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Within 5 days, 1 camera has completely drained

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gwar9999
Guide
Guide

I installed a 3-pack of Arlo Pro 4 cameras last weekend after charging them completely.  Within 5 days, 1 camera has completely drained (less than 1 week is apparently "about" 6 months in Arlo-speak) another camera went from 100% to 0% battery after the first night, plugged it back in, went to 100% now it's reporting 0% again.   

 

Unfortunately, I didn't install the 2 cameras with the magnetic mounts at ground-level for easier access to charging them (since I foolishly thought that despite the convenience for troubleshooting them daily they would be less secure that way). So out of a 3-pack  I only have 1 camera that actually works without issues.  I have 2 open support tickets but I'm seriously considering returning the system since it's been frustrating that it's one bug after another (not to mention the initial issues with getting the brand new cameras to recognize the QR codes-- all 3 needed a factory-reset).  

 

 

Model: VMC4050P/VMC4041P | Arlo Pro 4
TBova186
Initiate
Initiate
I think your battery is draining so quick because it’s picking up movement and recording long videos. Supposedly, setting activity zones is supposed to help. However, I’ve set activity zones on all 3 of my 4’s (got them a week ago) and it doesn’t do squat. The camera will still turn on as soon as motion is detected in its FOV, even if you set your activity zone to ignore that area. My front porch camera went from 99 to 77 percent in 4 days because it was constantly kicking on at the slightest movement even though there was no motion in the zones I set. I even have it set to only detect people or animals, yet it’s recording when my flag is blowing in the breeze. I’m actually SUPER disappointed in these cameras. Was on the phone with customer service for almost 2 hrs and pretty much all they told me was “we’ll inform you when we’ve found a fix”. Considering I’ve been seeing posts about activity zones not working since 2017, I’m not going to hold my breathe
Model: VMC4050P/VMC4041P | Arlo Pro 4
JamesC
Community Manager
Community Manager

There are several factors to consider when discussing battery life. Interference in the environment, poor signal strength and usage can all increase battery consumption.

 

It's important to note that while Activity Zones will help eliminate unwanted recordings, they will not reduce battery consumption. When motion is detected outside an activity zone, that information is sent to the cloud for analysis. The camera still wakes up and records that activity, the cloud will just filter it if the motion occurred outside the defined zone.

 

Take a look here for more information on how you can improve battery life: How can I extend my Arlo camera's battery life?

 

JamesC

gwar9999
Guide
Guide

All 3 of my cameras are within 25 feet of the Wifi router, one of which monitors the back door with an activity zone defined (looking for people and pets) and there's usually less than 10 occurrences of activity/day.  How long should that battery last?  The answer: 0 days.  It went from 100% to 0% overnight.  I charged it an immediately went back to 100%.  What explains this-- a faulty battery or camera?  In either case, the battery has been drained since I posted this issue.  I haven't gotten back up on a ladder to take the camera down again but will need to do so to see if it's the phantom battery reporting that it experienced the first day.

 

The other camera that drained completely in 5 days faces the front yard and has 2 activity zones looking for people and pets.  There is a lot of activity outside of the activity zones but not much within them-- maybe 4-5 uploads per day.  Why would a fully charged camera drain completely in 5 days under these conditions?

 

What does it take to get anywhere near 6 months?  Do I have to place a fully charged camera on-top of the wifi router?  Or is the 6-month expectation based on a typical install (cameras are mounted outdoors, at least 20 feet from the router).

dcfox1
Master
Master

@gwar9999 wrote

The other camera that drained completely in 5 days faces the front yard and has 2 activity zones looking for people and pets.  There is a lot of activity outside of the activity zones but not much within them-- maybe 4-5 uploads per day.  Why would a fully charged camera drain completely in 5 days under these conditions?

 


As you said there is a lot of  activity outside your zone as posted before by JamesC they still record and send it to the server to process so it still uses the battery no matter what if you see a recording or not. 

It is best to remove the area you do not need all together to prevent that. I get about a month or two on my cameras give or take on activity. 6 month is with 5 minutes of usage a day in a perfect world. If house construction materials interfere it could drain the bat with the cams trying to reconnect also. You can read the FAQ here or even this link for positioning help. 

How do I position my Arlo Ultra camera to detect motion in specific areas?

gwar9999
Guide
Guide

Thanks for the responses all.

 

It's just so disappointing that 2 cameras with limited activity would be completely drained in less than 5 days.  I've limited the activity zones considerably and get no more than 20 (usually less) notifications per day from all 3 cameras.  I placed them in mostly hard-to-access locations (to prevent theft since they're easy to steal with only a magnet holding 2 in place) so charging them weekly is a non-starter for me.  I could live with once per 30 days (at most) and would prefer something that could last far closer to the 6 month claim.   

dcfox1
Master
Master

I think you are missing the point that activity outside your activity zone will still drain your battery to process it regardless if you get notifications, recordings or not. That is why it is important to remove the view all together from the high activity area outside the zones as you said. The zones just effect notifications not battery use. 

TBova186
Initiate
Initiate
What James said and what was told to me by customer service during my lengthy phone call conflict. James says the camera will kick on but not send you a notification or download the video to your library if not detected in an activity zone. However, Customer service says the cameras should NOT turn on at all if movement is outside the activity zones. So, which is it Arlo? Other cameras such as the Blink have a blackout zone that ignores movement in spots you set it to. Where my cameras are positioned and the layout of the house in the neighborhood prevents me from mounting it in an area where it won’t catch trees, a flag, or even a passing car.
gwar9999
Guide
Guide

@dcfox1 One of the "people" activity zones included the mailbox area which is near the street so it's likely going to capture frequent vehicles passing by (though suppresses notifications).  I'm not sure if there is a way to achieve what I want without the battery draining at such a ridiculous level.   Also, on this camera I had the "auto zoom and tracking" enabled which I suspect consumes much of the battery.  Also, "auto HDR" is enabled.  Would be nice to know the percentage of battery drained by each enabled option (zones, HDR, zoom/tracking, motion sensing, wifi usage, etc...).

 

I wonder if purchasing the solar charger would keep it fully charged for the most part?

dcfox1
Master
Master

@gwar9999 A solar panel sure wont hurt, I have one on my most active and it keeps up .Just remember it will only charge when it is sunny and and can't say it will keep up in high activity. You can try AC connection if possible but removing high activity areas from view all together regardless of Activity zones may be you best option to try first if you can. It is the bottom 2/3 of the view that detect motion. Even outside your activity zone it will still record but the Arlo servers disregard them so you don't see them but still using the battery. 

How do I position my Arlo Ultra camera to detect motion in specific areas?

Model: VMB4540 | Arlo Pro 3 SmartHub
gwar9999
Guide
Guide

Thanks for the info and link @dcfox1   I wasn't aware of the 2/3 camera view/motion sensor (just figured the entire view would respond to motion) so I'll be sure to reposition the one that drains rapidly and see how that impacts the battery.

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