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ruutherford

build gadget cache that requires power, in the woods

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I'm thinking a battery in marine case, with some 12v solar balance charger. It's going release a hatch, lower the log, then retract the log on the string. The brains will be an Arduino, there will be a switch that will turn off after some amount of time. The other option here is having folks bring their own 9V battery. Might be way easier... any thoughts?

 

This waterproof solar 12v battery maintainer $30

solar charge controller walmart

water proof battery box amazon

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I've heard of gadget caches that required seekers to bring a 9V battery, or a set of AA batteries.

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3 minutes ago, niraD said:

I've heard of gadget caches that required seekers to bring a 9V battery, or a set of AA batteries.

 

I'm not sure that's such a good idea. People will connect the battery the wrong way around and blow everything up if there's no reverse polarity protection, or forget to bring one and then do something you probably wouldn't like to claim that all-important smiley. If the stuff that draws a lot of current is only activated for a short time, and it's not expected to get too many visitors, perhaps some heavy duty dry cells that you replace at reasonable intervals would be workable. If it's a remote location and the solar (and connecting cables) can be concealed from potential thieves, then that might be a good solution.

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If you go the BYOB (bring your own battery) route, then I'd suggest AA instead of 9v.  Cachers with many GPSr's or various flashlights in their pack are more likely to have AA on them.

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I made a cadget cache at 2012 and it is still running using the original CR123A Lithium battery. The life expectancy for a lithium battery is about ten years but everything depends on how much energy your device needs. My devices are always powered up but they are using very little current while in inactive state waiting for geocachers.

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6 hours ago, noncentric said:

If you go the BYOB (bring your own battery) route, then I'd suggest AA instead of 9v.  Cachers with many GPSr's or various flashlights in their pack are more likely to have AA on them.

A note here for BYOB cache builders...  If you do build a BYOB cache using AA batteries, make sure it works with the lower voltages provided by NIMH vs Alkaline. We DNF'd an electronic gadget cache recently that required bringing 3 AA batteries. It would not work when powered by 3.6v (3 x 1.2v NIMH AA) vs 4.5v from 3 x Alkaline AA's. I'm surprised that this problem did not arise earlier, since everyone I know with a GPS uses rechargeable AA's. I would recommend using a 9v battery instead, since it would avoid this issue.

 

And then there's This cache (warning-spoiler! ) which is powered by connecting jumper cables from your car battery to posts on the cache. 🙄😁

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51 minutes ago, JohnCNA said:

 I would recommend using a 9v battery instead, since it would avoid this issue.

 

And then there's This cache (warning-spoiler! ) which is powered by connecting jumper cables from your car battery to posts on the cache. 🙄😁

 

Like previously said we don't normally carry a 9V with us so that would create more issues than AA batteries.

 

It's the first time I heard about needing jumper cables for a cache.

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17 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

 

Like previously said we don't normally carry a 9V with us so that would create more issues than AA batteries.

The ones in our area that require bringing a 9v or AA's specifically mention that requirement in the cache description. It really has not been an issue. And with the high popularity of people caching with their phones, they might be carrying recharging bricks, but not regular batteries. Either way, the cache description should make the power requirements known. 

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11 hours ago, ruutherford said:

I'm thinking a battery in marine case, with some 12v solar balance charger. It's going release a hatch, lower the log, then retract the log on the string. The brains will be an Arduino, there will be a switch that will turn off after some amount of time. The other option here is having folks bring their own 9V battery. Might be way easier... any thoughts?

 

This waterproof solar 12v battery maintainer $30

solar charge controller walmart

water proof battery box amazon

With the 12v battery, and other charging equipment lying about in the woods, you will be fortunate if a muggle doesn't take those items.  I personally would go the 9v route and mention in the cache page that that specific TOOT is needed to access the cache.

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Agree with others, you leave a charging unit or anything valuable/usable in the woods, it may go bye-bye.

A friend of ours had a game camera 15' up a tree with no branches to it.  It was gone by the next week when I got there .

Unlike a bunch in these forums, most we know use alkaline batteries, and few use rechargeables.  9v should take care of that...

 - So,  depends on your area , but I'd think a mention of what kind of battery on the cache page (as tott) would be in order.

 

 

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Excellent! I was really hoping for some good feedback, and I appreciate all of your time with this. If I can pull it off, should be pretty neat. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a little sketch.

 

We have a couple gadget caches around here that require bringing batteries, so that would work. 

 

@barefootjeffI would include electronics to deal with backwards batteries. I recently taught my four year old how to put batteries in: flat part against the spring! 

