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The battery life of the trailcamera is shorter than I expected. What could be the reason for this?
There are various types of batteries that you can put in your wildlife camera; including Lithium batteries, Alkaline batteries, en Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)- en Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) rechargeable batteries. These batteries not only differ in the amount of voltage they deliver, but also in their tolerance for the ambient temperature. Lithium batteries offer the most resistance to extreme temperatures, in contrast to Alkaline batteries which offer the least resistance. At high and low temperatures, batteries generally lose a lot of energy unnecessarily, which decreases their longevity. For the best performance of a battery, the ambient temperature should be around 15-25°C. It is therefore good to take this into account when you want to use the trailcamera for a longer period.
When using the batteries, the capacity of the battery (voltage and the mAH value) gradually decreases. This is called discharge. Eventually the batteries reach the 'cut-off' point; i.e. the moment when the game camera switches off. This differs per type of battery, whereby the Lithium battery again comes out best (Lithium batteries are also for this reason the most popular) and an Alkaline battery again the worst (see graph below).
Schematic representation of the discharge curve for Lithium (dark blue), Alkaline (red), NiMH (light blue) and NiZn (yellow) batteries, including a 'cut-off point' (dotted line).
The self-discharge of the battery must also be taken into account. Self-discharge means that batteries lose power when they are not used. For example, consider 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.