Battery Life For Trail Cameras!!!

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Comments

  • @SwampDonkey87 said:
    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!

    Doing some checking on battery voltages on the s50I you are correct as far as the AA voltage if you check the voltage at the connections to the battery holder with it loaded with 12 AA batteries it is considerably more than 12 volts. I dont recall the exact amount because it has been a while since I did it but I want to say it was around 18 volts. If you check the voltage of the solar panel that moultrie makes with a fully charged battery and full sun it shows well over 15 volts if I recall correctly. Like I said has been a while since I checked. The battery box from moultrie will at most show around 13.2 volts after being charged with factory provided charger. Seems I read somewhere here from one of the moultrie people the s50I has some kind of transformer or step up unit for voltage to make the battery box work. My biggest gripe is if you use a external battery with the s50i as stated the internal batteries and the external batteries will drain together. I love my S50i for the video quality and all the other excellent qualities but hate the battery life. If i used them for pictures the battery life wouldn't be so bad But video eats thru batteries even while using a external battery.

  • @Petrel said:
    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.

    Perhaps the 12 Volt rechargeable battery won't work well with the S-50i, but most all of the others it certainly works as advertised. Maybe they need to put a disclaimer for the ones that may not be compatible, but to make the claim that they're not being honest with their customers is a bit of a stretch. There are a lot of users that are extending the battery life using the 12V system. Overall, the statement is true.

  • Moultrie state in the blurb about their battery box that it is "Compatible with all Moultrie 2007 and later digital cameras [which will] eliminate the need for constant battery replacement with this must-have money saver that pays for itself in no time." Nothing "overall" about it, that is a clear statement about the performance a buyer can expect from later model Moultrie cameras when connected to a 12 volt battery, which applies to the S-50i too. But it just so happens to be false. I bought an S-50i and a 12 volt battery on the basis of that claim and am not happy to discover that I was misled.

  • I have had my S50i connected to a remote 12V battery (maintaining about 13.5-14V) since last December (along with a fresh set of Lithium batteries back in Dec) and it has never dropped below 100%
    Strangely enough, the modem battery % fluctuates up and down and they are both connected to the same battery via the Moultrie splitter.

  • @Petrel said:
    Moultrie state in the blurb about their battery box that it is "Compatible with all Moultrie 2007 and later digital cameras [which will] eliminate the need for constant battery replacement with this must-have money saver that pays for itself in no time." Nothing "overall" about it, that is a clear statement about the performance a buyer can expect from later model Moultrie cameras when connected to a 12 volt battery, which applies to the S-50i too. But it just so happens to be false. I bought an S-50i and a 12 volt battery on the basis of that claim and am not happy to discover that I was misled.

    Other users are having a different experience. One instance doesn't prove that a company mislead buyers.

    I get it, you're frustrated. But screaming false advertising on a Moultrie forum isn't going to get you anywhere. Work with others who are not having this issue to determine the root cause or give up and move on to something else. Life's too short to be worked up over a battery.

  • It might also be worth keeping in mind that the battery box has been around since long before the S-50i, so while Moultrie has put forth (what I think is) a valiant effort at keeping they thousands of existing external power supplies relevant and useful far past their intended manufacturing purpose, it may not work quite as well on newer hardware.

    Also, by your own admission, the battery box "Extend your game camera’s field life with this reliable external power source featuring a 12-volt rechargeable battery.", nowhere does it say to replace your internal batteries and I think the manual for the cameras even states that you need to keep your internal batteries in, the box just helps them last a bit longer.

    That being said I know a little bit about electrical systems (and a few things about Moultrie Cameras) so if you guys have any questions I might be able to answer them.

  • @RocklockHunter said:

    @Petrel said:
    Moultrie state in the blurb about their battery box that it is "Compatible with all Moultrie 2007 and later digital cameras [which will] eliminate the need for constant battery replacement with this must-have money saver that pays for itself in no time." Nothing "overall" about it, that is a clear statement about the performance a buyer can expect from later model Moultrie cameras when connected to a 12 volt battery, which applies to the S-50i too. But it just so happens to be false. I bought an S-50i and a 12 volt battery on the basis of that claim and am not happy to discover that I was misled.

    Other users are having a different experience. One instance doesn't prove that a company mislead buyers.

    I get it, you're frustrated. But screaming false advertising on a Moultrie forum isn't going to get you anywhere. Work with others who are not having this issue to determine the root cause or give up and move on to something else. Life's too short to be worked up over a battery.

    Yep, I've moved on. Got my money back for the S-50i then went and bought a Browning. And it's not just that they will eat a battery pack for breakfast - Moultrie CS was useless when trying to find the cause of the problem.

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