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TChicago's profile

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022 7:52 PM

Outdoor Camera Battery Drains Quickly

The outdoor camera battery is advertised as "Lasts up to 3-6 months before it needs a recharge." with the caveat, "Battery life may vary depending on usage, placement and settings." I bought my camera in mid-July 2022 and I've replaced the battery 3 times since then (now mid-October 2022, 3 months). The camera is indoors (in a lobby), so it is not exposed to extreme temperatures; it also times out frequently so it is not running constantly. 

Any recommendations to extend the battery life would be very much appreciated. It's a huge hassle to pull out the ladder every month when I thought the battery should last 3-6 times as long!

Official Solution

Community Admin

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5.5K Messages

2 years ago

Hi @TChicago ,

That 3-6 month estimate is based on the default configuration (including the People Only setting), and when set up in a typical backyard. So you might get varying results in different situations -for example, in what sounds like a high traffic environment where the camera is triggering all the time.

Have you already considered an Indoor Camera for this situation? On top of being powered by AC, it can be set to activate only when the system is armed. So when it's off, it won't need to be constantly recording.

7 Messages

from what I am reading here your first paragraph is not true. My camera was on default settings from the factory and only lasted 3 days on my front porch pointed at the door. No excessive traffic and terrible battery life. Bad on SimpliSafe for poor equipment be it battery or the camera. I am totally upset and feel SimpliSafe should provide power cables for anyone (like me) that has an outlet within reach!

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or finally get around to a recall

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2 years ago

Hi @davey_d 

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, we weren't able to use an indoor camera because there is no outlet in the lobby area where we have the camera set up. There's a bit of "traffic" when people come into the lobby, so that might just be the best explanation. Conversely, I've noticed the camera usually just says "Offline" until we manually "wake up" the camera.

Would a weak wifi connection be adding to the problem? We're getting -62dBm due to how far it is from our router.

Thanks!

4 Messages

2 years ago

Just installed the outdoor camera. Installed it over my garage facing the front yard. Fully charged new battery lasted 5 days before completely drained. Terrible, I am very disappointed.

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I had the same thing happen to me. I’m getting a replacement camera now, and sending the old one back. Hopefully this was a fluke. 

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@datkinson1958​ I have a camera outside set for people only and I even purchased a second battery so I could have one charged up when the other one died. I’m very disappointed that the battery was dead in about 3 weeks.

3 Messages

2 years ago

One of my cameras started discharging in one day. I turned all settings off or to lowest possible and it is still discharging in one day. What gives?

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@genekeenan​ that's definitely not normal. Even after turning the settings down, are you still seeing a high number of motion alerts? And have you already tried resetting the camera to factory settings, in case it was a firmware issue?

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2 years ago

I have tried three different batteries and two cameras, none of them lasted more than five days.  I don’t know how they came up with three to six months.  I live in cul-de sac for goodness sake.. Ridiculous.  My Blink did better than - two months and more……with just normal rechargeable double AA.

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@ambrose03in​ the 3-6 months would be the expected span with default settings (including People Only) in an average neighborhood. So what you're describing is very unusual.

Are you seeing a high number of false motion alerts?

Firmware 1.10 has some updates that improve performance. If your cam doesn't have it already, hopefully we get it rolled out to you soon.

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Admit it Davey.  The camera batteries are junk.   They take almost as long to charge as they last.   I have three of them and only one has lasted longer than a week before needing recharged.  And it is the one that is the most active.  The other two need to be recharged weekly.   One maybe gets tripped 15-20 times in that time frame.   I can get 1000 HD pictures on my trail cameras before the batteries go dead.

I ended up buying the solar panels because at almost 70, I really don't appreciate having to get up on ladders all the time.  They panels better solve the problem or I will get a different system.

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I'm disappointed. I left for a 3-week vacation, and within only five days, my battery was dead. I've also had the settings at the most economical possible. The only daily alert was from the mailman. So, I have no front door outside camera, the most important one. I think I'll send the system back when I return. The rest of the equipment works fine, but the outside cameras are way out of line.

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@spd522​ do you use the solar panels with the junk batteries? Bc I too have junk batteries and was considering that option or going hard wired. 

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@marcos9999​ With so few motion notifications and the proper camera settings turned on, your camera's battery shouldn't be draining that quickly. I would recommend reaching out to our Support team, as you may need a new battery.

