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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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