 

@arisoftI could possibly do that, if I can think of a way for cachers to manually put it back together... I can include a pullied cou terweight that will make equal weights on both sides of the string, which would make it way easier on the battery and motor up/down. 

 

@cerberus1 a friggin game cam? Those are small, camoed, with essentially nothing that would key someone off to a thing in a tree like this plan of mine, where anyone could follow a wire. Hmmm

12v woods tree 2018-12-04 09.42.35.jpg

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If you could drive to it, you could have them use their car battery.  There's a series of gadget caches near me (hour away or so) and one of them requires the seeker to hook up their car battery with jumper cables to the cache to get it to come up.

 

Otherwise, 9v or AA makes the most sense.  Be certain to add that in the description, as has been mentioned quite a few times.

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49 minutes ago, ruutherford said:

Excellent! I was really hoping for some good feedback, and I appreciate all of your time with this. If I can pull it off, should be pretty neat. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a little sketch.

 

We have a couple gadget caches around here that require bringing batteries, so that would work. 

 

@barefootjeffI would include electronics to deal with backwards batteries. I recently taught my four year old how to put batteries in: flat part against the spring! 

 

@arisoftI could possibly do that, if I can think of a way for cachers to manually put it back together... I can include a pullied cou terweight that will make equal weights on both sides of the string, which would make it way easier on the battery and motor up/down. 

 

@cerberus1 a friggin game cam? Those are small, camoed, with essentially nothing that would key someone off to a thing in a tree like this plan of mine, where anyone could follow a wire. Hmmm

12v woods tree 2018-12-04 09.42.35.jpg

That location must have a very friendly landowner to give you specific permission to plant the post and bury the cable, as well as put the wire staples in the tree and hang the battery/solar panel.

 

Good luck.

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1 hour ago, ruutherford said:

 

@cerberus1 a friggin game cam? Those are small, camoed, with essentially nothing that would key someone off to a thing in a tree like this plan of mine, where anyone could follow a wire. Hmmm

 

We hunt, and one time while going for squirrel, the other 2/3rds noticed  a single screw-in peg/step left in a tree, and marked the spot for a time through with rope.    :)

One from a state over who placed near us was losing his 30cal tree caches (thin wire or line to lower/raise back in place).

Hunters always looking up (nut trees mostly) for squirrels or roosting turkeys probably.    Nighttime raccoon hunters would notice a glint too.

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There are a couple 'gadget' caches in my local area that come to mind.  Each of them have an FP percentage over 60%.

(1)  A cache that requires connecting to a car battery, via jumper cables.  It notes in the cache description " When signing the log, please disconnect your device. Reverse connections to rehide. "

(2)  A cache that notes " Need 1 AA Battery " in the cache description.  I used a rechargeable one, as I carry a spare pair of eneloop's in my backpack.  Similar to the other cache, it revealed the cache container when battery was connected in one direction, then the cacher had to reverse the connection to return the cache into its hiding spot.

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21 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

 

Like previously said we don't normally carry a 9V with us so that would create more issues than AA batteries.

 

It's the first time I heard about needing jumper cables for a cache.

WVTim has one in west virginia.   I was staying in a hotel on the way back from Tennessee when I encountered it.  Unfortunately, I didn't have jumper cables then and it was a reminder that I should.  

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On 12/4/2018 at 9:27 AM, Lynx Humble said:

It's the first time I heard about needing jumper cables for a cache.

 

Yep I've seen a handful so far. At least a couple in my region.  It's a neat twist to the 'special tool required' field puzzle =P

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I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest many cachers (most?) nowadays will be carrying a power bank for their phone (whether they cache with the phone or not), and those have a standard USB connection.  5V, up to 2A.

usb.jpg.a19bc6569f21ec343a1322502609c47c.jpg

 

The other end of your typical cable isn't standard thanks to Apple making their own standards, but every USB cable I've seen has this ^^^ at one end.  And if your gadget uses this connector, nobody even needs to bring a cable, just their power bank.

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50 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest many cachers (most?) nowadays will be carrying a power bank for their phone (whether they cache with the phone or not), and those have a standard USB connection.  5V, up to 2A.

usb.jpg.a19bc6569f21ec343a1322502609c47c.jpg

 

The other end of your typical cable isn't standard thanks to Apple making their own standards, but every USB cable I've seen has this ^^^ at one end.  And if your gadget uses this connector, nobody even needs to bring a cable, just their power bank.

 

Lots of new stuff is using the oval USB-C connector for the device-end.

Different than the "D"-shaped standard mini-plug that most devices use.

