7 January 2008

Squirrel detector

I realized that I hadn’t spent enough quality time watching squirrels recently. Black Tip would sit on the fence and wait for me to put food out, but we haven’t seen him in a while, and the new youngsters are shy.

On Sunday I was idly browsing the tool store when I saw they had a special on wireless motion sensor alarms, the kind you can mount on your driveway and hear a beep when someone approaches the house. I figured I’d risk $12 to see if one could detect a squirrel. Cheap Chinese-made crap, but it’s not for actual security use, so who cares?

Opening up the box revealed an infra-red sensor and transmitter unit, and a receiver with some apparently superfluous LEDs, both battery powered. The “chime” is a harsh beep, and I’m not sure how much I’d trust the claim of a 400′ range, but for this application it’s fine.

The sensor/transmitter is now on the rat mat, and the receiver is in the living room. When a squirrel approaches to chow, the receiver beeps and we can walk to the back door to watch. Since there’s no sound from the sensor, the squirrel doesn’t get frightened off. As far as they know, we’re just spending a lot more time at the back of the house.

I’m now wondering how hard it would be to get it hooked up to trigger a camera…

© mathew 2017