Brinno Time Lapse Tip - Checking the Camera Status

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series.


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One of the Brinno questions I hear often is, "how do I know the camera is recording?" Quite simply if you press and hold the OK button on the camera you will see, REC. This means you are recording. This confirmation will generally suffice for long term projects. Typically, I rely on the very conservative battery life charts under the camera specifications on Brinno.com. The recommend times can be doubled when using the Timer function. If the site suggests the camera will last 156 days I know I don't need to check the camera until four months have past. The key is, having fresh batteries and seeing REC in the display.

Brinno-BCC100-Recording-Indicator

There are many times I walk away from the camera, second guessing whether I saw REC. A little known tip is you can press the OK button for a second, if the camera is recording the green LED at the top will illuminate. If the camera is not recording the display will show.

The LED status indicator works for both the TLC 200 Pro and the TLC 200 f/1.2 (BCC 100) whether or not the LED indicator is turned off within the settings.

The indicator is a great feature for short duration time lapse creation. Projects from a few minutes to a few days, especially if you are starting and stopping the recording to change the camera position or to avoid unwanted segments. Just a quick tap and you can be assured your camera is recording.

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In summary, press and hold OK to start recording (REC) once the screen sleeps, you can tap OK to see the green status LED to confirm a recording is in progress. To stop the recording press and hold OK for a few seconds until you see Processing.

We have discussed expanding this feature in the future, possibly adding a warning indication for low battery and card capacity. For now, you still need to process your video to check the battery and card status. With the excellent battery life and the confirmation indicator you will not need to end the recording often and the little green light will give you the piece of mind your recording is still going.


 

 

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Brinno Focusing and Must Have Accessory, ABR100 Card Reader

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series.


Update 8/20/2016: The Brinno ABR100 is no longer available. I have sourced a similar product which works equally well. Micro USB OTG Card Reader for Android Phones

Every now and then I run across a great product which simplifies and improves my video work. The Brinno ABR100 Card Reader allows you to frame and focus your Brinno camera, with live view, using an Android phone screen. For Brinno TLC 200 Pro time lapse shooters the ABR100 Card Reader is a brilliant piece of must have simplicity.

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Brinno-ABR100-Card-Reader-3D-Printing

Ever since I started shooting with the Brinno TLC200 Pro I have longed for a good way to accurately frame and focus the camera. The camera screen is adequate under most circumstances with the included lens, footnote below. However, often I place the camera in a corner, suction cup it to a window, use optional lenses or want a specific point in focus. I needed a solution for framing and focusing without being dependent on the camera's screen.

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Until the ABR100 came along I would use a laptop and web cam software. This solution works very well but with the camera in a hard to reach location, a 3' USB cable with a laptop on a 10' ladder is not an ideal solution. However, a computer is great for studio or desktop type work and for those who want to try this route, see the second footnote below.

Brinno-ABR100-Card-Reader

What makes the Brinno ABR100 reader special is the USB On-The-Go (OTG) specification which allows an Android phone or tablet to host a USB device, in this case the Brinno camera. Added benefits are the SD and Micro SD ports which allow you to read any SD card including all Brinno's on your Android phone or device.

How to use the ABR100

1) The ABR100 is no longer available from Brinno. I have sourced a similar product which is available on eBay

2) Using your Android phone, visit the Google Play store and download the CameraFi app by Vault Micro.

3) Plug the reader into your phone and using an Micro USB to USB cable (many Android phone charging cables), plug the camera into the reader.

4) Turn the camera on and launch the CameraFi app. The camera's view should display on your phone and a large USB icon will show on the camera display.

This set-up works very well for accurate framing and focusing. Typically I adjust the camera settings before using the ABR100.

Footnote - previewing on a computer: I recommend using a standard Micro USB to USB cable (many Android phone charging cables will work well).  My software of choice is Debut (PC/Mac). Connect the camera to your laptop, turn the camera on and launch Debut. Your camera should be recognized, if all you see is your face, your built in web cam is active. Within Debut go to Network and select the TLC 200 Pro. This will provide you with a full screen preview, frame and focus, unplug the camera and start recording.

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Footnote - focusing using the camera screen: Using the Brinno Pro's focusing screen works very well if you have room to position yourself behind the camera. Detailed on page 20 of the manual, focusing becomes quite easy once you understand how it works.

