- Without direct-connect solar panel
- With direct-connect solar panel
Understanding the Ghost battery information is a little more challenging than understanding battery information for other Spartan Camera models because the Ghost has an internal lithium battery and can be powered by a direct-connect solar panel, in addition to being able to use AA batteries or an external battery (12V rather than the 6V that other models use).
A fully-charged internal battery will show 4.03V. If there are no AA or 12V batteries, the photo info strip will show P1 for 3.9V and higher and P0 for anything below 3.9V. The battery is dead at about 3.6V.
Without direct-connect solar panel
Battery indicator explanation
First, here's general information about what the battery indicator means. It reflects voltage level. It's not like the fuel gauge in a vehicle.
External 12V (with or without a solar panel charging the battery)
Don't let a 12V battery drop below 11.6V. Pay attention to the External Voltage number, not the battery indicator or P number on the photo info strip as lower voltages may be misinterpreted as very high internal AA voltage.
The photo info strip will show P5.
The photo info strip will show P3. Once you see the battery voltage in the lower 12V, start making plans to replace or recharge the battery.
With AA batteries, you want to pay attention to both the Internal Voltage and the External Voltage. When the battery indicator is showing nearly empty or empty and the Internal Voltage is dropping from day to day (heading toward 3.6V), it's time to replace the AA batteries.
This is a fairly fresh set of lithium batteries. Internal Voltage is not close to the low of 3.6V, External Voltage is well over 9 (six batteries at 1.5V), and the battery indicator is full. The info strip on photos will show P5.
The internal battery is down to 3.61V and this camera is no longer transmitting photos. The lithium batteries are no longer powering the camera or keeping the internal battery charged.
Sometimes, a really fresh set of lithium batteries will have a high enough voltage that the camera thinks that it's a discharged 12V battery and the battery indicator will be empty. Look at the External Voltage and if well over 10, like that shown below, your batteries are fine. The battery indicator will display properly once the camera has sent some photos and he voltage has dropped.
Refer to the Battery indicator explanation at the beginning of this section.
With direct-connect solar panel
When using a direct-connect solar panel, you want to pay attention to the battery information (both symbol and P number on the info strip) at night when the camera is not using solar energy for power or charging.
With AA batteries
If you aren't sure that the solar panel will keep the internal battery charged (e.g., the camera is transmitting a lot of pictures and/or there is inadequate sunlight to keep the internal battery completely charged), you may want to use AA batteries in your camera. During the day, the camera will use its internal battery and/or solar energy but at night, it will switch to the AA batteries.
Battery indicator explanation
Example status reports
The status reports below are for two different cameras running with a full set of rechargeable AA batteries. Status reports for cameras running lithium or alkaline batteries will be quite similar although the External Voltage at night would be somewhat different.
During the day, the camera will run off solar power and the internal battery will charge. Once the sun goes down, the camera will switch to the AA batteries and run off those rather than off the internal battery. Use the information immediately above to determine when to change the AA batteries. If the Internal Voltage starts dropping below about 3.7V, it's definitely time to change the AA batteries because the camera is no longer running off the AA batteries at night and the internal battery isn't keeping up with the power needed for night photos.
Without AA batteries
If your camera is not in a high-traffic location and gets decent sun several hours a day most days, you may be able to run the camera with the direct-connect solar panel and no AA batteries. Keep an eye on the internal battery voltage at night. If it stays above 3.7V, then this setup should work fine for you. However, if the voltage consistently drops below 3.7V, you should probably use AA batteries in the camera to power it for night photos.
The info strip on your photos will show either P1 (3.9V or higher) or P0 (less than 3.9V) at night.
The illustration below shows the status reports for a camera running with a direct-connect solar panel at various times of the day or night so you can see what typical reports look like at various times of the day.