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Friday 1 September 2017

No screen in test mode caused by faulty switch

This post deals with a problem which occasionally occurs with all models of  Ltl Acorn cameras and probably with many other makes of trail camera. It is caused by dirty switch contacts and symptomised by a blank control panel screen when the camera is switched to TEST.

Fig 2: Dismantled OFF/ON/TEST switch
No screen in TEST can also be caused by not inserting an SD card in the SD card slot, or by a faulty SD card but in
that instance the blank screen is preceded by the normal splash screen.

You can prove the faulty switch by watching the LED array on the camera front while you move the switch to the TEST position. If the red indicator LED gives thirteen steady flashes and then stops this tells you that the camera is actually in the ON mode even though the switch's toggle is physically in the TEST position. There will also be no splash screen.

Fig 3: Outside view of the OFF/ON/TEST switch
Ltl Acorn 6310
The problem is caused by moisture contaminating the sliders and contacts inside the body of the switch which are shown in the OFF position in the dismantled switch in figure 2. The switch footprint illustrating the contact positions is shown in figure 1 and somehow the contamination prevents the sliders from moving far enough to make contact with the last pair of pins.

Remove the batteries before you start the treatment described below.

Fig 4: Internal view of the OFF/ON/TEST switch
Ltl Acorn 6310
Figure 3 shows the switch from the outside and in most cases all you need to do to correct the problem is to spray a very small amount of switch cleaner lubricant into the open side of the switch toggle. Then move the switch across the gate and spray into the other side. Keep the camera upside down while you're doing this and for a while after to give the liquid chance to work down into the body of the switch. Also gently work the switch backwards and forwards through its positions a few times.

If you happen to have the camera removed from its case then it's an easy matter to give a light spray through the slots in the side of the switch case as shown in figure 4; but it isn't normally necessary and in almost all instances spraying from the outside will be sufficient.

Fig 5: Caig Deoxit D5
There are a number of switch cleaner/lubricant sprays available including good old WD40 all of which will probably do the job but in my opinion Deoxit D5 shown in figure 5 is probably the best. It's a little more expensive than most of the others but is a specially formulated product designed for professional use and not only cleans but also chemically treats the contact surfaces to extend their life.

Search for Caig Deoxit D5 on eBay or Amazon and read more about it here.

Depending on how much you use your camera I would recommend a maintenance spray every two or three months.
Not only will it extend the life of the switch but it will also help to prevent the switch from freezing up in sub zero conditions.

And of course it's good for any other devices with electrical contacts and well worth the money.

No I'm not on a commission.

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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.