Trail cameras, just like other electronic devices, will require maintenance to keep functioning correctly. And from time to time, lack of support can cause the device not to operate well.
If you are a trail camera user, a hunter, or someone who loves to take outdoor shots, you need to know how to troubleshoot your trail cam without bringing it to a professional. Fixing your own camera problem helps you become more independent.
Game camera troubleshooting will help you to save money in the long run. Not to mention, it will lengthen the lifespan of your trail camera.
We’ve gathered the top ten best troubleshooting tips that you need to know for your trail camera with adequate research. Try these tips to get your trail camera functioning and working properly in no time.
Some hunters experienced this dilemma before. You’ve charged your batteries properly, mount it in the forest, and leave it for a few weeks only to find out that it didn’t take any pictures at all. Why? Because the device wouldn’t turn on and the battery is dead. This can be a frustrating experience. You’ve missed the opportunity of capturing bucks because of dead cells.
When you experience this battery issue, either the trail camera is poorly made, or the batteries you’ve installed are cheap. A high-end camera model paired with a set of batteries from a trusted brand can last for a month without being checked. Besides that, buying quality batteries can help you save yourself from the frustration of not taking photos that you wanted.
We suggest that you invest in Lithium batteries. While it may not be the cheapest batteries in the market, these batteries have been proven to lengthen the service life of your trail camera. Battery life is the biggest advantage between Lithium and alkaline batteries or another power source. Using the right equipment for the job helps you get back on the trail and photographing what you love.
This issue is also one of the most frustrating things you have to deal with when working with your trail cameras with IR LEDs. Empty images can eat up the storage of your SD card, drain the battery, and miss the opportunity of an actual buck traveling in the area. The last thing you want to experience is having to wait for a few weeks, retrieve your trail camera, and see hundreds of empty it on your computer.
The solution will depend on the root cause of your empty images. Say, for example, if the wind movement is causing your trail camera to capture tons of blank photos, you need to change your trail camera angle and ensure that the wind will not make a false motion alarm. If the circumstances allow you, you may clear the ground of the dirt to improve the image.
On the other hand, sunlight can also cause blank images. The sensor technology of your device is too sensitive that it can detect the wind movement and heat. Therefore, you should make sure that your trail camera is facing the northern part. If your trail camera is facing the opposite direction of the setting and the rising sun, it won’t capture the heat movement either.
Aside from empty images, one of the frustrating things you can encounter is saving tons of blurred images of what looks like a buck. You will have difficulty finding out details you want to know if the image is blurry, which is especially frustrating for a security camera. Here’s how you can solve it.
You just need to tweak the settings of your trail camera before you go. Put the trail or stealth camera into the multi-shot mode. You will see it on the “Setup.” The options will allow you to choose how many shots will be captured consecutively in the multi-shot mode. Choose your desired number and click the “Select.” After that, you can put your trail camera into “Auto” mode before you leave the forest.
SD Card Error Messages
SD card error messages are natural and can be fixed in just a few minutes. However, isn’t it frustrating if the error message shows up when you’ve only mounted the trail camera and ready to leave? Memory card error messages are an indication that you must format your SD card.
Formatting your memory card is easy. All you need to do is remove the SD card from the trail camera and insert it into your computer. Go to My Computer, right-click the SD card folder, and click “Format.” A formatted SD card will also reset your trail camera, allowing you to save photos without much hassle.
LCD Display Going Out
In some cases, the LCD of the trail camera completely goes out. It does not get any light, or if it does, it’s all blurry and difficult to manipulate. This kind of problem would make you think that there’s something seriously wrong with the system itself. However, although it’s daunting and you’re dealing with a sensitive part of your trail camera, you can still troubleshoot it by yourself.
First, you need to format your SD card. As mentioned earlier, if you format your SD card, it will automatically reset your trail camera, too. In that way, you will be able to see the display on your LCD.
Another thing you can try is to replace the batteries. Some models of trail cameras will fail to load the display on the LCD if the batteries are too weak to power the trail camera. And make sure that you do not use rechargeable batteries for your trail camera.
Picture this; you’ve got everything ready. You even made fake vegetation around your trail camera so that no one will spot it easily. You’ve spent days scouting the area, looking for the right angle. And after a few weeks, you come back only to discover that none of your photos were saved, especially when you’re looking for the best game.