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2 years ago

Hi, I installed the outdoor camera over the garage door  few days back, and it is draining quickly. Motion detection setting is people only, sensitivity setting is medium, picture quality is set to 720p, and status light is also off. There are hardly 30 motion detection alerts being recorded which is minimal for any home. More than 5% battery is getting drained on a daily basis. It was advertised that battery last for 3 to 6 months before recharge. But it seems this may need a recharge with in 15-20 days. I am very disappointed and I may have to return the security system itself

Community Admin

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242 Messages

Hi @rajan_gandotra​, welcome to the community!

As a first step, let's have you confirm which firmware version your cameras are running. You can see this on the SimpliSafe app by going to the three-bar menu then selecting My System > Camera Settings > Choose your Camera. Once on that page, scroll to the bottom until you see software version. We'd want this to be on 1.10.

If you are running 1.10, the next thing I'd be curious about is the placement of the camera. Does it face a busy street with lots of cars or pedestrians? If so, it might be best to set up activity zones to alert for motion only when it's on your property. You can do this under the three-bar menu > My System > Camera Settings > Choose your Camera > Motion Detection.

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1 year ago

These are not what we bought (as advertised).  Not sure who thought this thing could last 3-6 months. We went out of town for a month, and it lasted 2 weeks. Default configuration.  We bought this to monitor just our driveway.  Not as if we get much traffic.  You need to come out with a free battery extender pack for those of us that bought this junk camera. We’ve been SimpliSafe users since just about the beginning.  This is the only product we’ve ever had a problem with that couldn’t be easily resolved. 

Community Admin

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5.5K Messages

@billstreep​ so sorry to hear that battery life isn't as expected for your Outdoor Camera. Yes, we do estimate up to 3-6 months under typical conditions, but factors like activity level, connection strength, and environment do play a factor. If you haven't already, I suggest reaching out to our Support team and we can help bring that battery life up a bit!

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1 year ago

A simple firmware update would fix this for many - I don’t need my cameras to record me every time I play with my kids in the back garden, or every time I walk out the front door. 

I’ve also had to turn camera motion notifications off otherwise it alerts me that I’m in the front garden. Or alerts me that my wife is in the front garden. This makes the notification setting totally useless. 

The exterior cameras need to function more like the indoor cameras - I only need my cameras to look for motion when the alarm is armed. Otherwise they waste their batteries just recording me and my family all the time. 

The system also needs to allow for multiple ‘home’ and ‘away’ settings. I can’t arm my system during the day with ‘home’ because when I’m at home I need more sensors active at night than during the day. 

Both of the above should be a relatively basic firmware update for both the app snd keypad. Please consider. 

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Thanks. 

I have 4 outdoor cameras and 3 indoor cameras. The indoor cameras only record anything when the alarm is armed. I need the outdoor cameras to act in the same way. I’m unsure why the cameras are designed to act differently - what’s the design justification there?

Having motion detection enabled on the outdoor cameras all the time means that every time my kids go into the back garden (which is all the time) and very time my wife and I go out the front door (also all the time), the cameras detect motion and record us. 

If the cameras only detected motion when the alarm was armed, then they’d only record intruders and therefore not waste so much battery. It’s not practical for me to turn motion detection off on every outdoor camera every time my kids want to go into the back garden or every time me or my wife leave the house. That’s more hassle than just changing the batteries every week (as I’m currently having to do). 

On the alarm home/away mode - I need a day and a night setting for each.

When I’m at home at night, I want all my sensors armed. When I’m at home during the day, I only want my window sensors and garage motion/door sensors armed. 

When I’m away at night, I’ll still want everything armed. But when I’m away during the day I’d want some of my motion sensors off (to account for the areas my dog has access to - I know you can put the motion sensors upside down to only detect motion at height, but my dog jumps on the couches and beds in those rooms so there’s a risk that she’ll still set them off). 

There is definitely a hole in SimpliSafe’s functionality. 

Community Admin

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2.9K Messages

@jonnielewisfilm​ We have submitted a request to our dev team to bind the Outdoor Camera's motion notifications to the system's armed state - just like you see with the SimpliCam. When we hear any news from them, we will provide an update in this thread. In the meantime, I would suggest enabling Snooze Notifications when people are outside and you don't want to receive multiple motion notifications. 

I will also forward your suggestion for multiple Home and Away settings to our dev team!

