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Brinno Learning Series Part 5 - SD Cards, Batteries & File Handling

Posted by Josh Banks on

Before starting your time lapse project there are a few things to take into consideration. What size and type of SD card you need, what batteries are best and a general knowledge of how files are handled.

SD Cards
Brinno Camera SD CardsBrinno cameras come with either 4 or 8 GB SD cards which are often adequate for a long term project. With a capture every 10 minutes, during working hours, a 4 GB card would last eight months. For many projects, you will want to capture more action, rather than elaborate on all of the scenarios, SD cards are inexpensive, pick up a 16 or 32 GB.  

You don't need expensive high speed cards, basic brand name cards are fine. We offer two San Disk options in the accessories section which are great choices.


Brinno supports up to 32 GB cards, however, you can use larger cards by reformatting them. Cards above 32 GB are typically in the exFAT format, Brinno cameras accept cards formatted as FAT-32. Simply reformatting a card to FAT-32, using your computer's format utility (select 16 bit cluster if asked), will allow the card to work in your camera. We have tested and use up to 128 GB cards.

Downloading from the card can typically be accomplished using a SD slot, available on many computers and laptops. With the TLC200 Pro camera you can connect a Micro USB to USB cable (standard Android phone cable) for downloading. Another option is a USB card reader, which is inexpensive and readily available at Best Buy and other electronics retailers.

Wi-Fi SD Cards
Some sources have claimed wi-fi SD cards can be used with Brinno cameras to allow remote file retrieval. We know of some users who have had success, however, we do not recommend wi-fi card use. Neither Brinno or us offer wi-fi card support. Wi-fi cards deplete batteries very quickly, requiring a constant power source. If you have a robust network and network knowledge wi-fi may be an option. The Brinno cameras are great for a simple and inexpensive solution. Adding a wi-fi card requires multiple layers of complexity susceptible to failure. Keep your life simple and stick with standard SD cards. 

File Handling
The timer feature allows you to set your camera to record a specific time range each day. The camera will start and stop recording daily, until you stop the recording, the card fills or batteries die. When using the timer feature, a video file is created each day.

Individual timer files are easily joined with video editing software, or you can search for "AVI joiner" for free and simple software to combine the files.

Having separate files each day is beneficial for a few reasons. Using the timer doubles the camera's battery life and eliminates recording non-working hours. The timer also offers file protection, since a video is processed each day. If the batteries were to fail or the camera was damaged you would at least have the files up to the damage or failure.

We recommend leaving files on your card when using the timer. Read more about the timer and file handling.

If you have your camera running constantly, you will eventually see separate files. With the FAT-32 format the maximum file size is 4.29 GB. Once a file reaches 4.29 GB a new file will be will be started. Combining the separate files is easy in iMovie, Windows Movie maker or with freeware AVI joining software. Here is how your files will look...

Brinno Separate Files

Batteries
All Brinno cameras come with batteries. In the case of the TLC120, the battery is internal, rechargeable and not a concern. With the TLC200 Pro and TLC200 f/1.2 cameras you will receive four AA batteries in the package. We recommend using the included batteries for testing or short projects. For a long term project, please purchase a new set of brand name AA batteries. The included batteries may underperform new batteries and we don't want your battery life to be tragically less than expected.

Lithium batteries are sometimes recommended, elsewhere, to increase battery life. On paper these batteries outperform standard alkaline, however, we don't recommend lithium without further consideration. We have had more lithium batteries fail unxpectadly than standard alkaline. We only use lithium batteries if the weather forecast is -0F for an extended period.


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