Remote Cameras?: Trail Cams-SD card, Bluetooth or Cell; Reolink-cell security.

Wits' End

Flashlight Enthusiast
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Nov 27, 2001
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Remote NEast Minnesota, next to Lake Superior
I live somewhat remotely, in a rural area. I'd like to know more about who comes on to our property. Convenience and cost are more important than immediate knowledge.
Screenshot_20220628-000234.png
Our "driveway" runs a mile south, from a County Road, along the west side of "hayfield". About an ⅛ of a mile South of the CR, we have an enclosed trailer. We use it to receive packages. About ⅝ of a mile back we have a trash dumpster. About a mile back is our house. Going off to the East from there, is a trail/road running ½ mile to the other side of our property.
We drive our "driveway" at least 5 times a week. The other side of the property a few times a year.
Whatever devices are used, I have concern about vandalism and theft. So inaccessible high mounting is probably my first priority.

I have not used any devices I'm asking about. Any guidance will be helpful!
First thoughts were "normal trail cameras",[$50 range] but switching SD cards out seems like a pain. We will have a lot of animal traffic.
Next thoughts were Bluetooth Trail Cams[$70 range], those could be downloaded from our "driveway" and if solar powered, we could probably access 1ce or 2ce a year.
The thoughts that led me here, were using cellular outdoor security cameras [$200 range]. I think even with minimal repeating cell costs (~$100+/year) would be too much for my budget.
I wasn't sure if it was ok to put links in posts, so I didn't. I also didn't ask about other fora.
My thoughts right now are to "BUY BOTH" my first options, see what happens. But BUY BOTH, only works with flashlights, knives, pens and....... 😁
So advice away!
And Happy Tau Day
 

KITROBASKIN

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New Mexico, USA
How good is your cell tower reception? Who is your carrier? Have you talked to them or researched what package options they offer after you decided to look at a particular model?

Know that not all trail cams will accept the lower voltage of NiMH AA's and alkaline replacement is real with a lot of triggers. There are driveway sensors that indicate a vehicle has passed.

I got a Dzees security camera from Amazonkers. It has internal rechargeable batteries and requires an active connection to WiFi for recording AND viewing at this point. It does have solar capability. This probably will not work for you except maybe near your house. Since ours is pointing at our front door and carport, it gets lots of hits and lasts for maybe 3 weeks before charging. I do not have the solar option. One must remember that solar panels need sunlight, so the trail cam units with the solar panel integral with the camera will be limited to a sunny location.

As far as theft of our camera, that is an issue. One neighbor has her camera fairly high in a tree with a detached solar panel mount. It can be defeated with determination. Others trail cam models have a security strap but that is not foolproof either.

I have not tried the fancy options Dzees offers because it would cost money after the free trial. The mount uses a 1/4"X20 bolt and that makes it compatible with basic tripod mounts, which I use. It could be mounted high on the house but the solar option is pretty much necessary to avoid using a ladder to recharge every time.

Regularly I use an iPhone to look at what was recorded. That takes time. I installed a large capacity data card in the camera. It can give notifications to the phone but that is so time consuming during the day to deal with. Depending how much foliage is in view of the camera, significant wind will trigger it, even at the least sensitive setting. It is nice to look in real time what the camera sees, and there is capability to sound a feeble alarm tone and speak through the camera but have never used that feature pragmatically.

Raindrops on the lens distort quite a lot. Nothing of concern have we seen on a recording, though a moth who lands at the lens then takes off looks rather like a monster alien. Night vision is good, the emitters glow red a little.

Good luck!

Thanks for mentioning Tau Day. We (son and I) watched (mostly listened) to a 14 minute video.

e to the i Tau equals One

 
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Wits' End

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Messages
2,321
Location
Remote NEast Minnesota, next to Lake Superior
Thanks Kitrobaskin!
I and my family generally use MVNOs. If I go cell I would probably try EIOT, a prepaid data only provider. My best service comes from Verizon overall, AT&T is a close 2nd.
I left out that I live off grid, oops, no WiFi at home. Only cell service for last 22 or so years. Ham-phone patch before that for 5 years.
Nearest two "cities" average residents about 2300. County is bigger than Rhode Island, with a population of <12,000, humans at least.
Your input about time to watch video, and I assume download too. Makes me think that my idea of using phone/BT/WiFi direct, is ok for a glimpse, but not avoiding camera contact. So probably start with plain trail cams, see how it goes.
The added input of water drops' interference, reinforces the idea of sheltering, or hooding the cameras. And if I go with sub $50 cameras, I have to decide if I should watch 1 with another, or plan on loosing some.

If I don't get more input by this weekend, I'll probably go cheap at Walmart. $30 in gas, or wait for shipping?
 

KITROBASKIN

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New Mexico, USA
Hey we live off grid as well!
When COVID began we had to get Viasat satellite in order to work from home as educators. That is how we have WiFi but it is not without complications.

We used MVNO’s for many years, and really appreciate less cost for cell phone service.

Regarding trail cams; how about giving us feedback on your experience? Addressing questions like battery expense, accessing the images/video and success with recording events would be appreciated.
 

Wits' End

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Messages
2,321
Location
Remote NEast Minnesota, next to Lake Superior
Sounds good 👍🏼
I bit the bullet [I hope, not a dum-dum] on two Tasco 12MP from Wal-Mart. For entry level, they get decent reviews and footage on YouTube. I'll set them up at house for a few weeks. Then play at sites out and about. I'm starting with an Energizer and eventually upgrade to Streamlight. Not Maglight then Surefire 😁
 
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