Using Trail Cameras For Wildlife Video Part II

This post is about external battery use and portability. I find the portability very useful in some situations.

Adventuridge camera with mount and and DC adapter plug.

I mentioned in part I of this post that I used external batteries due to the demands on AA batteries using video. The most convenient containers I’ve found are plastic ammo boxes. They are water tight and have a handle. The two Adventuridge cameras I have, come with a small articulated mount with wing nuts for adjusting. I drilled a hole in the lid of two ammo boxes and mounted the cameras with one end of the adjustable arm bolted to the box with a washer having rubber on one side. This gave me an easy package to carry around and move frequently. Also easy to steal, you might say and that’s correct. I only use this setup when I’m well off the trail on remote, restricted property or my property. The ammo box approach might be appropriate for some situations and with a 9 amp-hr battery it lasts a long time. I don’t have data on the comparisons with double A batteries. I occasionally use a small charger made for motorcycles when I bring in a camera.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

 

 

The Adventuridge requires an adapter if you’re using standard 5.5mm DC plugs.

 

Regardless of whether I use the ammo box mount, a tree or or a stake method I often conceal a second camera for a slightly different field of view that also includes the first camera if it’s a bit exposed. See photo.

I mount a DC connector to the battery box below the clamp that holds the box closed and run a connector to the camera on top. I haven’t had problems with the exposed wire but I’ve had a raccoon tip the camera. The articulated connection is pretty firm but can’t handle the weight of a chubby raccoon using it for playground equipment.

 A second method using the ammo boxes simply uses a wooden stake with a DIY 1/4-20 thread mount. This allows the battery box to be completely camouflaged but the whole apparatus can be recovered quickly. I store an extra DC jumper in the battery box for longer reach for either a stake mount or a tree mount. I can’t say the box mount is better than the standard tree mount but if it’s in a safe, remote area it’s very convenient. It depends on your situation. A well concealed tree mount is probably the best bet in most situations.

An aluminum adapter was made to fit the stake to the bottom threaded mount.

 

 

This is a piece of aluminum in the slot for the strap. It was drilled and tapped to make a threaded mount where there wasn’t one.

I usually use stakes for soft ground but if a hammer is used to insert the stake, I remove the camera while I pound it in.

 

 

 

Battery box internal with extra jumper. Two 3/4″ pieces of insulation board (extruded polystyrene) hold the 9 Amp-Hr, 12v sealed lead-acid batteries in place.

If you’re into trail cameras,
I hope this might give you some helpful alternatives.

I should add that the Stealth Cam Unit X Ops mentioned in Part I has stopped recording after five years of service. (It always had noisy audio anyway.) I replaced it with a Browning Recon Force Extreme and its video quality is head and shoulders above all the other cameras. It also has excellent dynamic range and good audio. It would be my choice if I bought another trail cam.

Parts List

  • PowerStar 12V 9Ah EXP1290 Sealed Lead Acid Battery  US $18.88  (EBAY)
  • New Car Motorcycle 12V Multimode Portable Battery Charger ATV Tender Maintainer $7.21 (EBAY)
  • 10 pcs DC 5.5×2.1mm Female to 3.5×1.35mm Male Plug Connector Adapter US $6.95 (EBAY)
  • 20 Pairs Male and Female 2.1×5.5mm DC Power Plug Jack Adapter Connector for CCTV US $8.44 EBAY
  • 10 Pcs Panel Mount 2.1×5.5mm Power Jack DC Socket (EBAY)
  • An equivelant ammo box goes on sale at Harbor Freight for $3.99

 

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