Typically I frame the capture then select the focus screen window. By pressing "OK" what you see is a zoomed in center portion of your scene. By moving the lens focusing ring and possibly the camera slightly I look for a defined edge (building corner, window, roofline, etc.) once the edge looks sharp, focus has been accomplished. For distant captures you should not need to adjust the focus for every new shoot, however, it's a good idea to double check. Going from distant to close subjects will you need to consider focusing.

To be certain perfect focus is achieved  I will sometimes make a short test movie and play it on a computer.

The screw which locks the focusing ring is very small. I move my cameras around and use them for everything from 3D printing to fire department training. On a few occasions I have wanted to change the focus but did not have a screwdriver. Now, I leave the screw snug, but not tight allowing me to make a change without locating a tiny screwdriver.

Feel free to contact me if you find something which needs clarification or if you have a specific Brinno situation you would like to discuss.

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Brinno at the International Security Show (ISCWest)

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series.


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A week ago I was in Las Vegas at ISCWest with the Brinno team. It was a busy three day show with a nonstop crowd of eager people wanting to take in what the Brinno brand had to offer.

There are some exciting things happening with the full product line. The major show announcement was the Brinno Peephole Viewer with Wi-Fi (PHV Wi-Fi).

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A prototype was on-site for a fully functional demo. The PHV Wi-Fi allows users to see who is at the door on their phone or mobile device via an app. Someone comes to the door and a push notification with the visitor's image appears in the app whether the user is at home, the store or on vacation. Images are also stored within the viewer and a live picture is displayed for close proximity viewing.

The PHV Wi-Fi is revolutionary within the security industry as it uses the existing peephole with no external sensors.

Chris Adams, the President of Phase 3 Systems (Brinno's North America distributor) was interviewed on multiple podcasts and his team hosted a VIP breakfast.

Brinno-Pannin-Base-TLC-120

In other product news, wi-fi is making its way into the Brinno cameras starting with the new TLC 120. This is a small version of the Brinno Pro with built-in wi-fi, Bluetooth control, weatherproof and rechargeable.
 

 

Brinno's new panning timelapse base was on display. This is an ingenious Bluetooth app controlled device which works with the full Brinno line, other cameras and even offers an adjustable phone slot.

The Solar Joos Orange solar panel was featured as a solution for long term power needs. The Brinno cameras have unprecedented battery life. Adding a Solar Joos panel will power the camera for a very long time.

 

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The Brinno Construction Camera (BCC100) is now shipping to retailers bundled as a package with the Solar Joos. Available very soon this package will be a great option for users looking for uninterrupted power or installation in remote locations.

Wi-fi was the biggest Brinno buzz at ISC but there are many other exciting things coming in the future.

As a photographer and video creator the Brinno line of cameras has allowed me to capture footage which would have been impossible or cost prohibitive. The low cost, easy to set-up and use Brinno solutions are perfect for hassle free time lapse video production.

ISC was my introduction to the security specific side of Brinno and from the Wi-Fi Peephole Viewer to a standalone camera with 14 months of battery life the Brinno brand holds true, Brilliant Innovation.

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Brinno Time Lapse for 3D Printing Projects

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series.


Reposted from the Brinno USA Blog

We made an exiting discovery at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Time lapse videos of 3D printing projects are very popular, turning projects which take hours or days to print into interesting and compelling short movies. We at BrinnoUSA are here to support the 3D printing industry.

Josh Banks, our Authorized Solutions Provider, spent a good portion of his time in the Sands Expo Center discussing the Brinno time lapse solution with people in the 3D Printing Industry. One of the biggest discoveries was 3DP Unlimited's amazing use of our cameras to create, their show video.

3DP Unlimited used the Brinno TLC 200 Pro camera which worked perfectly for their needs. Recording a 400 hour print, nonstop, unattended with simplicity not found in other solutions. 3DP wants to experiment more with the Brinno cameras which resulted in Josh presenting 3DP Vice President of Sales & Marketing, John Good, with a Brinno 18-55mm lens which will be great for undistorted close-up work.

In a conversation with Kyla from Solidoodle, Josh showed her the camera and explained the capabilities. Josh asked, if she was interested in the camera, her reply, "everyone in here would be interested in this camera."

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All of this came about, when Josh had a flight to Vegas with the Spectrom team. What started off as casual CES conversation brought the two technologies together. Josh spent some time with Spectrom at CES and even continued the discussions when they shared the same flight home. For all of the information and future potential, Josh presented Chase Haider, Co-founder of Spectrom, with a Brinno TLC 200 Pro of their own.

