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PICList Thread
'[EE]: Hummingbird trap'
2002\06\24@132852 by Lawrence Lile

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A friend of mine is a biologist, a professional ornithologist.  (My cat is
also an ornothologist, an avocation I have tried to stop for quite a while
as she leaves them on the front porch).  He studies hummingbirds, and is
looking to make a trap for them.

He has a little hummingbird feeder built into a special cage with a trapdoor
for catching hummingbirds.  Now he doesn't just want to catch any
hummingbird, he wants to watch the cage, and when a specific hummingbird
comes to feed, he wants to actuate the trapdoor remotely and catch them.  I
think he bands thier legs, weighs them, takes blood samples, eats them for
lunch, I don't know.  How he tells them apart who knows ( maybe he asks for
a picture ID ).  I guess he is looking for rare, unbanded, or birds of a
particular gender and so on.

He has several traps all used at the same time, so another part of the
challenge is to have several traps on different frequencies or signals so
each trap can be fired individually.

He has tried to make a badly hacked system that is cobbled out of a model RC
car which hasn't really worked yet.  He punches the button on the RC car
control, and a wheel turns on the toy truck held to the bottom of the cage
by a bunch of rubber bands, unwinding a string which holds up the trapdoor.
There is probably a midget captain, a candle burning through a piece of
string, a rolling bowling ball and a rabbit in the contraption somewhere, as
well.  The toy car only has reverse and forward modes, no stop, so it winds
the string into a knot at the end of a trap cycle.

The big  problem is, hummingbirds are fast.   His toy car can lower the
trapdoor in several seconds, and by then the wary hummingbird is long gone.

What he'd like is a radio controlled remote system that releases the
trapdoor instantly.  He's also like it to be cheap to build and not require
too much expertise to construct.  The challenge is probably to hack this out
of some commercial product or other with a couple of extra parts and not
much programming.  A little soldering is OK.  A few extra solenoids would
not be a problem.

It is easy to think of a way to do this with fancy microcontrollers  and
such.  Keeping it simple is a little harder.

How about RC model airplane controls and servos?  I have messed around with
servos driving them directly with PICs, but never messed around with the RC
controls that are really meant to run them.  Could a simple-to-build system
be built with this stuff, and at what kind of cost?  Could a servo be
arranged to drop a trapdoor fast?  How fast can a servo operate, is well
under a second from stop-to-stop achievable in a small servo?

--Lawrence

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2002\06\24@135955 by Hazelwood Lyle

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I am no expert on ornithology, or even birds for that matter. 8^)
My first thought would be to use a servo or solenoid to pull
a latch pin, and allow gravity or a spring to close the door.

The advantage is that you are less concerned with powering the entire travel of the door. of course, you'd have to be
careful with the spring tension, else you may only have
half a hummer left in the cage.

The Other Lyle



{Original Message removed}

2002\06\24@161152 by Lawrence Lile

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One idea that comes to mind:  Using the RC car as a reciever, hack a
solenoid where the motor is supposed to go, and put a diode on it to only
respond one way (RC car motors reverse).  When the solenoid fires, it
releases a catch.

Seems like a lot of stuff just to fire a solenoid, OTOH, you can go buy the
whole kit at Radio Shack for a few  bucks, and the hapless
(PICless)Ornithologist can build it himself so I don't have to.

What other off-the-shelf stuff is radio controlled and dirt cheap?  Isn't
there a radio-controlled motor that comes with those "Mecanno" erector sets?

--Lawrence
(Who thinks you can never have enough erector sets " in case your nephew
comes over")


----- Original Message -----
From: "Hazelwood Lyle" <.....LHazelwoodKILLspamspam@spam@MFGNC.COM>
To: <PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: [EE]: Hummingbird trap


I am no expert on ornithology, or even birds for that matter. 8^)
My first thought would be to use a servo or solenoid to pull
a latch pin, and allow gravity or a spring to close the door.

The advantage is that you are less concerned with powering
the entire travel of the door. of course, you'd have to be
careful with the spring tension, else you may only have
half a hummer left in the cage.

