While rechargeable batteries may seem like more of a hassle in the beginning, they are actually the best option for trail cameras in the long run. This is because they hold their charge for much longer, meaning that you won’t have to worry about your camera running out of power in the middle of a hunt.
- Reasons why rechargeable batteries are a better choice for trail cameras than disposable batteries include:
- The benefits of using rechargeable batteries in trail cameras
- Rechargeable vs Alkaline Batteries: Which ones are better?
- How to charge rechargeable batteries for trail cameras
- How to get the most out of your rechargeable batteries in a trail camera
- What to do if your rechargeable battery dies in your trail camera
Reasons why rechargeable batteries are a better choice for trail cameras than disposable batteries include:
- Rechargeable batteries are less expensive than disposable batteries in the long run, since they can be recharged when depleted.
- When using rechargeable batteries you reduce your environmental impact by not throwing away countless packages of disposable batteries, which contain toxic materials.
- There is no risk of leakage like there is with some types of disposable batteries, most notably alkaline and lithium ion (Liion). Lithium ion batteries are known for leaking electrolytes that can ruin equipment or cause injury if they happen to get into contact with skin or eyes.
Some people may still prefer using disposable AA or AAA cells to use with their trail cameras due to concerns about battery life. However, this is due to lack of knowledge about rechargeable batteries. With the cost of these batteries being so low, it really is in your best interest to use them instead.
The benefits of using rechargeable batteries in trail cameras
Rechargeable batteries, specifically NiMH rechargeable AAs or even better Eneloop rechargeables , have been around for some time now. This means that there is a large market of equipment designed to work with them. These include chargers and even solar powered chargers !
Disposable AA cells may be preferable when it comes to some other types of toys or equipment simply because they are cheaper in the short run. That being said, once people switch over to using rechargeable batteries for their trail cameras, they soon find out how much money they can save in the long run by not having to buy a new set of disposable batteries every month.
It really does add up! A user on Reddit also chimed in on this debate to make an interesting point, which is that rechargeable batteries provide you with more flexibility. If you want to go for a week or month long trip, it’s much easier if all of your equipment works off the same kind of battery.
This way you don’t have to worry about carrying multiple types of batteries and chargers just for your trail cameras.
All of them will be compatible with your solar charger/battery bank and AA battery chargers, making it much easier when you want to go on a trip.
Contrary to popular belief, rechargeable batteries can hold their charge for just about as long as disposable batteries if they are charged and stored properly. This means that when using them in trail cameras , there is no concern about having enough power for the hunt.
In fact, some users have found that their Eneloop rechargeable AAs actually last longer than alkaline disposable cells . This results in savings right off the bat, since you don’t have to worry about buying disposable batteries every few weeks or months!
Rechargeable vs Alkaline Batteries: Which ones are better?
Alkaline batteries have been around for a long time and continue to be the preferred choice of many hunters because they can hold their charge much longer than rechargeable batteries. This is great for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time monitoring their trail cameras, but does it really make sense in the long run?
Rechargeable batteries may not last as long as alkalines when you first use them, but after several recharges they will even out . Furthermore, if you accidentally let your rechargeables run all the way down before charging them , there is no “memory effect” that will shorten their lifespan like there is with alkaline cells.
In addition to, Eneloop rechargeables are more environmentally friendly than alkalines. Where disposable batteries are known for the hazardous materials inside them, rechargeable batteries are free of this risk .
Although it is true that rechargeable cells might last longer on a single charge, alkaline cells have one distinct advantage over these new technologies: price. It can be difficult to find AA rechargeables in bulk , whereas you can still buy cheap packs of disposable AAs at your local grocery store or big box retailer.
For this reason, Alkaline batteries will likely remain the most popular battery type for use in trail cameras . If you care about being good to the environment and saving money, then by all means go ahead and use rechargeables.
Some people even advocate using both types of cells for different purposes, such as using rechargeables in trail cameras and alkalines for remote controls .
How to charge rechargeable batteries for trail cameras
You might be reading this and thinking, “Okay, rechargeable batteries can save me money and they’re good for the environment. How do I charge them to get the most out of them?”
This is a valid concern , as currently there are three different methods for charging Eneloop batteries: trickle charging , quick charging and solar charging .
The simplest way to charge your eneloops is by using a battery charger or external battery pack (like one from GoalZero), but these take several hours to complete a full charge.
