What is the MotionCam Outdoor battery life and what affects it

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MotionCam Outdoor–a wireless outdoor motion detector with a photo camera–operates up to 3 years on pre-installed batteries. However, this period is reduced if the hub-detector ping interval is set to short, or the image resolution is set to high.

This article specifies how we calculated the pre-installed battery life and how it is affected by the detector settings and conditions of use.

Type of batteries used in the detector

MotionCam Outdoor is powered by four CR123A batteries. We use Panasonic Photo Lithium CR123AL/1 BP 3V/1400mAh batteries. They are insensitive to temperatures and retain sufficient charge at the limit operating temperature of the detector of –25°C.

How we calculated the battery life

The battery life was calculated with the following detector and hub settings:

  • Normal level of detector sensitivity.
  • Delay When Entering is enabled.
  • 3 photos in case of an alarm.
  • The resolution of photos is 320 × 176 pixels.
  • The hub-detector poll period is 36 seconds.
  • Anti-masking is enabled.

We assumed that throughout the battery life, the detector will take 12 photos (6 in the daytime and 6 with IR illumination). In the dark, the detector takes photos with IR illumination, which can increase the energy consumption for a series of photos up to 2 times.

When calculating, we assumed that the signal strength for communication between the hub and the detector would be 3 bars. The lower the signal strength with the hub, the longer the detector uses the radio module to transmit photos.

Temperature +23°C +10°C 0°C –10°C –25°C
Service life 3 years 3 years 2 years
10 months
2 years
9 months
2 years
6 months

How system settings affect battery life

The higher the photo resolution, the more time the detector spends on its transmission. The total power consumption when transmitting a photo with a resolution of 640 × 352 pixels can be 4 times more than when transmitting a picture of 320 × 176 pixels.

When reducing the polling period of detectors, keep in mind that this will affect the battery life as the detector will use the radio module more often to answer on the hub pings.

With the Delay When Entering enabled, MotionCam Outdoor batteries will run for 3 years (at temperatures from +10°C to +23°C). When the option is active, the detector is triggered when a person appears in the detection area, takes photos but waits until the end of the delay to transmit them to the hub. If the system is disarmed before the end of the delay, no alarm is raised. If this option disabled, the device will be able to run more on pre-installed batteries.

Otherwise, the photos are sent to the security company and system users. This ensures that with the Delay When Entering enabled, the photo will allow you to recreate the intrusion history from the time the intruder appears in the protected area.

How to calculate the battery life of the detector

The battery life of Ajax devices is affected by several factors: ambient temperature, hub communication signal strength, installation location, and user settings.

Use the Ajax Uptime Calculator to find out how long MotionCam Outdoor could run on the bundled batteries at your facility.

When to replace batteries

If the battery is discharged, the system will send a corresponding notification, and the detector LED will smoothly light up and go out when movement is detected or a tamper is triggered.

MotionCam Outdoor can work up to 2 months after the low battery signal. However, we recommend you replace the batteries immediately upon notification. It is advisable to use lithium batteries. They have a large capacity and are less affected by temperatures.

To extend MotionCam battery life:

  • Use the default photo resolution. Change the resolution to 640 × 352 pixels only if the photo is insufficiently informative.
  • Do not shorten the hub–detector polling interval unless absolutely necessary.
  • Trust the installation of devices only to professionals. This will eliminate the possibility of false alarms and unnecessary battery discharge of the detector. The list of our partners is available here.
  • Install the detector in a place with the Jeweller and Wings signal strength of 2–3 bars.