Summer Heat/Camera Placement
June 16, 2008

Summer Heat, Camera Placement & PIR Sensors

Lets correct one thing...

few years back when we first started to ravage the trail camera industry we began to notice a degree of mistakes that we seemed to make over and over. Each time we finally realized that we were repeating some mistakes, we started to take notes and write them down in our tips and tricks section of the site. Back then trigger times were running a couple days short of a week so we needed a good long time for the camera to see what was moving. We realized if we aimed our cameras up and down the trail we would have more success. We began to put this information out and all the camera companies picked up on this tip. This is probably a pretty good tip when it is pretty cold out and we have a big swing between animal body temperature and ambient temperature.

We have always stuck with this until we got our hands on a couple of these very neat little Scoutguard cameras and started to see the potential they had as far as size verses function, fast trigger and great function. We designed for this cam a short eye level stand for the smaller critters such as coons, coyotes and cats. This was a two cam stand, (back to back) which was designed to catch the animals coming down the trail and then show that same animal leave the area as he exited. Because the way the folks who build and sell trail cameras operate they are punching out all the new models in May, June, and July. Well it is hotter than He:: here and the day temperatures can reach or equal the body temperature of many of the target animals.

The PIR sensors are designed to accept the gradual warming from the sun without triggering the cam in most cases. The camera is looking down the trail at a foliage background that is fairly warm this time of year. Now lets put an animal on a direct approach to the camera, the camera is looking at a slow progression of a heat build up from a distance, compared to the background and will not trigger until that heat source is very close. This is very important to think of the approaching animal as a gradual heat change. Now the animal passes the camera that has seen him coming finally, only during the final seconds of the approach sometimes the first picture taken. Now he passes this cam and is fixing to enter the PIR zone of the exit cam that has been looking the other direction. Remember this exit cam has been looking at the wall of foliage down the trail and now instantly the animal comes between the camera and that distant foliage. There is an instant change and the sensor will immediately see the animal.

The past three weeks we have ran this test we have had about 80% more animals captured by the exit camera than that of the camera watching the approach. Now how do we make a correction to improve our success on the approaching animals? Being this is a trail situation we must realize that it is a two way street. The animals move back and forth on the same path. This means that what we do to the camera looking in one direction must also be done to the camera that is looking in the reverse. This means that the cam can still look down the trail this time of year but not straight down the trail. Moving a distance off the trail so the look down the trail is at an angle should take that constant background away, and show the cam there has been a change when the animal is approaching. Remember the reason for looking up and down the trail is to compensate for a slower trigger time and allow the cam to react and capture the picture. In order for the cam to see the approaching animal better then we have to look more across the trail but still down the trail. This angle will depend on just how fast your cam is. The quicker the cam the sharper the angle can be. Most of our testing has been done in the video mode so we can pick up the slow progression of the scene. If we can keep these cams performing under these
Georgia summer conditions then they surely should shine when the cool temperatures are back upon us.




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