Batteries or rechargeable batteries for the wireless Arlo "Wire Free" WLAN camera

Reader question: Can I use batteries for the cameras in the Arlo Wire-Free surveillance system or do I have to Batteries (CR123A) ? I need four such batteries per camera, which of course (they last about 4 months) produces a lot of hazardous waste if you have three Arlo cameras in operation like me.

Answer: Rechargeable batteries or batteries for the Arlo?

Which Arlo models are there?

Arlo now has a number of wireless camera models:

  • Arlo Ultra
  • Arlo Pro
  • Arlo Pro 2
  • Arlo go
  • Arlo

The naming is a bit confusing because there is also a model that is only called "Arlo" and that this is about. The other three models (Go, Pro, Pro 2) work with original Arlo batteries here (Attention, choose the right model!).

The Arlo (without any additional name affix) is the camera that can be equipped with standard batteries or rechargeable batteries as the only one.

In addition to the models shown here, the Arlo Ultra is also equipped with a battery (Photo: Arlo.com).

In addition to the models shown here, the Arlo Ultra is also equipped with a battery (Photo: Arlo.com).

Does the Arlo run on batteries?

The Arlo System is an interesting surveillance system that consists of a base station and one or more wireless "Arlo" surveillance cameras. Those who are interested can find the current model series on Amazon here:

The Arlo system has many supporters and the question of batteries is also being discussed there. One more reason to do a little more research ... I just looked up in forums and came across various problems that can occur when using rechargeable batteries:

  • At low temperatures, the performance of Li-ion batteries goes to their knees (if you want to use the camera outdoors in winter)
  • If the Arlo camera has no warning or no automatic shutdown, if the battery voltage is low, the battery can be deeply discharged, which can very quickly lead to death with lithium-ion batteries
  • the rechargeable batteries are more expensive compared to batteries and you still need a suitable battery charger
  • the batteries generally last longer than rechargeable batteries
Netgear Arlo - wireless HD surveillance camera: Operation with batteries or rechargeable batteries possible

The Arlo: a wireless HD surveillance camera that can be operated with batteries or rechargeable batteries (Photo: Arlo.com).

My assessment of the points of criticism

All of these points need to be considered. Because of the deep discharge of the batteries, I can actually give the all-clear, because the Arlo system gives a low battery warning so that you can recharge the batteries promptly. In an emergency, however, the batteries can be exchanged at an early stage in a fixed cycle after 3 months in order to avoid the risk of deep discharge.

With regard to the weakened performance at low temperatures: CR123A batteries are also a compound with lithium, which is less effective at low temperatures. I doubt whether the difference to rechargeable batteries is noticeable. And here, too, the solution could simply be to replace the batteries earlier.

Regarding the battery life, you have to agree with the critics: Basically, the Arlo cameras with batteries last twice as long. For example, a customer only has 750 months of running time with the Keenstone batteries (2,5 mAh) listed below before he has to recharge them. This runtime also depends heavily on how often the camera "starts" and sends data into the network. To save battery life, it is advisable to use the time control of the monitoring so that it does not run at times when monitoring is not required.

CR123A batteries for the Arlo

If you want to opt for batteries - despite the environment - you can consider buying a larger pack right away. Varta photo batteries are highly praised in forums and they seem to have a lot of friends in Amazon's reviews. These can be bought in different quantities, with a pack of 16 offering a significant price advantage:

VARTA CR123A 3V lithium battery | VARTA battery CR123A Lithium 3V (formerly VARTA Professional ...
1.211 Reviews
VARTA CR123A 3V lithium battery | VARTA battery CR123A Lithium 3V (formerly VARTA Professional ...
  • The VARTA CR123A 3V lithium battery (formerly VARTA Professional Lithium CR123A 3V) is particularly suitable for cameras, ...
  • The VARTA battery CR123A Lithium 3V (formerly VARTA Professional Lithium CR123A 3V, also called CR17345 3V) is ...
  • The VARTA CR123A 3V lithium battery (formerly VARTA Professional Lithium CR123A 3V, also called CR17345 3V) ...

RCR123A batteries and charger for the Arlo - currently nothing available!

Should you choose to use rechargeable batteries, it is important to know that the Arlo accepts batteries or rechargeable batteries up to a nominal voltage of 4,2 volts. This can be read in the Arlo community, which unfortunately can only be accessed with a user account.

If you are looking for batteries that replace the "CR123A" battery type, you have to use the designation "RCR123A" and "16340". However, the problem is that some batteries (depending on the manufacturer) are slightly too long and the lid of the Arlo camera can no longer be closed. The problem is that the batteries I originally picked for this article are no longer available. And not just the one model, but I can't find any more RCR123A batteries on Amazon.

Conclusion: Batteries would be my choice

If you consider that every Arlo mobile security camera requires four batteries and not a few people buy the sets with three or more cameras, then I would definitely use rechargeable batteries as a power supply. I find the disadvantages very manageable and actually not really serious. Of course, the price is higher if you first have to buy a set with batteries and a charger, but in a few months or years this will definitely be picked up again - and the environment is always happy. :)

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13 comments

  1. dittosh says:

    Why is the use of batteries so badly "forbidden" by Netgear in the manual? Can the cameras be damaged when operated with batteries? I am at a loss and do not understand or can not deduce any connections. Ask for advice. Many Thanks.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Ditosch! Of course, I don't know the motivation behind Netgear 100% either, but I suppose they don't want you to use rechargeable batteries because they always have a lower voltage than batteries. With certain batteries, the voltage could be so low that the Netgear Arlo no longer works properly. That means, if you use batteries, Netgear can rule out this problem in support. I have also read a number of times with electronic devices that batteries should be used. I always try it with rechargeable batteries and it usually works. The Netgear Arlo cannot be damaged under any circumstances ... in case of doubt, the batteries for the electronics of the camera act like "batteries that are about to be completely empty". But that in no way harms the electronics.

