Troubleshooting Surveillance Cameras

Before you call customer support, check out some of these quick fixes for some common camera issues.

Lots of Photos with No Animals Present

Motion sensor cameras can be triggered by sensing motion and/or changes in temperature.  

If you are getting lots of photos of  nothing, make sure that your camera isn't facing directly into the rising or setting sun.  The direct sunlight on the motion sensor can trigger the camera to take photos.  Surfaces warmed by the sun or bright sun reflection off a dark surface can also trigger the camera.

Branches, bushes or tall grass can trigger the camera, especially on warm and windy days.  If possible, don't face the camera directly at plants that are likely to move in the wind.  

Some cameras have a long range motion sensor.  Check photos for moving objects in the distance that might be setting off the camera such as cars or people.  Check the settings of the camera and see if you can reduce the motion detection range.  You can also angle the camera slightly down to reduce the range.  Just make sure that your target area is still in the detection zone. 

Sometimes it only appears as if nothing is in the photo.   Small animals such as mice can trigger sensitive wildlife cameras.  

With a wifi camera, you may be able to adjust Activity Zones in the settings.  Remove zones with moving trees or cars.  You can also reduce sensitivity, but if reduced too much, your cat may not trigger the camera.  With Blink XT, I found a minimum sensitivity of 7 was necessary to pick up cats.  

The Food is Gone But there are No Photos

It can be really frustrating when the food is gone or the trap is closed, but there are no photos of the culprit.  This could be a mechanical or camera set up issue.  

Before checking photos each day, always get a photo of yourself when you arrive and leave.  This will confirm whether the camera is working.  

With a wildlife camera, make sure that the camera is aimed properly.  This is a common cause of no photos.  See Effective Camera Set Up.  

Check the settings and increase the camera sensitivity.  This is a more common issue with wifi cameras.  With the Blink XT camera, I have found the sensitivity must be at 7 or higher to pick up cats.  

Camera Not Taking Any Photos

First try replacing the batteries.  Some IR or cellular cameras will not work properly when the batteries are below 50%.  Also make sure that you are using the recommended type of battery.  Sometimes just removing the batteries and putting them back in can resolve a camera issue.

If that doesn't work, make sure that the SD card in the camera is compatible with your camera.  This includes the type, size and speed of the SD card.  You should be able to find this information in your camera user manual or online.  

Reformat the SD card on your computer.  This will erase all the data including any possible card errors.  

Also make sure that the tiny switch on the side of the card is NOT set to lock.  This will prevent any data from being added to the card.  

If using a cellular camera, make sure that your firmware is up to date.  You may need to download new firmware to your SD card.

Camera is Not Sending Photos

See the issues under Camera Not Taking Any Photos.  These are often the same causes for a camera not sending photos.

If the camera is taking photos, but you are not receiving notifications, first check your app notification settings on your smart phone.  If those are correct, then uninstalling and reinstalling the app may resolve the issue.

If you have your camera set to take multiple photos at a time, be aware that it may only send you the first photo in the set.

Night Photos are Too Bright

When night infrared photos are too bright, the animals are often all white and blurred.  This can make identification difficult or impossible.  

Camera flash too bright
Camera flash too bright and cat too close

First make sure that your food or target location isn't too close to the camera.  I recommend 5-10 feet distance for easiest identification.  

Some cameras offer different flash settings.  If you cannot change the settings, you can place electrical tape over some of the infrared flash on the front of the camera.  

Be aware that infrared can mask some cat colors.  For example, orange cats will often show up as bright white no matter what the flash setting.  

Orange cat in infrared

The orange tabby cat appears all white on an infrared wildlife camera night photo.