Friday 31 July 2015

Bat Detector Overhaul: Automation

In England, the number of bats is declining, and has been for the last 100 years.

Organisations like the Bat Conservation Trust are always looking for volunteers to gather and post information on bat numbers and species in your local area.

While I'm neither a bat expert nor a bat volunteer, I thought it might be interesting to automatically gather data from a fixed location ( this would save me poncing around the fields in the dark!).

Wednesday 29 July 2015

The Adafruit USB Audio Adapter

This USB module is recommended for the Raspberry Pi, but one of the sales bullet points for this module says "Not recommended for Mic input"

Why would you buy it just for the audio output when the Pi already has an audio output?

Well I need it for the audio input, and for just £4.77 post free from The Pi Hut via Amazon, it was worth a punt.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Robins, Newts & a Rapidly Changing Landscape

We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy a garden with such a variety of wildlife.

But with the current surge in local house building, more people and busier roads, I wonder what it will be like in years to come.

What will future generations find crawling around their back yard?

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Bat Detector Overhaul: Logging Bat Data

I have to admit to being a lazy person, so even the effort of standing in the garden pointing my bat detector at the sky is too much for me.

It can also be a bit boring. Especially when its 11pm and I'm not seeing (let alone detecting) any bats!

So the next step is to leave the bat detector outside unattended and try to log any activity on a computer.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Bat Detector Overhaul

About 8 or 9 winters ago, I made a bat detector based upon a circuit published by Chris Eve.

It has never quite lived up to expectations, and has been modified a few times over the years without great effect.

But now its time has come, and I'm looking more closely at ways to improve performance.

Friday 17 July 2015

How many bits in a RaspiCam lens?

I've never really thought much about the Raspberry Pi camera lens.

They are very small, just like the ones in my Sony mobile phone.

But if I'd been asked what they consist of a couple of days ago, I'd have probably said...

Wednesday 15 July 2015

PiCam: replacing the RaspiCam lens

I wanted to get a closer view of the robins nesting in my garden shed.

So I decided to replace the standard RaspiCam lens on my PiCam with an M12 threaded lens.

This is the third time I've carried out this modification, and I still have a 100% success rating!

Saturday 11 July 2015

Robin nest 2015

During May we discovered that our resident pair of robins had nested in a blue plastic container inside our shed.

Once they had left, I put an old open fronted nest box on a shelf inside the shed, in the hope that they might return.

They did, and after a couple of weeks sitting on the eggs, we noticed a few days ago that the female was disposing of egg shell and starting to bring small morsels of food for the emerging chicks.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Some thoughts on Wifi coverage

As our resident robins have built a second nest in our shed, I've been doing what I can to improve the wifi link between wifi router and PiCam.


My efforts may also be useful for next season (BirdBox 2016), as I plan to install two boxes further down the garden than in previous years.

It is tempting to assume that a powerful router/wifi node will solve all your problems, but I don't think that is the case.

Sunday 5 July 2015

The Insomniacs Bedside Radio

If you ever have difficulty getting [back] to sleep, you may find that reading a book or listening to music for a while will make you sleepy.

That's OK if you sleep alone, but turning on a light to read a book or cranking up the volume on your MP3 player at 2am may make you very unpopular if you share your bed.

But maybe you can get away with listening via a pair of headphones, if you keep the volume turned down low on your radio.