There are quite a few products we use in the hunting realm that require 12-volt power ranging from cellular game cameras, feeder motors and timers, independently mounted hog and predator/varmint hunting lights and the list goes on. For years now, I have relied on solar panels to charge my 12-volt batteries or power my accessories. The issue with this is that solar power may not always come through when you need it the most to get the job done. In the case of a cellular trail/game camera, the lack of solar power caused the whole camera to stop working until I could get fresh batteries to it and a fresh recharge on the solar panel’s internal batteries. This becomes a vicious cycle that is enough to drive any man insane.
Enter the HME 12-volt Battery Box which comes with a built in 2-Wat solar panel. What is fascinating with this battery box is that it is virtually maintenance free. The first one of these units I purchased was at my local Academy Sports and Outdoors. I liked the way this system worked in the field for one of my cellular game cameras so much I ordered another one in for my other 12-volt game camera.
Now the first concern many people have when using external power like this is that you fry or “toast” your outdoor equipment or accessory taking this power. As long as what you are powering is rated for a 12-volt charge or power source, you should be in good shape but consult your user manual or equipment manufacture’s customer care team just in case so you are on the safe side.
When you first get this battery box, the user manual recommends a full 20-hour AC power charge with an included AC adapter. I have a battery tester I use to make sure the internal 12-volt battery is at 100%. Then, hook it up to your 12-volt power accessory you wish to power, mount the box where needed and point the adjustable solar panel where it will best receive sunlight and you are done! One of my cellular game cams was a power hog, eating through batteries every week or two. This battery box unit solved that problem for good. I can run this cam off only 4 batteries now as the HME Battery Box powers it almost full time now.
The box itself is weather resistant, the power cord is braided and durable, and all components of it are rated for long-term outdoor use. You might need to shop for an adapter to fit your accessory. The thing to remember is that the unit comes with a 5.5mm x 2.1mm male plug. If your trail cam or other accessory you desire to power has a different sized power plug, finding an adapter is pretty easy to find on Amazon.com or eBay.com and rather inexpensive too. For the two 4.0mm x 1.7mm adapter cables I needed, they were only $3.60 each on eBay. I recommending wrapping the connection with electrical tape or any other kind of weatherproof tape that can keep the connections insulated from the weather elements.
For the consideration of the relatively low cost of a battery unit like this, one could potentially build a battery box with a solar panel on their own but why? This battery pack is ready to roll as is and has everything you need and nothing that you don’t. You may be wondering if the solar panel really does keep a charge on the internal 12-volt battery in this box. My experience is that it keeps up quite well. My last check of the boxes I have in the field right now show battery levels to remain 88% or above under constant cellular game camera use and if you don’t already know, cell cams use A LOT of power! Much more than their standard non-cellular counterparts.
I like saving gas money, trips into and out of my hunting areas, and the hassles of maintaining gear and this unit has done so much to make my life that much more worry and hassle-free. I highly recommend purchasing one of these for just about any of your 12-volt power hungry outdoor gear accessories. My only wish is that I would have bought this self-charging battery box sooner. HME suggests you fully charge this battery unit via the AC adapter from time to time but I’ve found the 2-watt solar panel does a fine job too. This unit is a well-engineered product that is sure to give years of reliable service. Learn more about this product here: https://www.hmeproducts.com/trail-camera-12v-solar-auxiliary-power-pack/ and purchase one on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2GZgipm
Dustin Vaughn Warncke