Measuring the Weight of Beehives

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Luke Beno 08/17/2015 at 14:493 Comments

Based on my work from last winter and other awesome work that the community has done. Some if it even documented right here on, I decided to add weight measurement to my setup. For now due to cost it only encompasses one hive but I already have plans to add more!

The build is pretty straight forwards, the first step is that I purchased this scale from Amazon:

Upon receiving the scale, I started running some experiments and naturally taking it apart, here is an internal photo:

There's really not much to it, just some strain gauges and wires. What I liked about this one is that it had some very nice readout electronics that were external to the scale so I could simply cut the wire, add a connector and swap out my custom electronics with the "gold standard" any time that I wanted to. This proved to be very useful during calibration.

For the strain gage ADC, I selected HX711, this is a very popular device because it is easy to use and really just works!

Using nearly all of the same wireless hardware as I used for my Temp and Humidity project, I used the spare IO on the droplet to interface to the HX711.

Because the size constraints on this device were less and power consumption of HX711 is higher, I decided to power it from two AA batteries. You can also see the waterproof enclosure that I am using.

Luckily because this radio is outside of the hive, I can also now get full range WITHOUT the need to the AC extension cord and hub in the woods. Now the hub can sit comfortably indoors.

Here's some pictures of the installation of the scale into the hive:

In the end, you really cant even tell that it is there!

So here's the data:

What I find fascinating is that each day, you can see the volume of Bees who leave the hive to forage and then return in the evening. This is a very periodic pattern and you can even see the days which it rained (because they stay in the hive).

Also, the two discontinuities of weight in the chart are due to adding and removing an additional "Honey Super" to the hive stack.

We were really thrilled to see the awesome nectar flow in the month of July, things have sort of settled down in the last few weeks but I'm hopeful that there will be one more flow before the honey is harvested!


dixitjain.gowani13197 wrote 12/23/2016 at 19:39 point

I have to measure weight using two three wired load cells(white,red,black) each with a capacity of 50 Kg .I have no idea how those work so please could anybody help me by sending the connection and code?

I have searched almost every site on the internet but nothing seemed to work it'd be a pleasure if anybody could help me.

Thank you.

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Luke Beno wrote 10/25/2015 at 23:22 point

with this scale the drift has been pretty good.  The other scale that I made later with the load cell has been having issues

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gildas wrote 10/25/2015 at 21:18 point

Did you have any problems with Load cell drift? What was your test weight?

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