Please do not use "post comments" to ask for camera help and advice.
Use phone, Skype IM or eMail.

Sunday 30 December 2012

P. austrocedrae in Common Juniper - Juniperus communis

Infected Juniper
Juniper faces new threat
Forestry Commission Scotland is advising landowners and managers across Scotland to be on the alert for a plant health threat to juniper.

Phytophthora austrocedrae is a fungus like pathogen that was only recently (2007) identified in Argentina and Chile, where it is believed to have been causing disease in their native Chilean cedar since the mid-20th century. It infects the plants through their root systems, initially

Firmware Updates, Upgrades and Software - Little Acorn Trail Cameras

 5210                    6210
In this post:
Do you need to update your firmware?
How to find your camera's firmware version. 
Current firmware versions. Updated 09.03.2013
Recent 6210 firmware issue (Wireless connection).
How to do a Firmware Upgrade.
Resetting your camera.
Recent Set up software releases.
Posts coming next month.

Do you need to update your firmware?
Probably not, is the simple answer.
If your camera is functioning normally, doing the job you require and has no obvious faults, then in my opinion it's probably best not to do an upgrade (why fix a running engine?).

In other words, my advice is don't upgrade for the sake of having the latest firmware installed, because it might

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Updated Ltl Acorn 6210 back order news and firmware updates

New Ltl Acorn 6210MGX
The shipment of new Ltl Acorn 6210 MGXs arrived at the end of last week and during pre-despatch checking we discovered an issue with the wireless function.

This resulted in a flurry of emails and tests between us and the factory, to determine the cause of the problem. It turned out that the cameras had been accidentally loaded with malfunctioning firmware; and with due credit to the factory, we had new firmware by Monday morning and by the evening, all the cameras had been re-programmed and tested, both for MMS and SMTP.

This has resulted in a despatch delay, but I'm happy to report that all the back and current orders for this camera model will be despatched by the end of today or tomorrow morning.

All customers should have received their cameras by Friday 14th December 2012.

All the UK small orders will arrive by Royal Mail Special Delivery and other orders will either be Royal Mail or DHL.

We are sorry for the delays on delivering the new model and hope that things can now settle down and normal service be resumed.

We now have new firmware V1.2.003T which I will test for

Using GPRS/SMTP with Ltl Acorn Trail Cameras

Fig 1: Ltl Acorn 6210MGX
Sending Emails via SMTP from an Acorn Trail Camera.

This post is a follow up to the instructions for using SMTP with the 6210, back in September this year.

Read this post carefully, follow my instructions exactly and I guarantee it will work.

Post updated on 21.12.2012

I have difficulty testing the wireless functions, because I am in a marginal network coverage area. Each test entails my doing a 10 mile round trip to test settings, but recently I decided I would have to bite the bullet.

This article is a brief practical instruction on how I achieved a working set up.

The difficulties highlighted in our previous report were:
1) The need to have an email address where the local name is the same as the username. e.g
2) Finding an SMTP service that allowed non SSL use.

The email address was easy. I turned to NamesCo, a UK based company I've dealt with before; and who provide excellent services and support. I purchased a domain name [] costing 13.99 GBP for three years, which provided an email address and a free

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Trees For Life Founder Wins Spirit of Scotland Environment Award

Journalist Lesley Riddoch presents
Alan Watson Featherstone
with the Spirit of Scotland Environment Award

Alan Watson Featherstone, founder and executive director of conservation charity Trees for Life, has won The Environment category of the prestigious Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards 2012. The accolade was announced at a special ceremony held in Edinburgh on 29th November.

“As the winners of these awards are decided by public vote in the UK, this is inspiring, national recognition of Trees for Life’s restoration of the Caledonian Forest. I’m very grateful to everyone who voted – it’s an honour that shows how deeply people care about conserving Scotland’s world-class wild

6210 Delivery update and Firmware/Software News

I'm now happily in a position to confirm outstanding order delivery dates for the new 6210MGX and MC models.

The first MGX camera shipment was in Paris early this morning and weather conditions permitting, will be processed and sent DHL next day delivery, by Thursday/Friday of this week.

The MC shipment has been slightly delayed and is due to arrive on the 17th December. These cameras will be processed and sent DHL next day delivery, by Wednesday 19th of December.

Extra stock is also arriving with these shipments and is selling quickly; so for delivery before Christmas, I would recommend you order now.

