Trail cameras are a great way to get pictures of wildlife without having to disturb them in their natural habitat. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some that are larger and more expensive than others. But all trail cameras use batteries, and how long the battery lasts will depend on how many watts the camera uses.
How many watts does a trail camera use?
How many watts a trail camera uses will usually depend on a few things: the size of the battery, how long you want your trail camera to last and how frequently you plan on checking your trail camera. Let’s examine all points in detail.
Size Of The Battery
Most trail cameras will come with an option for one or two batteries. A single battery will get drained faster because there is only one battery powering the device. However, this also means that it takes less time to recharge. Some users have said that they got about 200 photos out of a fully charged single 9-volt piñon digital Moultrie Game Camera Battery ($32) . If a second battery was put in instead, some people have reported getting well over 1,000 photos.
Being able to choose between one or two batteries is a bonus because it allows you to decide what’s more important; how long your camera works or how often you can check the pictures on your camera. If you plan to be checking your game cam every other day, then having an extra battery might not be necessary.
However, if you want to go out of town for a week and still expect pictures at the end of that time frame, then it would be wise to invest in another 9-volt piñon digital Moultrie Game Camera Battery ($32) , especially because recharging takes up to 24 hours .
And don’t forget – the more frequently the camera snaps pictures (every few seconds to every few minutes), the shorter your battery life will be.
How frequently you want to check the pictures on your camera.
If you only set a trail camera out for a few days, then checking it every other day should be sufficient. However, if you plan on going out of town and still expect to catch pictures when you get back, keep in mind that recharging can take up to 24 hours.
How frequently the camera takes photos.
The faster your trail camera snaps photos, the faster your battery will drain. If you only want the camera to snap one picture every half hour, then your battery life should last much longer compared to a camera that’s snapping one picture per second.
Although this may not seem like much of a difference at first glance, it can make a huge difference over a couple weeks time depending how long you plan to have your trail camera out.
Power consumption of trail cameras
There are many different types of trail cameras, each with different power requirements. Some require very little energy to operate, while others can be more demanding on your batteries. Here is the amount of energy the most common types of game cameras use:
Battery-powered infrared game cameras
The majority of outdoor game cams use batteries, although there are some that charge by solar panel or AC adapter. Battery powered cameras are inexpensive but will drain your battery faster due to their high-energy infrared flash bulb that opens every time it takes a photo.
Some models do have lower power infrared flashbulbs that help conserve your battery life , however if you’re looking for an affordable model you’ll probably end up getting one with the standard high powered flashbulbs.
Recoil/battery-powered game cameras
When using this type of camera, you’ll need to buy special batteries or attach an external power pack for extended periods. You can expect to get 500-1,000 photos on one set of batteries if the camera is only taking 1 photo per minute. But when choosing a model with less powerful flashes, don’t expect the battery life to be that high.
9-volt piñon digital Moultrie Game Camera Battery $32 has plenty of juice to take up to 1,500 photos in one sitting! Pulsar Trail Cameras are best known for their high powered flashbulbs and energy efficient LED infrared light detectors .
For these reasons they tend to cost more than other models, but you’ll be able to use them for several months before needing to replace the batteries.
External battery packs
If you’re looking for a trail camera that can run off AC power instead of requiring batteries , then look into buying one that’s powered by an external battery pack because this will help save money and reduce consumer costs.
Another great feature with these types of cameras is that they usually come equipped with an internal solar panel which recharges the batteries so you don’t have to worry about hooking it up to your car or truck.
You’ll find many top-rated brands such as Covert Scouting Cameras and Bushnell Trail Cameras, both offering great products at very affordable prices.
How can you conserve energy when using a trail camera?
With any game camera, you’ll want to make sure that it’s turned off when you’re not using it. But if this isn’t possible, then the following tips should help conserve power:
1) If your trail camera takes 4 C-cell batteries , try switching over to rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries because these will offer about 1,500 charges before needing replacement compared to only 500 charges for alkaline types. This can save you lots of money in the long run.
2) You could also use lithium batteries since they last much longer than standard alkaline ones. These are commonly used with trail cameras that operate on 12 volts instead of 6 volts. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing so because lithium batteries can be dangerous to your health and even explode or catch fire if not used correctly.
3) For the best results, you’ll want to purchase a unit with an adjustable photo delay time because this will allow you to decrease the amount of photos that are taken per trigger. This means that during periods where you’re not near your camera it can save energy by snapping 1-2 photos a day instead of 10-20 in a single sitting.
4) Some cameras come equipped with a no glow infrared flash so they won’t scare away animals when taking pictures at night. This type is invisible to both humans and animals so it will help save power since the detection circuit isn’t being activated every 5 seconds just for nothing .
5) Avoid units with bright LED status lights because these can drain batteries fast. It’s best to use a red glow type since they consume much less power than blue, white or green ones.
6) A great way to save energy is hooking your trail camera up to an efficient solar charger that has 12 volts of DC power instead of 6v DC since this will allow you to recharge the batteries when not in use without having to run additional wires. Doing this will also prevent animals from removing your batteries while they’re still powering the device.
An alternative option would be using one with internal rechargeable NiMH/Lithium batteries in place of standard alkaline types since you won’t have to worry about replacing them every month or so.
For these reasons it’s best to purchase a unit with these types of batteries because they’ll save you lots of money in the long run. Another great feature is that they usually come along with an internal solar panel for recharging purposes when not in use, so animals won’t be able to damage them by constant removal while your trail camera is still set up looking for game .
If this isn’t possible then try using an external power supply or battery pack instead because this will help save energy.
There are many ways to do so, but the best way would be purchasing one that has adjustable delay settings since this will allow you to decrease the number of photos taken per trigger without missing out on any shots.
Another option would be buying a less popular brand that doesn’t offer as many features since these can often be just as effective at taking photos and will help save you money. These aren’t always the most reliable though, so if a model is too cheap to trust then it may not necessarily be a good deal.
Trail cameras should last for quite a while before needing replacement, but the batteries will need to be replaced every couple of months because they will run out after about 2-3 months or so.
If this isn’t possible then try using an external power supply instead. Regardless which trail camera you choose, make sure it has adjustable photo delay settings in order to help conserve energy without missing any shots . You’ll also want one with invisible no glow infrared flash and an adjustable time and date function since this can help save energy as well.
Furthermore, look for a unit with internal rechargeable batteries or one that uses solar power to recharge the batteries too because these will last much longer than alkaline types and won’t need replacement as often.
As you can see there are many different options available on the market for those looking to buy a trail camera that is energy efficient , so it all comes down to personal preference on which model to purchase .
Once you find out which type is best for your needs then buying new batteries should be the only thing required before heading out into nature on your next hunting trip .
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