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P.I.R. sensor to detect small birds

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by L.A.T., Nov 25, 2008.

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  1. L.A.T.

    L.A.T. Guest

    I would like to set up a camera in a remote pool to photograph shy birds as
    they drink and bathe. Commercial infrared motion detectors are usually
    designed to respond to humans and often make a point of the fact that birds
    and small animals don't trigger them.
    Now that my picaxe-based wireless remote is up and running, we now have five
    cameras that I can set up to take exposures every ten seconds, with the
    potential to achieve 10,000 exposures in a session. Impressive but not
    practical. I hope to use a bird-triggered P.I.R. detector to prompt the
    camera to take six shots and then wait for another trigger. If I can come up
    with a PIR detector that responds to a bird, it will be a simple task to
    modify my existing timers to run for a minute instead of continuously. I
    imagine that commercially available devices designed to sell to wildlife
    photographers will be too expensive.
    Any suggestions?
  2. Andy Wood

    Andy Wood Guest

    I would have thought that a PIR would detect a bird if it was close
    enough, but maybe feathers are too good as thermal insulation. Perhaps
    IR beam(s) instead of a PIR?

    Or maybe a microwave doppler motion sensor? I once used one of those
    as a possum detector but then possums are a bit bigger than most
    birds. Again it would depend on how close they are.

    I'm assuming you don't mean emus or cassowaries...

    Andy Wood
  3. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Guest

    Laser trip wire sensor or a weight detector or perhaps a touch switch in the
    form of a perch.
  4. Andy Wood

    Andy Wood Guest

    Another thought. Didn't you previously mention using Canon cameras? If
    CHDK is available for the camera you are using then you could use the
    motion detection feature provided by CHDK.
    Andy Wood
  5. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** So forget using PIR entirely.

    A microwave ( Doppler) or possibly ultra-sonic movement detector is what
    you need.

    ...... Phil
  6. Robbo

    Robbo Guest

    Maybe a CAT sensor tied to a trigger switch.
  7. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    Tie a cat to the shutter release? (CAT sensor - wtf?)
  8. atec77

    atec77 Guest

    Pull , ( thrower operating noises)
    roowwwwshrechhhh (flailing cat)
    Boom boom ( thats a shoty folks)
    seems fitting
  9. Techo

    Techo Guest

  10. Andy Wood

    Andy Wood Guest

    Even if you don't get ripped off, that looks like it would be pretty

    The OP seems capable of some serious DIY so perhaps could make
    something using this:

    Andy Wood
  11. ian field

    ian field Guest

    A recent issue of Elektor magazine had an article about re-using the IR
    camera module from a Wii handset - the camera will respond to visible light
    but is normally used with an IR filter, it doesn't produce a picture signal
    as such rather it plots the coordinates of up to 4 heat sources, IIRC the
    signal interface is I2C.
  12. L.A.T.

    L.A.T. Guest

    The story so far:
    Thank you all for your responses. I have looked at them all, including the
    article in Everyday Practical Electronics May 2003 and the module from New
    Zealand. The remote places I have in mind don't lend themselves to a trip
    wire or something based on the bird breaking an I.R. beam. I have looked at
    one or two methods involving a laptop, but I'd rather avoid that added piece
    of hardware if possible.
    For the time being I am trying out a cheap PIR motion detector from the
    cornucopia that is Ebay.
    It senses a person moving and instantly switches on six LEDs which are
    sufficiently bright to illuminate a flight of stairs, for example.
    It is one of many different types that are available, and costs twelve
    dollars including postage. It arrived today without any instructions, but I
    think I have figured it out.I am quietly confident that its sensitivity can
    be adjusted to respond to a bird in the area I have in mind. I will know by
    tomorrow if it is worth working on.I will butcher it so that I can take the
    power that is going to the LEDs and use it to signal a Picaxe to start a
    series of exposures in the attached camera. I can probably remove the LEDs
    and replace each with a socket into which I can then plug a lead to the
    camera controller.
  13. Techo

    Techo Guest

    When i enquired a while ago, it sold for $120, you just have to add camera
    and SD card.
  14. L.A.T.

    L.A.T. Guest

    I have had mixed results. Most big(gish) birds trigger the PIR but many
    small birds do not. I can't seem to see any pattern as to which little guys
    set off the PIR and which are ignored. Mrs. tt92 has suggested illuminating
    the area with an array of I.R.LEDs which might add some reflected IR to the
    radiated IR of the small birds and thus make them more likely to trigger the
    PIR. The additional radiation may tun out to be anything from insignificant
    to really useful. I don't know how to find this out except by trial (and
    error). Any thoughts?
    The project has subtly changed from being a hunt for bird pictures to being
    technical challenge.
  15. Guest

    IR leds operate in the very near IR at only just outside human sight,
    and some energy also inside this range. The PIR detects wavelengths
    several to many times this, as this is the range emitted from body
    warmth. So I would predict that though the target may reflect some of
    the near IR, the pyroelectric IR film will not be sensitive to this
  16. By chance I got hold of a small toy with a really simple motion detector
    in it, which would probably do this job.

    The toy is an Echo Bot from

    But the sensor appears to be simply a photodiode mounted at the far end
    of a 2mm ID black plastic tube. I presume its AC coupled to an
    amplifier, so that any motion in front of the sensor generates enough
    change in the light level to trip a comparator. Really simple, but
    quite effective. Range is around 1m max, but might do what you want. I
    would not bother buying the gadget, just set up something using say a
    BPW34 or similar, with a dual opamp to do both amplify and comparator.


    Adrian Jansen adrianjansen at internode dot on dot net
    Design Engineer J & K Micro Systems
    Microcomputer solutions for industrial control
    Note reply address is invalid, convert address above to machine form.
  17. ian field

    ian field Guest

    That might be an idea, many novelty shops sell various toys with amusing
    sound effects triggered by a motion sensor, I remember a plastic frog that
    croaked when triggered along with farting Santa's, farting gnomes and
    various other guises.
  18. MoiInAust

    MoiInAust Guest

    Sound just like Jaycar has become...
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