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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 water resistance tests update

Acorn 6210 water/condensation problem update 07.07.2012

I'm very happy and relieved to be able to say that the reason for the condensation problem in the Ltl Acorn 6210 Trail Camera has been identified.

After lengthy tests and analysis the cause of water getting into the control panel is, at long last, understood; and some final changes to the case upgrade are now being made.


I don't know exactly how long this will take, but it will be as fast as possible.

I will post a full explanation of the problem and how it was solved at a later date. Users of cameras which have this problem should remove the rubber bung (external power supply input) from the base of the camera.
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Fig 1:   Ltl Acorn 6210 HD Series trail camera
Left: Modified version  Right: Old version
I'm a little disconcerted to find retailers offering the updated version of this camera for sale when I'm still conducting water resistance tests on the modification.

This is a little premature as the unit I'm testing is still taking in water; so if you are offered an updated - waterproof - camera at this stage, think  before buying.

Acorn have made a lot of improvements to the existing design as illustrated in figures 1 and 2; but then they send me a unit to test with damage to the sealing lip (figure 3 arrow 1) and more damage caused by tooling marks (figure 3 arrow 2)
(figure 4 arrow 1)

In theory the design changes should prevent water

Fig 2:  Ltl Acorn 6210 HD Series trail camera
Left: Modified version  Right: Old version
entering the bottom of the case; but they
rely entirely for their success, on the complete closure of the sealing lip in the main case, to the seal in the bottom door.

The sealing of the door is a double edged sword because to work, it needs to be a complete seal; and if it isn't, and water does enter the case, the water can't escape. Instead it is trapped in an endless cycle of precipitation within the case; which will cause lens fogging and eventual saturation of the control panel, batteries and circuits.

In fairness to the camera under test, I subjected it to a thorough soaking over seven days, and
Fig 3:  Close up of bottom of case showing
Left arrow: damage to sealing lip
Right arrow: gap in lip caused by tooling mark
although it took on water it didn't fail at any time. I think this was due to the raising of the control panel above the bottom door level; but during the tests, water condensed into the LED array, the back battery compartment and generally around the inside of the case. The lens did not fog at any time; but sooner or later in wet conditions, saturation would reach such a level that the electronics are bound to be affected.

The last day of the test, after a thorough drying out, was twelve hours in heavy overnight rain; and again water entered the case, at which point I ended the tests

Fig 4: Close up showing opposite tooling mark
A close inspection of the camera revealed the damage to the sealing lip (figure 3 arrow 1) and the tooling marks (figure 3 arrow 2) (figure 4 arrow 1)

I'm obliged to make a comparison with the 5210 which has an unsealed bottom door and although I've used several of these extensively, I've never had any problems from wet conditions.
The simple reason for this is that there are no case joins for water to get into, water just falls off the body, the bottom door is unsealed and the case can breath, allowing equalisation with the outside atmosphere.

Fig 5:  6210 / 5210 comparison
I suggested before that the case redesign should extend the case body past the door so that the door and hinge assembly are effectively inside the bottom of the case. With the sealing ring removed the case would not trap water, even if it did enter, which would be unlikely anyway.


I'm waiting to hear from the factory since I made my report, so at the moment, I have no idea what they plan to do. As soon as I know more I will post another update.
Apart from the water issue I still believe this trail camera is technically superior to its rivals, and if you don't keep it deployed in heavy rain without protection, it's hard to beat, producing excellent images and videos.

11 comments:

  1. So does this mean the July 5th for you to start despatching won't happen?

    Ragards
    Adrian Jevons

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Adrian
    We're waiting to hear back from Acorn before we make a final recommendation. The camera has been improved but still has a problem; which considering the time the redesign has taken, is very disappointing.
    At the end of the day, I will have told it the way it is, and it will be up to each of you who have ordered this camera, to decide whether to continue to buy, take a refund, or maybe choose to buy the 5210 instead.
    I will update again before the end of the week.
    Regards
    Ron

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Ron, Thanks for your comment on my blog. In answer to your question, I've been using a KeepGuard KG-680V trail camera since last summer, but yesterday I took delivery of a Ltl Acorn 6210MC 940NM camera. I did a search on it, and came across your excellent site which I've found very useful. Keep up the good work!
    On reading this article, it's a bit worrying to know I may have bought a camera with these problems; I had water ingress problems with my previous camera!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jeremy

    The upgraded camera is not available yet, so any camera bought at present will have the same issue.
    I can tell you that the cause of the problem is now understood and is preventable. It's unfortunate that correction of these kind of problems can take time but I have every confidence that the updated camera will no longer suffer from water ingress.
    This is why we are not supplying this camera until the factory have the modified unit in production.
    My post entitled 'How to keep water out of the Acorn 6210' may be of help to you and I would also suggest you remove the rubber bung from the bottom of the camera.
    I will be publishing details of this problem, what has caused it, why it wasn't rectified sooner and the modifications made to prevent it, at a later date.

    You have some great photography on your web site, which I very much enjoyed viewing, particularly the fox videos.

    Best regards
    Ron

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Ron,
    Thanks for the kind comments on my website.
    I've tried out my Ltl Acorn Ltl-6210MC now, leaving it out for a few nights in a local wood to monitor Badgers. The night videos are okay (the photos are a little disappointing, being mostly underexposed), but the daylight photos and videos are almost all spoiled by having a stong pink cast. Ever heard of this problem with this camera, and what might be causing it?
    Thanks,
    Jeremy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeremy
      Yes I have. It's caused by the IR filter sticking. Not something that happens very often, thankfully.
      With the camera switched on in daylight, give the side of the case a sharp tap with your knuckles and it should clear.
      I've had one camera do this and two other people have had a camera do this, that I know of.
      Once it's cleared it's normally OK, but let me know if it's persistent.

      I'm about to ask the manufacturers about underexposure of daylight stills. This is happening during twilight hours and I'm hoping they can provide a firmware fix for this. I will post about it when I have something positive.
      Best wishes
      Ron

      Delete
  6. Hi Ron,
    Thanks for your answer.
    Will try and see if your fix works when I pick up the camera in a couple of days.
    J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It should do. You can test it by taking a shot in test mode (second button up on the right)
      If it doesn't clear straight away, keep tapping it until it does. Once you get it working OK it should stay OK; but let me know if it wont correct.
      Ron

      Delete
  7. Rapped the side of the camera a few times, and it seems to be working okay now. Thanks for the tip, Ron!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ron, I was premature in thinking the problem had been fixed. Have just collected it from a week outside, and all the daytime pictures and videos have that hideous pink cast. The camera is clearly faulty. What do you suggest I do now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeremy

      The IR filter is obviously still sticking and other than trying to clear it, as before, in the hope that it might eventually free up, your only option is to return it to your supplier for a replacement.

      Sorry I don't have any other solutions.

      Regards
      Ron

      Delete

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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.