The batteries provide power to the trail camera and are of great influence on the optimal functioning of the camera. It is therefore important to pay attention to the batteries you use for your trail camera.
For today's trail cameras, Lithium batteries, Alkaline batteries, and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries are the most popular. They differ in their tolerance for the ambient temperature, whereby the Lithium batteries offer the most resistance against extreme temperatures. Alkaline batteries, on the other hand, offer the least resistance to high and low temperatures, causing them to lose energy unnecessarily and shorten their lifespan. For the most optimal performance, the ambient temperature is generally around 15-25°C. Keep this in mind when you want to use the camera trap for a longer period of time.
In addition, the self-discharge of the battery must be taken into account. Self-discharge means that batteries lose power when they are not used. Consider, for example, a situation where the batteries are taken out of the cabinet and then appear to be half-empty. The self-discharge of the battery is lowest in a cool and dry environment (e.g. refrigerator at 8°C). Especially the NiMH and NiZn rechargeable batteries are known for their high self-discharge. However, these batteries also exist in a so-called LSD ('Low Self Discharge') version, like our Panasonic Eneloop batteries.
Last but not least, we look at the capacity of the battery; in other words, the Voltage and the mAH value. When used, the capacity of the battery decreases (i.e. discharges). This differs per type of battery, whereby a Lithium battery lasts the longest (lithium batteries are also the most popular batteries for this reason) and an Alkaline battery is the worst in the test. Alkaline batteries degrade linearly, which means that after a short time considerably less energy can be supplied and the 'cut-off' point (i.e. the moment when the camera trap switches off) is quickly reached. This is shown in the graph below. It can also be seen that the discharge of the other types of batteries remains fairly stable during use and the camera can therefore remain on focus for longer. Lithium and NiZn batteries have besides a low discharge also a high voltage of about 1.7 to 1.8 V. This is useful for trail cameras that have to deal with high peak voltages. Please pay close attention to the number and type of batteries that go into the specification of the respective camera, so that your trail camera has sufficient power.
Some useful tips:
- when selecting a trail camera, pay close attention to the type and number of batteries recommended by the supplier;
- never use different types or old and new batteries all together. This hampers performance and can damage the trail camera;
- as a precaution, try to keep the batteries together as a set and to charge them at the same time (in the case of rechargeable batteries). In this way, if the camera malfunctions, you can additionally replace the set of batteries and find out if there is a battery problem;
- For long-term use of the trail camera, use an external battery pack or solar panel if possible. Be aware that your entire set-up will be a lot more expensive and will attract more attention, which may increase the risk of theft.