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How Trail Cameras Work

Have you ever wondered how a trail camera actually works? If the answer is yes, then keep reading. This blog post answers the question, how do trail cameras work, and provides insight into all the devices that make it work. 

How does a trail camera work?

Trail cameras use a type of sensor known as passive infrared sensor or PIR sensor. This type of sensor detects heat changes and movement within its detection zone. The detection zone of the PIR sensor is the area where the sensor can detect changes. This zone is often cone shaped, with the narrow portion of the cone being located closest to the sensor and the wider portion being located at its maximum detection range.

When the PIR sensor is triggered, a signal is sent to the camera to start the photo or video taking process.

How do trail cameras work at night?

For a trail camera to take a photo at night, it utilizes infrared LEDs to emit light at a wavelength that is invisible or nearly invisible to humans and animals. This light illuminates the detection zone so that whatever triggered the PIR sensor is visible. Trail cams can be found using one of two types of infrared LEDs:

  • Low Glow LEDs: This type of LED typically emits a dull red color and is not completely invisible.

  • No Glow LEDs: This type of LED is entirely invisible when emitting light.

Trail Camera Settings

Now that we understand how a trail camera works, it’s important to cover the different settings found on most cameras. Typically trail cams will have settings for:

  • Image or Video: This setting allows the user to decide whether the camera takes photos or videos.

  • Image / Video Quality: Gives the user the option to choose between higher and lower resolution when capturing photos and videos.

  • Burst Settings: Burst settings determine how many images will be taken and at what interval of time when the PIR sensor is triggered.

  • Delay Time: The time that needs to pass before the camera will take another image or video.

How Do Cellular Trail Cameras Work

Cellular trail cameras work the same as your typical trail camera, through the use of a PIR sensor and Infrared LEDs, with the one difference being able to send the photo directly to your phone, tablet, or computer. Cell cams can do this because they have a integrated cellular module and sim card which allows the camera to connect with the cellular network specified by the sim card.

A cellular trail camera will capture images and videos the same way a regular trail cam would but once the image or video is captured it will send the data to you either at that moment or at a specified time. When the camera sends you the photos will depend on how you have the settings set for transmission.

Cellular Trail Camera Settings

The cellular trail camera has the same settings as a regular camera that we discussed earlier but also has a few extra settings for the cellular side of the camera. Cell trail cameras have a setting that will allow the user to determine how frequently and how many images are transmitted during a period of time.

Many people have this setting set so that the images are sent at the moment they are taken. This can be great during hunting season when you may want to know what a particular game species is doing. This setting also can come with a downside though. Due to the increased number of times the camera is connecting and transmitting photos, the battery life of the camera diminishes. To combat this, users can adjust the setting to only transmit once a day, one a week, or whatever interval they desire.

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