The Brinno TLC 200 Pro is our camera recommendation for 3D printing and is available from Amazon, B&H and others listed in the Retailers section.

With all we have learned at CES, we are excited to provide you with a great solution for your 3D printing time lapse needs.

Here is a Brinno camera 3D printing time lapse informational video.

Brinno Time Lapse - Solar Joos Testing Update

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series. Sadly, the Solar Joos is no longer in production and availability is limited to a scarce unit or two occasionally on eBay.


I have had two Solar Joos Orange panels for about three months and have tested them extensively in many situations as a power source for the Brinno time lapse cameras.

In a previous post, Introducing a Solar Panel for your Brinno Time Lapse Camera, I gave my initial impressions, did a freezer test, overcast day test and an extended length darkness test. At the time, I was very impressed and now, after additional testing, I am very confident the Solar Joos panel will power your Brinno camera for months, even years without an issue.

Before I get into my testing, let me stray off track for a minute. The Solar Joos is a great product, weatherproof, sturdy and would survive the most extreme conditions. Here are some other scenarios I can think of where the Joos would be a perfect fit to keep your phone, GPS, GoPro, camera, portable game system and other devices charged.

  • Any back-country camping, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling or extreme adventure.
  • Emergency power in your vehicle in case of being stranded or a remote area accident.
  • Emergency power in your home to maintain communications due to a power outage or natural disaster.
  • Extended boating, river rafting, horseback ride trips.
  • A power source at a remote cabin, ice fishing shack, etc.
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I started my latest tests in October and wanted to see how the Joos would perform in cold Minnesota weather. I built a test stand for both panels and at first kept the cameras indoors. I wanted to check the cameras often too see if power was lost. This test was done without batteries and even though my panels were at a bad angle (they collected snow) the panels powered the cameras for a couple weeks and were still at 100% charge when I reconfigured them at a different angle and wanted the cameras outside too.

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Here is a photo from my latest test which has been ongoing for over two months. I made the mount angle steeper and removed the reflectors. The steeper angle was to keep snow from collecting on the panel. I removed the reflectors to see if they are necessary and in my opinion they are not, for powering Brinno cameras.

For this test I installed Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries in the cameras. I have been told by Brinno techs, when the camera is connected to DC power, the batteries act as a back-up and only used if DC power is lost. I have used lithium batteries in the past with excellent results. I figure, there is little chance of the Solar Joos not providing power, but if it does the lithium batteries are a worry free backup.

For long term projects, in my case primarily construction, the Brinno battery life is amazing. I have often left cameras for three or four months unattended, which is well beyond Brinno's recommendations. I find myself falling behind when it comes to checking on cameras. Having a Solar Joos as a secondary power source would be a great peace of mind. As always, my primary concern with a long term project, is not the camera's battery life, rather an unplanned natural occurrence which interrupts the recording. A bird doing it's business on the lens, lightning, high winds, etc., all unlikely but possible.

The Solar Joos is the only product I recommend as a secondary source of power for your Brinno camera. It is my understanding there will soon be a bundled Joos and camera combination from BrinnoUSA.

For now, I only recommend the Joos for use with the Brinno TLC 200 f1.2 or the Brinno Construction Camera. The Joos will work with the Brinno TLC 200 Pro, however, if power is lost and then returns the camera shuts off. With the Construction Cam, if power is lost the batteries take over and when power is restored the camera keeps running. There is a firmware fix in the works, for the Pro to allow full functionality of the Joos.

Below is a short video showing the duration of sunlight hitting my test panels above which is direct sun for only about three hours.

The Brinno cameras are great products, the Solar Joos is a great product. Together they have an unprecedented ability to capture long term projects without user intervention. This concludes my testing of the Joos, my next post will detail mounting, connecting and weather proofing the cable connections.

Brinno Time Lapse - The Ultimate TLC 200 Pro Review

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series.


After running across this review of the Brinno TLC 200 Pro time lapse camera, I have decided to stay out of the review business and leave the work to a true professional. In this case, Juan Bagnell of SomeGadgetGuy.com knocked his review out of the park.

Juan's review of the Pro is very accurate, informative and simply the best review I have yet to see. Other reviews may be good but they tend to miss details and sometimes give misleading information. This review is perfect and knowing the camera as well as I do, I 100% endorse this content. Great job with this production Juan!

Brinno Time Lapse in an Aiplane Cockpit

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com


I had an opportunity to get a Brinno TLC 200 Pro time lapse camera into a commercial airplane cockpit. Sorting through footage, this was one of my favorite clips, a night approach and landing into Chicago O'hare International Airport. Select 720 using the gear icon on the player for the best quality.

