Pages

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: The New AnaBat SD2 - Part 1 Of 2

The New AnaBat SD2 is a solidly built bat detecting device. I was originally a bit concerned with what I thought would be a steep learning curve (in order to even use the unit). After all, Titley Scientific offers on-going classes, for the purpose of instructing users on how to get the most from their Anabat systems.

But, I was pleased to see that it wasn't difficult to set-up and use at all. You can become acquainted with the User Manual fairly easily. I would guess that most Folks will be able to read through, and "absorb" it all, in just about an hour or two. And, be able to operate the machine properly.
Especially if you don't intend to use a PDA with the Anabat (in which case, you can "skip" those sections of the User Manual).
This is a good thing: Since there are, of course, instances when a researcher is out in the field (for several months, for example). More than likely, in a remote area of the world.

Layout of buttons: The arrangement of the Anabat's main controls - Sensitivity Knob, Power Button, Volume Buttons, etc., are all thoughtfully placed.

Acceptable weather did not present itself for quite some time, after the arrival of the test unit. When good bat detecting weather did finally roll around: I did not want to miss the opportunity of an evening of recording...So I made a quick preliminary check (of the Division Settings, etc.), adjusted the Sensitivity Knob,  and set it up to record bat data; quite easily...
The first thing I was pleased to discover, was how resistant it was to "man-made" sounds. And, how it would never record sounds made by my opening/closing of the window, or even nearby neighbors (who may have been mucking about). Most other detectors would register triggers for a lot of these events. So, it has outstanding rejection abilities (when it comes to non-bat sounds). 
As of yet, with the sensitivity knob set to ~ 5, I've yet to even record a tree-dwelling Katydid.

Another one of the things I noticed early on, was that the AnaBat reminds me of a computer network server!
In the past, I worked as a Computer Engineer for ~15 years, and as a Network Engineer for ~3. Which is why I noticed it right away; when I took my first look at the AnaBat's Log files. It was like a "flashback" to my days working in a server room. Every event was logged.

I can further illustrate my point, by pasting a couple of paragraphs, directly from the Titely Anabat User Manual:


"Each time the SD2 is turned on it creates a file in a log

directory (1 MB) on the CF card. These log files record all

of the events which occur while the detector is switched

on, such as the buttons pressed, operating modes, time

parameters set, errors which occurred and so on. These
log files are very useful for diagnosing problems."
CF card must be formatted (Quick Format is OK). Then, initialized using the 'Cfcread' app (on the Titely CD-ROM); this takes several minutes."
 

One might say, that the process of checking the bat recordings requires a step or two more, than other high-end (recording) bat detectors. Once again, I will share a cutting from the Anabat User Manual: 
 

"7. On completion of recording session…

Press POWER button. It is now safe to remove the CF card.

8. Download and view data

Use the CFCread program to download the saved data from the CF card

onto your computer. Then use the AnalookW program to view, analyse

and identify the bat calls to species. See the section on ‘HOW TO
DOWNLOAD DATA FROM THE CF CARD’ for details."
I prefer removing a memory card from a (high-end) bat detector, and being able to access it using virtually any .wav capable program. Other top-of-the-range bat detectors do this easily.
Now, as for power consumption:
 

"TIPS FOR PASSIVE MONITORING

Power and data storage space

For short term monitoring sessions the detector can simply be powered by AA

batteries. We recommend Alkaline or Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable

batteries with a capacity of at least 2500mAh. These add very little weight

and may last 2-3 days depending on the length of your recording sessions,

battery type and condition etc. However in practice it would be safer to use
the AA batteries for one full night only before recharging/replacing them.
45
This is because battery capacity is also affected by other factors such as
temperature, and they may not last as long as expected in the field.
"
In testing, I found that all of my rechargeable/NiMh batteries held up very well. Providing enough power for an entire night's recording +... So, the AnanBat gets high marks for battery consumption.
  
The AnaBat's CF Card occasionally develops errors. I can see this being caused by "Operator error". Such as: Not powering off the unit before ejecting the CF card; and things of that nature. 
So, it's Nice to have file recovery tools / corrupt files -
The following is from page 87, of the User Manual:
 
"REPAIR OPTIONS FOR CORRUPT DATA.DAT FILES
A number of other options are available in CFCread under ‘Repair’ the menu bar which may help you fix corrupt DATA.DAT files."

I thought I would "enjoy" checking the time remotely, via usb cable... using cf Storage ZCAIM Interface...but, I had issues: My first attempts didn't work - back to the User Manual...

The AnaLookW software, is where due diligence is needed. In using the software to view subsequent bat recordings; one can see that visual analyzing is the "preferred" method of the software. Since one must utilize a few additional steps, in order to actually listen to the recorded bat calls. More on that later.  

To be continued, in Part 2 Of 2...

2 comments:

  1. Any ETA on part 2?

    Thanks!

    Amber

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Sorry for such a long delay! Part 2 will be uploaded in the near future! Thanks for your interest!

      Delete