CamPark T40 Trail Camera: did it pass the big test?

So we had a couple of issues with the new camera, but they’re only partly related to the camera itself.

My routine with the trail cams is to switch memory cards every morning (weather willing). The first time I switched out the micro disc on this camera, I wasn’t able to see the screen inside very well, which distracted me from something important. It wasn’t until I switched cards again the next day, and tried to view the second day’s recordings on the desktop, that I realized I had not formatted the card before using it. When I first set up the trail cam, I formatted the card right in the camera, but with the screen not working when I changed to the new card, I completely forgot, and hadn’t thought to do it on the desktop earlier.

Then we got hit with a blizzard and temperatures plummeted, which meant I did not get out to switch memory cards on the cameras for 2 days.

Yesterday, Christmas day, we actually hit -1C/30.2F!

That gave me the chance to get out, shovel paths to the cameras and switch out the memory cards.

The card on the new camera had nothing on it.

It was completely blank. Just like the screen inside, when I switched it to set up mode, turned it off, turned it back on.

The other camera had recordings on it, but only for 1 day, really. I got to see our angel driving past our driveway in his tractor, slowing down… then backing up and opening the door to look down our driveway… then pulling into our driveway and getting out to climb our gate to come to our door. What a pleasure to then watch as he later cleared our driveway! I was very impressed by his ability to maneuver that beast of a front end loader in reverse. That boy knows how to handle that machine! 😀

With the other camera, as the batteries drain, it shows up during night shots. White lines begin to appear, streaking across the frame, becoming more severe as the batteries drain more. It does not affect daytime shots, since the camera doesn’t use extra battery juice to power the infrared flash. In this older camera, there were a couple of night files, then nothing until the morning I switched cards. Which tells me we had nothing going by to trigger either camera for a day.

I ended up bringing the CamPark T40 inside, opening it up and turning it on and off, every now and then, as it warmed up. After a while, the screen inside did try to flicker to life, only to immediately go dark again. Once, it finally flickered on long enough that I could see the battery indicator.

It had only 1 bar!

I decided to put in fresh – room temperature! – batteries.

The camera worked just fine.

After having to reset the time and date again, I set it up outside again. I just checked the files this morning, and it worked beautifully. It even caught a deer that walked under it; it had to have just jumped the fence behind the camera, then used the path I’d shoveled to walk to the driveway. With the other cameras, it would never have been caught. The other camera did not catch the deer at all, even though it walked across the driveway. The motion sensor range on this camera is so much broader! This is a huge bonus.

As for the other batteries, because they were new, chances are they are fine now that they’re thawed out. I don’t have a battery tester, though, so we’ll find out when we try to use them in other things.

With the other cameras, the batteries are dropped in from the bottom, 4 wide and 2 deep. This camera has all 8 batteries in one flat row. It seems that this makes them much more susceptible to the cold!

As winter progresses, we will see how much of a problem this will be. I think, as soon as we can afford to, I’ll invest in a solar charged battery pack for it, and we shall see how those handle the cold.

As this point, I am glad we still have one of the old cameras going, as it kept recording in the cold, even as the new camera’s batteries froze and failed.

Right now, that is the main thing that makes me hesitate about getting another CamPark T40. At least for winter use.

The Re-Farmer

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