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@jonnielewisfilm​ I have the exact same complaint. Its such a simple fix to make the outdoor camera only detect motion when its armed. My outdoor camera is also in my backyard. Camera lasts less than one week. Its so bad had I not purchased on Prime Day I'd return. I might put an indoor camera outside under my covered patio. 

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@emily_s​ snoozing should be a permanent option after the first trigger, like Swann cameras do.  Not on a per incident bases. My bigger issue is it should have the same options as the indoor camera my battery on my outdoor camera lasts les than one week because of using my backyard.  

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1 year ago

I recently purchased an outdoor camera, and the battery only lasted two weeks on the first charge with medium sensitivity and people only. 

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Mine has lasted about a day. Getting a replacement camera now. Hopefully it last like advertised. The customer support was very easy to work with and kind. 

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1 year ago

I have had this problem since I purchased the camera and set it up in early March.  I had NUMEROUS contacts with Simplisafe.  Verified I have a compatible charging block, verified my signal strengths, verified my settings, verified where it faced, verified the number of events, verified updates.  I would charge it for 5-6 hours, and then it would be okay for a couple of days and then drop overnight from 99% to 78% (or similar) with NO recorded events/triggers, and would continue to drop over the course of a week or so.  This happened with TWO different cameras - my original, and then a replacement they sent.  They finally sent a third, but while I was waiting for that one, I accidentally left the battery charging overnight, for about 12 hours.  Lo and behold, since then, it's holding a charge.  I put it up about three weeks ago, and it's only dropped to about 82%, which is acceptable for me if it continues to do that.  I *do* have it on the lowest settings (low sensitivity, standard night lighting, status light off (but I had it like that before and it was still draining for me).  Now, I am waiting to see if it suddenly does the death drop as it has in the past, and also seeing if charging it for twelve hours works the next time (because who knows).  I had been told I would be getting sent a replacement battery, but, that didn't happen (apparently they're out of stock - probably because people keep buying new batteries because the old ones don't hold a charge when directions are followed).  Anyway, I will update after seeing how the life of this one holds, and also my results after charging again.  But, you may want to charge for 12 hours and see if that helps.  It just sucks that the camera is off line during those twelve hours.  They should definitely be sending out a second battery to everyone.

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Good to know. Getting my replacement camera due to an original bad battery. Thinking of doing solar if that doesn’t work. Do you use your solar with that “bad” battery? 

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@drewtbridge​ They do have a 25' power cord if you have an outlet within reach. They should be giving them to everyone until they get batteries that last as well as Arlo cams do.

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1 year ago

I’m having the same issue as everyone here. I wish I had read this post before I went with SimpliSafe. Our outdoor camera is set to all the battery conservation settings and only gets spare usage (maybe 2 detections a day). And yet the battery still only lasts 2 weeks. 

There is no way a battery could last 3-6 months under any normal conditions. 

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@Sadie​ there might be something else going on with your specific unit. Have you already been working with our Support team? Perhaps a replacement battery or camera might be the next step for you.

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10 months ago

Update:  I posted upthread about how I accidentally left my battery charging for about 12 hours, and it seemed to hold the charge better.  It did.  It only went down to about 30% in about two months, which is fine for me.  I charged it again at the beginning of this month.  Since it hadn't drained super-low, I tried just the six hour charge (it was fully charged long before that).  Nope, was draining fast after I put it back in.  Took it out and charged it twelve hours again, and popped it back in.  It's been about 11 days (I really should use a calendar) and it's only gone down 8%.  I'm going to keep monitoring this, but, if it continues to "behave" after my next 12+ hour charge, I'm going to assume that that is the issue.

I still maintain SimpliSafe should give everyone an extra battery so that our houses are not unprotected for a 12 hour span.

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I've actually been charging mine for 24 hours and the battery has been draining to nearly half overnight. I just took a different battery off the charger, slid it in a camera and it reads as 56%. They've got a quality issue with these outdoor cameras, as I've already had one of my three replaced and I'm barely into eight months of ownership.

And I'm in wholehearted agreement about receiving a spare battery we can just swap.

Community Admin

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2.9K Messages

@SJMCK​ If this new camera's battery is draining, it can help to look at the environment of this camera and its settings. Is this camera facing a high-traffic area like a busy street or a bird feeder and triggers more than 10 motion events a day, it could cause this camera's battery to deplete faster. If this is the case, I would look into setting Activity Zones to avoid motion detection for these areas, or slightly reposition the camera. 

