Arlo Batteries: Specs, Battery Life & Evolution
Arlo has grown to be America’s #1 internet-connected camera brand since its launch in 2014 as discussed in a previous article. As the brand grew, so did its problems with battery options. They have a rock star camera line, but could not get a working formula for the batteries. Let’s delve into those problems and pro user tips to get around them.
Arlo Batteries: Early Problems
All the Arlo camera models prior to Arlo Pro use four CR123 lithium 3-volt photo batteries. Arlo claimed that their cameras could run 4-6 months on normal usage on these non-rechargeable batteries. However, the so-called normal usage was only a mere 5 mins of recording every day.
Now, for homeowners who are mostly away, 5 mins of recording and live viewing does not make the cut. People complained in online forums that for busy neighbourhoods or more frequent recordings, the batteries do not last more than a week.
Therefore, Arlo partnered with Tenergy to solve this continuous replacement of the batteries with a set of rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. Tenergy batteries claimed to be rechargeable up to 500 times, and a Tenergy Battery Charger is also available for purchase with the set of batteries.
Tenergy Batteries’ Lacklustre Performance
Conducting thorough scrutiny on the efficiency of the Tenergy rechargeable batteries, we realized that the problem was still half-solved.
Although the Tenergy Li-Ion RCR123A 3.7V 650mAh rechargeable batteries were recommended by Arlo, the customer reviews were mixed with an overall of 3.5 stars on Amazon. Verified customers complained that these rechargeable packs were performing even worse than the non-rechargeable ones.
One report mentioned that the batteries completely drained out in less than 12 hours! The frustrated homeowner had to get his ladder and bring down his cameras every other day.
Other customers gave a more detailed review of how the battery performance dropped exponentially over the course of 3 months. She reported the batteries were not holding up for even a week in the lowest motion catching setting. Although she was satisfied with the quick battery charger, she could not accept the hassle she had to go through to “remove the batteries, charge them, and replace the batteries every single week!” So, the partnership with Tenergy was clearly not working for Arlo.
Battery Improvements for Arlo Pro and Arlo Ultra
In 2016, Arlo released the Arlo Pro camera. This time Arlo decided to go ahead with manufacturing its own brand of battery and charging station. Unlike the previous Arlo cameras, the Arlo Pro housed a 5V 2440mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery pack. This modular design allowed easier batteries swapping which customers greatly welcomed.
In 2018, the Arlo Ultra was released with a 3.85V 4800mAh battery pack and charging station. The charging station boasts 15% quicker charging and can power up 2 batteries at the same time.
The battery and charging station raked up 4 stars each as people pointed out only the steep price as a downside to this amazing product. That’s why users have started to adopt cheaper alternatives that provided the same or even better services at a fraction of the price of the batteries, charging stations, and solar panels.
Arlo Pro Firmware Issue Affected Performance
Arlo Pro users who had initial success with maintaining a long battery life faced a new problem in May 2018. Complaints were widespread across Arlo forums of how the performance of the Arlo Pro Battery suddenly dropped. People mentioned that they had no problem initially and the batteries lasted through 4 to 6 months. However, after the May 2018 firmware update, the battery life suddenly dropped and fully charged batteries ran out completely in 3-4 weeks. Irritated customers called out on Arlo to fix this issue as soon as possible.
Arlo Users Take Action
Till Arlo solved the issue, people tried to fix the issue themselves. Popular options were to reinstall the whole system and not letting the battery die out completely. Those who followed these unverified fixes quickly found out that even when the cams were turned off, they were draining almost as quickly as the live cameras.
Others warned the community that letting the battery die out completely might kill the camera, as their Arlo cameras were not syncing anymore.
Weather Affects Battery Performance
The Arlo batteries are recommended to be operated between -4°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C). Temperatures lower than that will affect any battery's capacity because of the chemistry of batteries: the chemical reaction that produces electrical current slows down in a cold environment.
Hence, the battery capacity will drop very fast and not support prolonged surveillance. Therefore, during very cold weather it is best to use a sufficiently long outdoor cable to continuously power the camera.
The Placement Also Affects Performance
The Arlo cameras should be placed at least 2 meters away from other WiFi connected devices for stronger base connection and less strain on the battery.
Any obstruction between the Arlo cameras and the base station will also cause the battery to drain faster since it needs more power to stay connected to the base station. Less noisy environments and a well-lit room may increase the efficiency of the battery. Hence, choose thoughtfully the placement of your Arlo cameras.
Overall, Arlo has a great line of surveillance cameras but their battery options have not been performing level par. If you want to purchase an Arlo camera system, buy them with extra charging accessories in a bundle to save money and future charging hassle.
- Battery performance is strongly affected by motion settings, weather and placement.
- Solar Panels and Outdoor charging cables can continuously charge the batteries without users worrying about their cameras running out of charge.
- The original Arlo battery packs and charging stations are overpriced and customers have been adopting other cheaper viable options.