ProStalk PC2000 - is the PIR working?

I was given a ProStalk PC2000 Trail Camera by my children as a Christmas present in December 2010 and have been trying to use the camera in my garden - unfortunately with little success.  All I have been able to capture is the tail of a fox and plenty of pictures of me walking away from the camera after fitting it.  Now the reason for this could be me; it could be the camera - or it could be the wildlife are all playing tricks - so I decided to run a series of tests to see what was happening.
Looking at the situation with my engineering hat on it seems that the the only pictures I have had 'triggered' by the camera are when the triggering subject is close (ie within 2m of the sensor). This means that at night, the IR flash is too strong and I only get whiteout (see my blog post about this here)
Outdoors, all I have managed again is close-triggered shots, which, with the 5sec minimum delay between trigger and shot, means I get an empty picture, or a picture of the departing animal's tail.

With the above in mind I looked up the specification of the camera and then set out a test:

  • Resolution: 2MP
  • Size: Ultra Compact 82x122x41mm
  • Display: TN Digital screen without backlight
  • Motion Sensor: One PIR, 45Degree, 45 feet range (at 4 Degrees environment temp)
  • 15 LED IR with a range of 10 meters
  • Photo Take Delay: 5s-60min (Default 1 Min)
  • Storage Image Size: SD Card up to 32G
  • Resolution: 1600x1200 (2.0M)
  • Movie Resolution: AVI 640x480
  • Powered by 4 x AA Cells
  • Working Time: 6 Months, (6,000 images)
  • Shutter Speed: 0.9seconds
For the test, I carried out the following:
  • Brand new Duracell batteries inserted in the camera.
  • Camera set up as recommended by the suppliers
  • Mounted the camera on a pole, with sticks marking 5m from the camera and 10m from camera 

  •  Arrange for a small animal look-alike (my nephew, in the picture at 10m point) to walk in front and wait five seconds on the 5m/10m mark
  • Repeat this activity five times at 5m and again five times at 10m
  • Analyse the results
The camera specification talks about the IR flash and photographs working upto 10m away so with this in mind, I have to assume that the PIR sensor would also work to the same dimensions. However, the results from my test were quite conclusive: The ONLY pictures I had from the camera during this test were when I was setting up the 5m and 10m marks and when my nephew walked directly in front of the camera.

Both these were close passes at less than two metres. No photos were triggered for any of the walkthrough tests at 5m or at 10m.  Disappointing to say the least.

So far, the supplier has replied with:
We would recommend that you move the trail camera closer to the subject like a trail, path or feeding station about 1m-3m away. This give a large enough subject in the footage. If we had a way to set this, then this would be better.
My thinking is that the pictures show that sharp focus on the camera is from about 3m to infinity, so for best results I need the subject at least 3m from the camera.  Additionally, why should I have to use a camera that focuses from 3m to infinity with an IR flash designed for up to 10m range at a trigger range of 1-3m?  Image quality is reasonable, considering the optics, but I would rather the unit was more sensitive. I'm looking to record squirrels, rabbits, foxes, badgers and an occasional deer in my garden, so reasonable sized mammals should trigger a properly working camera.

Or am I being too optimistic?

Last night I tried another test.  I put the camera at 300mm height on a tree close to an area that is being dug up in the garden.  In this area I scattered a few Brazil nuts and raisins and waited overnight.

In the morning I found no nuts left and no photographs of animals.


  1. I am on my second Prostalk. The first one had the following problems:
    If set to 5 second delay it would go into runaway mode and take pictures non-stop of nothing until the entire memory card was used up or batteries went flat.

    To rectify this you have to set it with a delay of around 8 seconds or more, which of course means you miss pictures.

    At random intervals it went into a deep sleep mode, obviously to save battery life - but it failed to wake up at all for around hour afterwards, even though I was jumping up and down in front of it for 3 minutes, and walking right up to it and away numerous times.

    And at night athough the IR lights flashed they failed to illuminate the area at all so just black pictures

    However on that one the sensor would pick you up around 60 ft away which was very good.

    That has been returned, I am just testing a new one.

    This one is not going into runaway mode, but I have it set at 8 seconds not 5, and the IR is working okay. Those are the good things; but as far as I can determine the sensor on this one is only working at around 10-15 feet at the very most. I am going to try proper tests tomorrow, but if not that will go back too.

    A piece of equipment that claims a 45ft sensor range should do 45ft sensor range. One that claims it works with a 5 second delay should do 5 second delay not only work well at 8 seconds or more. And it certainly should not fall asleep on the job and fail to wake up to take the photos it was bought for Otherwise basically it is "not fit for purpose"
    So far I am not impressed with the quality of this camera and I feel Prostalk's quality control checking is somewhat lacking.

  2. I've just finished an email conversation with both Deben and HandyKam and will be returning mine for replacement.

    I have to say that the weakness in design of this unit is prompting me to push ahead and build one of my own.... The modules may cost me a bit more, but at least I can design it to my specification.

    I'll keep everyone posted via the blog.

  3. Okay so we have been testing this second one out today. Set it to 5 seconds and it hasn't rushed off taking endless pictures like the first one, which I am pleased with. And although they should be the same build I think this one snaps together tighter when being closed. Overall the picture quality (during daylight anyway) is pretty good for what is the cheapest one on the market. We set out a tape measure and did a walk-by test and it did pick up at 10 metres so 33ft. ( oddly enough I now can't find the 15m distance listed in my booklet whereas I'm sure I saw that listed somewhere)
    Not bad and will almost certainly do for what I want. This prostalk has a new elasticated tree strap, which might be handy for putting on a tree but only time will tell how long it lasts compared to the nylon ones, almost certainly not as long. We will be using a python cable to put it on the tree rather than rely on the strap.
    I agree that the homebrew trailcams look like the best way to go if you are at all technically minded.

  4. Hmm...

    Hawke have changed their page for the camera - it now says

    PIR Motion Sensor (and the tag line "Never miss a shot with ProStalk") whereas Deben (the UK importers) still show the camera with

    o Motion Sensor 1 PIR 45ft Range
    o IR LED 15 LEDs (10m)
    o Photo Take Delay 0s - 60min

    Note the 0s - 60min! Curiouser And Curiouser.

    My ProStalk has the elastic strap, by the way. Seems to work well, but does snag on some rougher-barked trees. The picture quality is good on mine; I'm only disappointed with the insensitive PIR and the oh so stupid design mistakes of a minimum 5 second delay on pictures and fixed 15 sec video clips.