discussion / Camera Traps  / 26 September 2022

Camera Trap repairs - suggestions?

Hi everyone!

I'm currently working with FFI (Fauna & Flora International) in São Tomé and Príncipe, and a bunch of 'problem' camera traps from the field site have been sent over to FFI's UK office (in Cambridge). The camera traps are not functioning, and there doesn't seem to be anything the matter with them externally, which indicates that it might perhaps be an internal issue.

The camera traps are all Bushnell E3s. 

I've had a look at the video below, but would anyone have any guidance on how these traps could be fixed, what to look for, and potentially who to send it to for repairs, if needed (in the UK)? 

Many thanks for your help with this!



The first question should be asked of the supplier of the cameras. Are they still covered by the warranty/guarantee period? Note that opening up the camera trap to look at the internals can void the warranty. Camera trap repairs are difficult unless you have someone with knowledge of electronics and a source of possible spare parts. Problems with the controlling circuit boards can be common. It is usually cheaper to replace then spend the time and money attempting a repair. If you can, post the issue on this Facebook page and ask the followers. they may have experienced the same problem.

I haven't looked at the Bushnell E3s.  Everything I know about trail camera repair is in my (periodically updated) post, below.  Other blog posts on our site include teardown videos.  Depending on what's failed, fix can be easy, or impossible, as @Colin_Cook notes above. Heads up -- I did note in recent teardown of Bushnell Core DS4K that the water sealing in these cameras was incomplete, allowing moisture to sneak in around screw holes in back of the camera.  If E3's have this same issue, you should definitely consider plugging these holes with little rubber stoppers for your entire fleet.  A little bit of moisture, over time, will inevitably wreck these cameras. 

Hi Asiem, 

I am in the midst of trying to put together something of a camera repair blog-type thing for WILDLABS, so this is right up my alley so-to-speak. @rcz133 post is really excellent and I highly recommend it (thanks heaps for doing this Robert!). It'd be great if you could do some preliminary tests on the cameras to see if you can narrow down the fault(s). For example, if you load good-quality batteries and SD cards and see if they switch on etc. I haven't used Bushnell E3's, but I suspect they have the usual two-stage switch which you use to either go into settings or turn on for a deployment, so double-check what happens with the switch in both positions. Do you have a multimeter at all? I'd recommend getting one if you are planning on trying fault finding and fixes yourself. Look for any signs of corrosion on the battery spring/terminals. This can be a common problem. If you like, perhaps we could try a live trouble shooting, fault finding session via video or something (what do you think @StephODonnell and @EllieW)? I know he's always busy, but hopefully we could encourage @Freaklabs to help (maybe we could all send him candy!!)? And I'd very much encourage other experienced fault finders and repairers to come along and help!