Mathews Inc.
Cuddelink Review
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
No Mercy 28-May-19
No Mercy 28-May-19
No Mercy 28-May-19
MDcrazyman 28-May-19
No Mercy 28-May-19
BullBuster 28-May-19
MDcrazyman 28-May-19
No Mercy 28-May-19
Steve Leffler 29-May-19
No Mercy 29-May-19
Steve Leffler 29-May-19
MDcrazyman 30-May-19
No Mercy 30-May-19
Steve Leffler 31-May-19
MDcrazyman 31-May-19
Shiras42 31-May-19
MDcrazyman 31-May-19
Shiras42 03-Jun-19
olebuck 03-Jun-19
MDcrazyman 03-Jun-19
Steve Leffler 04-Jun-19
No Mercy 04-Jun-19
No Mercy 04-Jun-19
MDcrazyman 05-Jun-19
MDcrazyman 05-Jun-19
Steve Leffler 05-Jun-19
cameranut 05-Jun-19
MDcrazyman 09-Jun-19
Steve Leffler 09-Jun-19
MDcrazyman 21-Jun-19
No Mercy 21-Jun-19
MDcrazyman 01-Jul-19
Mad Trapper 02-Jul-19
milnrick 02-Jul-19
MDcrazyman 05-Jul-19
Steve Leffler 06-Jul-19
Steve Leffler 06-Jul-19
Slam38 08-Jul-19
Bucbuster 10-Jul-19
No Mercy 29-Oct-19
kota-man 29-Oct-19
Mad Trapper 30-Oct-19
Ghost425 30-Oct-19
No Mercy 30-Oct-19
Grey Ghost 30-Oct-19
JM 30-Oct-19
BullBuster 30-Oct-19
Mad Trapper 30-Oct-19
kota-man 30-Oct-19
kota-man 30-Oct-19
BullBuster 30-Oct-19
No Mercy 30-Oct-19
JM 31-Oct-19
From: No Mercy
28-May-19

No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
I put a system of the new K series Home and 3 of the new G series Cuddeback cameras on Saturday. I have to say I am quite impressed so far! The thumbnail quality is great. The area I have these in is questionable in cell service in spots, so the home is doing great, and the remotes are transmitting as advertised. So far I am ecstatic!

My hunting area is 250 miles west of me, so this is perfect for me.

From: No Mercy
28-May-19

No Mercy's Link
This is the home unit I bought

From: No Mercy
28-May-19

No Mercy's Link
I have 3 of these as the remotes. I wanted all the cameras to run on D batteries so it keeps it simple.

From: MDcrazyman
28-May-19
Following, I have 8 that I am about to setup on a little property to test out. Iam pretty excited. I haven't taken them out of the box yet. Are they pretty easy to setup?

From: No Mercy
28-May-19
Yes-I just had to follow the instructions. :-) - the interface is a bit more complex, but once you have it down and start placing remotes it's easy. Just make sure to turn each remote on in order-after placing the the previous one so you can make sure they are within reach of each other.

From: BullBuster
28-May-19
I have the cuddelink series with 8 cameras. Not on cell network, so everything stops at the home unit. I have had for nearly a year. Was satisfied, but now, after upgrades the batteries burn out incredible fast. Got only 79 pics on lithium batteries. That is $15 per camera. I have been in talks with customer service, but unable to resolve issue. They want me to upgrade to external D cell battery units. Sounds bulky. Lithiums work much better in cold weather. Not sure if they are intending for me to pay or gratis. I may return them all. Disappointing

From: MDcrazyman
28-May-19
NO Mercy, what is your experience with the battery situation?

From: No Mercy
28-May-19
I’ve only had them out 5 days, so I’m not sure yet.

29-May-19
I have 4 running with the D battery packs. They take 6 D cells. They have been running 60 days and have taken about 350 pics and all still read OK for the batteries. They have so far worked flawlessly on my 136 acres.

From: No Mercy
29-May-19

No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
Caught him gobbling
No Mercy's embedded Photo
Caught him gobbling
Loving this set up so far!

29-May-19

Steve Leffler's embedded Photo
Steve Leffler's embedded Photo
Same. Love the system so far.

From: MDcrazyman
30-May-19
are you guys running lithiums? are all of you running the battery packs or how they come?