This method is recommended if you know that you won’t be using your batteries for awhile and want to make sure they stay topped off until then. It’s also the best option for those who are not able to solar charge or use quick chargers.
For those who won’t be storing their batteries for very long, they might want to consider the Quick Charger. These popular chargers can recharge a battery in approximately 2-3 hours, which means that if you have one with multiple batteries , you can charge them all at once and then use them when you need them.
The catch here is that these types of chargers often cost around $25-$40, making them an expensive purchase just to keep your trail cameras running. They’re also fairly bulky, so this isn’t something you want to carry on every trip into the woods even though it is fairly lightweight.
This option makes more sense for those who can solar charge and need extra batteries for quick access.
Many hunters store their charged rechargeable batteries in a safe place and then swap them out as needed . This means they aren’t exposed to the hazards of weather, animals or theft (which might happen if you’re checking your cameras daily).
However, this option is only efficient enough given certain circumstances:
- If you deer hunt during daylight hours , that means that your trail cameras will only work during those times unless you have some type of battery charger.
- You must either carry spare batteries with you or be able to keep your charged cells inside your home at all times so you don’t miss any images due to dead batteries.
For most hunters who want efficient recharging, solar is the best choice. While you might lose some images over the course of a season, it ultimately gives you more time to manage your trail cameras between battery swaps and ensures that your batteries stay at peak performance.
How to get the most out of your rechargeable batteries in a trail camera
While it is a common misconception that you must fully drain a battery before recharging it , what you really want to do is keep them between 40-80% power.
In fact, most manufacturers advise against discharging batteries all the way down to zero as this actually damages the cell . After all, if you never allow it to recharge after using it, how can it possibly last as long as advertised?
Given this information, there are several different things you can do to get the most out of your rechargeable batteries for trail cameras:
Use Lithium or Rechargeable Alkaline Cells ,as mentioned earlier in this article, lithium batteries have a much longer lifespan than alkaline cells and’re more efficient at storing power.
Disposable lithium batteries are also more expensive that regular alkaline ones , but they’re worth the increased cost given how much longer they last. If you have a trail camera with adjustable power settings.
Use it even though most of today’s cameras come with low-energy night vision modes, you should still consider lowering your trail cameras’ illumination to the lowest setting possible. This will conserve battery life so you can spend more time in the woods instead of charging your equipment.
Understand what drains your batteries, Trail cameras have become increasingly high-tech over time and now include multiple features such as motion sensors and video recording, which use up more energy than those without them.
If you rarely think about checking lens flares or other external triggers, do yourself a favor and investigate no-glow trail cameras. They’re relatively affordable and operate on extremely low levels of power.
Be mindful of your camera’s temperature: Cold weather and nature go hand-in-hand, so it’s important to understand how temperature impacts a cell’s efficiency.
For instance, if you live in an area where the winter months last for several months, you’ll want to store your batteries inside when they aren’t being used instead of leaving them outside.
While the cold doesn’t damage cells directly, it does make them less efficient at holding power which means they will lose their charge faster.
Similarly, batteries react poorly to heat as well which makes them more susceptible to leakage or damaged cells. Heat can also cause the chemicals inside to break down which leads to shorter cell life.
What to do if your rechargeable battery dies in your trail camera
If you do find yourself with a dead battery and no replacement to swap it out with, don’t worry; there are several ways to provide your trail camera with the energy it needs until you’re able to get new batteries.
The simplest solution is to keep spare batteries inside or near your home at all times so that when one dies, you can swap it for a fully charged one without much fuss. However, this option restricts deer hunters who want to place their cameras in remote locations which require them to hike long distances.
Another solution would be investing in an external battery pack like those made by SolarAY or Bushnell. These devices will allow you to recharge your cell even if you leave your trail camera behind for several days at a time.
They’re typically able to recharge your cells two or three times before needing to be recharged themselves, so you won’t have to worry about running out of power anytime soon.
Whether you choose disposable or rechargeable batteries for your trail camera , it’s important that you fully understand how these devices operate if you want them to provide optimal performance. Dispose of dead batteries properly and keep the ones inside either cool or warm as needed, but never allow them to completely drain their power which can damage them beyond repair .
In addition, take care not to run over any cords with your vehicle as they’re very easy to tear, severing their connection from your system forever. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll be able to keep your trail cameras in working order for many years down the road.
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