This cilp represents about 20 minutes of flying. The camera was set to shoot ASAP which is about four frames per second. The final version was sped up slightly in iMovie. This was a simple clip to create, either it would work or it wouldn't. I think I lucked out and everything came together for this one.

UPDATES - This video is performing far better than anything I have posted. Below I am going to track the power of social media and provide milestone updates.

12/7/14 - Video posted to YouTube.
24 Hours
- Over 2,000 YouTube views and 200 Facebook shares.
12/12/14 - Over 100,000 YouTube views and 1,300 Facebook shares.

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McDonald's Restaurant Time Lapse with the Brinno Construction Cam

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series.


I have wanted to do a time lapse construction project everybody could relate to and finally all of the pieces came together. With permission from the general contractor, Alvin E Benike, Inc and the McDonald's franchisee, Courtesy Corporation this video features four months of construction condensed into three minutes. Work took place in Rochester, Minnesota from April to August, 2014.

Using the gear icon on the player, select 720 for the best quality.

The exterior portions of the video were created using the Brinno BCC 100 Time Lapse Construction Camera. This is a great, inexpensive ($270.00) camera which comes with a weather proof housing and is suitable for construction projects of all sizes. Whether laying brick or building a skyscraper the BCC100 is perfect for long or short term project documentation.

I mounted the camera, using one of my custom brackets, to a board, held in place on top of the job site trailer with sandbags. The camera was set to capture one frame every 10 minutes and the timer was utilized to only have the camera run during working hours. Over the course of four months, I only checked the camera once, downloaded the card and changed the batteries. I am quite confident the camera would have run for the full duration without any intervention.

I did not have too many opportunities to film the interior work. However, on the next project I will make it a point as I feel it added interest and variety to the final video.

The interior was captured with a Brinno TLC 200 Pro time lapse camera, also mounted in the weather resistant housing. I used a suction cup and ball head to affix the camera to a window above the door. This camera was set to capture a frame every five to 10 seconds, depending on the day.

At the end of the project I had about six minutes of exterior footage and five minutes of interior. With a long term time lapse the amount of editing work needs to be considered at the start of project. I want more footage than I need but not too much creating excessive editing work. At one capture every 10 minutes, played back at 30 frames per second (FPS) a full day of work is shown in three seconds. At the start, this may not seem like much, but over the course of four months, three seconds per day turns into six minutes. Since the camera was on a timer, all of the days could have been easily combined to make a longer, albeit, less interesting video. We removed weekends, down time and portions where rain obscured the lens.

The final edit, included the addition of music, logos, title and credit screens. The Brinno cameras create AVI movies, so much of the work is already done. Editing really only involves removing content you don't want and adding whatever you want to finalize your video. You can accomplish all of this with software already on your computer, Mac users should have iMove and PC users Windows Movie Maker. With a little patience you can create a polished time lapse movie of your project. If you are excited about the low cost and simplicity of creating your own time lapse but don't want to deal with editing we would be happy to provide you with a quote for the assistance you need.

Anyone in the construction industry should consider a time lapse camera for both marketing and project documentation. Whether you are a general contractor, a house builder, bricklayer, painter, counter installer, etc. what better way to show off your work than a time lapse. The Brinno cameras make this so easy and people watch time lapse movies to see what unfolds. The unique marketing opportunity alone makes purchasing a $270 camera an easy decision. Create videos for your web site, post them on Facebook, Instagram or Tweet them. People watch time lapse videos just to watch which builds awareness for you business. I have mentioned before, time lapse videos are great at a home show or trade show and serve as an ice breaker with visitors often asking the first questions.

In closing, I leave you with a photo I took the night before the grand opening.

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Brinno Time Lapse - Water Tower Cleaning Project

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series.


Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) contacted me about creating a video to show the water tower cleaning process. Cleaning a tower is slow work with each tower taking the better part of a day. A time lapse would be a perfect way to show the process. This video condenses one evening and two full days of cleaning into one and a half minutes.

Not knowing what to expect, I brought multiple cameras, housings, lenses and mounts to the first site. I immediately noticed a place I could mount a camera looking straight up. I placed a Brinno TLC 200 Pro in the weather resistant housing and pointed it to the sky, this made for an interesting angle but the camera was too wet most of the time to get much usable footage. The other angle had to from the side but the kit lens is much too wide. I did use the kit lens for the wide angle view at 1:10.

