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What Do You Need To Know About Solar Panels And Trail Cameras?

Solar Panel On A Tree

If you have a Spartan Camera, “You Don’t Have To Be There!” However, if you have a solar panel for your trail camera, then you won't have to be there! 

All trail cameras require a battery supply to function and, depending on your settings, you may require more power to keep your camera working. Typically, using a trail camera could require two to five trips per year to replace your batteries. And that is with optimal settings and an energy-efficient trail camera using lithium-ion batteries.

Check out TrailCamPro's article on the Spartan GoLive’s battery life. If you don’t plan on going out there for more than 6-12 months, you should consider a solar panel setup. 

Cody Smith with a hat installing a solar panel on a tree.

Solar panels are simple to set up:

1. Use a dedicated mount to secure your panel to a tree

2. Plug directly into your camera or battery box if needed

3. Manage the cables to prevent snagging.

4. Done!

The issue with plug-and-play is that you have to use the manufacturer's recommended setup. Solar panels have different outputs measured in wattages that convert solar energy to DC power to a voltage that your trail camera can use. According to BatteryStuff.com, you need a solar panel controller for a panel that outputs over 5 watts. The voltage needed by the camera can vary as well, so it's important to distinguish between 6-12 volts.

Be sure to check your trail camera product manual or with a support team to verify that the trail camera can self-regulate the incoming power. The risk of not using a controller and/or inverter can be catastrophic to your equipment.

The Spartan Ghost and GoLive have internal controllers that can handle up to 15 watts without an issue (Ghost & GoLive Solar Kit); however our GoCam model does not have this internal regulator. 

For the GoCam, we offer the Spartan battery box and solar panel (GoCam Solar Kit). The box has a built-in solar controller and a meter so that you don’t end up shorting the GoCam. The solar panel will charge up the 12-volt battery and then convert it to 6 VDC for the GoCam to use.

Solar panel mounted on a tree  with right side of panel with shade and the right side lighten up.

 

We don't recommend using a DIY setup, however, you can check out this tool to make sure you’re getting the right equipment. Spartan Camera encourages you to use our tested solar panel kits for the best results with our cameras. Please, let our support team know if you have any questions about our solar panels and equipment. 

Enjoy not having to be there with your new solar panel setup! 


Contributors: Kevin Warstadt, Alexander Geyer, Kyle Wei, and Cody Smith

Sources: 

“Solar Info: The Down Low on Everything Up High.” BatteryStuff.com: We Have The Stuff, www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles/solar-articles/solar-info.html.