New set up software and firmware is now available.
I'll be posting about the updates and new menu features as soon as I've completed my evaluations.

I sincerely hope we wont be experiencing any more delays in the future and I promise to try not to find any more problems which require a major case update

My personal thanks to all our customers for being so patient.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

BBC Wildlife Camera-trap Photo of the Year 2012

Animal Portraits and overall winner: Leopard path by Zhou Zhefeng, China.

This beautiful image of a Chinese leopard taken by Zhou Zhefeng for a project funded by the Shanxi Wocheng Institute of Ecology and Environment, is a worthy Overall and Animal Portraits Category Winner, securing the top prize of £3,000.

Although the data bar wasn't turned on, I am assured that the camera used was a Ltl Acorn 5210A

Go to the BBC Wildlife Magazine gallery to see all the other winners.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Scientists crack genetic code of dwarf birch from Highlands forest restoration site

Richard Buggs & Dwarf Birch
(Betula nana) inside exclosure

Scientists today announced the sequencing of the entire genetic code – the genome – of a dwarf birch from Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Estate near Loch Ness in Glen Moriston, where the conservation charity is working to conserve a natural population of the species.

Dwarf birch (Betula nana) is a nationally scarce species in Britain, occurring mainly in small populations on Scottish mountains. The genome’s sequencing – a laboratory process that identifies the complete DNA sequence of an organism – lays the foundations for genetic research into the birch genus, which includes up to 60 tree species. This will benefit studies on the conservation of dwarf birch.

“Increasing our understanding of tree genomes is essential for our long-term ability to conserve and grow tree species in the UK,” said Richard Buggs, lead scientist of the project, who is based at Queen Mary University of London.

Alan Watson Featherstone, executive director of Trees for Life, said: “This is a tremendous breakthrough. Together with our woodland

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Ash Dieback Highlights Need to protect UK’s Trees and Woodlands

Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Female flowers and leaf bud in April.
With concerns over the arrival and spread of ash dieback in the UK growing, conservation charity Trees for Life said today that the disease highlights the urgent need to place higher priority on the conservation of the country’s native trees and woodlands, and warned that other tree diseases and pests must be taken equally seriously.

The tragedy threatening the UK’s ash trees is a powerful warning that our native trees need help, and underlines the crucial importance of conservation work. Stronger action to protect our trees, including by preventing diseases and pests from entering the UK, is urgently needed,” said Alan Watson

Monday 5 November 2012

Trail Camera Video Distortion - Ltl Acorn 6210 firmware update

Fig 1: 6210 4/3rds image as reference.
For the best in field economy (batteries and cards) it's preferable to shoot just images, especially if the camera is being deployed for a long period.

Having said that, short videos are useful for showing animal behaviour and sometimes can aid with animal identification when the camera is shooting IR at night.

I often set the camera to shoot one image and a short video of ten to twenty seconds immediately after; and recently I became aware that the physical proportions of objects in the 4/3rds videos were distorted. Circles became elliptical and squares

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Princess Anne presents Jubilee Diamond Wood Plaque to Trees for Life

Alan Watson Featherstone of Trees for Life receives the
Diamond Wood commemorative plaque from
HRH The Princess Royal.
Photo: Woodland Trust Scotland.

Trees for Life has been honoured with a commemorative plaque from HRH The Princess Royal to mark its creation of a Diamond Wood in Inverness-shire to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

The conservation charity is planting the 60-acre Jubilee woodland of native trees at its Dundreggan Estate, to the west of Loch Ness in Glen Moriston.

The initiative is part of a Woodland Trust project to create 60 new Diamond Woods across the UK, each at least 60 acres in size, to symbolise the 60 years of The Queen’s reign.

The commemorative plaque was presented to Trees

Monday 29 October 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 Water Resistance Tests

Ltl Acorn 6210MMX
Don't all die of shock. This is what we've all been waiting for.
A 6210 with a water tight case.

Camera under test: 

Ltl Acorn 6210MG S/N 202001037 – This test camera is the re-designed case as of October 2012

Purpose of test: 

To determine its resistance to water ingress during heavy rainfall with at least a ten degrees centigrade drop in case temperature during the first five minutes from the start of the test.

Reason for test:

The camera case is a sealed unit at normal air pressure but with any sudden drop in external case temperature (e.g. cold heavy rain following heating by sun), the air inside starts to contract and form a vacuum. As the vacuum increases any weakness in the case seals will cause the seal to break down at some point and

Wednesday 17 October 2012

The Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) - National tree of Scotland?

