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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.

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.
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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.