Monday, June 6, 2011

Solar Power for Protection (of the Garden!)

Less than an hour after the garden was tilled and the first beans planted, a rooster pheasant was in it scratching.

And he wasn't alone! Three deer were moving in.

We've had encounters with "dinner bell grizzlies" hunting in WY, but this is our first encounter with "Rototiller Deer".

We've come up with a low-cost deer deterent.

This is a small, deer detector we got off eBay for < $3 each. When a dog, deer, or kid gets within ~15 feet, it shrieks a loud siren, alerting us (and the dog) that interuders are in the garden.

Very inexpensive, so we can deploy meny of them.

We have a more expensive IR detector that turns on a sprinkler to hit the deer, and it works great, but at over $100 per pop, it is too expensive to cover our large garden. The other draw-back is that we have to leave the hose on all night...

Now - lets see if we can improve this cheap deer detector!

Some of the detectors we added a bright LED to give us a visual warning. Stealth!

To do this, we simply cut both wires connecting to the piezo speaker, and connected up an LED.

Very bright. But wait... there is MORE!

We also have been stocking up on solar powered LED keychain lights. These dudes cost less than $1USD ($0.73 each, including shipping!) on eBay and are great - super bright, and the kids don't drain the batteries.

In other words - they are ready to use when we actually need them! we have them all over the house and in the boat.

So... how do we combine two cheap, useful gadgets into one?

How about using the solar power to charge and run the deer detectors?

Here we've removed the small batteries from the deer detector, and connected power from the solar cell/battery.

You can see the yellow LED light up from reflected motion. Works great... now to make a waterproof enclosure for it.