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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:36 pm 
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Royal
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Hey All,
I've been working on a "beam-break" type sensor for a little while. Still in the concept stages right now, but feel that I have a pretty solid design to go with. Haven't got to test it in bright sunlight yet, but on an overcast day, I'm getting 90 feat easily and pulling 2mA, so 2 D's would last almost a year. I think I can do better, that's just initial testing on the laser transmitter side. On the camera, light sensor/receiver side, it is drawing about 1.5 mA right now.

some advantages and disadvantages to this type of sensor compared to the typical PIR sensors we typically use now are:

-Advantages:
-will detect the subject anywhere between the sensor. So say a small animal like a rabbit comes
through, you will still get him at 90 feet if you have the sensors that far apart.
-you can set up to get the animal right where you want him.
-you can take advantage of the speed of DSLR cams since you don't need a wide angle
-temperature won't affect sensitivity like it does with a PIR
-will be able to choose sensitivity based on size and speed of animal
-will be able to adjust distance sensitivity
- reducing distance sensitivity, and or animal size sensitivity will increase battery life.

-Disadvantages
-may not work in heavy rain or fog
-uses more power
-has 2 parts that need to be aligned
-have to have line of site between components

I'm planning to get a few prototypes built for testing soon, and as usual, want to get your input before finalizing the design. So I am opened to suggestions. Here are some things bouncing around my head right now:

-the cost of this type sensor that's available now is around $300 to $600. We can defiantly beat that.
-adjustable sensitivity for animal size or speed. for slow moving deer, it can be set to save a ton of power.
-adjustable sensitivity for distance. This way, say you only need 20 feet distance between the sensor and
camera, you can turn the distance sensitivity down and save a ton of power.
-May add an LCD for easy settings.
-May have it so that you change your settings, like sensitivity, time delay etc. from the transmitter
side, that way you won't have to touch the camera/receiver for changing settings.
-Will have a red laser to help with aiming, then you will turn it off.
-The trip wire is invisible
-May add extra optocouplers, relays, or diodes for controlling other items.
-Open to YOUR ideas
Thanks guys!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:58 pm 
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Gary, a great contribution to the camera trap home-brew hobby...!! Let us all know when it's up and running...!

:old

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:29 pm 
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Great work Sir!!!! Can't wait to see your work in action, I've been asked about this type of sensor at least a few times.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:03 pm 
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Nice work Gary! Sounds interesting!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Glad you have taken this on.

Will you have an indicator LED to tell us when the laser is aligned?

What are you thinking about in terms of mounts? 1/4" x 20 threaded hole for minipods, tripods or home made stake mounts?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:52 am 
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Yes, it will have an alignment LED. I'm open to suggestions on mounts. Have been waffling between an adjustable mount or Loc-Line for helping with aiming. Both add quite a bit to the cost.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:07 pm 
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For my purposes a threaded hole would work. I use cheap Chinese made ball mounts with the standard threaded screw. The threaded hole would keep the price down.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:41 am 
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OK, that sounds like a good way to go. Can you suggest a good quality mount that will hold and not move with the sensor and batteries hanging from it?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:49 am 
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I think the transmitter and receiver will both fit in a tube say 1-1/2" diameter and 1-1/2" long without batteries. Would that work better for you DSLR guys, where you could have a battery pack separate that plugs in, and also the camera would plug in? Then you could use any 3 Volt source that you wanted. 3.7V rechargeables, 2AAAs, or 2D's or whatever.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:26 am 
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I'd rather have extra batteries in a single tube, even if it's longer. A single unit is better in rain and snow, and bears can't do as much damage as they can with 2 separate units connected with a wire. Plus squirrels also chew on exposed wires.

I've made some external PIR sensors in 2" ID x 5" lengths of PVC, and 1/4" screw mounts work well in a balanced central position, but the battery is only 9v. I think the single unit would be a convenient ready-to-use product. No need for the buyer to make battery holder with connectors, unless you will be producing those as an optional accessory.

As for mounts, the Pedco Ultrapod II is a minipod that can be taped or wired to a stick or post, and the Pedco Ultrapod 360 has a screw clamp. You can get the latter for about $30. The Chinese made 1/4" mounts cost about $2 a piece, but they still have to be screwed into another device. The Ram mounts of course are the Cadillac of clamps.


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