2010 HCO Scoutguard SG580
8MP 36 count red flash Camera Review
camera arrived some time back and has had its place in
line for way too long. We had another couple of cameras
ahead but one of those cameras failed miserably and we
had to stop the review which opened up a little time to
move forward with this camera. I went and got in the
middle of the ATT crowd and they stripped me of some
cash for what they call a SIM card. We will have to go
through the procedures plus download all the current
camera upgrades from Boly Media to ensure we are running
on the latest firmware. Camera programming operations
are controlled by a removable on board remote, clipped
inside the battery compartment.
is a good looking camera with the unusual design of
having the array across the bottom front of the camera.
There is a little stubby antenna at the top and it will
break off the first bump so be careful of this. There
should be some after market antenna for this camera I
would think. The basic other function is purely Boly
Media in nature like all Scoutguards except for the
programming to get this camera to work on the air. Be
ready to expend some dollars and time and patience to
achieve full satisfactory function. This camera
now comes in a camo version as well.
One thing we noticed out of the box is that our remote
has a range of 1/2 inch which tells us that the disc
battery is low/bad. A trip to wally world should
fix this as it is easily replaceable.
At some point we will explain the saga of what we
learned about AT&T Prepaid Go Phones, how our money went
down the tubes, and whether we finally get some results
on this unit using the Sim card but first we will
complete the standard tests for trigger, and range, and
samples. We feel this camera is very much similar
to the SG560 and that the SG560 camera function is
basically the same as this camera but we will continue
on with the basic testing.
11/06/2010 A note on Cellular/MMS set up: I
would not even try using the remote to input the
settings. Instead edit a set up file which will
appear on the SD card after you have gone into set up
the first time. Pull your SD card from the camera
and place it in your SD card reader on the computer and
open the MMS folder. There will be a file called
Profile.ini. Double click this file to open
it in Notepad on Windows. We have the following
settings in our profile.ini. These settings are
specifically for AT&T and we purchased the Go Phone
; for SG550M MMS
Of course you will
input your cell phone numbers and email address in the
four each provided slots after the = sign without spaces
or dashes. With an activated phone, we were able
to get the camera to text our cell phone with the photos
but not our email addresses. We do not currently
have a data plan on our Go Phone and this could be the
reason we are not getting any emails. We
definitely prefer to receive the photos as email.
If you do not have
every character exactly correct in your profile.ini your
camera will not send text messages.
requirement to note is that you have to set a camera
password in order for the cellular features to work.
This means that each time you go into set up using the
remote you will have to input your secret password.
This is to unlock the camera and has nothing to do with
your SIM card and phone plan. The initial password
is 0000. You will make up a new password and input
it twice. You will have to use the remote for this
operation which is not part of the profile.ini.
To move to the next field using the remote press the #
button on the remote. Unless you know this you
will never get it to work.
The camera will take
photos in either 3MP or the 5MP settings and save the
originals to the SD card but will create a 320x240
thumbnail and send this via text messaging (MMS) to your
cell or email.
MMS stands for
Multimedia Messaging Service and is employed by
cellular phones on the market for sending/receiving text
messages that can include photo, audio, and other media
embedded in the message. The SG580 utilizes the
MMS system for sending these 320x240 thumbnails.
They can theoretically be sent to phones and computers
via email. Initially when this camera first came
out, we heard that the thumbnail was 640x480 but because
of partial and lost messages the size was reduced to
The camera has a
delay setting which can be as low as 0 seconds, yet it
takes as much as 20 or more seconds depending on the
connection speed to send a text message from the camera.
If the delay is set too short or shorter than this time
and the camera is triggered again, the current operation
may be aborted in favor of the newest photo taken.
What this means is that you may not receive all photos
even though they are all saved on the SD card. The
system does not queue up the photos as they are taken to
be sent went there is time under the "Instant" setting.
MMS Mode can
be Off, Manual, Instant or Daily Report. The Off
setting will turn this into a standard scouting camera
for use without the cellular features which is nice.
cellular set up in the field requires a couple of
things. Take your sim card phone (charged up) with you.
When you plug the SIM card into the SG580 and move to
set up mode and input your password followed by OK,
there is an indicator on the lcd display that looks like
a sim card. If it has an X inside then you have
communication problems, a heart shape inside means you
are good. There are also bars like on your cell
phone as well to indicate signal strength. We were
told that two bars are the minimum for reliable
messaging. If in doubt, use your SIM card phone and send
a text message to your regular cell phone or someone who
can call you back and say "yea I got it". This
proves that at that location it should work ok.