My new phone has one. I bought plug converters for my various charging platforms.

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Surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but you can't dig for caching.

It's against the guidelines to plant your post, dig your trench to bury your wire OR, for that matter, screw in eye-bolts to run your wire up the tree.

 

I hate to point this out, and I hope you can figure out a way to make it work within the guidelines.

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6 minutes ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

Surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but you can't dig for caching.

It's against the guidelines to plant your post, dig your trench to bury your wire OR, for that matter, screw in eye-bolts to run your wire up the tree.

 

I hate to point this out, and I hope you can figure out a way to make it work within the guidelines.

 

And that design idea is just the considerations for building a solar panel cache.  It doesn't address how you place a solar panel against a tree trunk and still have the "solar" thing going.  Nor what happens if you ever get visitors (especially, muggles).  It's a cool idea, but possibly more like a cool urban idea (where you can keep an eye on it).  Someday the OP may find a cool protected spot where there's already a great post to mount the controls, and another post to mount a solar panel, and room to route wiring, with no permission or guideline issues.  Never give up. :)

 

I'd probably look more at battery ideas.  But if people are to bring "batteries" be sure they know it's extra batteries.  I don't even carry a "power bank", but if I did, it would be with the intent to power the phone, not a Geocache.

 

Edited by kunarion

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9 minutes ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

Surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but you can't dig for caching.

 

When K13 , right after the drawing came out, said,  "That location must have a very friendly landowner to give you specific permission to plant the post and bury the cable, as well as put the wire staples in the tree and hang the battery/solar panel" it seemed similar.  2UV and 3 Helpful did agree.   :)

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19 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

When K13 , right after the drawing came out, said,  "That location must have a very friendly landowner to give you specific permission to plant the post and bury the cable, as well as put the wire staples in the tree and hang the battery/solar panel" it seemed similar.  2UV and 3 Helpful did agree.   :)

Ha! missed that - thanks.

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1 hour ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

It's against the guidelines to plant your post, dig your trench to bury your wire OR, for that matter, screw in eye-bolts to run your wire up the tree.

 

Minor addition: without permission.   I'm not a fan of it in most any circumstance, but GS has made it clear that if it's on private property with the owner's permission, it can indeed be buried or ground broken in order to place the cache or a component. In those cases I'd extremely recommend making it clear in the decsription that the cache's construction is with permission so the uninitiated don't infer that it's a generically allowable construction.

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1 hour ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

Lots of new stuff is using the oval USB-C connector for the device-end.

Different than the "D"-shaped standard mini-plug that most devices use.

My new phone has one. I bought plug converters for my various charging platforms.

 

Right, a third standard [rolls eyes].  Luckily, the other end of the cable remains the same - as pictured above.  Every power bank I've seen mates with that.

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6 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

 

Right, a third standard [rolls eyes].  Luckily, the other end of the cable remains the same - as pictured above.  Every power bank I've seen mates with that.

 

The power bank I used to carry on long trips had only a short built-in cable with a lightning plug. No ports. But I bought it for an iPhone, and the iPhone broke. So now I can get a real power bank. :)

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Hate power banks. Use it all up once, then it's dead until you recharge it. Much prefer battery packs that you can swap actual batteries. I have a 4xAA external pack that provides USB power. For people with handhelds, perfect for constant reuse as long as you have a pocket full of spare AA's.

 

And just as usable for the suggested power style above, by providing USB power :)

Edited by thebruce0

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15 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

 

Right, a third standard [rolls eyes].  Luckily, the other end of the cable remains the same - as pictured above.  Every power bank I've seen mates with that.

 

On the power bank that I have, that large plug is used for "input";  that is, it's used to plug into a wall charger to recharge the battery.

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On 12/4/2018 at 7:21 AM, ruutherford said:

I'm thinking a battery in marine case, with some 12v solar balance charger. It's going release a hatch, lower the log, then retract the log on the string. The brains will be an Arduino, there will be a switch that will turn off after some amount of time. The other option here is having folks bring their own 9V battery. Might be way easier... any thoughts?

 

Just don't do it. You will throw in a lot of money, time and effort; somebody will complain about something; Groundspeak will promptly archive it.

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We have one caller BATteries NOT Included (in a fake bat house) that requires the cacher to have a AA battery.

It has been very well received with 17 favorites out of 24 visits.

It needs an AA battery and it is well pointed out on the cache page, so if the cacher uses a smart phone they have ample warning before they hunt for it.

With a gadget cache like this I believe it'e better to keep it simple.

I've only had to check on it once to make sure it was working as intended.

