Death of a Trail Camera

Bears and bad weather may not be your biggest worry. Look out for this infestation.


I’ve been using a Vosker security camera for the past three years with excellent success.  At the time of purchase digital cell cameras were just becoming available and I purchased it, despite its “security camera” advertisement.  With a built-in solar panel, I rarely changed batteries and the camera sent as many as 100 images per day with little battery drain.  Better yet, the images arrived instantly and I did not have to wait until a designated time to conserve battery life as with other cameras.

Overcoming Adversity

A black bear had ripped the camera from a tree on two occasions, breaking the attachment strap holders built into the rear of the camera.  Despite this problem, I was able to wrap it tightly to a tree which held it in place for a year and did not detract from performance.  Last month, the camera transmitted daylight pictures as usual, yet infrared images were completely black.  I called Vosker and they thought the problem was due to a defective media card.  Since the camera was still in the woods, they were unable to verify the problem.

An Easy Fix, I Thought.

The Vosker 200 is a very well-built camera that opens with a side section and the battery compartment pops open with the push of a button on the rear of the camera.  When I retrieved the camera I opened the front and turned the device off to conserve battery power and brought it to my home. I got in just before dark and set the camera on my desk anticipating to replace the batteries and media card first thing in the morning.


After a fresh cup of coffee, I opened the camera, cleaned the media card, and powered up the device.  It functioned properly so I turned it over and popped open the battery department.  OMG.  The batteries were crawling with insects.  Immediately, I dashed to the front porch, laid the camera in the grass, and went back inside for insect spray.  I doused the battery department and let it rest while the bug spray had its intended effect.  An hour later, I returned, and removed the batteries and at least 50 dead ants, some with wings.  Hoping that fresh batteries would solve my problems I installed eight AA’s and let the device charge overnight.  The next day, I was astounded to find 50 more ants in the front compartment, and 50 more the next day.

Dead as a Door Nail

I called Vosker several times and they still believed the problem was the media card.  I purchased a brand new Class 10, 32GB card, but now the camera failed to function at all.  Had three soakings of bug spray damaged the electronics?  I wiped all of the contacts with alcohol pads and did my best to clean the camera, yet it still didn’t work.  Since the camera was more than a year out of warranty, Vosker gave me a substantial discount on another model, yet said they do not repair cameras that are out of warranty.

Tiny Tools

Since I couldn’t get the camera repaired, I vowed to fix it myself despite having zero experience with the repair of electronics.  The first challenge was opening parts of the camera that were not supposed to open.  Of course, working on any product under warranty invalidates the contract, but with literally nothing to lose, I hoped to fix it.  I had an eyeglass repair kit, but the tools were so slender I could not budge screws that were very secure.  I tried a cellphone shop, but they rarely repair phones and mostly throw them away.  Leaving that store, I noticed an optometrist down the block.  I walked in and told the receptionist that I needed tiny tools for a repair.  To my surprise, she took the camera, disappeared into the back, and in minutes reappeared with a technician.  “I got the first couple of screws out but don’t see how the box opens,” he said inquisitively.  Between the two of us and his tools, we were able to open the box.  When an ant crawled across his hand, we stepped outside.

A Learning Opportunity

Eventually, I found more ants, fresh egg sacks, and a lot of gunk in tiny spaces.  Despite my best efforts, the camera does not work, but I’m hoping with a more thorough cleaning, it will find its way back to the deer woods.  I wanted to share this story to alert readers about the possibility of insect infestations.  Most cameras are closed tightly to keep moisture out and bear damage may have punctured the seal of my camera.  In any event, when you bring your cameras into your house or vehicle, keep this experience in mind.  If you find one ant, there are probably 150 more hiding inside.



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