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blaircerny's profile

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022 4:44 PM

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Outdoor camera battery life is only 1 day — thoughts and ideas

My SimpliSafe outdoor camera runs through batteries one a day. I bought a solar panel which I'll install this weekend but in the meantime I wanted to recommend that you buy at least one extra battery if your situation is like mine...

The front of my house faces a busy street, and there's a sidewalk tree there which blows in the wind — as such, my outdoor camera is recording pretty much 24/7. I don't mind having this level of record, but swapping batteries out every single day sucks.

I tried setting the sensitivity to medium but that causes it to miss big, easy things like cars coming and going. (At medium sensitivity I will see my neighbor's car there in one recording and then it's gone in the next, with no recording of it leaving.) I don't want to change it to the "people only" setting because there are other things going on which I want to record. I've adjusted a couple of the motion zones but that doesn't do much because of the aforementioned tree blowing in the wind.

I am NOT happy about needing to use this solar panel, but it's better than swapping batteries one a day. At this point, there are huge chunks of time for which I'm getting no recordings because it will do a critical battery shutdown in the middle of the night, and I'm constantly wondering whether or not it will catch something I need to see.

If you have any thoughts to add here, thank you!

And if I've given you anything useful, you're welcome!

Community Admin

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240 Messages

2 years ago

Hi @blaircerny,

The battery in the Outdoor Camera is designed to last up to 3-6 months. I certainly understand the concern here when your battery is lasting only a day. One note, the Solar Panel was designed to top off the battery from what it uses within a day. In this instance, it may not keep your battery fully charged day to day. If possible, it sounds like your unit could benefit from being permanently wired into power with the cable provided. Is that something that can be done at this location? 

If not, it may be best for you to speak with our Support Team. They can review the camera settings with you and make sure it's configured correctly, and additionally get a replacement camera your way in the event that one is needed. You can contact them with the details here

4 Messages

@alexandria_c​ Thank you! I appreciate your input and guidance very much.

I've spoken with support a couple of times and some of the settings changes I've made are resultant to those conversations. They've also replaced the camera once already when it just suddenly stopped working altogether.

I will continue to adjust whatever settings I can but hardwiring is not an option at this location right now. In the future perhaps yes but for now I just can't make it work. And if you'll forgive me, I don't think I should have to hardwire it; the system is designed to be wireless and my circumstances are not unique or even unusual — I live in a small house that faces a normal city street and I only have one camera in place.

Again, thank you so much — I'm a SimpliSafe proselytizer and devotee and will continue to be such, no matter how long this takes!

Community Admin

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5.3K Messages

@blaircerny , you bring up some great points. Our 3-6 month estimate is with the People Only Setting, so naturally you'd get much less if you have yours set to All Motion. But even then, just a single day of battery life is extremely low!

One interesting thing to note after I re-read your post: the All Motion setting switches the camera to infrared only; it looks out for heat-generating objects in contrast to the rest of the environment. So trees and leaves moving around shouldn't be triggering the camera all that much! So whatever is causing this extreme battery drain is something else.

I'm going to go ahead and request a call from our lab team. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it.

4 Messages

Thank you, @davey_d I appreciate you jumping in and helping me here, and also for requesting a call from the Lab Team — I've received a call and email from them and I'm working with them on the problem now.

This is yet more great service from SimpliSafe, thank you so much!

4 Messages

I changed settings since I first installed but it is a hassle getting on a ladder every week…I can’t do it more often.But this is the worst piece of equipment I have ever paid for. I have contacted customer care numerous times and I know it’s not camera but battery. This is frustrating and not in best interest not to be able to change battery as frequently as it depletes. It’s very exhausting to bring it up again.

4 Messages

@asnowing My problem was eventually solved when I installed the solar panel accessory — now my battery lasts several weeks, depending on the weather. I don't know if this will change come winter, when the sun tracks a slightly different path across the sky because of the time change, but for now it's great. I don't know if this will solve your problem but at least it's another piece of data for you.

Unfortunately, even though the problem was eventually solved, I'm disappointed in the specialist/team to which I was assigned during the process. The person with whom I spoke told me that they would monitor my camera's diagnostics, help me make settings adjustments, and would be available to me whenever I had questions. This lasted about a week and then the person ghosted me. Just ... totally stopped answering my comms. We had a couple of phone conversations and a couple of emails during which I felt like my problem was being treated with urgency, and then ... nothing. I've sent many follow up emails to try to gauge if I made some mistake or if I was under a false impression but I get nothing but crickets.

