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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Using GPRS/SMTP with Ltl Acorn Trail Cameras

Fig 1: Ltl Acorn 6210MGX
Sending Emails via SMTP from an Acorn Trail Camera.

This post is a follow up to the instructions for using SMTP with the 6210, back in September this year.

Read this post carefully, follow my instructions exactly and I guarantee it will work.

Post updated on 21.12.2012

I have difficulty testing the wireless functions, because I am in a marginal network coverage area. Each test entails my doing a 10 mile round trip to test settings, but recently I decided I would have to bite the bullet.

This article is a brief practical instruction on how I achieved a working set up.

The difficulties highlighted in our previous report were:
1) The need to have an email address where the local name is the same as the username. e.g
2) Finding an SMTP service that allowed non SSL use.

The email address was easy. I turned to NamesCo, a UK based company I've dealt with before; and who provide excellent services and support. I purchased a domain name [] costing 13.99 GBP for three years, which provided an email address and a free
Click here to register your domain name
Click on the image link above to set up your
sending email address.
web page; and then set the local name of the email address as ronbury.

I now had an email address which should work OK in the camera's set up software, and it was now time to find a suitable SMTP service.

NamesCo can provide an SMTP server but not unsecured, and in any case what I really wanted to find was a global service which started with a free offering, to allow testing before commitment.

Click on the image link above to set up your
SMTP account.
With a Google search I found SMTP2GO which was exactly what I needed.

SMTP2GO provide a free account for up to 20 emails per day which would allow setting up and testing. They also provide paid accounts on a month by month or yearly basis. The first option is 5000 emails a month for 9 USD per month or 89 USD for a year.

Post Update 13.12.2012: I've just received this comment from Charlie at SMTP2GO tech support.
"I think that the 'IP Authentication' and 'Address Authentication' part of your instructions aren't necessary.
Basically, when someone signs up, they just need to make sure that they set their SMTP username (on the signup page) to be the same as their email address (because it looks like your software is unable to have an SMTP username that is different from the email address)"

I opened a free SMTP2GO account using ronbury as the account name and user name. 
You can upgrade to a paid account once you've tested and made sure everything is working OK.

In the Account SettingsAuthentication tab I entered my SMTP Account username and an SMTP Authentication password. This is different to your account log in password.

In the Account Settings - Restrict Senders  tab I set ON and entered my email address []

Under the More tab I left IP Authentication blank and also under the More tab I entered my email address into Address Authentication.

Acorn set up software - main interface
To set the camera up for SMTP use Acorn Set up software v1.2.020 which you can download from my Camera Data page, if you haven't already got a copy.

Don't enter your Camera Setup at the same time, do it either before or after you set up the smtp. Loading two DAT files on the SDHC card at the same time may confuse the camera.

Insert an SDHC card into your PC SD card slot.
Acorn set up software - SMTP set up page

Select your camera model in the right hand drop down box and then left click the Smtp Setup button. You will then have the window shown left and can make settings as follows:

Smtp Mode - Auto or Manual (see below)
Smtp Status - VGA
Picture No/day - This is the number of images the camera is allowed to send in any 24 hours. Leaving it set at 0 (zero) allows unlimited sending.

GPRS auto settings - These are set automatically by selecting the Country and Operator in the drop down menus.
If your country or operator is not found, then use the manual settings.
GPRS manual settings - These are provided by your MPNO and can usually be found by visiting their web site, or contacting them by phone.
My tests are using Vodafone on a Pay As You Go phone card and are not available in the auto settings. With many MPNO's PAYG is a different set up to that used for a monthly account.
SMS Remote Control - Off
SMTP Server -   Port - Normally 2525 (yes 2525 - this is right - not 25) but others are listed if this port is unavailable.
Senders Email - Local and Usernames must be the same - see my notes earlier in this post.
Password - This is the SMTP Authentication Password you entered when you set up your SMTP2GO account, not your Account Log In Password.
Recipient Email 01 - Enter the email you wish the camera to send the email to. You also have the option to enter two more recipient emails or phone numbers in the menu on the camera.
SMS Phone No - Leave blank.
Select Button - Left click and an explorer window will open. Select the drive for the SDHC card which will appear as SD/MMC. Save the DAT file to the card root, not in a folder.
Generate Button - Click this button and the DAT file will be saved to the SDHC card.

Remove the SDHC card from the computer and insert it in the camera. When you switch the camera to test, your settings will be automatically loaded onto the camera. Wait until you see the completion message, then you're ready to go, once you've entered your cameras menu settings.

Please note that this a general guide and I don't profess to be an expert on setting up this sort of stuff. Following the above will get you up and working SMTP once you've organised a suitable email address and established your MPNO's APN, Account and Password details for GPRS access.

Important: You do not need to make any settings in the camera's MMS menu. For GPRS access and SMTP sending all you need to do is as I have detailed above, plus remember to insert your SIM card.

Left is the 6210 MG screen display.

The red G bottom left, next to the battery indicator, shows that the camera is set for GPRS/SMTP. If it shows an M, the camera is set for MMS.

The red SIM indicates no SIM card or no connection. When the camera is connected, this will change to the name of your MPNO.

The antenna icon top right with an x indicates no signal. When the camera finds a signal and connects, the x will change to signal bars.

If you have any questions, observations or comments please post them below; and if I think of anything else I'll update the post.

Mobile Phone Base Stations (Cell Tower Locations) in the UK

Sitefinder is the Government's data base of mobile phone base stations operated by Ofcom on behalf of central government.
It is a general resource for people wishing to inform themselves about the location and operating characteristics of mobile phone base station sites around specific locations.
Sitefinder Mobile Phone Base Station Database

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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.