I have a critter cam watching the gate from one pasture to another. lots
of critters wild and domestic use the gate. Still waiting for the cougar
to go by.
My rechargeable battery is a Harbor Freight solar powered fence charger.
It wasn't worth anything as a fence charger. Especially in the winter.
It uses a 6 volt storage battery just like is used in emergency light
fixtures. In fact the battery in use came from such a fixture in my
plant. At least 13 years old and still working.
I soldered a two conductor rubber covered wire to the charging part of
the circuit board and brought the wire out through a hole drilled in the
plastic housing. The end of the wire has a small power connector that
fits the 6 volt external power connector on the camera. The solar panel
is positioned to face the sun directly at around noon.
The camera has 8 AA cells that allow the camera to function while it's
open to swap memory cards. Then the camera is closed and the external
power is plugged in.
Has been running for over a year this way and should for years to come.
Paul in Central Oregon
Go with a gel-cell battery. These are sealed lead-acid batteries that
you find in consumer-grade UPS, electric-start lawn mowers, emergency
exit lighting, 1-million-candle-power hand-held spotlights, etc.
Very common and very cheap, with operating temperatures spec'd down to
You'll need a 6-volt battery for the trail-cam.
Something like the Power-Sonic PS-640F:
are ridiculously cheap (typically less than $10).
Have a look here:
Charge it with a 6V dc supply (any wall-wart will do) for maybe 4 to 8
few hours once every 4 months should be all you need to do.
If the charge goes Low, I think the minimum temperature would go up. Check
that out, and you don't want to let it fall below a certain voltage.
D cells often just have AA or C cells in side the casing. A real D nicad
has high capacity. My AA nimh cells seem to work in the cold in my solar
If you have GOOD quality battery and solar cell they will do the job.
Make sure solar cell faces due South unobstructed at proper angle. My
Davis wireeless weather station works 4 season up on the pole. I live in
I used to live in Soo, Ontario. I like it out here much better. No
heavy snow shoveling, LOL!
Is it solar charged? Or just replacable batteries? That makes a big
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
What type of rechargeable battery ( D cell ) would work best for year
round outdoor use (s.e. michigan) in a critter cam device?
Chris Young used improper usenet message composition style by
Most or all trail-cams (aka scout-cams) have jacks for external battery
packs - because most applications involve remote placement with long
periods between visits (several weeks or months).
They will usually be placed in shady areas - so direct sunlight for a
closely-situation solar charger will be problematic.
> What type of rechargeable battery ( D cell ) would work best for year
> round outdoor use (s.e. michigan) in a critter cam device?
I would register and post your question on this forum:
'CandlePowerForums - The Front Page'
Candlepower forums is a place where people enthusiastic about
flashlights, spot lights, night vision equipment, car headlights or
anything that lights up the night, meet and socialize.
They'd probably know in there which battery chemistry is the least
affected by cold temperatures and most effectively charged by solar
As has already been pointed out, rechargable batteries sold in the D
size are almost always simply AA size inserted into D size cases. Real
D size rechargable batteries are ridiculously expensive, and so are the
correct chargers necessary for them.
Your trail-cam (which you probably bought at Gander Mountain in Grand
Rapids - or is the new Bass Pro store up and running?) will have a
power-input jack on the side or the bottom to connect an external
battery pack - which would be a sealed lead acid battery if you were
paying attention to my previous post.
It depends on a number of factors. Can you tell us more about the device?
Do you already own it? How many D cells does it take?
Do you intend to use a solar recharger or some other method? Does the
camera have an external power jack?
I own a crittercam and changing the batteries is more tedious than with
other devices because there are weather seals to contend with. Also, every
time you have to change batteries, you risk misaiming the camera when you
remount it. A previous poster suggested a gel cel battery connected via the
camera's power jack. That makes battery changing a whole lot easier and can
provide power for months. Trickle chargers can be had for $10 on Amazon.
Battery cost varies with capacity.
*Good* rechargeable D cells, with capacities in the 5,000 to 10,000mAH range
will be wickedly expensive. Cheaper cells have much less capacity. The
NiMH Energizer NH-50D D cells I have are rated at 2200mAh, as are the
Rayovac NM713's. The Radio Shack model 23-140 hi-cap nicads I have are
rated at 4500mAh, almost twice the capacity. Soldered-tabbed cells that I
recovered from a videographer's quartz light powerpack are rated for
10,000mAh. Weight is often a clue to capacity. The 10,000mAh units are
noticeably heavier than the 2200mAh units.
I wouldn't bother with anything as low as 2200mAh for a crittercam. That's
the same capacity as AA rechargeables and you could be changing batteries
quite frequently depending on your settings.
If you can tell us the make and model of the camera you're using or thinking
of buying, the charging mechanism (sounds like sneakernet to me <g>) and
where and how you'll be using the camera we can probably give you better
FWIW, the hicap NiMH batteries are pricey. Do you want lose $30-$60 worth
of batteries along with the camera if it's stolen?
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
It's $52 for 8 10,000mAh D cells. That would buy two gel cells and a
trickle charger so you could always have a fully charged battery to swap
when it was time to replace it.
There's one more gotcha to know about. NiCad and NiMH cells are
substantially lower in voltage than alkalines. Digital cameras are
notorious for reporting that rechargeable cells with plenty of power left in
them are exhausted because their voltage is low. Four nicads will produce
4.8 volts in total whereas four alkalines will output 6 volts total. You
could find yourself changing batteries VERY frequently if your camera
doesn't tolerate rechargeables well.
I recall some folks saying that the HF model destroyed their battery. I've
had similar problems with really cheap chargers. Since I don't own the HF
unit I can't vouch for it personally, but it sounds like it works for you.
I'll try to pick one up the next time I am there to see how it checks out.
I can always use additional float chargers, especially since I will be
converting another 2 DeWalt drills I got to 12V gel cell power. The cost of
a rebuilt or replacement battery pack exceeds the cost of the original drill
plus TWO spare batteries. Obscene!
Not only that, the packs are designed to fail with the center battery,
surrounded by other cells, always dying prematurely because it can not
effectively dissipate the heat from charging. That's because it is
surrounded on all sides by cells and even has one additional cell stuck on
top of the middle cell in the battery.
I own (and can vouch for) the under $10 float charger from Amazon. It's
made by Universal, which makes the much larger units I use for heavy duty
items and have been using without incident for years. Unfortunately it
doesn't have the red and green (charging/charged) LEDs of its larger
brothers that I find quite useful. However it does have a switch that
enables it to charge either 6V or 12V gel cells, which might be useful to
the OP if his unit only requires 6V. It also has alligator clips which make
it pretty easy to use with a variety of battery types. Is the HF unit dual
voltage or just 12V?
Allelectronics sells the larger/better chargers for more $ in both 500mAh
and 1Ah varieties. The cheaper one from Amazon is 100/200mAh, depending on
the voltage. The OP would probably need two gel cells. One always on the
charger and the other attached to the camera when he would just swap the
charged battery for the drained one.
As an aside, WTF is wrong with HF's website? The pictures of their flyer on
their website are extraordinarily difficult to use unless you have a 60"
monitor and even then the resolution of the catalog page image is lacking,
to say the least. I just tried to shop from the site and it's pretty damn
Please check the owners manual. In AA cells, there are nicad and nickel
metal hydride. And, also there are "precharged" nickel metal hydrides.
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
my bad, the camera takes AA's
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