Scots Pine - Pinus sylvestris
Scots Pine - Pinus sylvestris

Glen Affric NNR
Scots Pine forest in the foreground with plantations on
lower middle ground; and behind is the open hill ground
left by centuries of tree felling and deer over population. 
From an article in The Scotsman by Scott Macnab

The Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) is also known as the Scots fir, the Guithais (Gaelic), Ochtach (Old Irish) and Giumais (Irish).

A petition lodged at Holyrood calls on MSPs and the Scottish Government to work in tandem with the country’s heritage and environmental bodies to take the proposal on.

It has already met with a 
positive response from the Scottish Wildlife Trust, but officials say there is currently no mechanism to create the new national symbol.

Petitioner Alex Hamilton said: “I believe that the vision of the future of Scotland should include a

Sunday 7 October 2012

Scottish Wildcat Association October 2012 Newsletter

SNH action plan for wildcats
Scottish Natural Heritage, the Government agency responsible for nature in Scotland, announced the formation of a new conservation action group for the wildcat, put together with the intention of forming a national action plan to bring them back from the brink.

The group includes a wide cross section of groups who can all play a hand and bring a range of expertises to the table, besides ourselves at the Scottish Wildcat Association the group also includes Forestry Commission Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Cairngorms Wildcat Project, Highland Foundation for Wildlife, Highland Wildlife Park, Oxford University, Scottish Gamekeepers Association and leading wildcat expert Dr Andrew Kitchener.

Before the first meeting of the group we (the SWA)

Friday 5 October 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 and 5210 Trail Cameras News Update

Ltl Acorn 6210MMX and 5210A
In this post:
Trigger Speeds and Reaction Times
MMS Modules
6210 Case Re-design
6210 Software Version update
5210 Software Version update
Future Tests and Reviews
6210 Availability

It looks as if the new updated 6210 is almost available, at long last; but I'm going to qualify that by pointing out that I can only report what I'm told.

Several times it seemed as if the camera would be ready and then the manufacturers have had to make fine adjustments to the case mould. I also know that there is completely updated software for this camera and all these improvements take time to get right.

Post Update 22.10.12: The new 6210 will be here

Monday 1 October 2012

Badger cull: not in this farmer's name | Steve Jones |

Badger cull: not in this farmer's name
'Farmers vilify badgers but TB is mainly transmitted
cow to cow.'   Photograph: David Cheskin/PA
This article was published in The Guardian last Friday and I'm re-publishing it here to provide as much extra coverage as possible.

If only everyone could see it this way.  RB

I farm in the cull area, and I know that killing badgers will not stop bovine TB – the answer lies in better farming practice

The government justifies a badger cull by claiming it's to help farmers. I have 35 years' livestock management experience, and I live in the heart of the Forest of Dean – the cull area – and I disagree. Killing badgers isn't the long-

Sunday 30 September 2012

Ltl Acorn 5210 and 6210 Trail Camera Problem Solving

Fig 1:  Ltl Acorn 6210MMX and 5210A
Trail Cameras
Latest Page Update: 02.05.2016
Troubleshooting Guide at bottom of page.

Like all cameras of this type, the Ltl Acorn models do have their issues and I answer a large number of emails requesting help. Some problems are just mistakes with menu settings, others are issues with memory cards and some are camera faults.

This post is an attempt to collate and illustrate potential problems which, in most cases, can be corrected by users if they have the right information.

Some issues may require some analysis by the user, but most often a simple procedure or a firmware update will correct the problem.

I hope this post will help you keep your camera running without costly returns and time spent trying to explain problems.

If you have a camera problem which is not answered below please email, Skype or phone.
Do not use the post comments to ask for advice.

Real or Fake (cloned) Ltl Acorn (Firmware upgrade issues):

Before I go into specific issues, one thing which is very important is to determine that you have a genuine

Friday 14 September 2012

Scottish Wildcat is in imminent danger of extinction

Photo: Laurie Campbell Photography 

Hot on the heels of yesterdays post which included the recent press release from SNH, comes another from the Scottish Wildcat Association.

You'll notice that I've changed their headline for the title of this post, because although I echo their sentiments for urgent action, nobody is certain  how many pure bred wildcats are left in the wild, or in captivity for that matter.

