Forget about the wireless side of our system, lets just talk about how to set up the cameras to get the best picture possible.
Try to avoid facing the camera directly at the rising or setting sun – sometimes it is unavoidable but good rule of thumb.
Mount your camera at what we call “chest high to the target” and aimed parallel to the ground. So if your targets are people it would be mounted slightly higher than if your targets are deer. Keeping the camera aimed parallel to the ground will give you the greatest detection area (both distance and width). You can mount the camera up higher and pointing downwards just keep in mind that your detection area now becomes a “spot on the ground” versus a longer wider area.
If you are planning on using your camera to catch people or to watch particular areas for security purposes, I always suggest mounting the cameras in a way so that they are hidden from normal eyesight as they enter. For example on a driveway entrance I will mount the camera on the backside of a tree or post capturing them from behind as they enter. This may seem counter-intuitive but what it actually does is naturally hide the camera as they walk or drive by the camera making it less likely to be discovered upon entry. This is also important for capturing vehicle license plates (some states do not require a front plate but they all require a rear plate). One of the reasons we developed the echo was so you could place the camera back away from the danger zone and just put the echo (about the size of a pack of cigs when running on AAs) in the danger zone to trigger the camera remotely.
Most setups will include some sort of cable, whether it is a solar panel cable, antenna cable or battery cable. The trick I have learned over the years when it comes to keeping cables free from critters is to use a rodent shield. The way this works is it slides over the cable and has a deterrent built in that absolutely keep critters from chewing on the cables. The stuff works great and comes in a variety of lengths (combine them if needed). The other suggestions is to keep the cable flat and out of the way. It seems that most times, rodents are “clearing” a travel path so if you keep the cable low and close they will most likely just pass right by it.
Batteries and Solar Panels:
Now I can only speak about our system but at least you will get a better understanding of why we do what we do. All of our systems use a standard SLA( Sealed Lead Acid) battery. Why do we use SLA’s? Well for several reason; Price, availability, reliability and a wide range of charging options. See, SLA batteries are extremely durable, have good power and temp op ranges and are very forgiving when it comes to charging. The only downside to an SLA battery is they must be kept in a good charged state. The only way to really kill an SLA battery is to leave it in a discharged state for a couple of weeks. Leaving a SLA in this state will reduce the capacity of the battery, for good (never to be as good as it once was). It is confusing to some when this happens because the battery will “charge like it used to” the only thing is now it may only have 1/2 the capacity it used to so it will go dead a lot quicker. When this happens you might as well replace the battery. To avoid this you only need to keep batteries charged up and not leave them in the discharged state for very long. This is where using a solar panel really helps maintain the life of the SLA battery. Normal life of a properly maintained SLA is 3-5 years.