Announcing the Batlogger A – new from Elekon

Using customer feedback, Elekon have developed the latest addition to their family of detectors, the Batlogger A. This compact detector records bat calls in full spectrum with 16-bit resolution directly onto a microSD card.

Elekon Batlogger A Bat Detector
Elekon Batlogger A Bat Detector

This entry-level passive bat monitoring system is fully waterproof (except the microphone capsule), with adjustable trigger functions and options for delayed recording, and it is fully compatible with the free BatExplorer software.

Here’s some spec:Elekon Batlogger A Bat Detector

  • Real-time recording and storage of ultrasonic calls on micro SD card
  • Free analysis software BatExplorer
  • All components waterproof, IP67 (except microphone capsule)
  • Microphone extension cable with the new protective tube
  • Uses the proven FG-black microphone
  • 30 hour recording time using good quality AA batteries or rechargeable batteries

 

Find out more about the Elekon Batlogger A

Update for Wildlife Acoustics users: SMX-U1 and SMM-U1 Microphone Weather Protection

We have received the following message from Wildlife Acoustics which contains essential information for users of the SMX-U1, SMM-U1, and SMX-Horn microphones.


Due to a small number of microphone failures occurring from wind driven rain in our continued testing, we have decided to include protective windscreens with all future microphone shipments. We have also decided to provide windscreens to all existing SMX-U1 and SMM-U1 microphone customers at no charge. Additionally, we will be providing a larger windscreen for the SMX-Horn directional attachment, and again providing these at no charge to existing customers.

Though we did not experience microphone failures in our initial rigorous weather testing of the microphones, some recent failures observed in the field indicate that the microphone element may still be at risk of damage in the event of extreme weather. The main concern is specifically high-velocity wind-blown rain resulting in water spray entering the FG sensor causing damage to the membrane and/or electronics inside. The risk is greater when deployed with the ultrasonic horn attachment. Though we have seen issues with only a handful of microphones, we recommend that you use windscreens for long-term deployments in all areas susceptible to heavy wind driven rain out of an abundance of caution. We view the use of windscreens as a preventative measure to avoid any chance of damage to the microphone element when used in severe weather. For short-term deployments with predictions of less severe weather and in dry climates, you can avoid using windscreens.

The windscreens will attenuate ultrasound by only a few dB when dry. However, they will block most ultrasound when soaked with water, until they dry. Drying time can vary significantly based on temperature, humidity and wind. Given this information, we leave it to you to decide the best course of action for each deployment.

wa-windscreen-1

Secure the windscreens for the SMX-U1 and SMM-U1 microphones with the included C-clip. Make sure there is an air gap between the windscreen and the microphone as shown below. (Do not pull the windscreen down tightly).

For the SMX-Horn directional attachment, secure the large windscreen with the included zip-tie as shown below. Exact positioning is not important.

wa-windscreen-2

If you have purchased one or more SMM-U1, SMX-U1 microphones or the SMX-Horn attachment from NHBS you do not need to do anything, we will send your microphone covers to you free of charge in the next few days.

Please contact Wildlife Acoustics at support2015@wildlifeacoustics.com if you have any further questions or concerns.

Supplier interview: Volker Runkel of ecoObs

Volker Runkel of ecoObs

ecoObs are a small German company at the forefront of full spectrum bat call recording and identification. They produce the Batcorder 3, a highly optimised bat detector (each new microphone arrives with its own calibration factor to ensure that comparisons between units are valid) designed to consistently record bat calls of sufficiently high quality to make auto-identification possible. Calls can then be processed using ecoObs software bcAdmin 3.0, bcAnalyse 2.0 and batIdent. These enable the rapid and accurate identification of common bat species, speeding up the identification process by up to 70% and allowing users to focus more time on rare or interesting bat species. We asked ecoObs co-founder and managing director Volker Runkel to introduce the company.

Tell us a little about your company and how you got started

For my PhD thesis I developed a quite basic and rather well working solution for passive monitoring of bats. Already then I saw that automation in data collection as well as analysis was one of the keys to focus on, instead of all raw analysis work. We quickly realized there is a huge demand for such a solution. We then were lucky and found an engineer who partnered up with us and redesigned the hardware so it was power efficient, small and easy to use. The batcorder system was born.

ecoObs Batcorder 3
ecoObs Batcorder 3

What challenges do you face as a company in the ecology/natural history sector?

The sector is rather small and as a hardware producer we for example often have problems acquiring small quantities of parts. In electro-engineering small companies still require some hundred thousand parts while we ask for a mere thousand. Also the demand for devices is highly seasonal – 90% of orders arrive within a few weeks in spring when the bat season starts. On the other end, we have a very vivid and heterogeneous bat worker scene.

What do you consider the most important achievement of your company in recent years?