From: No Mercy
30-May-19
I have the G series and the K series cell camera-they all take D cells. I will be installing battery packs on some and the new solar charger on the cell when it comes out later this Summer.

31-May-19
I am running Rayovac D cells. Which is what they recommend. Not Lithium. Bought them on Amazon for .90/battery.

From: MDcrazyman
31-May-19
I have the silver series which I am getting ready to mess with here soon, like today and they take AAA.

From: Shiras42
31-May-19
Waiting for my areas to not be flooded and then will have 5 out feeding to the home camera, but not the cell service. Starting with just the AA battery set up to see how it goes.

From: MDcrazyman
31-May-19
Shiras42, do yo u have the silver series blackouts? It will be nice to compare. I don't have the cell either. Gonna use regular rayovac batteries to see how that goes.

From: Shiras42
03-Jun-19
4 of them went out yesterday. I do not have the blackout ones. Not sure if I have them linked up correctly and with rain planned for the next few days I probably won't make it out to check them. Questioning my positioning of the home cam. Thinking I might move it and put a different one where that one is.

From: olebuck
03-Jun-19
i'll be watching for battery life... i would have already bought some except for the constant battery life complaints.

From: MDcrazyman
03-Jun-19
uhhhhh, shiras42, I will have mine out on Thursday hopefully. Kinda scared now.

04-Jun-19
I am running silvers with the D battery pack. I checked the data on my busiest camera last night. 64 days/457 pics. Battery life shows 75%. That would mean I would get 6-8 mos out of the Rayovac D cells. That would be more than fine for my needs. So far I am very pleased with the system.

From: No Mercy
04-Jun-19

No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
Still going strong on mine. Cuddeback will have a power cord coming that allows the use of the battery pack with the new K Series Dual Cell soon. I’ll be installing it then.

The daily report you get is pretty cool too.

From: No Mercy
04-Jun-19

No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
I did make an error in setting up one unit-I set the IR for Field, which is too bright and may cost battery life. I do wish you could adjust camera settings online.

From: MDcrazyman
05-Jun-19
thanks Steve, did you ever use the AAA stock battery system?

From: MDcrazyman
05-Jun-19
Steve also, how often do you have those cameras sending pics to the home camera?

05-Jun-19
I never used the aa batteries. I found the D battery conversion for $18 bucks and quickly calculated it would be worth the switch. That is how they should come in my opinion. I have them sending home a pic 5 sec after taking it. That is supposed to be the best option.

From: cameranut
05-Jun-19
If you are going to use this system do yourself a favor and get a battery accessory right out of the gate for each camera. If you do this , its a major game changer. The aa's are max 60 days life in most situations . D's last longer and are much cheaper in the long run. I plan on running the 6 d cell cuddepower booster pack on every camera i have once they have the adapter cord available to run them on the J's. Right now i have the 6 d cell pack on the d cell model "G" cameras and get 120-150 days of life or more. On the J series i get 90- 110 days on the replacement D pack and have had cameras with the solar option last 8 months and never died. I run 4 of these systems with Cell option on 4 different properties and its changed the way i hunt. I actually think its saved me money over conventional cameras since i dont spend gas money running to each spot checking cameras. I have one of the new dual cells out and it has worked great. Being able to buy a cell camera for $200 and add more cameras to the same property on the same plan whenever i want is a great feature.

From: MDcrazyman
09-Jun-19
Steve where did you find the conversions for $18? Thanks sir for your input. Getting sick and life has kept me from getting them out there yet. I appreciate your time sir.

09-Jun-19
eBay. Watch and they come up pretty frequently for $18 and free shipping.

From: MDcrazyman
21-Jun-19
ok, got the new battery packs on and deployed 8 cameras on my 6 acres. I know thats a lot, just having fun with it to see how well it works. Pretty excited.

From: No Mercy
21-Jun-19
My camera #4 dropped off into never land two days ago. I am thinking the batteries went dead as it is the busiest one I have. Heading back out west over the 4th with Battery packs in hand!

From: MDcrazyman
01-Jul-19
Ok fellow cuddelink users, pulled card and everything is working as it should, I am having a few things I want to change. The pictures only show up on my computer in like a small 6"x6" pic, how do I change that its hard to see any detail. Pics are grainy too do I change the megapixel on the home camera or all?

