has went defective and is going back to Moultrie next week.

    As far as Facebook goes you always have to take what is said by people with a grain of salt.

  • The S50 loves to eat batteries from what I have been told.

    That being said, I have a set of lithiums in two different cameras and modems that were changed out on October 10th. They're still running strong.

    Most of it depends on the settings (how many pictures, burst rate ect)

  • Thanks for the tips guys. I do take alot of 10 second videos with my tree cam.
    Any suggestions on which tree camera does the best job with battery life?
    And, since I'm using these tree cameras in my own backyard, does anyone make a tree cam where I can run an electrical cord directly to the tree cams for power?

  • edited February 2018

    @denbolduc said:
    Thanks for the tips guys. I do take alot of 10 second videos with my tree cam.
    Any suggestions on which tree camera does the best job with battery life?
    And, since I'm using these tree cameras in my own backyard, does anyone make a tree cam where I can run an electrical cord directly to the tree cams for power?

    Moultrie has the ac adapter you are looking for to plug into your home outlet.
    https://www.moultriefeeders.com/moultrie-ac-adapter

    Trailcampro's reviews will give you an idea on expected battery life in video mode for a paticular camera.
    https://www.trailcampro.com/collections/wildlife-trail-cameras

  • Thanks for the ac adapter suggestion. But it says for indoor use only. How can I use this adapter if my trail camera is located 150 feet from my house? The trail cam overlooks our backyard where the deer and turkeys pass by daily. This is just a hobby for me and my wife but the short life of batteries is getting pretty expensive.

  • edited February 2018

    Perhaps you could use an outdoor extension cord and place the adapter in a protective weather proof box?

    You may want to look into the Moultrie external battery box. I have one and am very pleased with its quality. You can find them on ebay a little cheaper. https://www.moultriefeeders.com/moultrie-camera-battery-box

  • You know what's ironic?
    https://www.moultriefeeders.com/batteries-aa-16-pack
    Moultrie is selling their own brand of batteries. And they are alkaline...

    So every manual to every camera I've seen, strongly recommends Lithium batteries for best performance.
    These forums recommend Lithium.
    Moultrie customer service recommends.... Lithium.

    So why is Moultrie selling alkaline batteries?

    And it's more confusing:
    the description reads:
    Pack contains 16 Moultrie AA alkaline batteries. Recommended for the entire line of Moultrie game cameras.
    But then states:
    6 AA alkaline batteries per pack

    I'm really confused. My guess is the "6 AA alkaline batteries per pack" is a typo and it's supposed to be "16".
    But why sell & recommend alkaline batteries, when you recommend Lithium OVER alkaline?

    Can anyone explain?

  • Thanks Sodbuster. Another good option for me to consider.

  • @capttris said:
    You know what's ironic?
    https://www.moultriefeeders.com/batteries-aa-16-pack
    Moultrie is selling their own brand of batteries. And they are alkaline...

    So every manual to every camera I've seen, strongly recommends Lithium batteries for best performance.
    These forums recommend Lithium.
    Moultrie customer service recommends.... Lithium.

    So why is Moultrie selling alkaline batteries?

    And it's more confusing:
    the description reads:
    Pack contains 16 Moultrie AA alkaline batteries. Recommended for the entire line of Moultrie game cameras.
    But then states:
    6 AA alkaline batteries per pack

    I'm really confused. My guess is the "6 AA alkaline batteries per pack" is a typo and it's supposed to be "16".
    But why sell & recommend alkaline batteries, when you recommend Lithium OVER alkaline?

    Can anyone explain?

    My guess is that has to do with Moultrie not being able to buy lithiums and then be able to put their own lable on it. Possibly lithiums have something in their patent or copyright that doesn't allow this? My only problem with alkaline is that when the temps really drop it drains the alkalines. I prefer to start cams out on alkaline incase you have a defective cam that eats batteries.