The OP's idea will need a lot of maintenance

Edited by BCandMsKitty
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There are a whole heap of caches near Denmark, Western Australia, The series is called BYOB (Bring Your Own Battery) and the cache pages specify you need to bring your own 9 volt battery. GC21C09 is the first in the series. For those worried about reversing polarity, they only connect one way. The connections are non reversible. 

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On ‎12‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 1:47 PM, TeamRabbitRun said:

Surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but you can't dig for caching.

It's against the guidelines to plant your post, dig your trench to bury your wire OR, for that matter, screw in eye-bolts to run your wire up the tree.

 

I hate to point this out, and I hope you can figure out a way to make it work within the guidelines.

 

The guidelines have been modified a little concerning digging.  You can't make the cacher looking for the cache dig, but with express permission of the landowner digging is no longer absolutely forbidden.   I suspect this is because WVTim has some influence and so many of his caches are on 4x4 posts.    I have a cache on a 4x4 post that was placed by the landowner before I built the cache - but have tried to use tree-stumps for anchor points.  

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1 hour ago, CachedIronSkillet said:

 

The guidelines have been modified a little concerning digging.  You can't make the cacher looking for the cache dig, but with express permission of the landowner digging is no longer absolutely forbidden.   I suspect this is because WVTim has some influence and so many of his caches are on 4x4 posts.    I have a cache on a 4x4 post that was placed by the landowner before I built the cache - but have tried to use tree-stumps for anchor points.  

 

Thanks for that note. I applaud your tree-stumpage.

 

I think this is a slippery slope.


Even if you rule-enforce SOME digging, who's going to police the 'SOME'.
If you allow SOME digging, then digging among cache-setters becomes no big thing.
Next step is SOME nails in trees, then SOME drilling.

 

Soon enough, the whole fundamental concept of caching being a no-impact (low-impact) hobby is completely compromised.

 

Then, it's not fundamental any more, and therefore less special.

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1 hour ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

Even if you rule-enforce SOME digging, who's going to police the 'SOME'.

If you allow SOME digging, then digging among cache-setters becomes no big thing.
Next step is SOME nails in trees, then SOME drilling.

 

Soon enough, the whole fundamental concept of caching being a no-impact (low-impact) hobby is completely compromised.

 

I'd never put a nail into something that is alive. I have multiple contacts with landowners to make 100% sure they really understand what I'm doing, clean up trash left by other people, and always make sure my stuff is maintained...  While I'd be happy to place 4x4 posts, I know that it doesn't make Keystone happy so I look for tree stumps and old fence posts.  

But the guidelines have changed.   SOME digging is now permitted under the guidelines.    I'm trying VERY hard to stick to the old guidelines, but they are guidelines, not rules, right?

 

I think the problem is that the no/low impact nature of the hobby was abandoned long ago.  Caches placed by people who left the hobby are having a negative impact.  Caches placed by people who don't ask permission at all have a negative impact.  As the hobby grew there was no concentrated effort to clean up after itself, and then having a person like WVTim create over a hundred caches that violate the guidelines be celebrated for it made it hard to justify the old digging policy.  Telling people that the guideline change to allow digging is compromising a fundamental concept of the hobby is a little backwards...  it's too late - the new wording on the guidelines keeps the powers that be from being highly hypocritical.   Should I not follow what is allowed by the guidelines?
 

Edited by CachedIronSkillet
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5 minutes ago, CachedIronSkillet said:

But the guidelines have changed.   SOME digging is now permitted under the guidelines.

 

Where "SOME digging" means that one has explicit permission from the land owner to do so.  

 

"The only exception is if a property owner gives explicit permission to create a hole to place the cache, which you must provide to the reviewer and state on the cache page."

 

8 minutes ago, CachedIronSkillet said:

and then having a person like WVTim create over a hundred caches that violate the guidelines be celebrated for it made hard to justify the old digging policy. 

 

Whoa.  that's quite an accusation.  

 

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45 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Whoa.  that's quite an accusation.  

 

It's actually a conversation I had with Tim before the guidelines change, and I do think he had something to do with the guidelines being changes, so not really an accusation so much as a recognition...

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On 12/14/2018 at 6:25 AM, Bundyrumandcoke said:

There are a whole heap of caches near Denmark, Western Australia, The series is called BYOB (Bring Your Own Battery) and the cache pages specify you need to bring your own 9 volt battery. GC21C09 is the first in the series. For those worried about reversing polarity, they only connect one way. The connections are non reversible. 

