May 11, 2012
Solar powering a Beam-set in a forestry or dense bush application is often impractical unless there is a reasonable sized clearing in the bush that will allow the solar panels to see enough sky to receive an adequate charge. If there is any doubt, battery powering the Beam-set is the answer.
Fully charge Li-Ion batteries having a capacity ranging between say 2200mAh – 10,000mAh allow operating durations of around 20-90 days respectively. This will vary slightly depending on the number of daily beam activations and the IR Emitter’s beam strength setting, which may be adjusted in three steps ranging from 10m to 40m maximum. Using the 2200mAh example, the physical size of the cell is only 75mm long by 19mm diameter, making it easy to locate near the base of the mounting post without being noticed.
In the case of a 10,000mAh battery pack, a much larger external waterproof housing is needed. (Approximately 80x80x55mm) Regardless of size, external battery packs are connected via a cable to the underside of each beam-unit with waterproof ‘twist-lock’ male and female connectors for easy swapping or removal.
A complete Beam-set kit comprises of a Beam Emitter, Beam Communicator, two or four battery packs and a charger, as well as all mounting hardware and cables.
To help avoid activations from wild animals it may be better to mount the Beam Units slightly higher than the usual recommended height of 800mm above ground. It may also be useful to consider steel poles to help deter possums from climbing them.
Alternatively, a stainless steel band could be fitted around a 100×100 wooden post to help prevent this. Although beam alignment is easy undertake and test, it will be far more important in this kind of remote setting.
Assuming there are one, two or several battery powered detection beams deployed, the next question is; how do we communicate beam activations to whoever will be monitoring the site?
If there is GSM coverage in the area there will be very little challenge. All Beam-sets communicate to standard Parabeam® Base Receivers which provide individually zoned trigger outputs to a GSM Communicator. The GSM Communicator then sends an SMS (text message) or makes a phone call to the monitoring personnel, informing them of any beam activation.
The type of GSM unit supplied will typically depend on the number of Beam-sets deployed and how the communications hardware will be powered.
Though our current GSM technology does not allow remote reporting of a low Beam-set battery, the Base Receiver indicates any low Beam Emitter or Beam Communicator status. Upon observing the battery status, you will have plenty of time to recharge the batteries before a beam-set stops working.
When a fully charged 2200mAh Li-ion battery pack used on each Beam Unit, for example, you will have an estimated 20 days minimum use before a low battery indication is generated, after this you will have around seven days to recharge or swap the battery before the unit stops working. This allows plenty of leeway for maintaining a fully functioning installation.
If there is no GSM coverage, a suitable communication solution will need to be devised on a case by case basis. It may be that radio links involving boost antennas and signal repeaters are needed to send the alert signals to a location where there is GSM coverage.
It may also be the case that the site is so remote that communication is almost pointless because of travelling times involved in a site visit. Some kind of local visual and audible deterrent may be used instead of, or as well as communications to hopefully deter trespassers.
Portable cameras such as our high quality RECONYX range can also be deployed for a more complete approach.
This article is intended to be an introduction to the kinds of solutions available; however requirements for outdoor, remote situations always vary widely so please contact us directly for a solution to best suit your needs.