From: Mad Trapper
02-Jul-19
I have four operating now. I wanted to see how they would work in thick canopy. They are working great, so I ordered more of them. I got the d battery conversion packs. They say they last longer than the aa batteries. May try the solar panels. Anbody have any experience with them?

From: milnrick
02-Jul-19
I've been thinking about this camera system to track the comings and goings of people at our home, barns etc instead of security cameras.

Our area doesn't have hi speed internet service so we use hotspots for our internet needs.

I'm interested in opinions of how they'd work..

Thanks.

From: MDcrazyman
05-Jul-19
my #8 died in a week, could be setup error, waiting to see if adjustments will make images better.

06-Jul-19

Steve Leffler's embedded Photo
Steve Leffler's embedded Photo
I’m at 90 days and around 600 pics per camera. i checked on 7/1 and the batteries still say 75%. For my use this system has been awesome so far.

06-Jul-19

Steve Leffler's embedded Photo
Steve Leffler's embedded Photo
Night pic

From: Slam38
08-Jul-19
Wow $18 for conversion kit is a great deal that is what my cost is on them !!!!!!!!! A lot of people like the IR version better for the night time pics vs the black flash. I sold 102 sets of 4 in the last two years and out of the 102 probably 30 black flash. Some actually like to have some of each I guess its the best of both worlds

From: Bucbuster
10-Jul-19
Great information guys. I am interested in this system as well but I must admit my head is spinning a little bit trying to follow all the different style cameras within the cuddy link family. I will be able to link the cameras on my property and have a home camera basically in my backyard. I can also link to a farm that's not that far from my small 40 acre property. My question is what would be the best setup or model camera for this type of scenario? I do have cell coverage but I think that it may not be necessary because I don't have to drive anywhere to get to my home camera I can walk out my backyard. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

From: No Mercy
29-Oct-19
Update......

I still have had zero issues with this system. I did add the external battery packs to each camera and will add the dual battery pack with the solar panel when available. I have had two cameras attacked by deer however. I am guessing the antennas have something to do with that. All of my cameras are on Stic-N-Pic stands since trees are an endangered species in ND. I plan on adding more cameras to this system next year!

From: kota-man
29-Oct-19
Thanks for the review and update Jason. We will be having a conversation this winter!

From: Mad Trapper
30-Oct-19
I have had 16 operating since August. No issues so far. Happy with the system.!

From: Ghost425
30-Oct-19
I have 4 operating and they’ve been out for months with no hiccups outside of a bear taking one down twice and chewing on it. Have captured photos of deer, elk, bear, and a mountain lion. No complaints now that I put some bear spray on them. Hahaa

From: No Mercy
30-Oct-19

No Mercy's embedded Photo
No Mercy's embedded Photo
I got a surprise on mine. I have never seen an elk in my area before. Pretty rare.

From: Grey Ghost
30-Oct-19
I've had my eye on this system for quite some time. I hope to draw a trophy elk unit tag next year. The unit is 6 hours from my house, but it has decent Verizon cell service thru-out most of it. I think this system would be ideal for my scouting efforts.

So I really appreciate this review, and will probably spring for 4-5 cameras soon. Any advise for a total trail camera newbie is welcomed.

Matt

From: JM
30-Oct-19
I thought I might add to the review the camera system since there is not a lot of good information out there.

I want to preface this and say that I have never been a particular fan of Cuddeback cameras and I have been running Moultrie, Browning, Spypoint, and Bushnell cameras with my favorite being the Browning Strikeforce.

Last year I bought two Cuddelink long Range IR cameras as an initial test of the system since I had a camera location that was actually close to my property entrance but across a large creek that it took me about 15-20 minutes to drive around to the camera and back. I set the home camera up close to the entrance on a mineral lick and the remote was about 350 yards away through trees. I ran the system for about a month and I was pleased with the results. I bought a third camera and placed it on top of a hill above the home camera. I found this very convenient and was able to cut the amount of time it took to get the trail cam cards and cut down on the intrusion into the area.