While a 9v battery may only "clip" onto the connector one way, it is quite possible to touch the terminals backwards, either inadvertently (not wearing your glasses for example) or potentially on purpose (malicious - it happens)... So I would still suggest incorporating reverse polarity protection, it's cheap insurance, especially if the device contains voltage / polarity sensitive devices (semiconductors).

 

DyverDown

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Instead of depending on 20th century technology, try out the 19th century technology and use the magneto from an old hand crank telephone. They produce anywhere from 10 volts to 100 volts depending on the number of magnets and the number of coils of wire inside. People are still using hand crank radios in some parts of the world.

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20 hours ago, WVTim said:

"

"having a person like WVTim create over a hundred caches that violate the guidelines"

 

"Violate"? ... I followed the guidelines as I understood them and complied  with all the requirements the reviewers ask me to meet.  I asked and received written permission by the landowners and submitted pictures of my cache placement when seeking approval. I never misrepresented any of my hides, if they were on a 4x4 post that is stated in my request for approval.    When I met all the guidelines as required by my reviewers ( there have been several)  they were approved.  How can that be a violation when I met the requirements??????

 

Instead of accusing someone of violating the guidelines, why don't you suggest..... " that the reviewers did NOT interpret the guidelines  consistently" causing confusion in the Geocaching world.    For years, reviewers interpreted the guidelines differently.  Clearly my reviewer and many more approved of caches on 4x4 post, while others did not.  Yes, I did encourage HQ to publish a set of rules that are applied consistently by all the reviewers, thus stopping the confusion.  I appreciate HQ's clarification of the rules.  It's rare that HQ makes a ruling that makes everyone happy, but as long as we know what the rules are,  then as a cache creator I will do my best to follow them and be a good model .  I do not want to be seen as a rule breaker BUT a cacher creator who designs and builds fun to find gadget caches and a person who shares his ideas freely and  encourages creative cache creation, following the rules NOT breaking them.  Let's spend our energy making geocaching a great hobby.  

 

 

 

On 12/17/2018 at 2:58 PM, CachedIronSkillet said:

 

It's actually a conversation I had with Tim before the guidelines change, and I do think he had something to do with the guidelines being changes, so not really an accusation so much as a recognition...

 

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Perhaps I wasn't clear - I'll try again.

 

On this thread I said "having a person like WVTim create over a hundred caches that violate the guidelines be celebrated for it made it hard to justify the old digging policy" -- poorly worded.  I did not intend to make it look like it was me making an accusation against WVTim - it was about HQ...   HQ's representatives said all digging violated the guidelines.  At the same time other reviewers were approving caches on 4x4 posts.... the best caches in the world... the most celebrated... and, according to the reviewers I talked to … violations of the guidelines.  That WAS a problem.  Not the caches on the posts... but lack of clear guidelines. 

 

Again, I was told that 4x4 caches violated the guidelines by multiple reviewers.  I NEVER complained to anyone that WVTim caches "violated" the guidelines - but was told that they did by multiple reviewers - and I accused the reviewers and HQ of being hypocritical because of it.  It was confusing and frustrating.  I am SO very happy that the guidelines have had the wording changed to make it so more reviewers approve what they didn't before the wording change.  

 

My complaint on this thread is that many people here still think the change was wrong... it's happened... it's over... digging is allowed with express permission of the landowner.   I still avoid it because I've been told that my reviewers doesn't like it.  But if I had my way all of my gadgets would be on 4x4 posts... it's the best way to NOT have an impact... they're easy to clean up and do less damage than a lot of other types of caches.

 

I hope that clears up what I was trying to say.  I wasn't accusing WVTim… at least that was not my intention.

Edited by CachedIronSkillet

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I appreciate all of the discussion here, and read it all. I will pay close attention to the rules set forth by HQ, and suggestions by other members.

 

My takeaway here so far is:

1. if you need power, BYOB (bring your own battery) be it a 9V or AA

2. never give up (thanks @kunarion!)

 

For me this is part of the fun! Design, discussion, brainstorming, and back around again. I bet there's some fancy name for that sort of development.

 

Shout out to @WVTim and other gadget-cachers: you've really inspired me to get creative and involved. Geocaching has turned out to be such a fun intersection of interests. Huge extra bonus that I can enjoy it with my four year old.

 

Thanks again to all for the support. I'm sure I'll revisit this idea in the future, and will update thread.

 

-drew

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Thank you.  I have a new gadget trail - Berkeley Gadgets coming out early this summer, on that trail I have many new gadget caches, hopefully I'll get several new videos made to give your creative juices some stimulation.  : ) . 

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