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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Review Of The Batseeker 3 - Entry Level Bat Detector


An early version of The Batseeker 3. This is before the loop was added.

This review will deal with The Batseeker detectors (Versions 1 to 3) but be advised, that the latest version, The Batseeker 4 is the unit which is currently available.

The units are just over 14 cm in length, and are very light in weight. As can be seen on this video clip made by Batseeker.

The price of the unit, is it's most attractive feature: At only $44.99 with free shipping to the U.S. and Canada; it's the lowest cost bat detector currently available anywhere.

Back of the early Batseeker 3, speaker is visible.

The Batseekers are Frequency Division bat detectors, and are designed from lightweight black plastic.
These detectors are constantly being improved, in many different ways - Which is great news! 
For just one example - The latest Batseeker 4 is now constructed using higher quality PVB plastic.

The Batseeker 3 was very simple to use: It consists of just one On/Off switch!
In it's latest rendition, The Batseeker 4: There are convenient new buttons on the back, allowing a user to easily control speaker output volume. Another significant improvement, is the addition of a new amplifier stage.

A later version of The Batseeker 3. The case loop is just visible on the right.

The Batseeker is ideal for those wanting to try bat detecting, without investing too much money. I would recommend it for first-time buyers who are looking for the least expensive bat detector available. Also very good for children - with supervision - because the Batseeker(s) will get damaged if dropped on hard surfaces outdoors.

Back view of The Batseeker 3, showing open battery compartment.

The process of using it, consists of turning it on, and pointing the side with the microphone hole (now indicated by orange paint) towards the area of suspected bat activity.

Pros: 

  • It is the lowest cost bat detector currently available.

  • Small and slim in size, easily portable.

  • It may be powered with 2 standard AAA sized batteries. However, Sanyo eneloop rechargeable NimH are highly recommended for best performance.



Cons:

  • Lightweight plastic construction may be easily damaged (if dropped on a hard surface, etc.).
  • No algorithms in place to distinguish between biological and man-made sounds (all ultrasounds are detected).

The Batseeker 4 may be ordered from several sources:



The units are very quiet (practically zero background noise!), and well-suited to static / un-attended recording. Simply turn on, and point microphone side out (on a windowsill, for example). 
In the recent past, I've had fun using Batseekers to record bat sounds on (low-light) video clips. My attempts didn't produce great results, (I used a low-cost tablet, and a point & shoot camera at the time). When I edit the (fair quality) recording(s), I'll add them to this review.
This year, I'll have infrared camera(s) available, so watch this spot for updates... 

As the weather begins to warm here in New York, I'll have an opportunity to record some additional bat calls. Using an audio cable this time - All Batseeker detectors feature a (3.5mm [mono]) audio out jack; and I'll add the resulting recordings to this review.

So at a cost of only $44.99 U.S. dollars, you now have virtually no excuse not to try the awesome hobby of bat detecting!

And, finally - I've recently been informed, that I will have an opportunity to test and review the latest Batseeker 4 soon!

Happy bat detecting!

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