Here is my general impression of the Long Range IR Model J cameras:

1) Thumbnails pictures are adequate but can lack detail at longer distances especially at night. 2) Battery life is not great but not unreasonable considering the camera has to use more power for the cuddelink system. 3) Around 4+ weeks battery life with lithium AA batteries (Will depend on settings). 4) The detection circuit is good but not quite on par with the better cameras, but it is fast within its range. 5) Flash range is okay but not quite as good as the better cameras. 6) Night pictures are okay to 60ft maybe you can see something out to 90ft. 7) Camera link range is about 250 to 350 yards in thick woods. 8) Will not connect over a hill. 9) Set up is not intuitive, but once you learn the menus it is not hard (keep the manuals and watch youtube). 10) Not a big fan of the Genius mount, I don’t think it is so genius but it does work. Would be better if the mount accepted the standard camera bolt like every other camera uses. 11) No way to use Python cable without buying special mount. 12) Not sure on camera reliability / longevity.

This year and I planned to replace my cell camera (3G covert) so I decided to get a Cuddeback Cell Home (no Camera). I now have 7 cameras a repeater, and the cell home. I receive thumbnail pictures directly on my gmail account. This cell plan I use costs $20 per month for ~ 2000 pictures. I have gone over the limit in the last two months and it has cost an additional $5.

My cell system setup and my impressions:

1) Converted all cameras to D-cell. 2) Added external D-cell packs to Home and repeater. 3) System sends status report once per day which is very nice. 4) Cell home ran for 3 months before the external battery was low (still had 4 internal D-cells that kept the cell home working) 5) Cameras have been running over 3 months and batteries still shows good ( could change at any time now). 6) Not sure of battery life in extreme cold ( Alkaline does not perform as well as lithium). 7) Cannot change system setting over the cellular network, must go to each Camera/Home/Repeater. 8) Solar panels are available but I have not used yet.

I liked the results on my property so I bought a second system for my Kansas lease. I setup the cuddelink system with the cell home on top of a hill and then linked two cameras to the home. One camera is about 1000ft to the west of the cell home and the other is about 2500ft to the east. I was then able to connect the home to a repeater 1.48 miles away on top of a hill on another piece of property. These locations have a direct line of sight between each other with no trees, I was actually able to connect as far as 1.98 miles away. I now have four cameras on two properties sending thumbnails through the cell home.

Overall I like the system so far and I think it will cut down on the Time and Intrusion into my hunting area and it is just fun getting all the pictures, Time will tell on the overall reliability and longevity of the cameras.

John

From: BullBuster
30-Oct-19
I have 8 cameras and have had them for 2 years. Suddenly most cameras are losing their sensitivity and range. I see deer walk right by cameras without triggering. I just updated them to the latest firmware. Hopefully it will resolve it. I’ll update in a week or 2.

From: Mad Trapper
30-Oct-19
Generally agree with John. I have the d-cell battery conversions on all of my cameras. So far battery life has been good. We will see as temperatures start to dip. My property is hilly and the cameras still work. It has been my experience that if you are shooting up and down hills, the cameras won't transmit as far as if it was flat. But they still work and they have been working through heavy foliage. The picture quality is way more than adequate for my purposes.

From: kota-man
30-Oct-19
So...Here's my question for you "cudde experts": The 1/4 section (160 acres) I want to use this system on is ravines. Two big, deep ravines run diagonal through the quarter section. Though the cameras will be in close proximity I doubt that I will have "line of sight" due to the steep ravines. Will these work, or is it imperative I have line of sight?

From: kota-man
30-Oct-19
That helps Tom...We must of been posting at the same time. You know what they say..."Great minds..."

From: BullBuster
30-Oct-19
Mine will go about 1/3 mi through heavy timber and slight slope. Not direct sight.

From: No Mercy
30-Oct-19
Kota you will have to have the home on the top of the ravine or use other cameras as repeaters on the top to relay the signal. Cudde even says in the manual that they don't work through dirt.

From: JM
31-Oct-19

JM's embedded Photo
Cuddelink Setup
JM's embedded Photo
Cuddelink Setup
Here's an example of how I had to set up a repeater to get over a ridge that is about 20ft - 30ft elevation change between the cameras.

The Blue lines are how the cameras are linked and the red dashed lines are what I tried this summer and did not work. If you have a ravine you will likely need a Camera/Repeater on the top with close to line of sight (can have trees).

John

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