Repairing Browning Trail Camera that Won’t Trigger
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
2M ago
A Facebook friend recently sent me a Browning BTC-7A (Recon Force Advantage) Trail camera that was not triggering. It was long past warranty, and Browning would not (or could not) repair. This post describes the process I went through to diagnose the problem and repair the camera. The cause of this failure was water incursion into the camera enclosure. Water and electronics do not mix, and often water damage is practically unrepairable. Fortunately, in this case, the damage was limited, and I was able to make a repair. This post also includes a companion video, below. Debug, Diagnosis, and R ..read more
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Deep Tech: Repairing EEPROM in Browning Trail Cameras
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
5M ago
When a trail camera reverts back to its default settings, and won’t take a firmware update, it likely means that the EEPROM has failed. This small, inexpensive part, holds the firmware for the camera. In this post, I show how I have been able to repair a failed EEPROM. I also provide pointers to EEPROM images necessary to initialize new parts for various Browning trail camera models. This is a relatively high “degree of difficulty” repair, as it involves some specialized equipment and skills. Trail camera companies, like Browning, likely don’t do this repair because of its cost, choosing inst ..read more
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GardePro T5WF (White Flash) Trail Camera
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
Readers of this blog will know that we are very interested in trail cameras with white flashes that are able to take color night time images. I have even gone so far as to convert an IR camera to white flash for this purpose DIY: Converting BTC-7A from IR to White Flash. GardePro has recently introduced a new White Flash model — the T5WF. In this post, I will present the main features, strengths, and weaknesses of this camera. I will also show a teardown of the GardePro T5WF White Flash trail camera showing what makes it tick. Finally, I include some examples and comparison of photo and video ..read more
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Fixing Browning Edge, Elite HP4 and HP5 SD Card Corruption
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
Users of Browning Edge, Elite HP4, and Elite HP5 trail cameras, including us, have run into a frustrating bug related to SD card corruption. This bug is rare, but when it happens, it results in the total loss of images. In this post, I describe in detail the “SD Card Corruption” bug. I also give some insight into how I was able to figure out the cause of this bug. Finally, I provider a pointer to firmware images which fix this problem. For those not into custom firmware, I also give a few workarounds for avoiding this bug. When we check our SD cards, we want to see animals, like this cinnamon ..read more
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New Features for Browning Recon Force and SpecOps Cameras
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
This post introduces an extended set of firmware features now available on 6 models of Browning Trail Cameras: The Recon Force and SpecOps versions of the Edge, Elite-HP4, and Elite-HP5 (BTC-7E, BTC-8E, BTC-7E-HP4, BTC-8E-HP4, BTC-7E-HP5, BTC-8E-HP5). New “Splash” Screens for customer firmware for Browning Edge (top left), Elite HP4 (right), and Elite HP5 (bottom left) trail cameras In prior posts I gave pointers to enhanced firmware for two Browning models — the (now discontinued) Advantage (BTC-7A) and the current Elite-HP5 (BTC-{7,8}E-HP5). For the HP5, I added some new functions, includin ..read more
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Replacing Microphone on Browning Elite HP5 Trail Camera
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
In this short post, I’ll describe the process for replacing the microphone on Browning Elite HP5 with a water-resistant microphone from CUI Devices.    I also include a video on the replacement, including a “before and after” test. Replacing the microphone on a Browning Elite HP5 Trail Camera This post was motivated by a recently retrieved this video featuring a coyote howling in the distance.  Although we can “see” the howl, the audio from our SpecOps Elite HP5 camera registered the howl itself very faintly. It also seemed to us not as loud as similar videos tak ..read more
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Deep Tech: Pictures From an Inferno? Part 1
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
Remains of SD card recovered from trail camera caught in a wildfire. Photo courtesy Steve Cole. A wildfire is about the worst case scenario for camera trappers.  In many parts of the US, fires are a real risk to camera sets.  This was certainly the case in Oregon. In the summer of 2020, several major fires swept through hundreds of acres of forest in the American northwest.  The heat from such intense fires is fatal to any unlucky trail cameras caught in the inferno. The extreme temperatures, and subsequent burning of flammable camera components leaves a barely recognizable carc ..read more
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Coyote Valentine
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
Coyote Pair in late winter There it is again — a set of tracks which are clearly coyote — but slightly off. I know from camera traps that the smaller of a pair coyotes in the area has recently injured a hind leg. These tracks confirm she is still injured. Rather than the straight, narrow, and perfectly regular overstep trail of her mate, these tracks come down with a staccato burst of three feet, protecting a 4th leg, whose paw never touches the ground. This set of coyote tracks is a little off Two Sets of Tracks It is impossible to track a mating pair of coyotes in late winter — their breedi ..read more
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DIY: Trail Camera Lens Hacking
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
Most commercial trail cameras have a fixed lens, often with a relatively narrow field of view. Factory lenses sometimes fail, and sometimes it would be nice to have a different field of view (narrower, or wider). In this post, I reverse engineer the lens mount for several Browning trail camera models. These include the Advantage (BTC-7/8A), Edge, Elite HP4 (BTC-{7,8}E-HP4, and the newly released Elite HP5 (BTC-{7/8}E-HP5). Based on this information, I provide references for a compatible lenses, along with photos contrasting fields of view for each. I also provide a detailed guide to the lens ..read more
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Estimating Energizer Ultimate Lithium (LiFeS2) Battery Capacity
Winterberry Wildlife Blog
by Bob Zak
7M ago
LiFeS2 batteries (e.g. Energizer Ultimate Lithium, a.k.a “Lithium Metal”) are popular for use in trail cameras because of their high capacity, ultra low self-discharge rates, and performance at both low and high temperatures. For details, see Trail Camera Batteries: Internal AA-Cell Options. But they are expensive, so we’d like to replace them only when they are near the end of their lives. How can we tell when this is, exactly? In the past, I’ve advocated keeping track of the amount of work (photos and videos taken) on a set of batteries. This method is effective, but what if you have just a ..read more
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