Digital Bat House Project

an OpenSource Hardware
Software Project

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This project was designed and implemented at Hobart & William Smith Colleges as part of a joint project between Prof. John Vaughn in Computer Science and Prof. Jim Ryan in Biology, along with three undergraduate students: Josh Davis, Tomas Carvahlo y Silvia, and Peter Brooks
The Digital Bat House Project is designed to remotely log temperature and activity data for a colony of bats using a standard bat house. The bat house is constructed according to traditional plans with a few minor modifications (plans are available in the assembly and users guide below). Each bat house is equipped with three temperature sensors: one for measuring ambient temperature outside the house and two sensors that monitor internal temperature near the roof where the bats tend to congregate when roosting.

In addition, each house is equipped with three infrared sensors that register a date and time when a bat passes between the IR transmitter and receiver (breaking the beam). IR sensors are positioned at the entry to each of the three chambers inside the base of the bat house. Finally, there is a light sensor that measures the amount of light outside the bat house, which is used to monitor dawn and dusk and correlate ambient light with time.

All data is logged at a user specified interval to a SD card. For example, temperature and light data can be logged every 10 seconds or every minute, while data from the IR sensors are logged only when an animal breaks the IR beam. A data and time are logged with each data point.

The digital bat house is powered by 4 rechargeable batteries linked to a solar panel on the roof of the building. The solar panel recharges the batteries when light is available.
This project assumes you are familiar with Ardunio and how to download the scripts to the Ardunio board. The hardware for the HWS Bat House Logger Shield is OpenSource and available here as a set of schematics and Eagle files for printing the HWS Bat House Shield circuit board. The logger shield attaches to the Ardunio Uno micro computer.

Assembly of the HWS Bat House Logger Shield requires moderate electronics knowledge and soldering skill. Detailed step-by-step instructions for building the HWS Bat House Logger Shield can be found in the assembly manual below.

In addition to the HWS Bat House Logger Shield, there is a separate printed circuit board available for building the IR transmitter-receiver units.

Details on how to build the HWS Bat House Logger Shield, a list of all components that must be soldered in place on the board, and plans for building the bat house are provided in the assembly manual below.

The User's Guide (below) provides instructions for setting the various features of the shield.
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A completed Digital Bat House with the logger electronics housed in the gray box and powered by a solar panel (not shown)
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A top view of the completed HWS Bat House Logger Shield mounted on an Arduino Uno.
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The HWS Bat House Logger Shield printed circuit board.
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This is an open source project in that the schematics, Eagle CAD or Gerber files for shields, and Ardunio source code are provided here under a Attribution-ShareAlike license from Creative Commons allowing non-commercial use and extensions of the shield design without cost. This means You are free:
  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
  • Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
  • Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Arduino shield schematic/CAD files (Eagle format): Shield PCB files
IR sensor boards, schematics/CAD files (Eagle format):
Sensor PCB files
Arduino logger code:
Source code
HWS Bathouse Assembly Guide and User Guide (PDF):
Assembly/User Guides

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