For this to be established genetic testing is an absolute priority and it's high time for SNH to formalise their national conservation action plan for

Thursday 13 September 2012

Wildcat project comes to end but points the way for future action

Photo:   Cairngorms Wildcat Project

On the same day I was reading the final report on the Cairngorms Wildcat Project, I also received a sighting report of a large cat in this area; of wildcat size and appearance, including the typically thick, blunt and ringed tail.

This was a night time sighting in car headlights and can't be verified but I hope it's a good omen, even though the chances of it being a pure wildcat are extremely slim.

With official estimates of the remaining wildcat population in Scotland being continually down sized, and the latest from The Scottish Wildcat Association suggesting the number might be as low as 35, pure bred Scottish Wildcats could soon be extinct in the wild.

For the past year Dr O’Donoghue at the University of Chester, has been working in collaboration with Dr Ross McEwing at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland WildGenes Lab in Edinburgh, on developing a diagnostic genetic test to provide solid evidence of how many true Scottish wildcats actually

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Acorn 6210 MG instructions for using SMTP

Fig 1: Ltl Acorn 6210MG
This page is out of date and is being revised.

If you are looking for help with setting up an Acorn cellular camera please contact me by phone or Skype.

Contact details in the left column.

Monday 3 September 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 daylight still image under exposure

Fig 1:  6210 Image with under exposed foreground.
During my time away I lent a recent 6210MMX to a member of a UK squirrel group who are monitoring for Gray Squirrel incursion into a sensitive Red Squirrel population. The purpose was to test the cameras ability to send emails by SMTP (see tomorrows post for the results).

During the tests a daylight exposure issue was highlighted which I have illustrated here. Figures 1 and 3 are the images sent by email, where the important detail is almost invisible due to under exposure. Figures 2 and 4 are the first frames of the video following each image and are correctly

Monday 20 August 2012

News and Updates to Web Site

From Wednesday the 22nd of August I'm going to be away for two weeks, visiting family, and will not be on line as frequently as normal, so please be patient if emailing me or posting comments.

Site Updates.
I will have some spare time which I will be using to continue some of the site updates which I'm currently making. I would hope in any case to have the new pages, and any changes to old pages, completed in about

Saturday 18 August 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 Firmware Upgrade - Night time infra-red lighting and exposure.

Fig 1:  Pre update image from a recent 6210MMX
ISO 600    1/15sec   f2.8
In older models of the 6210 940nm series trail cameras, the night time images and videos were just about workable but grainy. After a number of complaints Acorn published a new software version, V1.1.003T in the camera I tested.

Unfortunately the correction overcooked and fig 1 shows a typical image.

Happily there's now a firmware update FW6210.bin (software version V.1.1.006u) to correct this, which produces an acceptable result as shown in fig 2.

I've also compared this with an image (fig 3) from an 850nm camera.

Could Chester geneticist save the Scottish wildcat from extinction?

A Scottish wildcat - but is it a hybrid or a purebred?
Picture supplied by Neville Buck,
of The Aspinall Foundation.
Geneticists from the University of Chester are developing a test that could crack the Scottish wildcat’s DNA code and save one of Britain’s rarest and most iconic species from extinction.

"If we can identify enough wildcats to develop a viable breeding programme, we can then look at ways of conserving this beautiful species and preventing one of Britain’s most incredible, iconic animals from disappearing from the face of the earth."
Dr Paul O''Donoghue

Read the full article

Friday 17 August 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 Series Trail Camera News and Updates

Fig 1:  Ltl Acorn 6210 MC
Left. 940nm (no glow) - Right. 850nm (red glow)
A week ago I received the two pre-production  6210MC test cameras shown in figure 1; and since then I've been conducting water ingress tests to determine if the new modifications will keep water out of the case, in our climate.

The manufacturers have been working hard to completely redesign, not just the bottom door assembly, but also the main case moulding to accommodate the new door interface.

In my last post about this, I suggested doing away with the seal, but Acorn have decided they want the camera completely waterproof. Consequently the

Thursday 2 August 2012

Bushnell and Ltl Acorn comparative trigger speed tests

Fig 1:  Cameras
under test.

The new BushnellHD Trophy Camera model 119477 has been waiting for several weeks, for me to start more comparative tests alongside the Acorn 6210.

Because of the recent trigger speed improvements to both these cameras, I've been eager to see how they would compare, fully expecting the Bushnell with its 0.6sec reaction time to outperform the 6210 with its reaction time of 0.8 of a second. As it turned out I was in for a big surprise.

