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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

New Acorn 3G Camera and General Update February 2017

Fig 1:   6310WMG

Internet access and web site posts.

I have had bad problems accessing the internet for over a year and lately difficulty in getting any connection at all. This is due to failing local phone line infrastructure. Engineers have been in the area recently and have managed to make some small improvements.

A fibre cabinet installation is scheduled for this spring so hopefully sometime around April/May this year the whole thing will experience a new lease of life.

At the moment I'm trying to make use of what I have to do some updates and some long overdue camera technical posts.

An introduction to the new Acorn 3G cellular camera.

Over the last couple of years Acorn have been working hard to develop new and improved cameras, the latest of which is the eagerly awaited 3G version of the 6310 shown in figure 1 of which my early tests are encouraging.

Fig 2:  6310 Control Panel
and Screen access.

The 6310 series cameras were an evolution of the 6210 which saw the the control panel and screen moved to the back of the camera body as a way of overcoming damage to the ribbon cable in the 6210.

Other improvements were the larger IR LED array for better night vision and the option of a wide angle lens as an alternative to the standard 52° lens. These are not interchangeable lenses so you have to decide which one you want before you buy. I will be writing posts on both these subjects very soon.

More recently the timekeeping has been improved with a new chipset. Previously the timers would gain by about 10 minutes in every hour but now they are accurate to about 20/100ths of a second so timer on/off and time lapse is very accurate.

Ingress Protection. Unlike all the other Acorn models (and many other camera brands of this type) the 6310s are enclosure rated IP66 rather than IP54.  This means that the 6310 models have superior weather resistance which is another subject for a later post but in brief

Fig 3:  6310 bottom door access.

IP54 means:
5. Protection against solid bodies larger than 1mm 
4. Protected against spray up to 60° from vertical.
and IP66 means:
6. Protected against dust that may harm equipment.
6. Protection against low pressure water jets from all directions.

It's important to realise that opening the rubber grommet in the bottom door to allow an external power lead to be inserted effectively negates the IP rating.

Fig 4:  6310 Control panel
and side view
The full model designations for the new 3G cameras are the
 Ltl 6310MG-3G (55° lens) and the Ltl 6310WMG-3G (100° lens).
There are also two sub models of the above called 'standard' and 'basic' which are identified by the colour of the antenna connector. The 'basic' has a gold connector and the 'standard' a silver connector. The 'basic' camera has limited functions which I'll address in a later post.

Cellular Function performance.
3G WCDMA (3.5G) supports the following frequency bands:
A: Dual-Band UMTS/HSPA+ 850/1900MHz Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz 
(J) E: Dual-Band UMTS/HSPA+ 900/2100MHz Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz 
J (D): Dual-Band UMTS/HSPA+ 800 (850) /2100MHz
Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz

So far I've been able to test the MMS and Email functions using PAYG and compared with the 2G cameras it is very fast, taking and sending a VGA image in about 6 seconds compared with the typical 1 minute 40 seconds over 2G.

Fig 5:  6310 Antenna options
The 6310  -3G is also able to send via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) but I haven't had chance to set up to test this yet.

I was curious to see how it would work in a 2G only network area and tried to set up using the auto settings in the software for Vodafone UK PAYG without success; but when I manually entered the settings I would normally use for the 2G cameras into the 3G software it worked well. More experimenting required here I think.

Acorn have thought a lot about power saving in the design of the 6310 and a very useful 3G menu function is the new option to turn the modem off if you want to use it as a non cellular camera.

Remote Control is also an option as in Acorns other cellular cameras. This is a function that I have found to be unreliable in their 2G cameras but I anticipate much improvement using 3G and will be testing it extensively over the coming weeks.

Remote security and surveillance.  Their more organic profile combined with their camouflage pattern finish makes them difficult to detect in natural and semi-natural environments.

There is also a security box available which for longer deployments can provide some deterrent to casual theft and which makes them very easy to disguise and service on location.

In conclusion.

The 6310 cameras are my personal favourite of all the Acorn models and the only model that doesn't rely on sprung loaded contacts for power and signal transfer at least somewhere in the design. This is a built in weakness making cameras more susceptible to moisture which I'll write about in another post.

The 6310s are a compact, robust and aesthetically pleasing design for this type of camera and price range which in my opinion are also the most reliable.

I will be writing more about these cameras as time and broadband permit.

The 6310 models are available in the UK wholesale from Pakatak and the retailers listed in the right hand column of this page.

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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.