      • Buddy says:

        The assumption that rechargeable batteries have a lower voltage than batteries really applies to the comparison of alkaline batteries (1,5V) with NiMH rechargeable batteries (1,2V).
        This is not the case when comparing non-rechargeable lithium batteries (CR123) with rechargeable Li-Ion batteries of the same size (RCR123A or 16340). On the contrary: the CR123 disposable batteries have a nominal voltage of 3V, with the range empty to full between 2,0V and 3,3V. The rechargeable batteries have a nominal voltage of 3,6V. They are fully charged at 4,2V, at approx. 2,8V they are 97% empty.
        This is probably the reason why the manufacturer only recommends batteries because the voltage with the rechargeable batteries "could be too high".
        But in practice it works with the batteries without damaging the cameras.
        It is also true that the CR123 disposable batteries have a capacity of approx. 1500mAh and therefore have a significantly longer runtime than the rechargeable batteries, which only have approx. 650-750mAh. On the subject of the capacity of the batteries, something else. The maximum capacity of size 123 is actually around 750mAh at the moment. RCR123A from Ultrafire with imprinted 1200mAh don't have more either. You can print a lot :-)

        • sir appleot says:

          Hello buddy! Thanks for your information. I find a very good addition! And you're right: You can print a lot ... I see that again and again when testing power banks. : D

  2. Minsky says:

    I've been using it for about 6 months UltraFire 16340 (CR123A) batteries without problems.

  3. Lars Rother says:

    Hallo,

    I bought PPower batteries with an alleged 700 mAH, plus a charger (unfortunately they also fit into my fully electronic unit for the 18650 ...), but the camera only registers 4% charge. According to the display, my large charger only gets between 180 and 195 mAH at 4,2 V charging current in the batteries. Are these junk, or do my cameras dislike this company-;)

    LG

    Lars

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Lars! Two points play a role: on the one hand, rechargeable batteries often have a lower voltage than batteries. The result is that the electronic devices "think" that the inserted batteries are almost empty because they have such a low voltage. That means you would have to try to use batteries that show a drop in the voltage curve as late as possible. I can't tell you a specific brand, but other users can do fine with the batteries mentioned in the article.
      The second thing you mention is the display of the mAh your charger is putting into the batteries. You shouldn't assume that you can also charge 700 mAh in 700 mAh batteries, because if you were to discharge them to 0 mAh, they would be broken long ago. In practice, you only draw part of the capacity during use and then recharge it. This is the case with all batteries. For example, I have 6250 mAh batteries for my copter and only charge 1500 mAh when they are "empty". So your value sounds realistic too. I would test how long the Netgear Arlo runs on the batteries without actually stopping operation. Maybe all you have to do is ignore the 4% ad and they'll run with it for a couple of weeks. LG! Jens

  4. Stamp says:

    Thanks for this helpful article! How big a role does the charging capacity play in the batteries? Actually, the UltraFire with 1200mAh should last much longer than the Nitecore with 650mAh.

    Greetings,
    Stamp

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Cuno! That sounds logical, but it's not easy to say, because the voltage level is decisive for the "battery empty" message from the Arlo electronics. This means that if the UltraFire have more capacity, but fall below the critical value earlier in the voltage curve, then the Arlo reports "battery empty" earlier even for batteries with more capacity ... although there is actually still enough "juice" available. Unfortunately, I do not have a comparison of both manufacturers (Nitecore and Ultrafire), which is why I cannot give any empirical values. But in the Amazon reviews you can sometimes read how long the batteries in the Arlo last. I hope this helps you a little. LG! Jens

  5. Ntaak says:

    The Ultrafire Batteries are an absolute scam. the name sounds good, but the energy content that is advertised is always considerably worse and guaranteed worse than the energy content of the nitecore batteries.
    Almost all types of Ultrafireakkut are extreme fraud.

    The charging capacity of lithium batteries is almost always the same as the possible withdrawal capacity, when they are as good as new.

    VG
    January
    Professional manufacturer and importer of energy sources

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Jan!
      Thanks for your assessment. I always find it a bit exaggerated to speak of fraud in such matters without "evidence". If 100 Ultrafire batteries were to compete against 100 other brands in an independent test and they were all below the advertised capacity, then I would also sign a "fraud", but I did not do a comprehensive test and a few "lousy Monday models" can always be found at every manufacturer. I would just leave it as a bottom line that you recommend choosing the Nitecore over the Ultrafire. : D LG! Jens

  6. Jan says:

    Hi Jens,
    Unfortunately it is a fact.
    As far as we know (99,9% certain) that lithium disposable batteries have about twice the storage density than a Li battery of the same volume.
    We don't know any exceptions.
    Let us, however, like to empty ...

    The procedure of Ultrafire and CO is unfortunately also logical: The end user cannot directly check the actual energy content.
    The fraudster saves enormous advertising costs as long as the boomerang doesn't backfire in forums due to poor battery quality.
    With low-priced batteries, however, hardly anyone tries to do this.
    I just googled for 10 seconds:
    https://www.dampferzuflucht.de/t2046f17-Lug-und-Betrug-bei-Ultrafire-Akkus.html

    VG and a pleasant start to the week!
    Jan

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Jan! Thanks for the hint and reference. This is really a system ... I would not have thought. :( You also have a nice start to the week! LG! Jens

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