I also decided to test last years Bushnell 119467 and the Acorn 5210 at the same time to give a clear indication of how things had improved. The chart below clearly and graphically shows how these cameras compare. They were all tested at exactly the same time under perfect conditions (full, even overcast) for this test, there being no chance of flashes of sunlight causing anomalous triggers.

Camera settings were identical, as shown on the table below, and all were loaded with a 4GB SanDisk SDHC card.

The tests were conducted by my walking across the field of view, at 90 degrees to

Wednesday 1 August 2012

MammalMAP: The African Mammal Atlas Project

Not exactly Scotland but an interesting and exciting project.
After you've watched the video go to Mammal Map web site  and Animal Demography Unit Virtual Museum for more information.

The Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) - Recommended book

The Eurasian Red Squirrel
Stefan Bosch and Peter Lurz.
Authors:   Stefan Bosch and Peter W. W. Lurz

This is a comprehensive and well illustrated book which I feel has been long overdue. It is clearly written and is an excellent form of reference and general interest which will appeal to all readers, from professional ecologists to those who are just interested in understanding more about this popular and endangered mammal.

Chapters cover Taxonomy, Distribution, Body form and function, Reproduction and development, Behaviour, Ecology, Threats and conservation, Methods and research, Squirrels and people, plus an extensive Bibliography.

Eurasian red squirrels have an innate appeal and are one of
our most popular mammal species. They live in forests, share
our parks and gardens and mesmerise us with their cute, captivating and endearing behaviour.

Monday 30 July 2012

Acorn 5210A exposure tests - Firmware Upgrade - Part 2.

Fig 1: Still image sequence time lines, pre and post upgrade.
Click on image to view full size
Following on from my last post on this subject, the image on the left shows an analysis of the issue, before and after the firmware upgrade.

This post refers specifically to the upgrade for the 5210A; but a bin file is also available for the 5210M, which will increase the size of the file sent by MMS from 320 x 240 pixels up to 640 x 480 pixels, as well as correcting the exposure issue.

These files are not available to download directly because both bin files are named 5210A. If you use the wrong file it will disable the camera; so I

Phantom Red Squirrel, Pine Marten and Red Deer.

Fast moving Red Squirrel travelling right to left.
Shutter speed was 1/25sec which was too slow to catch
anything other than the squirrels tail.
Notice the blond tail which is a fairly common feature of
red squirrels in this area of Scotland.
End of last week I collected several camera traps that had been set on forest deer trails. Red Deer are regularly culled to help forest regeneration in this area, which makes them nervous and elusive.

I was hoping to get an idea of how many animals were regularly in this section of forest and the video clips below follow on from my post a month ago.

Co-incidentally I discovered two obscure but identifiable reasons for apparent false triggering.

The image on the left is of a passing squirrel, which I nearly missed and the following video shows three frames taken with an Acorn 5210A camera trap, which captured a moving stick in the ground vegetation. Each frame is a centre crop of the

Tuesday 24 July 2012


A remnant of Scotland's old Caledonian Forest
Scots Pine forest in the Glen Affric
National Nature Reserve
Reforestation could benefit Scotland’s economy by boosting wildlife tourism.

Conservation charity Trees for Life has announced an ambitious new goal to double its current rate of restoration work in Scotland’s Caledonian Forest, with the establishment of one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration within five years.

The charity’s new Million More Trees campaign is a response to environmental problems including deforestation, climate change and biodiversity loss, but could also bring significant benefits to

Sunday 15 July 2012

Can Scotland's wildcats be saved from extinction?

Scottish Wildcat

Very few people have ever had the thrill of observing the Scottish wildcat in its natural habitat, but the cats themselves are experts in surveillance.

On a blazing hot day at Highland Wildlife Park, the trees sheltering the wildcat enclosure provide a haven of cool, zesty air. This is the cheat's way to see wildcats but it provides an unbeatable front-row view, and this morning's visitors are in for an appearance by today's celebrity guests, the wildcat kittens. All that's visible of them is a squirming ball of fawn and grey fur that suddenly.....Read more of this article by Rebecca McQuillan in the Scottish Herald

Friday 13 July 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 HD Series trail camera re-design cures water problem.

Fig 1:   Ltl Acorn 6210MMX

Most of you reading this will be aware of the huge disappointment felt, when the recent modifications to this camera failed to completely eliminate the water ingress. There was a reduction, but the basic problem persisted.