Regardless, I've been able to get through the problem so at least there's that.

I hope that helps!

4 Messages

2 years ago

Ditto!

Community Admin

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5.3K Messages

@asnowing​ how similar is your situation to the original poster? And what settings do you have active?

Even with extremely high activity though, your Outdoor Camera should be lasting more than just a day. I am curious - what firmware is currently installed on your camera? You can find out by navigating in the app to Menu > My System > Camera Settings > [your camera] > Basic Info.

The latest is 1.7, but 1.6 actually contained a fix for a known issue that severely impacted battery life. I wonder if your camera has been able to update to either of those versions.

1 Message

10 months ago

@davey_d I am having this same issue with my battery only lasting a day. Support is sending me a solar panel, but I am still concerned this will not be enough. We do not have much traffic, at the most I get a notification 9 times a day, but it's usually only around 4. The settings are set to people only and firmware is v1.16.9.778. I'm using a 24 watt, 5v 24A usb power adaptor for charging. With a brand new battery, the most it ever lasted was 6 days. I believe there is an issue with the battery itself or the charging mechanism. There is no officially designated charging mechanism offered by SS. I don't know anyone with this system that uses batteries that get 3-6 months of use. Please help us resolve this issue. 

Community Admin

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2.6K Messages

@kengrimmettOur engineers are working on updates to improve the lifespan of the Outdoor Camera’s battery, but your battery should last longer than one day; especially with People Only mode turned on and the number of motion events the camera receives. I’ve forwarded your case to our engineers to look into - someone may reach out to you to further their investigation. 

In the meantime, I would set up the Solar Panel that our Support team is sending you. It was designed to keep the Outdoor Camera’s battery topped off, so it should be a good solution to keep a charge on the camera’s battery.

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72 Messages

@kengrimmett​ I was sent a new camera and 25' cord to plug in because my original camera and power cord connection became funky and corroded where the cord plugs into the camera.  My camera didn't always charge and would only charge to about 14%.  Then, it finally stopped charging at all.  The corrosion was causing the problem.  It's really a silly (stupid?) design because the cord plugs in at the top of the camera and will eventually corrode with rain.  I put a blob of putty-type substance on the replacement camera's electrical connection so that rain will not get into the electrical connection and then cause problems.

1 Message

10 months ago

Even I do have the same issue on my new camera which I bought on memorial day. Initially I’ve connected the camera to the base station to make sure everything works fine and didn’t install the camera on the designated target spot. My camera was sitting idle near to the base station for almost 4 days and didn’t see the battery draining issue. I was waiting for a corner mount to install the same on my garage and finally I installed the camera on garage and started seeing the battery issue. I need to remove battery every 3rd day and charge it. I’ve deleted re-added and enabled all above mentioned settings to see whether it improves or not and unfortunately I didn’t see any improvement on battery life. Now I’ve ordered 25ft cable to enable wired connection to workaround this.

3 Messages

7 months ago

Having very similar issue with battery not lasting. Camera is only 3 months old.  Re-charged for first time and now it will not hold a charge more than a day.  Not much traffic on my street and when working, I only got two notifications per day so that is not draining it.  After the re-charge, I had to call support as when I put the battery back in, I could not get it to reconnect to network/system while standing right by wireless router and base station.  

First issue had with this camera was the magnetic holder was faulty and camera would be pointing straight down at the end of each day. New mount was sent to me.  

Seems yet another call to support is needed.  I have had more issues with this outdoor camera in three months than I have had with all other devices on my network in three years.  

Community Admin

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2.6K Messages

@buffjag​ If your camera's battery is draining with so few motion events a day, we may need to replace the battery or the camera all together. Our Support team can help you with that.

1 Message

I am having the same issue with my batteries only lasting a day especially in high busy areas. The best security cameras for the money and is wireless with rechargeable batteries is the Arlo. I have these cameras at my second residence and the battery life lasts several months and I have several cameras in high traffic areas. I will be changing my Simplisafe cameras out for the Arlo system at my residence. Maybe in a few years Simplisafe will be up to par with other wireless cameras capabilities. 