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For the close-up view, I decided to use the Brinno 18-55 zoom lens. My final set-up looked like this with the Brinno Pro, 18-55, mounted using a Delkin Fat Geko clamped to a 2x6 and held in place with two sandbags. I ran a strip of gaffers tape from the camera to the board to prevent minor wind shake.

The time lapse cameras were set to capture one image every 5 seconds which I ended up speeding up 200% for the final edit. The climbing views and tower top were shot with a hard hat mounted GoPro Hero 3+ Black. The GoPro footage was also sped up to closely match the pace of the time lapse.

This was a fun project and is a great demonstration of the Brinno's ability to condense time into an interesting video.

Introducing a Solar Panel for your Brinno Time Lapse Camera

I have started a retail web site devoted to Brinno time lapse camera solutions with a focus on prepurchase customer eduction and project support. All of my current Brinno related content is at the new site. Please visit us at www.TimeLapseCameras.com. Since you have an interest in this article you should check out our Brinno Learning Series. Sadly, the Solar Joos is no longer in production and availability is limited to a scarce unit or two occasionally on eBay.


I can hardly contain my excitement over the Solar Joos Orange panel and battery combination. Ever since my first long term time lapse, where the camera was mounted on top of a water tower, I have longed for a solar panel solution which would work with the Brinno Time Lapse Cameras.

Update 12/7/14: The Brinno TLC 200 Pro will work with the Solar Joos, however if power is lost the camera resets. A firmware update which corrects this may be a future solution. For now, my recommendation is to use the Solar Joos only with the Brinno TLC 200 f/1.2 or Brinno BCC 100 Construction Cam.

Solar-Joos-Orange-Packaging

I had spent a year, occasionally searching for and thinking about a viable solution and last month I ran across the Solar Joos. After talking with the Joos people and the Brinno people no one knew for certain whether the panel would work. It looked promising but the odds of finding a perfect solution were not in my favor.

Within a few days, I had a Joos and was immediately impressed with the work of art in my hands. The Joos is one tough panel, made to withstand the harshest of environments. I charged the panel via USB and tried it out with a camera and it worked! With the first hurdle jumped, I spent the past month testing the panel in situations which concerned me.

 The Energy Dashboard software, showing the current charge at 63% and generating 2.6W of solar power.

The Energy Dashboard software, showing the current charge at 63% and generating 2.6W of solar power.

My first test was to leave it connected to the camera and running for a few days and nights outdoors capturing one image every 10 minutes. There is very handy software available for download which tells you the status of the panel. After a few days, the Joos Energy Dashboard showed the panel at 100% charge even though most of the days were considerably cloudy.

Everything continued to look promising so now it was time to test the worst case scenario. Being in Minnesota, we get extended periods of overcast winter days, this summer too has been quite gray and gloomy. My next test was to see how long the battery in the panel would last without any sun. So using the same settings with the camera capturing an image every 10 minutes I placed it in a closest. Occasionally I would check to see if the camera was still running and after a week, the suspense was killing me so I had to check the Dashboard. After one week without any light the panel was at 85% charge. That's a pretty extreme duration, given the panel charged on very cloudy days.

Cloudy and rainy day example of the Joos charging indicated by the flashing red light.

Up next was a cold test, we all know batteries don't last as long in the cold so I was thinking what I had in-store next would be a deal breaker. Using the same settings, I placed the panel and camera in our kitchen freezer between the Popsicles and Tater Totts. I checked quite often and the camera was running, after a week it was still going and I had to check the status of the battery. After one week at -5 degrees Fahrenheit, capturing an image once every 10 minutes the panel was at 100% charge. The cold test performed better than the room temperature test. I am not into technical testing, I test what might apply in the real world.

At this point, I would personally feel comfortable using the Solar Joos Orange on a long term time lapse project and I intend on doing so in the near future. The people at Brinno have panels for testing and the Solar Joos people have cameras for testing. I expect them both to provide additional information in the future. However, for now I feel we we have a winning combination.

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This is what the Solar Joos Orange looks like with reflectors, connected to a Brinno TLC 200 Pro in the weatherproof housing. I will provide more information regarding real world mounting, weatherproofing the cable and connection, and anything else I discover in the future. If you are looking for a solar panel solution to power your Brinno camera I think the Solar Joos Orange is your best option.

Solar Joos has extended a discount for Brinno users and I recommend purchasing the bundle sold on this page of the Solar Joos web site. The discount code is, "Brinno"