Slow progress, but progress

A project log for Bee hive health monitor

This project will monitor the weight changes in the hive along with some environmental items to provide real time indicators of hive health

sparks.ronsparks.ron 01/01/2020 at 22:250 Comments

Fall and winter are always busy times here in the "third coast". The weather finally cools off enough to allow outside activities to happen without all the humid, hot misery. It is a bit reversed to the northern US. We have times in the summer months that are just brutal and make it advantageous to do inside projects, like software coding.

The hive monitor prototype was finished and the first software implementation is working. But the cooler weather has moved priorities to the outside portions. We moved one hive in late August to bring it out of a remote field and put it with the other hives in a new site closer to the house. That will hopefully, allow the little Robotdyn ESP8266 boards to communicate with the WiFi network without a lot of extra RF engineering. We also built a new hive support frame setup that includes several fire ant and beetle exclusion systems. That seems to have helped enormously and kept the hives we still have alive through the worst of the pest season.

I am still working on the issue of strain gauge creep that occurs when the scales are kept under load continuously. Thus far it seems that once they have time to "settle in" the curve goes asymptotic and the resulting measurements are remaining stable with the 10 lb (4.5 Kg) calibration weight. After 12 months outside and 4 months in the lab with the weight applied continuously, the variance is in the ±0.5 lb (0.2 Kg) range.

One other item that had to be resolved was the conversion of the HX711 module from 5v to 3.3v. This was causing random glitches and was a pain to find the root cause. But once identified we had a "forehead slapping" moment and felt a bit dumb. The thing that obscured the problem was that the interface pins on the HX711 worked fine at the lower voltages, but the internal amplifier didn't. The fix was a simple bridging of one divider resistor with a second one of identical value. I will show this mod in the next update.

In the meantime I wish all of you the best and most prosperous New Year and New Decade (from all of us who use a Gregorian mode 0 calendar).   :-)