Having two phones with you is a good idea for
diagnostics or you can place the MMS Mode to Manual and
browse the photos and click the delete button. The
camera will then allow you to choose Delete or Send.
Select Send to manually test the camera in the field.
Do not forget to change the MMS Mode back to Instant
before you leave it hanging on the tree. If you do
not have any photos on your card, you can also use the
remote to force the camera to take a photo, then
manually send it.
We made some discoveries about Go Phone plans and
Text Messaging. The AT&T Go Phone will support
text messaging at 25 cents per which would chew up some
cash rather quickly. Instead we purchased for $5,
a 200 text messaging per month plan. We now have
the camera sending text messages but not emails.
At the moment we are trying to determine if a data plan
is required to send the emails. We wish this
camera to work but we are not satisfied with picture
messages to our cell phone as the only source.
Unless we can get emails with picture attachments it is
not going to work for us. Our cell phone screen is
just too small and inconvenient for picture viewing.
I finally discovered what is required to get pictures
sent to both the phone and/or the email. Use the
remote and get into the menu settings. On the screen
where it says "Send To", Change it from "Number" to
"Both". the other option is "Email". If you do not
have any phone numbers configured make sure you set it
to "Email". This now proves that an AT&T Prepaid
Go Phone with a text message plan with out a data plan
will work in the field for both phone texts and emails.
This gives you control over the costs with out a long
thoughts on this camera: Being this camera
falls into the cell category, it fits more into
Anthonys expertise. I followed all the build up on this
camera from the time several months ago when we first
received the first unit. I made the initial purchase of
a cell plan so we could do the testing. Most of that
effort was in vain because of the lack of support
information. Slowly there were a few field testers that
managed to go ahead and spend their money and get into
the depth of cell system testing using the hit and miss
system and our forum was a running log of those efforts
which the group coordinated very well over the past
month or so. Each and every one in that group came up
with something new until it was somewhat figured out.
There is still some areas that they are prodding into
and may lead to some more documentation of this
There seems to be a
definite interest in this product with its price and the
need to also enlist into some external commitment of
sort with some type of cell phone arrangement. There
seems to be a wide variety of options that carries
different prices in order to have that support. These
appear to have been somewhat researched and there has
been some pretty good documentation of these figures
also. The basic consensus seems to be that it is for the
most part affordable provided that you choose the right
Now, it has been
determined that the system will work to a degree. Here
are the questions. Is the end result good enough to
support the cost of the camera and a supporting
contract? My take on this is no because of the limited
picture quality of the low resolution transmitted
pictures. The reason I say this is Anthony kept asking
me if I had gotten the deer pictures that this system
had transmitted. I kept telling him no and when he
went to work tracing those pictures we found out that I
indeed had received the pictures. The problem was that I
could not determine that there were actually deer in the
pictures with out having him telling me just where they
were. My thoughts were that the system still needs to
be upgraded to a higher resolution to improve picture
quality in transmitted pictures plus there needs to be a
much better antenna supplied for the camera so the area
reception is improved.
This time around we just looked mainly at the stand
alone operations of this camera. It has limited function
in the wireless operations due to some speed functions
where the camera is much faster than its ability to
actually send everything that the camera is taking. Some
have been somewhat happy with their results but to me I
see where this camera really holds its own is in its
just plain trail camera mode where you get the pictures
straight of the card. They are very good both day and
night as you can see by the examples. I could very easy
just tuck the antenna back in the box and just go with
its regular ability.
We are still getting photos from this camera but only
from the sd card. We used the AT&T Go phone plan
and subscribed to a 200 text messaging plan. The
camera faithfully transmitted its 200 photos to our
computer email then stopped as you would expect.
We did not pump more funds into the Go Phone plan and
have continued checking this cam as a regular trail
camera swapping the SD card. We found on analysis
of the transmitted photos vs the photos on the SD card,
that we received only around 40% of the actual photos
taken with a delay setting of 30 seconds. Reports
from users on our forum show that a delay of 1 minute or
more is required to ensure that all photos are
transmitted to your phone or email. Apparently
depending on signal levels up to a full minute is
required to send the 320x240 photo image. Our herd
sighting is low due to hunting pressure but counts so
far are 348 photos with 200 transmitted wirelessly.
We will continue running this camera until the batteries
fail and supply a final update. We are closing the