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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Batlogger and Batscanner microphone protection

I have recently been asked to test and review a new product supplied by NatureCounters http://www.naturecounters.com/ in the UK. The product is a protective desiccant cap for Elekon Batlogger, Batlogger M and Batscanner microphones.

 
The product simply fits over the Batlogger or Batscanner microphone whilst not in use. I prefer to leave my microphones attached to the unit when in transit and so I use the caps as a protective measure for the microphone as well as taking advantage of the desiccant feature of the cap.

 
 
 
Inside the rubber-like casing are desiccant silica gel beads which absorb any moisture the microphone may have picked up, these change colour to green/blue when they have absorbed water. This notifies you that the beads need drying out and this can be done by baking them in the oven. This is particularly useful if you use the BL microphones but should also assist with maintaining the life of the FG black microphones along with the Batscanner mic's.

I have been using these on Batlogger BL microphones for several weeks now. After a particularly damp evening with heavy rainfall I placed the cap over the microphone and checked the beads the next day.  On opening the cap, the beads had changed colour. I placed the beads in a baking dish and put them under my grill for 30-45 minutes on a  very low heat (80C), they changed back to their standard amber colouring and so I left them to cool before placing them back into the caps. Please note that the caps are tight fitting and so care is needed when opening the caps, otherwise you will end up with beads flying everywhere! ;) My microphone was in good working order and seems to have experienced no ill effects from its damp evening out, the microphone has continued working well since and is stored with a  protective cap as a precaution.

NatureCounters are planning to supply these caps with purchases of Batloggers and Batscanners and so this is a nice additional product which I'm sure others will appreciate and benefit from as well.
 
 
Review by Sally-Ann Hurry

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

New bat detector from Elekon - Batlogger A

A new bat detector is to be released by Elekon.... the Batlogger A.

This has only recently been revealed this month so few details are known, see Elekon's website http://batlogger.com/en/news.html for further details.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Elekon @ UK National Bat Conference 2015

Following on from Elekon's attendance at the European Bat Conference last autumn, the Elekon team will be attending the UK National Bat Conference this September. They will be presenting and demonstrating their range of bat detector products including the newly released Batlogger C (released in May 2015).
 
Fledermausrecorder
The Batlogger C is a passive monitoring device with many interesting features suitable for long-term deployment with a choice of power supply and direct messages regarding data and detector status sent straight to your phone via SMS or via email. Further details can be found on Elekon's website: http://batlogger.com/en/real-time-systems/batlogger-c.html 
 
I see this device being highly suited for long-term monitoring projects and research, including use at wind farms.
 
This is a great opportunity to meet some of the team and get the chance to see the range of products and ask all those questions. Enjoy!
 
(Wish I was going!!!)
BATLOGGER C
 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Titley Scientific - Anabat Express

Titley's 2014 offering to the passive bat detector market was the Anabat Express. I have recently been asked several times regarding different detector options but having only recently used one of these detectors I now feel able to provide a short summary review of the device...
 

 
The Express is supplied with a USB cable, 4 AA alkaline batteries, case, magnet lanyard, weatherproof microphone, protective screw cap, 4GB SD card and a usage leaflet. The case provides a useful and protective measure for the Express and is a nice feature often not included with other detectors.
 
The device itself consists of a tough waterproof camouflaged outer plastic body with two secure side clips. The microphone neatly attaches to the front of the device and when not in use can be stored inside the case. Another nice feature is the supply of the protective cap to place over the 4-pin connection on the front of the case when the microphone is not in use.
 
 
 
On opening the secure clips, the case opens up to expose the control panel and battery compartments on the left. At the top of the unit is the SD card slot, in built GPS unit and mini-USB connection. The control panel is simple to use with only two buttons (a power button and record mode selection button). In addition, similarly to the SD1/SD2 models, the panel also includes raised information lights indicating the status of power, recording mode, errors, GPS and microphone signal detection. The inner right side of the case includes a summary instruction panel which provides accurate and very useful information to aid rapid deployment of the unit. A foam padding insert also aids protection of the lid switch and microphone storage area. (The lid switch records when the lid is open and closed and stores this information within the log file).
 
The unit is powered by 4 AA batteries, these can provide up to 14 nights of continuous monitoring (12 nights using alkaline batteries). A CR2032 battery also acts as a memory/system clock back up.
 
In order to fully utilise the Express, specific free software is required. This includes the analysis program AnalookW and Anabat Toolbox. These can be downloaded from:  http://www.titley-scientific.com/uk/index.php/software_firmware The user manual can also be found here.
 
The free software allows the download of all files including data recorded, log files and GPS location. Anabat Toolbox also informs the user of any firmware updates. I have found updating the firmware very easy and the software is very intuitive. The division ratio and recording schedule can also be set using Anabat Toolbox.
 
However, back to the device itself as this is not a review of the software. I have used the detector for passive static monitoring so far and so cannot comment on the GPS in terms of transect usage, however, I have found the GPS unit to be accurate for static deployment and the time it takes to lock on to the GPS is fair even in a cluttered environment.
 
GPS is locked onto prior to closing the units lid, however there is a small blue LED on the front of the case (next to the microphone) which also flashes whilst it is connecting to the GPS. Once the detector is installed you can check the unit is operating by placing the supplied magnet next to the LED, it will flash briefly. You can also check that the microphone is detecting sound by holding the magnet in the same location and rubbing your fingers in front of the microphone, brief flashes indicate that the microphone is detecting.
 
 
Please note, the Express does not come supplied with any attachment accessories such as straps. However, a  camouflage strap can be purchased in addition from Titley. The strap is good quality and of a suitable width and strength to hold the detector in place on trees for example. The strap fits perfectly between the side clips of the case and is held in place through its own tension holding below the microphone. A security box and cable lock can also be purchased from Titley for additional security.
 
I particularly enjoy the ease of set-up and deployment of the Express. The detector can be set to record from sunset to sunrise and automatically turn on and off in accordance to the appropriate time gained from the GPS, allowing automatic night recording. The GPS also sets the time of the unit (this can be adjusted manually if needed on Anabat Toolbox).
 
Having the choice of several other detectors for the same use, I feel that these are the benefits of this particular device:
  • Weatherproof good quality discreet case
  • Good quality omni-directional weatherproof microphone
  • Quick, easy deployment - lightweight and compact
  • A power source which is easily replaceable and available to purchase if caught out - a low power device
  • Easy and quick data download from an easily available storage device (SD card)
  • Free and easy to use software to use the device and analyse data
  • Good value for money
  • Multiple uses
  • In-built GPS
  • Quality of build and reliable product
  • Standard port connection type
 
As with all devices there is always room for improvement and I would suggest that the only disappointment for me is the black barrel of the microphone. I am planning on adding camouflage tape to the barrel of the microphone in order to further hide the device. However, this is a small detail and when comparing to other devices currently on the market for the same purpose it is of negligible importance.
 
An overall great device that I am very happy to use and ticks many aspects on my wish list for this type of detector.
 
 
Review written by S.Hurry