I think getting the batcorder and the analysis software out in the wild and thus pushing the whole field of passive monitoring and automated bat call identification to where it is now. When we started in 2004 no one believed it would be ever working, and now a rising number of devices and software exists.

What is your most memorable wildlife/natural history encounter?

Spotting and touching an Echidna in the wild!

Browse all ecoObs products

 

Firmware update for the Anabat Express

Express Firmware 5506J

Anabat Toolbox 1.17

Titley Scientific has released a new firmware for your AnaBat Express.  It fixes a problem with the timezone recorded in GPS transect log files.

Run Anabat Toolbox and install the update. Then connect your Anabat Express via USB to upgrade the firmware.

Firmware updates from Wildlife Acoustics

New Firmware available for SM2, SM3 and SMZC product families

These firmware updates all address an SD card compatibility issue we have recently seen in a number of specific SD card models. If you have experienced SD card errors or corruption, this firmware update may resolve these issues.

SM3/SM3BAT/SM3M Firmware 1.2.7

In addition to the SD card issue above, this version also improves the interpretation of a program containing non-infinite loops. The firmware can be found here.

SMZC Firmware 1.0.6

In addition to the SD card issue above, this version also improves the interpretation of a program containing non-infinite loops. The firmware can be found here.

SM2/SM2BAT/SM2M Firmware 3.3.9

The firmware can be found here.

You can contact support2015@wildlifeacoustics.com if you have any questions.

Unboxing the new AnaBat Express bat detector

Introducing the new AnaBat Express bat detector from Titley Scientific. Watch the unboxing video below, and read on for our quick guide to the key functionality.

AnaBat Express overview

green tickWeatherproof bat detector for passive recording
green tickProgrammable recording schedule
green tickCompact and discreet design
green tickIntegrated GPS receiver
green tickOne-touch unit configuration

AnaBat Express Bat Detector

 

 

Monitoring with the AnaBat Express

The AnaBat Express Bat Detector is an exciting new weatherproof detector that is designed to be rapidly deployed for recording bat calls for species identification or activity monitoring. Based on the AnaBat frequency division technology, it records calls in zero crossing format on to an SD card, ready for analysis with the free downloadable software (AnaBat Toolbox and AnalookW). Customised recording schedules can be programmed on to an SD card using a PC and then uploaded to the AnaBat Express using the card.

AnaBat Express Internal DiagramFeatures and components

The AnaBat Express has an integrated GPS receiver that automatically sets the clock, calculates sunset and sunrise times and records the location of the device. The unit also has a ‘one-touch’ configuration capability, where you can programme it to record automatically from sunset to sunrise every night (based on GPS coordinates) just from one touch of the ‘Mode’ button, without having to use a PC for configuration. It is camouflaged and compact, with a weatherproof box and omni-directional weatherproof microphone, and it can be used with the AnaBat Express five metre microphone extension cable so that you can position the microphone away from the unit.

AnaBat Express Bat DetectorPowered by 4 x AA batteries; the unit should record for around 14 nights on one set of batteries and up to 30 nights with high quality lithium batteries. Supplied with padded case, wrist strap, 4GB SDHC card, 4 x AA batteries, a magnet for status checking and USB cable.

AnaBat Express Bat Detector

NHBS at Birdfair 2012: our biggest Birdfair yet

This year we are gearing up for our biggest Birdfair yet!

NHBS has a bigger and better stand this year featuring a new workshop area with a full schedule of events all weekend. Come along to find out more about ultrasound bat detecting, pond-dipping, wildlife photography and more. And join us in the main Birdfair Event Marquee daily for a big screen live moth-trapping event with Phil Sterling and Richard Lewington on Friday, and a ‘Virtual Pond Dip’ with Nick Baker on Saturday and Sunday. As always we look forward to meeting you there, out of the office and in person!

Here’s the full ‘NHBS at Birdfair 2012’ line-up – click to enlarge:

NHBS events programme fro Birdfair 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Birdfair 2012: Friday 17th – Sunday 19th August, Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Egleton, Rutland, LE15 8BT

Getting started with the SM2BAT+ bat detector

SM2BAT+The Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter SM2BAT+ is a passive ultrasound recorder that can be left out in the field for long periods of time to record ultrasound at frequencies of up to 192 kHz. The SM2BAT+ comes packaged in a plain green weatherproof box making it easy to position discretely without the need for expensive or time consuming efforts to weatherproof/camouflage it. Setting a bat detector up for passive monitoring can be a slightly daunting experience for the first time user so we have produced an annotated internal diagram (see below right – click the image to enlarge) and this blog post describing our experiences getting started with the SM2BAT+. Despite feeling a little scared at Inside the SM2BAT+the sight of circuit boards I am pleased to report that I found the SM2BAT+ to be very user friendly – read on for our idiot’s guide to setting up an SM2BAT+.