Make sure that your SD card has enough space to save new photos. While some trail cameras will automatically delete the oldest photos once the SD card is full, you need to ensure that it has sufficient space to accommodate new photos.
Aside from that, we suggest that you buy an SD card with no less than 8GB storage space. Some hunters have reported that the 8GB storage space can only last for a few days before you get the memory full.
You must also check and ensure that the SD card brand you’re using is compatible with your trail camera. Otherwise, it will not save photos. And check again if the SD card is inserted properly on the slot.
You may also check if the SD card is in “protect” mode. The SD card won’t save new photos that the trail camera has captured if it is. Just turn it off, and your trail camera will start saving new pictures to the SD card.
If you’ve done these things and it still does not save photos, your last resort is to format your SD card.
Internal Parts Are Submerged in Water
Your trail camera is waterproof, yes. But keep in mind that the device is not designed for total submersion in the water. Some hunters destroy their trail cameras by accidentally submerging it in the water. In this case, you may have to bring your trail camera to a professional and see if it can still be repaired. But there are ways that you can avoid this problem from happening in the first place.
Stay away from creeks and other bodies of water when hanging your camera. You can’t predict the weather, and if it suddenly storms, your trail camera tends to fall into the creek. Even a windy day can cause this incident.
Therefore, you should ensure that when you mount your trail camera, it is safe from any bodies of water. Assuming that it falls into the ground, make sure that there are no muddy parts or water around that may destroy your trail camera.
Lost Connection of Your Trail Camera to Your Phone
Some advanced wireless trail cameras can directly send pictures that it has captured on your phone. In that way, you don’t have to visit it from time to time and check your progress. However, there are times when the trail camera loses connection to your phone. Here’s how you can solve it.
Check your trail camera by yourself to see what’s causing the loss of connectivity. It might be an indication that the batteries are dead or the SD card is full to save new photos. Some other factors can also cause the lost connection between your trail camera and phone, such as poor signal and wildlife disturbances.
Whatever it is that may because of the loss of connection, you will only find it and diagnose the problem once you pay your trail camera a visit to the forest.
False Motion Alarm
Another common problem you encounter with a trail camera is a false motion alarm. This happens when you mount your camera directly in front of a twig. When the wind blows, the camera will detect the motion and will automatically capture the image. Even leaves swaying can trigger your camera to snap hundreds of photos with nothing to show but green blurs.
Make sure that when you mount your trail camera, there is no obstruction from anywhere. Clear away branches and twigs that might move with the wind; otherwise, the device will pick up the motion and capture a photo. Your camera location should allow for the device’s optics and flash to capture as much wildlife as possible. Keep it free from visual obstructions such as rain, snow, and leaves, and ensure that the camera setting, detection distance, and flash range are optimal for photographing wild game. But if you cannot move certain objects, you may consider repositioning your camera instead.
Trail Camera Doesn’t Work
If your trail camera stopped working, do not panic. Some causes lead to this issue, and there are some solutions as well. Retrieve your camera from where it’s mounted and bring it home for further diagnosis.
The first thing that you need to check is the battery. In trail cameras, the battery is one of the first things that wear out. That’s why we recommend that you invest in Lithium AA batteries. This kind of battery will not only last for a long time, but it can also preserve the service life of your trail camera.
If the batteries are doing great, you need to check the SD card. A corrupted SD card can cause the trail camera to shut down. Try to format or install a new SD card in your device and see if it turns on again.
You must also check for any signs of water damages. If your trail camera had been soaked and submerged in water without you knowing, it may cause your trail camera to shut down. By then, you need to ask for a professional’s help and see if your trail camera can still be repaired and fixed.
1The Bottom Line
You must know how to troubleshoot your trail camera to avoid the hassle, especially when you’re in the field when the problem occurs. You don’t need to be an expert to fix an issue; you just need to know how to properly use your game camera.
You just need to familiarize yourself with the basics of trail camera troubleshooting, and you’re good to go. There are hardly any tools required in troubleshooting your trail camera – just your knowledge.
Trail game cameras are expensive hunting investments. Aside from maintaining the device, you also need to troubleshoot it now and then. Since it utilizes technology and technology continues to evolve nowadays, you must consider upgrading your trail camera as well.
If you can no longer fix your trail camera, it’s about time you opt for a high-end trail camera that will offer you the best of results when it comes to deer hunting and wildlife photography. Trail cameras, if used and maintained properly, can serve you in the wild for years to come.