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Thursday, March 8, 2012

The BatBox Griffin - New Firmware, New Features!

The BatBox Griffin - Well, the (last) new firmware (Ver. 21) installed just as smoothly as the previous firmware updates. Less than 10 minutes for the whole procedure. The unit powers itself off automatically when finished. A few short applications run upon the following power-up; and that's it.
Going forward, the unit behaves normally. The new features are now in effect and available. Namely:

* Time expansion recording now has the option of choosing x10 or x16.
· From BatBox: "Time expansion has two selectable modes x10 and x16. Menu access to this option is via the ‘settings’ page under ‘sample rate’."
> As for myself, I prefer a factor of 10x when using a time expansion instrument. 10x time expansion is the type that you will most commonly come across. I'll remind the Reader, that I am a Hobbyist. I will say, that many Bat Workers, and Bat Research Professionals may find the 16x useful: For more detailed studies of the recordings in general.
* iBats - The ability to automatically record in iBats format, so that one may participate in the iBats program.
· From BatBox: "A new unattended option for ‘auto record’ modes is an iBats program, which exactly mimics the recording format of the Pettersson D240x in 320ms continuous mode, as used in the international iBats car survey program."
> I have tested this new feature, although I do not currently participate in the iBats Survey Program.
* Fully adjustable Hi-Pass and Lo-Pass Filters, to be used for recording in unattended modes.
· From BatBox: "New adjustable hi-pass and lo-pass filters have been added to unattended modes, accessible via the ‘settings’ page in the menu. This will enable the selection of particular bandwidths in order to avoid background triggering and also make it easier to focus on target species. The filters affect only the triggering, the metering and frequency division but not the full spectrum recording, so that quality of triggered recordings will not be compromised."
> This is one of my favorite new features. I was very glad to see these HPF & LFP filters. When it comes to electronics, and especially bioacoustic recording devices: I have always had a fascination with filters. I plan to study and test these further (and report my findings, etc.). I believe they will prove to be very valuable when monitoring (recording) bats in areas with man-made noise, etc.
· From BatBox: "Playback of recordings has a % of file displayed on the screen in real time so that bat passes can be accurately noted for position in the recordings."

I'm happy to report, that I've had the opportunity to see each of these (welcomed) new features in action. I've had the time to field test them. And, to also use the options during unattended, nightly monitoring sessions. These new enhancements are pretty much self-explanatory, see below:
(I've added some of my thoughts on each, indicated by the '>') *Please Note* These are just a few of the new features that Version 21 incorporates - There are others...And, I urge you to check out the documentation on the BatBox Griffin Page.

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