  • For those on Facebook Trailcampro had an interesting post about alkaline vs lithium in the cold
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=968877149929932&id=242708329213488

  • I bought an S-50i intending to use an external 12 volt battery to save wasting money on AAs. I want to use a 12 v battery that will outperform any AA batteries, but Moutrie refuse to tell me the specs of their 12 volt battery. Very poor customer support. Obviously they just want me to buy theirs, but on this forum it has been suggested that it was only 1.3 amp hours. Does anyone know the specs of the Moutrie 12 v battery, or had experience of using a non-Moultrie 12 v battery with higher specs, say a 12 amp hour rating or more?

  • The 12v battery in the Moultrie Power Panel is only 1.3 amp, but the battery in the Moultrie Battery Box is 12v 7amp. The higher amp 12v is by far the best choice for the s50i.

  • I want to do a lot of videoing, so is there potential to damage the camera if I use an even higher amp hour battery - 12 or more? Can't see it myself, but that's what Moultrie CS suggested.

  • 12v is 12v. The amount of amp just means the longer it will go before needing recharging. Moultrie does state though using anything other than a Moultrie brand external power source voids the warranty. You can checkout http://slaycam.com/forums/index.php if you want advice on building your own battery box and solar charger. A few members build their own and can steer you in the right direction, again technically this will void your cameras warranty.

  • Thanks sodbuster...that's my understanding too. Moultrie just want me to buy their battery.

  • Seems my suspicion on your other post was correct. You can't fault CS for you trying to be cheap.

  • I bought a 12 volt/12 amp hour sealed lead acid battery to power my S-50i camera, but the results have been disappointing. I've been using the camera on motion detect mode; low PIR sensitivity; 30 sec video. With the battery fully charged to at least 13 volts the camera will take only about 30 minutes of video over three days. Nearly all of that has been been night shots, which obviously uses power for the IR lighting. It is apparent that once the battery charge gets down below 12.8 volts the camera decides that there's not enough power and stops videoing. So, with the remaining 12.8 volts charge I changed the settings to 10 MP/3 triggered photos/low PIR and the camera took a further 83 night photos, but then refused to start again despite the battery charge being 12.79 volts. It would appear that this camera is not designed to operate on a 12 volt battery for extended periods, unless it's a bloody big one or connected to a solar panel, which wouldn't work in my case because of dense forest. If anyone has had better video performance I'd be keen to know what their setup was.

  • @Petrel said:
    I bought a 12 volt/12 amp hour sealed lead acid battery to power my S-50i camera, but the results have been disappointing. I've been using the camera on motion detect mode; low PIR sensitivity; 30 sec video. With the battery fully charged to at least 13 volts the camera will take only about 30 minutes of video over three days. Nearly all of that has been been night shots, which obviously uses power for the IR lighting. It is apparent that once the battery charge gets down below 12.8 volts the camera decides that there's not enough power and stops videoing. So, with the remaining 12.8 volts charge I changed the settings to 10 MP/3 triggered photos/low PIR and the camera took a further 83 night photos, but then refused to start again despite the battery charge being 12.79 volts. It would appear that this camera is not designed to operate on a 12 volt battery for extended periods, unless it's a bloody big one or connected to a solar panel, which wouldn't work in my case because of dense forest. If anyone has had better video performance I'd be keen to know what their setup was.

    I run my s50i off the Moultrie Battery Box in pic mode and it runs the cam until the 12v battery is dead. A few questions. Are you using internal AA batteries also? Are they being drained? If you are using internals have you pulled the battery tray to make sure your 12v is indeed being recognized by the cam and running it? When my 12v gets drained it then runs off the internal AA's.

  • I leave used AA batteries in the camera so I don't lose the time settings etc when I disconnect the 12 v battery, but they don't have enough charge to run the camera and have less power than the 12 v battery, so can't see how they could interfere with the camera functioning. What are the specs of your 12 v battery and what is the voltage when its drained?

  • The Moultrie box uses a 12v 7amp battery. Never tested it when it's dead, but it's completely drained and takes several hours to recharge. Like you I like to use used internals, so I know when my external is dead, since the external reads 99% right up til it dies. I have no idea why your cam would stop working with your 12v still charged. Sounds like there could be something defective with the cam. There are other guys on the site who run an s50i with external's, so hopefully they will chime in with some ideas. Trailcampro has it listed as being able to last 1.5 months on a set of lithium if it takes 15 day/15 night 10 sec vids everyday. I would think you would get at least those kind of results with a 12 amp battery.