Getting started

The first thing you will need to do is insert four D-Cell batteries into the slots. A number of variables affect battery life including the quality/type of the battery, temperature, and the recording mode. The manual produced by Wildlife Acoustics suggests that if high quality Alkaline D-Cells are used at 20oC then you should get 130 hours recording time at 192 kHz mono and 100 hours recording time at 192 kHz stereo or 384 kHz mono when using in WAV mode and over 300 hours of recording time when using ZCA mode.

Next you will need to insert an SDHC card into one of the Flash Card Slots. Wildlife Acoustics recommend using good quality SDHC Class 4 or Class 6 cards and a single 32GB card should easily last a minimum of 2 weeks.

How to programme your SM2BAT+

Now it is time to programme your SM2BAT+. Setting up a simple schedule is very easy, switch the unit on by pressing the WAKE/EXIT button. Once it has woken up you will be able to see whether your SDHC card has been accepted and how much spare memory is available. To programme your unit press the SELECT button to see the menu; then to scroll through the menu options press the UP and DOWN buttons, press BACK to move back up a level, and press SELECT to move left and/or toggle through a list of options.

Below left shows a schematic (click to enlarge) of the Song Meter Main Menu and includes the settings I used for a trial run of the SM2BAT+. The first page of the menu includes three options – Schedule, Settings and Utilities. Setting the schedule could not be easier, press SELECT when the cursor is flashing next to Schedule, then press SELECT again, update the time using the UP and DOWN buttons then press SELECT again to keep moving to the left filling in the details as you go. You will see that I have set our SM2BAT+ to come on at 20:30 and record for 10 hours.

SM2BAT+ SchematicPress BACK to come out of the Schedule menu and then DOWN to move to Settings, then SELECT again to enter the Settings menu. For a quick test of the unit you will need to set the time and date using the UP, DOWN, SELECT, and BACK buttons as before. Finally select AUDIO to check the recording settings. In my test run I opted for a Sample rate of 384000 (384 kHz) because we have lesser horseshoe bats in the Totnes area. This is because the maximum frequency recorded is equal to half the sample rate – consequently, at a sample rate of 384 kHz the SM2BAT+ will record ultrasound at frequencies up to 192 kHz on one channel (perfect for lesser horseshoes that echolocate at around 110 kHz). If you want to use both channels (i.e. two microphones) you have to record at a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz. Although you may miss lesser horseshoe bats the big advantage of using both channels is that you can separate the microphones (using extension cables – available from NHBS) by up to 100m, effectively doubling the number of bat detectors you own for the price of a couple of cables. Alternatively you can separate the microphones by 10-20m to measure flight directionality along a linear feature.

Next you need to select which channel to record on. Under Channels I selected Mono-L to record from the left hand microphone input. For Compression I selected Off which means that the SM2BAT+ is in trigger mode and records individual WAV files for each trigger.  Analook users may prefer to use the ZCA option which records individual ZCA files for each trigger. Alternatively, some users may prefer the WAC0 option which produces a continuous compressed WAC file for the duration of the recording period (actually the files are size limited so I found that 1hr 33min chunks are produced). That’s it… all you need to do now is take your SM2BAT+ to your field site.

Field set-up

Once at your field site check the settings and do a test recording. To do this plug some headphones into the headphone jack and start recording by pressing both the UP and DOWN buttons simultaneously. Once the recording has started press SELECT to view the channels and then make some ultrasound by eg. tapping your fingers and thumb together or rattling some keys. If all is well then put your unit back to sleep, seal the weatherproof enclosure (don’t forget to take a screwdriver with you) and plug your microphone in to the left hand microphone input (using your extension cable makes hiding the unit much easier). It is worth remembering that the indicator LED is visible when the lid is on so make sure this cannot be seen by passers-by.

Data analysis

Downloading the data is also easy – simply remove the SDHC card and place it into an SD card reader. To analyse the data I used Pettersson’s BatSound v4.12. My WAV files opened immediately and I used the Close, open, next button to scroll quickly through the files so the analysis was quick and painless. On my first night I recorded soprano pipistrelle and greater horseshoe bats in the centre of Totnes.

Available now from NHBS

 

Batbox III Featured on BBC’s Coast Programme

Check out this video from the most recent BBC Coast TV programme featuring the Batbox III bat detector.  The detector is used to locate bats living in an old World War II bunker on the Normandy coast. The video shows how you can "hear" the bats with the detector before you can see them – a compelling reason for having a bat detector.

The Batbox III detector features at about the 38th minute…
View the video now

The Batbox III bat detector is one of the best-selling bat detectors here at NHBS – order today and get started bat detecting!

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