Åtelkamera Support

This document is divided into problems with cameras and advice on which type of camera to purchase.

Problems

MMS never received but pictures are on the card

Dark Pictures

MMS takes a long time or is not sent but picture is on the SD card

Camera works sometimes but other times not

Picture sent but there are no animals present

Parameter error (Uovision cameras)

 

MMS never received but pictures are on the card

Check your configuration. Don't always rely on the settings in the camera. We've seen at least one camera manufacturer who had the wrong APN for an operator. Call the operator for the SIM card you use and ask them for the settings and use these. See operator settings below for some guidelines.

For Uovision cameras, try prefixing the country code and then the number (without the leading zero). For examle, if your phone number is 070 123456, enter it as 4670123456. In this example the country code is 46 for Sweden. Also with Uovision cameras, put the power switch in the middle so that the screen lights up. Wait until the camera finishes with "searching network" and displays a really long number. Slide the power switch all the way to the right and close the camera. If the camera now sends an MMS, so this always in the future. Note: These cameras are slow at sending an MMS even when there is good reception. Wait some time before turning the camera off and trying other things here. The default settings for Telia work for Telia and Halebop here in Sweden. Cannot say if the others are correct or not.

Try to reformat the SD card in the camera. This is especially important if you have read the SD card in a  Macintosh as they often add hidden files to the SD card which can cause cameras to not work.

If you have tried all the above and the problem still exists, call your operator and ask them to remove the MMS service from the telefone number and then add it again. If you're in Sweden and call Telia and they say they can't do that, just hang up and call again. Eventually you will get to somebody who knows how to do this.

If none of these solutions work, reset the camera to factory defaults, format the SD card and reprogram the camera.

Dark Pictues

If you have a camera with 940 nM LED's (also called black flash or invisible flash) then try moving the camera closer and tilting it more down toward the subject. Black flashes don't have the same range as the more visible IR flashes however they do have the advantage of not scaring the animal and not giving away the position of the camera to possible thieves.

Another big cause is the wrong type of batteries or flat batteries. Even if the camera shows the batteries as being OK, try changing the batteries and see if the pictures get better. See batteries for an explanation as to why you should choose lithium batteries.

MMS takes a long time or is not sent but picture is on the SD card.

This is most often caused by bad reception or bad batteries.

Reception

Mobile towers reduce their signal strength as their load (number of people calling via that tower) increases. This means that even if you measure the signal strength and it's good at one point in the day, it may be far weaker  later. If your camera is in an area where it can receive service from two towers then "tower hopping" can be a real problem. This is where the signal strength of the tower which the camera is logged in to goes below a threshold and the neighouring tower is above the threshold. The camera then logs in to the other tower and when it's signal goes low it hops back again. If the camera is triggered whilst in the process of swapping towers, the MMS is usually not sent but can be found on the SD card.  If you own an Android smartfone then download the app GSM Signal Monitoring from Google Play Store.  With this you can see how many towers are in the area and what signal strength they are working at. If you have two towers nearby and both signals are weak, tower hopping is likely a problem.

Batteries

When it comes to batteries there are three types that work well in cold weather. Lithium, lithium and lithium. Alkaline, rechargeable, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) all get worse as the temperature falls below zero degrees centigrade. Lithium batteries fare much better. The capacity of the battery is normally written on the packet but it means nothing if the voltage is too low for the device. When the voltage gets too low, the flash is not as bright so the pictures are darker, the ability of the camera to amplify the signal strength gets worse so MMS's don't get sent or take a long time to get sent. A normal camera charges a capacitor which is in turn used to power the flash. The LED array on a hunting camera is powered directly from the battery. This is why your digital camera might take longer to allow you to use the flash when you're out photographing in the cold but the picture will still be good. With hunting cameras the pictures will just be dark. Note: Lithium batteries can cause some problems in Uovision cameras. Read Parameter error (Uovision cameras) if you have a Uovision camera.

If you are sending pictures to an email address using MMS, your operator can sometimes have significant delays in converting from MMS to email. Try setting your camera to send the pictures straight to a telephone number. If this solves the problem then the issue is with your operator converting from MMS to email. If you don't have GPRS configured on your camera and are sending to an email address then you are using your operators MMS to email conversion.

Camera works sometimes but other times not

If the pictures are found on the SD card but no MMS was sent, see Reception.