You can also lower the camera's motion sensitivity and enable People-Only motion detection to further preserve the life of the camera's battery. You can learn more about off of these settings in this Help Center article.

1 Message

This camera's battery is a useless piece of trash!  I have charged it several times in a month.  I have limited its view, resolution, and motion sensitivity to the lowest, almost unusable, and still the camera is draining the battery very quickly.  We live in a secluded neighborhood with no significant traffic, motion, or noise of any sort.  

I am extremely disappointed.  I don't know what SimpliSafe's folks are saying when they talk about "settings".  The only way for this camera's battery to maybe last 3 months is to turn it off and never use it!

  • SimpliSafe needs to save its reputation or lose business very quickly.

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5.5K Messages

@aimsaka​ this rapid draining is extremely unusual, especially since you mention that it's not even pointed at a high traffic area.

I suggest resetting that camera to factory settings by pressing the button in the back for 30 seconds (or until you hear the confirmation tone). You can then follow the setup process again in the SimpliSafe app.

But if that doesn't work, the next step is a replacement camera. Our Support team would be happy to help.

Same issue here with the battery draining.  

I noticed one response here saying “is it recording people on the sidewalk?”  Isn’t that the point of the camera, I’m confused.  So instead of recording the 9 or 10 people who walk in front of the house every day and wanting to see if they choose to come on the property because the camera does have a lead up time to turning on(I can run from the sidewalk to the house and it won’t turn on in time), I’m forced to set the camera to only record the drive which means it just drains the battery to empty as it records an entire episode of me loading and unloading my truck.

I have asked about why there isn’t another setting besides “home” and “away” and they say you shouldn’t need it.

Like a lot of people, I don’t live in fear when we’re awake and moving around the property.  What we care about is when we’re sleeping, when we’re away.

All cameras, all devices should have granular level control so I can tell my outdoor camera that I only want it on at “Night” or “Away”.  If the batteries can’t cut it these devices need to be hardwired.

Anyway, I’m returning the system.  It’s just not reliable and it doesn’t record when I need it to.

4 Messages

8 months ago

A bit crazy that simplisafe hasn’t tried to get ahead of this. I have the same issue with one of my four OD cameras each about 8 mos old. Started noticing deterioration on all of them about 3 mos ago. Adjusted all of the setting down to LESS than default activity (included tuning motion sense off, thus defeating the whole purpose of the investment). Three of the four responded well but the fourth suddenly cratered about a week ago and i cabot get the thing resurrected. Charged multiple times, but when the full battery is inserted, only a brief white light comes on (no chimes) and then nothing. Reset button does nothing. Charging lights now back to one. Firmware UTD by my understanding. Oddly, I tried pulling a freshly charged battery out of one of my other units and the same sequence happened. Chat tech support was of no help. Tried to suggest using a different charging plug (if that were and issue SS should include one in the package, i now see a 7.5V one on the site for  INDOOR camera). What’s really needed is a multipack charging base like Ring offers. That said, Im guessing this was a known issue on the front end, which is probably why solar panels are/were offered f from the start. As with others on this forum, this is the first really disappointing response I’ve gotten from the company. Makes me wonder if a recall is forthcoming. Amyway, I’m flummoxed and can usually sort these silly things out quickly. Bummer. Warranty issues being what they are, guess i’ll be going that route.

7 Messages

8 months ago

Seems this is norm as mine only lasted less than a week on first outing. Totally pissed at the false advertisement. I am considering a solar panel hook up to eliminate the hassle of the ladder. BUT that will cost me more money!!! NOT HAPPY! I now find that a power cord is available for anyone with an outlet close by. How about it SimpliSafe send me one no charge!!????

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8 months ago

I have the same issue even with the solar panel.  It worked for 4-5 months on the solar panel now the batter won’t hold a charge more than a few hours even with the solar panel connected in the Colorado sun.

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2.9K Messages

@Bfhdkcubedj​ I'm concerned that perhaps your camera is using energy faster than it can replenish, which could cause this battery drain. 

If you haven't already, I would try resetting your camera by pressing and holding the button on the back for 30 seconds. When you release the button, you will be prompted to set the camera up again in the SimpliSafe mobile app.

If a reset doesn't help, there may be a hardware issue, so we would want to replace that camera. Our Support team can help with the replacement. 

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