I had been testing the new unit for a week and although there was less water entering the camera, and non was actually getting into the control panel, condensation was still occurring. I was determined to find the reason for this.

The factory re-design of the control panel housing was certainly working, because although, during tests, there was water in the camera, it was not affecting this area. It was however, collecting at the back above the hinge assembly, and was saturating the inside of the case. I decided to go back to basics and re-analyse the whole process.

The strangest thing about this issue, was that the manufacturers had told me, I was the only person reporting this problem to them; and yet many, many people in the UK were having this problem. It occurred to me that if this were true, then maybe the cause related to particular environmental or climatic conditions.

Tuesday 10 July 2012


David Macpherson
with his state of the art hybrid Honda Civic taxi

Forres taxi operator David Macpherson is helping to bring Scotland’s Caledonian Forest back from the brink by supporting Findhorn-based conservation charity Trees for Life.

David’s firm, Mac’s Eco Taxi, donates 20 pence to the award-winning charity for every journey that picks up or drops off at the Findhorn Ecovillage in Findhorn Bay, Moray.

The scheme has already notched up more than

Monday 9 July 2012

Forest Wildlife in June

No Red Squirrels and still no signs of Wildcat, which I don't expect in this area at this time of year. I've been monitoring trails for deer, which are infrequent because of culling to aid forest regeneration.

Images are all straight from the cameras (Ltl Acorn 5210A and 6210MC) and resized down.

Red deer hind with young calf (Cervus elaphus) still with its spotted coat

Saturday 7 July 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 water ingress problem solved

Ltl Acorn 6210 HD Series Trail Camera
I'm very happy and relieved to be able to say that the reason for the condensation problem in the Ltl Acorn 6210 Trail Camera has been identified.

After lengthy tests and analysis the cause of water getting into the control panel is, at long last, understood; and some final changes to the case upgrade are now being made.

I don't know exactly how long this will take, but it will be as fast as possible.

I will post a full explanation of the problem and how it was solved at a later date. Users of cameras which have this problem should remove the rubber bung (external power supply input) from the base of the camera.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 water resistance tests update

Acorn 6210 water/condensation problem update 07.07.2012

I'm very happy and relieved to be able to say that the reason for the condensation problem in the Ltl Acorn 6210 Trail Camera has been identified.

After lengthy tests and analysis the cause of water getting into the control panel is, at long last, understood; and some final changes to the case upgrade are now being made.

I don't know exactly how long this will take, but it will be as fast as possible.

I will post a full explanation of the problem and how it was solved at a later date. Users of cameras which have this problem should remove the rubber bung (external power supply input) from the base of the camera.

Fig 1:   Ltl Acorn 6210 HD Series trail camera
Left: Modified version  Right: Old version
I'm a little disconcerted to find retailers offering the updated version of this camera for sale when I'm still conducting water resistance tests on the modification.

This is a little premature as the unit I'm testing is still taking in water; so if you are offered an updated - waterproof - camera at this stage, think  before buying.

Acorn have made a lot of improvements to the existing design as illustrated in figures 1 and 2; but then they send me a unit to test with damage to the sealing lip (figure 3 arrow 1) and more damage caused by tooling marks (figure 3 arrow 2)
(figure 4 arrow 1)

In theory the design changes should prevent water

Sunday 1 July 2012

UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA)

NEA report - page 20
I was a little disappointed to read a BBC News article entitled The great myth of urban Britain by their Home Editor Mark Easton, where he seems to be suggesting (to me anyway) that because figures published in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) seem to show that only about 2% of the country is built over, we've nothing to worry about and should go out and enjoy.

This leaves me feeling a little bit uneasy because the reality is, and the report shows this, that we are steadily destroying our environment by over population and exploitation; and have been doing so for centurys.

This assessment is well worth reading and understanding, for its implications for the future.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plans) Mammals Publication

UK BAP Mammals
(Biodiversity Action Plans)
UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plans) Mammals, recently published by the Mammal Society, is an interim guidance for survey methodologies, impact assessment and mitigation for the following:

Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris, Harvest Mouse Micromys minutus, Brown Hare Lepus europaeus, Mountain Hare Lepus timidus, European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus, Wildcat Felis silvestris, Pine Marten Martes martes and
Polecat Mustela putorius.

This publication provides guidance on the background biology, habitat requirements, survey methodologies, legal protection, impact assessment and mitigation/compensation measures for UK BAP mammal species for which such guidance has not already been published.