If the pictures are not on the SD card then take the camera inside where it's warm. If it works inside then it's probably the batteries. See the section on Batteries.

Empty pictures

By empty I mean no animals visible. This can happen when an animal runs by. Nervous wild pigs will often run past the feeding station a few times before finally creeping in to feed. If your camera has a sensitivity setting, try setting it to a lower setting. If you have side PIR sensors, try turning them on as these warn the camera that there is movement in the periphery and the camera can then prepare to take the picture faster.

PARAMETER ERROR (Uovision cameras)

To every rule there is an exception. Some Uovision cameras don't like Lithium batteries and can give the error Parameter Error. Probably the voltage is too high. If you don't have any other batteries at home right now, you can try running the camera on only six batteries or put the batteries in the freezer for a while before you try them in the camera. In cold countries you may be able to run lithium batteries during the winter.

 

Which hunting camera should I buy?

There are lots of features and technologies available in hunting cameras today. You will see for cameras which support GPRS, MMS, email, has invisible flash (also called black flash or 940nm flash) but the camera which suits you will depend on how you will use it. If you always go to the camera and look at pictures  in the cameras build in display then you don't need GPRS, MMS or email.

IR flash or Black Flash

A visible "glow" from a camera which has an IR Flash whereas you will see nothing at all from a camera which has a black flash (also called invisible flash, 940nm flash).  IR flashes have a longer range so pictures taken with an IR flash are not as dark as with the invisible flash when the subject is further away.  Deer tend to not be bothered by the glow of IR flashes whereas wild pigs can be disturbed. Another advantage of the invisible flashes is that they don't give away the presence of the hunting camera to would be thieves. So, if you're worried about somebody sabotaging or stealing your camera or hunt wild pigs then the invisible flash is a good choice. If you are only interested in deer and you feel the location of the camera poses no threats then IR is a good choice.

MMS, GPRS Email

If you are reading this then you probably want your camera to send you pictures when movement is detected. Now it's just to decide how you want to receive the pictures. Lets talk a bit about costs first as this can be a big factor. Each MMS (or email send via MMS) costs, unless you have a plan that allows you to send unlimited. If you are expecting a lot of movement detections (and thus pictures) then email via GPRS is certainly the best and cheapest solution. If you're only expecting one or two pictures a week then MMS is going to be the cheapest.

Let's dig in to the differences. Keep in mind that the prices I quote here can  change and that they are prices for Sweden. Your operator will likely have a different complicated way of getting your hard earned cash so it's worth calling them and asking before you purchase a SIMM card.

GPRS uses the "surf" allowance for your plan which is quoted in GB/month. If you're sending VGA size pictures via email then you can count on approximately 1400 pictures per gigabyte (GB). Multiple recipients for the mail usually don't result in the picture being sent several times as the camera should just add the extra mail addresses to the email and the email server will then send the mail to each recipient. If you have a Telia pay as you go card, they charge 7kr for each 24 hour period that you use it. This means that your maximum cost for sending any number of pictures is 7kr per day. Telia also offers Mobilsurf for pay as you go cards and the cost is 299 per half year / 499 per year. Each month you get a 0.5 GB allowance which is enough to send approximately 700 pictures per month. Some operators also offer a "twin card" for tablets (iPad etc) but these twin cards can also be used for your hunting camera. Make sure that the card is locked by your operator so that no calls can be made from it. If it gets stolen then you don't want any surprises when the bill comes.

MMS

With MMS you can send a picture straight to your phone (you configure the phone number in your hunting camera) or you can have the picture sent to an email address. Either way, the picture is sent as an MMS from your phone and if your plan charges you per MMS then you will be charged for each MMS or email sent. If you have your camera configured to send an email or MMS to three different people then you will be charged for all three.  The way email via MMS works is that the camera sends an MMS to your operator with the recipient email address in the message. Your operator then repackages the MMS as an email and sends it from their mail server. The "From" email address is usually the telephone number of the hunting camera @ operator. For example 123456@mms.telia.se.

PARAMETER ERROR (Uovision cameras)

To every rule there is an exception. Some Uovision cameras don't like Lithium batteries and can give the error Parameter Error. Probably the voltage is too high. If you don't have any other batteries at home right now, you can try running the camera on only six batteries or put the batteries in the freezer for a while before you try them in the camera. In cold countries you may be able to run lithium batteries during the winter.

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