Community Admin

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2.6K Messages

@angicallahan​ I am sorry to hear that your camera's battery doesn't last that long. While facing a high-traffic area can impact its battery life, there are settings you can enable to prevent it from draining: like People Only detection and Activity Zones. If you'd like to learn more about these settings, we discuss them further in this Help Center article.

4 Messages

6 months ago

Curious why SS not trying to get ahead of this battery drainage issue. Seems common. Got punted around by tech support yesterday acting like this was a charger issue (holding a full charge for exactly 5 seconds before dumping isn’t a charger issue, regardless of how low a voltage the port is). If charging ports/voltages were really an issue, a charging dock would be included (as with Ring devices) And you can’t  reset a camera with a dead battery, no matter what the firmware has been updated to. Understanding that variables are what they are, battery issues aren’t a tough solve, Simplisafe just needs to own up and stop trying to gaslight loyal customers about battery failures. This is the first equipment failure I’ve ever had across multiple systems. Sad to see it handled so poorly. I’ll send the gear back on my own, but taking ownership as a company policy would have been the right response here.

1 Message

6 months ago

I am having the same exact issue.  My first camera lasted several months on a single battery and I had no issues until I had to change the battery for the first time.  Once I did that the camera became completely unresponsive - just blinking a steady blue light.  I worked with SS customer support through all troubleshooting options but nothing worked - so they are sending me a new camera.  In the meantime I took a second camera that I just haven't had time to install in another location yet and I put that in the original camera spot (front door).  At first it would not connect to wifi - I ended up needing to re-select my wifi and enter my password again.  It then connects but fails to run the "test" connect since it is already running.  Thinking all was good I put the camera up and it was fine all day (battery showed 100% when I went to bed).  By morning I got a notification that the battery was drained and I needed to replace it.  I have 3 batteries so I put in another one and tried again.  SAME issue last night!!!  How can their equipment be so faulty?  I will be calling support again today, but this is ridiculous. 

(edited)

2 Messages

6 months ago

My camera is on my front porch, which is very seldom used, and is way off the road. This camera may average coming on once per day, at most. I purchased 2 batteries with the camera. I bought the camera because I have no power at that location. 

My first cycle lasted 6 months. I did not change any settings, but the camera moved slightly when I changed the battery. My 2nd cycle was 1st, 2nd & 3rd days - 100%. 4th day, battery low, please change battery.

I changed back to the original battery (charged overnight, 3 lights) lasted 3 days. It's been the same every cycle since then. I'm not getting notifications that it's waking up unnecessarily. Everything is set on medium, but I have tried adding no motion zones. 

Any ideas? 

Community Admin

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2.6K Messages

@kram1956​ Have you already tried contacting our Support team about this? I would just want to rule out any potential hardware issues, since your camera receives so few motion alerts a day.

2 Messages

I did contact support and we basically un-installed & cleared the cache and reinstalled. That seems to have fixed the problem. It's been about 3 weeks and we've used about 10% of the battery. That's back to about where we were originally.

I have been doing some yard work around that area, so usage is a little above average. 

My next problem is, I keep getting notifications when a cat or something walks across the porch. I tried to adjust for the problem but it does the same even with sensitivity turned on low. I can live with that one. 

Community Admin

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2.6K Messages

@kram1956​ Do you have any Activity Zones set up on this camera? By enabling Activity Zones, you can block off your porch so it ignores any motion in that area. This can be done in the SimpliSafe mobile app if you go to Cameras > tap the gear icon in the top right corner > select [your camera] > Motion Detection > Activity Zones.

7 Messages

4 months ago

I am having the same issue. I installed a camera and solar panel less than 6 months ago at the same time. Battery never dropped below 92% until it suddenly died a week ago. I replaced the battery and boom!  Same issue, it died that night. I have it set for low sensitivity and people only.  I’m not sure what else that I can do.

(edited)

7 Messages

@dlpsr​ I have read the suggestions.  Swapped batteries to no avail.  Today I completely removed the camera from my system, reset it and reinstalled it.  I kept checking it all day and the battery stayed at 100% until it died after 13 hours.  I checked the history and it only recorded 3 videos, all for less than 60 seconds, the last was 2 hours before it died.  Heck, I even turned off notifications and the status light.  Any other suggestions and I will listen.

Community Admin

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2.6K Messages

@rrr​ If the camera's battery died after it only recorded 3 motion events, we may need to replace that camera all together. If you haven't already, I would recommend connecting with our Support team for additional assistance.

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