  • Thanks Sodbuster. It's interesting that when you use a 12 v battery your camera reads 99%, but even when my 12 v battery has a charge of over 13 v, my camera tells me that the battery level is 07% (at best) with an estimated 0000 days recording time remaining. I've done the latest firmware update, so that can't be part of the problem.

  • @Petrel said:
    Thanks Sodbuster. It's interesting that when you use a 12 v battery your camera reads 99%, but even when my 12 v battery has a charge of over 13 v, my camera tells me that the battery level is 07% (at best) with an estimated 0000 days recording time remaining. I've done the latest firmware update, so that can't be part of the problem.

    All of my current and old Moultrie cams will read 99% at all times when ran on external. I would say there is a defect somewhere with your cam or external power source. My s50i always reads 002 days remaining hooked to external.

  • Thanks. I'll try again with another battery and see if it makes a difference.

  • @Petrel I wish I could be of more assistance but I've never experienced what you're seeing. I have a battery box hooked up to a modem and M888 and it's been running about 6 months. That being said, I can get about 6 months on that combo set at "Immediate" with just Lithiums. My goal is to get it to last a year, we'll see....

  • Seems that the difference is that you're not videoing, and your camera isn't a S-50i.

  • This is a bit of a rant, but ive seen this comment far to often. I do not have an S-50i but i do know that 12 AA batteries in series is equivalent to an 18V battery. So buy lithiums and forget the external 12V source. If you want an external source to try and improve your battery life keep reading.

    Your S-50i has an 18V battery pack so there is clearly something in the camera that operates best at more than a 12V nominal supply. New AA batteries (non-rechargeable) are at 1.6V each * 12 = 19.2... 1.1 volts fully discharged * 12 = 13.2V. An sla 12V battery is fully charged at around 2.2V per cell... 6 cells * 2.2 = 13.2V.... this is why your display says 7% battery life... at best. Camera thinks batteries are fully discharged. Also, from what i could tell... no where in the manual does it say the 12V battery box is able to be used with the S-50i. Try a 12V solar panel that connects directly to the battery to help the SLA stay at full charge... i.e 7% battery life according to the camera, should help limp the camera along.

    My guess is that sodbusters AA(s) closer to fully charged which is why his camera reads 99% with the external source connected. Never pulled one apart but im guessing there are diodes in the circuitry to prevent one source from charging the other. So, your essentially using your 18V AA(s) first, then when they are "fully" discharged (voltage from AA battery pack matches the SLA battery voltage) the camera then begins to use the external source in parallel with the AA battery pack and you get a few days off both supplies until the the voltage is too low.

    If it were me, and your not concerned about warranty, buy an 18V SLA battery... or if you have some 18V power tools you could use those batteries (should verify 18V battery is charged to +/- 19.2V "battery pack equivalent"). If you open your camera there are 2 leads (black and red) that connect the AA battery pack contacts to the circuit board. There is a connector on the circuit board, can buy same connector w/ leads on amazon. Work the leads on the new harness/connector to the outside of the camera (likely have to drill a hole) and seal any openings with silicone, then connect to the new 18V battery.

    Again, not saying I know all the ins and outs of how the camera operates... but can't see any logical reason to operate an 18V camera off a 12V external supply.

    Good Luck!
  • Thanks SwampDonkey, my thoughts too. And if I can do a bit of a rant too, I feel that Moultrie has been misleading customers where they advertise that you can "Extend your game camera’s field life with this reliable external power source featuring a 12-volt rechargeable battery." That assertion is simply not true, but it led me to believe that an S-50i would run even better on a 12 volt external power source than using AAs, which was a key feature when I decided to buy this camera, so I'm feeling a bit put out. Moultrie has an ethical, if not legal, obligation to provide a reasonable description of their products by which prospective customers can be fully informed about what they're buying before they buy, not to leave us to repeatedly discover for ourselves through a frustrating process of trial and error that the the truth is something else.

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