Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wireless Mousetrap

As I stated in the first post, the Multi-Kill traps are great when you have lots of mice to deal with. The only issue is that after awhile I stop checking them as diligently and this becomes a rather smelly problem. Enter XBee!

XBee's are neat little wireless modules that handle the dirty work of signaling. I use the Series 1 XBee with the wire antenna. It is very easy to setup, which allows the remote XBee to cyclically send data to the receiver base XBee.

I use Linux (namely Ubuntu) for pretty much everything these days. Unfortunately the XBee X-CTU application is Windows only. However, it is known to work with Wine and in my experience it works very good. (Here is a guide for setting up the X-CTU in Ubuntu).

Here is the plan:
  1. Make the smallest amount of changes to the mousetrap
  2. Use the least amount of power as necessary on the remote transmitter XBees
  3. Leverage Adafruit's tweet-a-watt project for remote XBee hardware (with some modifications)
This post will focus on the hardware modification to integrate the remote (transmitting) XBee into the mousetrap. I determined that the best place to acquire the +5 and GND where on the back side of the controller board. I used +5V because the adafruit module I 'm using has a built-in 3.3V regulator. Here are a few pictures showing the install.

The tweet-a-watt uses a few more components. I removed the large capacitor.
orange wire to AD0 and yellow wire to AD4 (shown with 10K resistors)
Using a bit of shrink tubing solder the yellow wire to AD0 and the orange wire to AD4 of the XBee carrier board shown above. Once connected, solder the I soldered the wires as shown below.

Yellow wire to the Green LED lead, Orange wire to the Red LED Lead
Back of board showing with White wire to +5 and Black wire to GND, this supplies XBee
Completed mod
Once the mod was completed I positioned it as shown above. I used a small amount of 2-sided tape to stick it the top of the battery compartment. The board fits between the back of the motor and the side of the trap. I drilled a small hole in the top of the trap for the XBee green led to protrude through the front. This is pictured below:

Next up I will talk about the programming and data collection...

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