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Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? #4050693 02/13/13 07:53 PM
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Aggieivy Offline OP
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I have used several trail cameras through the years and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Normally, battery life and upkeep are not big considerations because I primarily use the cameras on our lease near my home and check them a couple times a week.

However, we joined a new lease several hours away and I want to try a different power source to minimize trips to the lease. I use Spypoint 2-in-1 cameras (from Cabela's) and was thinking of using a 12v battery that is hooked up to a solar panel charger. Before I buy the solar panel, does anyone have any advice?

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Aggieivy] #4050730 02/13/13 08:12 PM
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Dragonuv Offline
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For something like a game camera, you don't need much power replenishment. A solar feeder battery charger would be enough. You can buy the American Hunter brand of solar charger for less than $25.00 from Optics Planet. You aren't needing to refill very much of the battery on a daily basis, you just need something to top it off.

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Dragonuv] #4054106 02/14/13 11:01 PM
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Thanks for the input, Dragonuv. I'm going to try it out and hopefully the panel will not serve as beacon for someone to steal the camera.

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Aggieivy] #4054473 02/15/13 01:30 AM
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First off Welcome to the forum welcome I don't know how much you budget for game cameras. If you don't mind spending $300 to $400 you can buy a game cam that sends pics to your email and or phone. Then add a solar charger and you never have to go to the lease to check pics.

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: billybob] #4054637 02/15/13 02:17 AM
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Thank you sir--really enjoying the forum so far. Honestly, I don't mind spending that much because it would definitely save on driving to South Texas. However, there is a lot of illegal traffic coming across the border and I worry the camera would get stolen. I'm going to try it out with "cheaper" cameras and if they last, I'll upgrade.

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Aggieivy] #4057557 02/16/13 03:46 AM
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Here is mine. It's a homemade box with 12v battery and wild game innovations solar panel. Has a cord running to the cam from the battery. Has been out since August. Has taken 1,000s of pics a month and I have never changed the battery. Best investment!!!





Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: MathMan] #4057570 02/16/13 03:53 AM
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How does the 12v battery hook up to the cam?


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Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: BuckRage] #4064612 02/19/13 02:40 AM
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I use a cord from amazon made for stealthcam.

Stealth Cam 10 Feet Battery Connection Ca... http://amzn.com/B001U7KDYK

The cord works on moultrie and bushnell also.





Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: MathMan] #4064962 02/19/13 04:28 AM
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My lease is hour and half from my house, but with gas prices.....

I have a Reconyxx and a Bushnell I use, and my biggest problem is usually the SD card size. I now have a 32 gb card in each, and I can go several months and still have battery life and room on the card. Last year on one card I had several thousand pics and still about 50% of batter left on the Reconyxx.

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: DFWPI] #4065005 02/19/13 04:44 AM
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I use the solar panels from academy on all my feeders and have had only one problem. One 6v panel was putting out over 14v and ruined a new battery I now check all the solar panels with a volt meter on a good sunny day. You wouldn't want to fry an expensive camera. I know it could have been a 12v panel but it was marked 6v, better safe than sorry....

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Hogkellum] #4065202 02/19/13 11:31 AM
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Hog, that's interesting. I posed that question her several months ago and was told that it couldn't happen. I bought a fairly good sized 12 volt charger from harbor freight. I guess it can fry it and I'd better check before I use it.

Mathman, I make my own electric cords from old 6 and/or 12 volt power tool charger cords. I just cut off the wall plug end and put on some alligator clips.


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Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Dave Davidson] #4065802 02/19/13 04:12 PM
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A lot of solar chargers may say "12 volt", but if you read the paperwork, it could actually have a maximum operating range of 16 or 18 volts. Also you want to pay close attention to the wattage output. For a camera, you pretty much want the lowest you can find. If you hook a 12v 10w charger up to a 1-1.5aH camera battery, it will probably fry every time. A fellow forum member that's sells batteries for a living and myself have been trying to get a definitive answer as to what is the highest wattage you can use to charge a 12v battery without having to utilize a voltage regulator. There is a ton of peripheral stuff when it comes to solar panels because everything is relative. If you feel uncomfortable, I would call the camera companies technical support and see what they recommend.

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Dave Davidson] #4065803 02/19/13 04:12 PM
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It appears that the 12v connections from battery to camera are pretty much universal. I have a Stealthcam cord hooked to a Spypoint camera and it seems to work (so far). All of the other connections I saw at the store looked the same. Buying the setup is expensive so I'll probably move to DIY soon--so thanks for the ideas.

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Aggieivy] #4065848 02/19/13 04:26 PM
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Ok, I called the Spypoint manufacturer and they sell a solar panel specifically for their cameras, for $40. Talked to a guy named Adam and he said its on their website. I can't see it because I'm on an iPad at the moment, and you need a mouse to activate their product pages scroll down feature. But he said its exactly what you need.

Good luck

http://www.spypoint.com/EN/

Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: Dragonuv] #4065991 02/19/13 05:19 PM
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wrap electrical tape around 1/4-1/2 of the surface area of the solar panel. this will reduce the amount of voltage significantly. I have had the same problem with my homemade set up and this was the fix..so far.


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Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: PSE-Madman] #4070208 02/21/13 12:22 AM
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ok so this made me want to make my own. so here it is but it's not finished yet. Still need to mount the solar panel to the front of the enclosure and camo up the enclosure just for asthetics.

Found the right plug to fit the TC
Added 10' length of cable to the plug
Ran through flex conduit
Drilled a hole in the metal enclosure
Hot glued around the hole and conduit to water proof
Mount the solar panel onto the door of the box
Connect the panel and plug cable to the battery
Paint camo

I made three of these. I will make a pole to put the TC and enclosure on but the enclosure will be moveable so I'll be able to position towards the sun. I can also take it off of the pole and use separately and run the enclosure/panel to direct sunlight. Fun project. I'll post pics of the finished product soon.









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Re: Trail Cameras and Solar Battery Charger? [Re: BuckRage] #4076162 02/23/13 01:21 AM
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