An essential publication for consultants and conservationists.  Available from The Mammal Society 

Monday 25 June 2012

MMS Signal strength and External Antennas

Ltl Acorn 6210MMX

The general consensus is that these cameras need three to five bars to operate reliably and a high level signal requirement is stated in the manufacturers manual. In operation they are much like mobile phones in that environmental and atmospheric conditions can cause the signal to disappear erratically; and particularly in the case of these cameras, if this happens at the moment the camera is trying to send, it's lost until the next time.

The location and distance of the cell mast, obstructions in the form of buildings, trees and other vegetation, plus atmospheric changes at night and day interface, will all make a difference.

I operate in a mountainous area from about 5 to 15 km from the cell tower and over all of it, it's mostly impossible to get a workable signal; and at frequencies around a 1000 to 2000 MHz, signals bounce of buildings, rock faces, foliage et.c to further compound the situation.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210MM trail camera, water resistance test

Acorn 6210 water/condensation problem update 07.07.2012

I'm very happy and relieved to be able to say that the reason for the condensation problem in the Ltl Acorn 6210 Trail Camera has been identified.

After lengthy tests and analysis the cause of water getting into the control panel is, at long last, understood; and some final changes to the case upgrade are now being made.

I don't know exactly how long this will take, but it will be as fast as possible.

I will post a full explanation of the problem and how it was solved at a later date. Users of cameras which have this problem should remove the rubber bung (external power supply input) from the base of the camera.

Fig 1:  6210MM test camera top
Here's an update on the water resistance tests for the Ltl Acorn 6210MMX shown top in figure 1.

The control camera below is an older 6210MC which is known to take in water. These cameras have been in place since last Thursday late afternoon, the weather has been periodically wet and windy, with some heavy overnight rain.
The plan is to continue dowsing the cameras with water until the control camera becomes waterlogged, and then assess the test camera.

The test is whatever the weather conditions throw at them plus a twice daily water hose as shown below. I don't expect either camera to be dry after this sort of treatment, but I expect the test camera to be able to continue operating regardless; and for its control panel to function properly at the end of the test.
The images and videos below show how it's being tested and its reactions so far.

Trail Camera placement and value of video to show animal behaviour.

Fig 1:   Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) at bait site
feeding on flies and meat.
I've been experimenting with the placement of cameras at bait sites in order to get close up images of visitors combined with more distant stills and videos to show behaviour.

The image of the woodcock posted on the 12th June was one of my first results and this jay proved the value of having video.

The close up trail camera was an Acorn 5210A placed one metre from the bait and the second camera was an Acorn 6210MC about four metres away in the opposite direction.

The 5210 was set to take sequences of

Friday 22 June 2012

Slow Worm - Anguis fragilis

Fig 1: Slow Worm - Anguis fragilis
At the beginning of this month (June) I was moving some old carpet to line a new compost bin at the bottom of the garden. Suddenly, out wriggled a silvery juvenile slow worm; which was about ten centimetres long and about as thick as a pencil.

I couldn't photograph it at the time, but it reminded me that I had some adult slow worm images on file, so here they are.

Slow worms are legless lizards which prey on slugs, snails, insects and earthworms. Adults grow to between 40 and 50cm in length and figure 3 gives an idea of scale relative to a human hand.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Trail Cameras - New Ltl Acorn 6210 water ingress tests

Acorn 6210 water/condensation problem update 07.07.2012

I'm very happy and relieved to be able to say that the reason for the condensation problem in the Ltl Acorn 6210 Trail Camera has been identified.

After lengthy tests and analysis the cause of water getting into the control panel is, at long last, understood; and some final changes to the case upgrade are now being made.

I don't know exactly how long this will take, but it will be as fast as possible.

I will post a full explanation of the problem and how it was solved at a later date. Users of cameras which have this problem should remove the rubber bung (external power supply input) from the base of the camera.

Fig 1:  The new, modified
Acorn 6210 (MMX version)
Dripping wet after its first
water ingress test.
The long awaited camera has arrived and is pictured on the left, following its first rudimentary water ingress test.

Change to the case design
This camera is rated IP54 which means limited dust ingress protection and protected against water spray from any direction. It is not rated as waterproof; as is no other camera of this type, as far as I'm aware.

To overcome an earlier problem with water getting into the control panel, located in the bottom door, the manufacturers have redesigned the case and door (see figures 3 and 4). These tests are to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes. I'm hoping to complete the tests in about four days.

