Ardubat batlogger

After the last season we had a discussion about an inexpensive, simple to use batlogger. We also wanted digital storage (no tapes) and correct timestamps. We could not find an inexpensive recording device with all these features and so the idea was to use Tony Messinas „simple bat detector“ and to log the pre-processed batcalls to SD-card, using a processor-board with RTC (real-time-clock).

A prototype showed promising results and so I discussed the topic with Tony and he came up with a modified „simple bat detector“,  which now can be used as „bat-detector shield“ for the Arduino UNO and so we think it can be called the „Ardubat“. On his Ardubat page Tony presents the Ardubat circuit and he also has step-by-step assembly instructions. The shield consists of two independent circuits – one is a dividing bat receiver, the other one provides 2 pushbuttons and 3 LEDs as a possible user interface.

Ardubat

Ardubat on top of an Arduino UNO

Such a configuration can be used for many purposes. It is very educational and combines sciences like biology, physics, electronics and software programming. Here are just some ideas – you could:

  • use the shield alone as simple bat detector (well, this is simple 🙂 )
  • control the shield via an Arduino UNO, turn LEDs on/off when bats are being detected
  • add a data logger shield and write events with a date/time stamp on a SD card
  • add a LCD-display shield for displaying data (number of events, timings)
  • write data to a PC via USB-cable
  • write date to a Smartphone via USB-cable
  • add more sensors (temperature, humidity, …)
  • turn on/off an external camera via relay

Another small batch of boards have arrived. I can give away some boards with components (here is my packing list) for 19 Euro plus 3,50 Euro for worldwide worldwide (money can be sent via Paypal). We also published a few demo programs, showing the basic function of the bat-shield. We cannot teach you programming and we cannot write the logging software for you which you have in mind, but we will provide you with links to some websites with more info. You should also not expect, that the Ardubat replaces an expensive, commercial bat logger, but if you want to learn more about the bats around your house and in the neighbourhood and have some fun programming (or at least modifying our samples for your needs), then the Ardubat is the right platform for you…

A basic configuration will consist of just the Ardubat bat-shield, an Arduino UNO and a power source. The bat receiver requires 9 Volts, so providing 5V f.e. via USB will not be enough. We suggest using an battery pack, which could provide power to the complete stack. Since both bat receiver and Arduino are using voltage regulators, you can use an inexpensive 12V battery pack.

Later you might want to protect your hardware by a case and you might want to add another shield to your stack, like a logging shield, a display shield (LED, LCD, …), a GPS receiver shield and so on. Note that you have to get the right header-pins to be able to stack the shields.

On the homepage of the Arduino project you will find a free developement environment for Windows, MacOS and Linux. This software also allows you to send the programs via a simple USB cable to the Arduno UNO and receive debugging messages from the Arduino. The programming language is a modern variant of the C language with some object oriented features (do not hesitate, take a look at one of the many sample programs like the blinking LED and see how easy they can be read).

For logging purposes I can recommend the data logger shield from adafruit.com. They also provide instructions and libraries via learn.adafruit.com and of course you can also order the Arduino UNO and other shields from them.

In Germany the datalogger shield is distributed by exp-tech.de. Their service is very fast and beside the logger shield (about 20 €) they can also provide the Arduino UNO (about 25€) and a variety of shields. Do not forget to order also a stackable header kit for stacking the Ardubat on top of the data logger !

After assembling the Ardubat, you have to wire the pushbuttons an LEDs to I/O pins of the Arduino (in case you want to use them). We leave this assignment to you, because when you decide to add another shield to the stack, there may be I/O conflicts. Tony made a list with standard-assignments, which will also be used by our sample-programs. You can find some demo programs for the Ardubat on my Ardubat software page.

Ardubat in action (you can even see the bat)…

Here is a sample output of a software, which does not only log events, but also measures the TBC (time between calls) and writes small (text-)graphs. In this sample the logger recorded some pipistrelles with a TBC around 90ms. Some events cannot be analyzed because of missing calls or other effects, but these are easy to recognize  (f.e. at 22:46:47):

 07.06.2013 22:44:42  power up - pipistrellen im Vieburger, Waldweg
 07.06.2013 22:45:26  10 calls ..1.1.213....1.1.............. peak at 80ms
 07.06.2013 22:45:34   9 calls .......144.................... peak at 80ms
 07.06.2013 22:45:59   5 calls .....1.1.....21............... peak at 130ms
 07.06.2013 22:46:18  10 calls ........351...1............... peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 22:46:42  10 calls .......144.......1............ peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 22:46:47   6 calls ..................111.......1. peak at 280ms
 07.06.2013 22:47:06  10 calls ........26.1..............1... peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 22:47:12   7 calls ........13.......11.........1. peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 22:49:45  10 calls ......221111.....1.....1...... peak at 60ms
 07.06.2013 22:49:58  10 calls .......1.44........1.......... peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 22:50:02  10 calls .......133...1.1....1......... peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 22:51:23  10 calls ........73.................... peak at 80ms

Here are some myotis bats (probably myotis daubentonii) with a much shorter TBC:

 07.06.2013 23:09:23  power up Wasserfledermäuse an der Eider
 07.06.2013 23:09:30  10 calls ....22.2.111......1........... peak at 70ms
 07.06.2013 23:09:37  10 calls ....11.132.1...............1.. peak at 80ms
 07.06.2013 23:12:01   5 calls ......21......1.........1..... peak at 60ms
 07.06.2013 23:12:21   6 calls 11...1......1................. peak at 0ms
 07.06.2013 23:12:40  10 calls 131.1............2...1........ peak at 10ms
 07.06.2013 23:13:14  10 calls ...13.4......1..1............. peak at 60ms
 07.06.2013 23:13:37  10 calls ...21.22.....11............... peak at 70ms
 07.06.2013 23:13:43  10 calls .1..1.2213.................... peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 23:13:49  10 calls .....52.2.............1....... peak at 50ms
 07.06.2013 23:13:58  10 calls .1.2231..........1............ peak at 50ms
 07.06.2013 23:14:09  10 calls .......24...11..1......1...... peak at 80ms
 07.06.2013 23:14:16  10 calls 1....11.33.1.................. peak at 80ms
 07.06.2013 23:14:42   4 calls ........11....1..1............ peak at 90ms
 07.06.2013 23:14:46  10 calls 2......42....1...........1.... peak at 70ms
 07.06.2013 23:14:53  10 calls ....25.2.......1.............. peak at 50ms
 07.06.2013 23:16:18   7 calls .......22.2................... peak at 70ms

A data logger with battery for one day could be as small as this box:

ardubox2

Here is another idea I started working on – adding an inexpensive Nokia N5510 Display to the circuit for displaying some „live“ data:

nokia2

 

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