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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:04 am 
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Good morning from northern Minnesota! I'm in the early stages of a GoPro build (my first) using a Silver 3 (not 3+) with help from Daryl and parts going to be coming from Ralph for the main portions of the build. I plan to utilize Ralph's safari board and an in-progress wireless light controller that he's currently testing. I notice that different components of these builds require different voltage inputs and singificant work (and space) goes in to getting the right power to the different elements of the cam trap. For a gopro video setup these included (if I'm not missing anything);
-Board
-Cam (not sure if this is accounted for through the board when using the bus connector from Ralph)
-Lights

It is my intention to power the entire setup with a single 6V or 12V AGM power source. I currently utilize UB6420 Batteries for my fleet of 5 Spartan GoCam cellular cams and get about 8 weeks of winter usage out of this setup. The cams are taking and sending approximately 150-700 photos per week (at feed sites for deer).

Here's where I get to the detailed questions for the experts! Keep in mind, I'm trying to simplify the internal setup, both from a space and complexity standpoint. I don't like the idea or PIA of charging multiple sets of AA's or 18650's and also don't like the idea that one part of the cam may be dead due to it's unique power supply while others are still functioning. It's too much guessing vs just knowing that there's either power available to all or nothing.
1) Can I use devices like those in the attached photo to "distribute" power to whatever needs it?
2) Is there a "switch" that I can put between the battery and the setup to shut down the power when it drops to the lowest that is recommended for discharge of the battery?
3) Any advantage to using a 12V, 22 Ah battery vs a 6V, 42 Ah battery (similar capacity) from an electrical standpoint if the power converter idea works? One thing I noticed on the power converters was that the suppliers note that the output voltage must be greater than 0.4-0.6 volts different from the input voltage. That makes me think that 12V might be better than 6V if any of the output voltage is near 6V. Howwever, I would guess there's more efficiency loss going from 12 to something below 5 than from 6 to something below 5 (I could be totally wrong on this).

Please provide any/all input and knowledge that you can!!!!

I'm hoping that this might help others to gain cleaner and more open builds, reduce the size of the containers necessary and help increase the field runtime of their camtraps as well!

Feel free to email me at mark.fuller@freeberggrund.com as it's sometimes more simple.

Thanks in advance,
Mark


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:10 am 
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The two DC converters you have pictured are probably built around the LM2596 and utilize switching technology. This is good. But one thing to watch out for is the quiescent current draw. This is the current drawn when there is no or very low load on the device. It should be close to zero but some of the LM2596 boards sold can draw up to 2mA even at no load. I know that doesn't sound like much but you're in northern MN and using a AGM battery that drops in capacity with temperature. So you need to minimize current draw on the battery when nothing is happening.

I typically use regulators built around the Texas Instruments LMR23630. Depending on circuit design, the regulator will provide up to 3A of current and will accept voltage input from 4 to 36 volts. Plus the quiescent current is rated at 75uA. More than enough to power a GoPro. One additional benefit is having an enable input. With this pin you can provide a logic high to enable the regulator making it a very effective method to switch lights, camera, etc on and off.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your build. I look forward to your results.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:44 am 
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I've done a few GoPro builds and my favorite way is to use 18650 protected cells. They are kinda a pain to deal with and charge but you can stack them in parallel and just leave the GoPro internal battery out, no DC regulator needed. The don't do great in cold temps so it's worth checking out the datasheet. Fully charged in cold temps I want to say they sit at 3.6V which is close to the min GoPro voltage needed to run the camera. 4 in parallel will run you long enough to fill a 64GB card and you can fit it all in a small pelican case.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:56 am 
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Thanks for the info! Sent an email as follow-up.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:58 am 
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The 18650 is a great way to power the GoPro. The 26650 can also be used for a little more capacity.

I will typically use a couple 18650 to power the GoPro through the battery compartment. Then use the bus connector to start the camera and then let the script stored on the root of the SD card tell the camera what to do. It makes for a really simple and small build.

Here is a picture of a board I built to plug into the Hero 3+ Black camera when it came out. The GoPro powers the camera and motion detector. The motion sensor draws in the uA range so battery life was excellent. On the backside of the board is a dipswitch that sets day only, night only, 24/7 and PIR sensitivity.

Image

The two unconnected holes on the board are for connection of a remote input. Like a Trailmaster or other motion sensor. This setup had enough power to fill a 16gb card. So it was a pocket size, quick install camera. But then with the new models, GoPro has eliminated the 30 pin bus connector and the Hero 3+ Black is getting harder to find so I quit producing this board.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:36 am 
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greengrass wrote:
I've done a few GoPro builds and my favorite way is to use 18650 protected cells. They are kinda a pain to deal with and charge but you can stack them in parallel and just leave the GoPro internal battery out, no DC regulator needed. The don't do great in cold temps so it's worth checking out the datasheet. Fully charged in cold temps I want to say they sit at 3.6V which is close to the min GoPro voltage needed to run the camera. 4 in parallel will run you long enough to fill a 64GB card and you can fit it all in a small pelican case.


Thanks for this info greengrass!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:36 am 
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I really like the idea of simplicity and you seem to have accomplished that on the 3+ Black build Jeff!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:51 am 
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Wow that is a slick build, she's a beauty Jeff!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:51 pm 
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Neat stuff Jeff....


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:52 am 
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Is there a topic/post/thread about minimum distance of external lights from cam lenses in order to avoid bright eyes? I see some people noting that they get the flash or light system about 12-18 inches away and seem to avoid that. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Really thinking about cable length for external lights for video setup.


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