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The Achilles Heel Of Cellular Trail Cameras

Why do I call SD cards the Achilles Heel of Cellular Trail Cameras? We have all heard the story of the Mighty Achilles from Greek Mythology. He seemed to be invincible yet he did have a weakness. A small seemingly insignificant body part was his weakness and be the very thing that conquered the mighty Achilles. Like the heel of Achilles, the SD card to many seems insignificant in the proper operation of their camera yet it can be the one thing that causes the user so much frustration. From the time trailcams went digital and started using SD cards I have seen the SD cards cause all sorts of issues with the function of the camera. Lord only knows how many cameras have been unnecessarily thrown away simply because a bad or improper or maybe just not formatted SD card. Fast forward to the age of cellcams. One thing remains consistent, SD cards can still negatively affect the function of ALL brands cameras from Reconyx to Ridgetec, Reveal to Spartan, Spy Point, Boly, Bushnell, Barn Owl, Wise Eye, WildGame Innovations, Moultrie, Snyper, Cuddeback and any other brand I failed to mention.


 This picture roll may look normal to most but what you don't see is the missing photos. The 7:33 image represents when my wife was returning after taking my son to school. I placed this camera here several days prior and noticed that it seemed slow to wake up after a longe period of no activity. It also would only seem to wake up and capture large objects like cars at a distance or a human up close. Not once did it capture me walking around the garage.
I pulled the card to verify it was not only failing to send the photos but also not even taking them. I had already formatted the card in the camera when I moved it so this time while in the computer I did a long format. Then inserted back in the camera and formatted in the camera as I always do.
 Since performing this the camera captured me walking around the shop consistently and my wife leaving each morning. All because of the SD card which I never replaced, I only did a long format. Todays trail cameras are getting more advanced and like computers require faster memory. Make sure you use a quality SD card purchased from an authorized retailer. If the camera takes a full sized card then use just that. Micro SD cards in adapters just give on more connection to possibly fail (I've seen it). I recommend a Sandisk Class 10 with a read spead of at least 80mb/s. Some camera manufactures recommend a U3 type Class 10 and while I feel that is overkill unless your camera can record 4k video it certainly won't hurt matters.

Here are some check points if you are having issues:

  1. Make sure the SD card is up to speed ie. C10 >80mb/s U3 if recommended
  2. Make sure you are using a fullsize card and not a micro with adapter
  3. Use a reputable brand name, I prefer Sandisk
  4. Purchase a card from an Authorized Retailer. Amazon (even prime) has a history of counterfeit SD cards but other 3rd party sites like walmart and ebay have the same issue. I use BH Photo for my online cards purchases.
  5. Format in the camera but if that doesn't work do a long format in a computer
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you.