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New Homemade Gadget!


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#1 TerryfromAR

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:10 AM

Well all after mulling it over a bit I decided I'd try making up a 6v external battery setup for my trailcam to save the $10 every 2 weeks or so of C-cell batteries, because over time it adds up. I went to Academy initially so I could get the rechargeable battery and the solar panel because quite frankly around here, Gander Mtn can't even get close to competing on price. The same solar panel I paid $20 for at Academy is $9 higher at Gander, so I have decided to swear off them for a while. But I'm ranting, LOL I also made a stop by Harbor Freight, don't know if any of ya'll have one in ya'lls neck of the woods, but they sell lower name brand tools and equipment for ridiculously low prices in MOST cases. It's not really quality stuff, but it works well enough for the price you pay, you just have to pick and choose what you buy. There I picked up a cheap $5 plastic tool box and about 20 sets of alligator clips for $3. Robbed a modem power supply off my work truck and got started on my battery pack set up.... Now all that is left is the hour trip out to Rosston to get it connected and see how it works. LOL

This is a pic from the outside

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And this is the simplistic inside view.....

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Total assembly cost to me, $35 and 20 minutes. If it works I'll post back and let ya'll know how well or poorly. I'll also post back to let ya'll know how long it holds up. my biggest concern is how water-tight the box itself is. The lowest price for the "factory" external battery pack is $60 so I reduced my cost by almost 50%

Edited by TerryfromAR, 12 August 2012 - 09:11 AM.

Semper Fi

#2 TerryfromAR

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:32 AM

If you are considering doing something similar, take the number of batteries your unit uses, and multiply by 1.5 and that gives you the voltage as AA, AAA, C, and D are all 1.5V, most of the cameras I have seen are 6, 9 or 12v and most use the same style plug, though you do have some exceptions so check before you buy or destroy anything that might not work.
Semper Fi

#3 RobertR

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 10:54 AM

Terry I to did something similar but without the solar panel and use basically a gel cell motor cycle battery. It eliminated bying c-cell batteries. I ran it this last winter for three months straight in sub zero temps and it still had enough charge to go longer.
They make a couple solar panels with an internal battery for about $55.
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#4 Leo

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 11:46 AM

Matching the voltage is actually sometimes more complicated when going from one time use batteries to rechargeables.

Often rechargeables are higher initial voltage than their one time use equivalents. If the device you hook it up to is not rated for the slightly higher voltage you can "smoke" the electronics. Make sure you actually check the fully charged voltage of the battery pack before you hook it up. If it's higher you might want to do some research to see how much the device will take.

Not all rechargeables are capable of delivering enough current to run all devices. An Alkaline 6V is actually a pretty strong battery (about 27000mah). 4 Alkaline C size would be 6v and 8000mah. A rechargeable 6v might be good for only 4500mah.

The solar panel will only work for you if it can deliver more current than the device is drawing.

An alternative option you do have, if it doesn't work out for you, is using the housing for a 6V alkaline and forgetting about using the Solar panel. You'll get more than 3x the battery life out of the Alkaline 6V versus 4 c size.
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#5 TerryfromAR

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 03:00 PM

Robert, that's good to hear, I'm really hoping I can get a good long life out of this rig.....

Leo as always you provide alot of good input, The solar panel is actually rated for this particular brand and style of battery, I'm hoping my trail cam won't drain the battery so low so fast that the solar panel can't recharge it. The solar panel is just there as a recharge for the battery so I'm hoping all goes well with it... Haven't put a VOM on it yet so that is something I'll have to check on.
Semper Fi

#6 TerryfromAR

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:29 AM

Well all it worked. Mostly.... When I got there I found out the "External Power Port" I had located on my WGI IR4 was not the external power port but rather a compartment for the watch batteries that power the backup to keep the time and date correct when the main power supply runs out. I opened up the housing and did a direct connect to the power input on the circuitboard, and it works well so far... I haven't pulled the card to check the quality of the pictures, but it did take a few pictures of me while I was setting up and checking. I'm giving serious thought to replacing the WGI's with something else at the end of the season. I also got the WGI IR2 (I believe its a 3rd generation because of the ring of LEDs as opposed to the upside-down pyramid) up and running on a one time use 6V battery and it seemed to be working as well. I'm going back on Sept 15th to bow hunt and check cams so when I get back I'll post pics so you can see the results. I also planted my foodplot seeds and rebuilt the guts of my feeder motor as the raccoons did quite a number ripping the lid off chewing wires and leaving the timer laying on the ground for I don't know how long, after the rebuild, I connected a fresh battery and did a basic function check and it seems to be fully operational, now just to shell out the $$$$ to fill the feeder up.......
Semper Fi




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