First test results
During this first test the camera was subjected to a twenty litre shower and then left to stand for 30 minutes; after which it was dried off externally and opened up to check for any water inside.

Saturday 16 June 2012

MMS Connectivity with Ltl Acorn Trail Cameras

A lot of confusion surrounds the MMS set up of the Acorn trail cameras and although I don't profess to be an expert myself, I've done some research to try and identify why so many people seem to be encountering problems.

Post Update 12.12.2012 : Practical set up instructions for proven SMTP service which works with all Acorn Wireless Trail Cameras. 

A common theme seems to be an inability to get the camera to send to an email address.

Below I've shown all the connection settings for using the various Vodafone services as an example. To send an email from the trail camera make sure you are using the correct APN (Access Point Name) and also using an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) which allows authentication.

You may be having other problems and as soon as I can I will try and unravel some of the mysteries. My immediate problem is that I don't have reliable network access at my location and don't use these services; but I will very soon be making tests in a good signal area to try and clarify these issues.

In the meantime I hope that the information below is at least helpful.

Friday 15 June 2012

Wildlife Trail Camera Comparison Chart

Martin has just compiled this full comparison chart for the Ltl Acorn and Bushnell ranges of Wildlife remote infra red trail cameras.

This is an easy reference chart to help you compare the whole range of cameras at a glance; and will help you to decide which is the best camera for your purpose.

Wildlife Trail Camera Technical Specifications comparison chart for Ltl Acorn and Bushnell
'Left click image' to view on screen. If it's too small to read, 'right click' and 'save image as' to view full size
or go here to view on line 
You are welcome to save or republish this chart on the condition that you publicly acknowledge the source of the material and provide a link to either or as appropriate.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 case modifications update

Ltl Acorn 6210
I've just received notification from the manufacturers that they are despatching the test camera, with all the modifications and updates, to me tomorrow.

This should mean that if all goes well I will be able to start tests by the end of next week and the crucial water testing could be completed about ten days from now.

We would estimate that subject to satisfactory tests and the manufacturers stock levels, we may be able to start fulfilling back orders for this camera by around the 5th July 2012

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Eurasian Woodcock - Scolopax rusticola - Acorn 6210MC

Fig 1.   Frame one of set

I was checking cameras today and discovered this Woodcock had rather conveniently worked its way through the frame, while looking for food in the ground litter. These beautiful birds are not often seen during the day, unless disturbed, but this far north we have about twenty hours of daylight at this time of the year; so many creatures more associated with the night will be active, on and off, throughout the day.

Fig 2.   Frame two of set
The camera was set to shoot three stills and a video on each trigger and I decided to use this set to show off the exposure quality and stability that the 6210 is capable of.

Figures 1 and 2 are the first two frames of the set of three stills. Figure 3 is the third frame and I have cropped it to 800 x 600 pixels to show the full size quality. Apart from resizing and cropping, all three files are as they left the camera which was set to the 5MP setting, producing a file size of 1.18MB and an image size of 2560 x 1920 pixels. The incorrect date was operator error but miraculously the time was correct to within a few minutes.

Bottom is the 20 second video.

Monday 11 June 2012

Acorn 5210A exposure tests (Red Deer Stag reacting to Filter noise) Part 1.

Dense shadow areas is one aspect of the exposure
issues with the Acorn 5210 before the firmware update.
I've recently been testing exposure issues with the Ltl Acorn 5210A and its remedy using a firmware update file supplied by the manufacturers.

During this stage of the test I had two cameras set together, one updated, the other as original. The results further illustrated how unstable the original 5210 is at calculating exposure and how this effects not only the picture quality but also the functional operation of the camera.

The non updated camera (0008) was set to take three still images plus a twenty second video and the updated camera (0009) was set to take three still images and no video, with each trigger event.

The stag was the perfect event for this test as he obligingly made his way along the river gorge to pass the badger sett. He became aware of the cameras due to the clicking of the infra red filter in the non updated unit, which was alternating between day and night setting. This is one of a number of symptoms of the camera hunting for the correct exposure values. The Fig 4 video shows the stag's reaction.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Images of Case Modifications for the Updated Little Acorn 6210

I have just received these pictures of the new case modifications from the manufacturers, who say that assembly of an initial test batch could be early next week.

It is possible I may have a pre-order test unit within two weeks, fingers crossed; and will give you an update as soon as I know.

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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.