Just thought I’d post a something about my experience with my first required change of batteries. Yesterday, whilst trying to view live, the camera stopped, and I got a warning. I can’t be certain now, but I think it said, ‘live view failed’. At first I put it down to a momentary glitch, and didn’t worry. Later, when I had time to check it out, and it still didn’t work, I brought the camera inside. As I approached it, and carried it inside, I heard it clicking, about once every second, if I recall correctly, but either way it was frequently.
I decided that it was likely to be the batteries, because I’d had the camera installed for about 6 months, in a relatively high traffic area. I’d already assessed that I was probably using about 4 to 5 times more than what they describe as typical usage, so the fact that it failed now is entirely consistent with their predicted usage from the recommended, and indeed, included batteries.
Because I was curious about reported battery voltages, I measured them in place, whilst still clicking. As expected, from many reports in this forum, one battery was lower than the other, but both were in the low voltage range, as can be read about by looking at the discharge profile for these batteries. As it clicked, there was a significant drop in each battery voltage, probably demonstrating two things. First, the batteries really were finished, and secondly, the item that is clicking, is using quite a lot of power, to load the batteries to the extent that there is a significant voltage drop, even whilst bearing in mind that the batteries were at the bottom end of their discharge profile.
Whilst clicking like this, there is no way the batteries could ever rest and recover, so you would be unlikely to ever get restored function, just by waiting, with the batteries installed. When I removed the batteries there was a massive bounce back, in relatively short order, and after less than an hour, I was able to put them back in and restore normal function, and even view live.
In all this time, the battery status read ‘OK’, including when it first went wrong. Who knows how long it would take, but I could guess that it might have taken another full day or so of clicking, before the under load voltages would have triggered a battery warning issue. Changing to new batteries today caused everything to go back to normal, immediately, and I didn’t have to do anything special to get it to rejoin.
The other observation I have with regard to battery life relates to activity zones. The batteries failed after a very windy night. On this camera, I have implemented zones to take out a bush, on the right hand edge of the view, which I know causes repeated triggers on windy days. Zones had worked perfectly to avoid the false triggers, and during this very windy night I didn’t receive a single alert. I can however imagine that the camera was ‘tripping’ and checking every few seconds, because it was so windy.
We know from reading about how the activity zones work, that the camera takes two stills, and performs image comparison between the two, to work out if the motion is zoned out or not, and the whole process means that the camera is operational for around two seconds, again from what we can read. In order to get the two images, in the dark, everything must be operational, including the IR illuminator, and I’m fairly sure that this would have been happening several times per minute, all throughout the night, just because it was so windy. There is little doubt in my mind that this is what finally did for my batteries, and wasted a lot of energy.
The same day I had the failure, yesterday, I ordered 16 new batteries and they were delivered today, carriage paid, for only £1.25 each. That’s only £2.50 for 6 months at 4 times normal or typical use.
The battery monitor is as close to useless as it’s possible to be, albeit for obvious reasons.
Battery usage is consistent with their claims, and running costs are very low, even as in my case, where I had around 4 times typical use. £2.50 for six months is a bargain, as far as I’m concerned. On other cameras, where I have less than typical use, I am now expecting the full two years, or better, so I am delighted.
If you have a misbehaving camera, change the batteries for new Energizer Lithium Ultimate before trying any other fault finding.
If it is clicking, and you take the batteries out for a while, it will probably work again when you put them back. This does not mean the batteries were okay, and it will probably fail again soon. If there is no activity my guess is they could last for weeks, but the problem here is that when there is something to detect, possibly something important, especially in the dark, you may well miss it, and they could let you down. If in any doubt go with new. You can always use the others for something else.
Reading the voltage of the rested batteries, not under load, tells you almost nothing. Right now, as I write, having let them rest for several hours, the two batteries now read 1.663V and 1.685V respectively. Yet under load they were down at 1.3V and 1.4V respectively, though I don’t recall the further decimals right now.
Activity zones don’t save anywhere near the amount of battery use that people think they do. Sure, it cuts out false alerts, nice, but it also means that the camera may have repeatedly been doing something of which you are now unaware, and cannot make corrections, such as realigning, or trimming that pesky bush.
For me, changing the batteries required nothing more complex than putting the new ones in, and everything came back as it did before. It might be wise to get them in quickly. I did, so I can’t say for sure if it had an effect, but I was hoping it might avoid anything more complex, so I didn’t hang around, and I was fine.