The Other Lyle



{Original Message removed}

2002\06\24@162626 by Olin Lathrop

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> A friend of mine is a biologist, a professional ornithologist.  (My cat is
> also an ornothologist, an avocation I have tried to stop for quite a while
> as she leaves them on the front porch).  He studies hummingbirds, and is
> looking to make a trap for them.

Does this really need to be radio controlled?  Can't this be done with
something as simple as a pushbutton, a battery, a solenoid, and long wire?


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2002\06\24@184841 by Tony Nixon

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Lawrence Lile wrote:
>
> The big  problem is, hummingbirds are fast.   His toy car can lower the
> trapdoor in several seconds, and by then the wary hummingbird is long gone.
>
> What he'd like is a radio controlled remote system that releases the
> trapdoor instantly.

Spring loaded flap with a solenoid latch comes to mind.

I guess, if the the poor little hummingbird is slightly faster than the
operators reflexes, then it's likely to be squashed like in a mouse
trap.

Maybe a micro switch attached to the bait, or activated by weight on the
floor surface to operate the solenoid.


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2002\06\24@200130 by Doug Butler

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As far as catching a whole bird, instead of pieces, maybe use bait at the
ecnter of a birdbath.  When the trap is triggered it drops a domed wire
cover (birdcage?) over the bait such that the bottom of the cover meets the
water.  Unless hummers can swim he is caught, maybe wet, but not crushed.

Doug Butler
Sherpa Engineering


> {Original Message removed}

2002\06\25@041733 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Spring loaded flap with a solenoid latch comes to mind.

I would be tempted to make the doors of cloth on a U shaped wire frame. If
you have two doors, each half the width of the opening then you have less
risk of doing permanent damage to the bird if it is quick enough in reaction
to mix it with the doors. The cloth should be a dark colour, and I doubt the
bird will try and get through it.

This will also mean the doors will have less mass, and so will close faster.
It may even be possible to punch some holes in the cloth to allow air to
escape through the material so it is less of a "sail" action for the spring
to drive.

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2002\06\25@135416 by Peter L. Peres

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I think that your best bet are wireless doorbells. You can remove the
speaker and do some tricks involving a solenoid or a small motor instead.

The approach of winding the string to close the trap door befits Rube
Goldberg 150%. It would probably work to catch newts or tortoises.

A normal trap has a spring or some other mechanical energy storage device
and the trigger releases this. In practice you could have an elastic
trying to close the door and a 3V motor with a half-cup shaped paddle
soldered onto the axle hold the door back (by a protruding piano wire or
such). When the motor rotates the wire escapes the escapement and the door
slams shut and stays shut. You do not need to limit the rotation of the
motor in any way. The escapement must be adjusted with pliers so the
required force is low and the motor can spin that first turn. When I
played with such things I used a strip of 0.5mm tinned mild steel about 5
x 3 cm, folded it down the middle and solder-tacked it to the axle of a
motor from a toy, with the axle inline with the fold (inside it). The
spring it released was a piano wire hook. This was to throw tennis balls
;-). The fold made an angle of about 60 degrees (not critical).

hope this helps,

Peter

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2002\06\25@141718 by Lawrence Lile

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100% on-target.  Thanks!
----- Original Message -----
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To: <spamBeGonePICLISTspamBeGonespamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 4:37 PM
Subject: Re: [EE]: Hummingbird trap


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2002\06\25@171311 by Dave King

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One thing to consider is that the bird weighs in at about 20 grams (I think).
Any trap doors "slamming shut" that make contact might harm the bird.
And anything that touches the wings could really do a number on it. Then there
is the problem of the birds metabolism, trapping it for any extend amount
of time
could kill it so you need to be able to notify when its sprung. If it were
a bigger
bird you could just run a used tazer into the feeder.....;-]

We have a few Hummer feeders here but it took  a year before they would do
more than zip on by. They are a blast to watch though when they feed. The
feeder
is about 3 feet from my desk outside the window. Makes it easy to watch.

Dave



At 01:15 PM 25/06/02 -0500, you wrote:
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2002\06\25@174548 by Lawrence Lile

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We had considering just setting a hummingbird feeder inside a running
microwave with the door interlock defeated, but the biologist I am doing
this for had some .. ah... concerns.  I'll assume he's figured out a way to
make his trap so it won't damage the little beggars.  I'm just making a
trigger.

I can get an IR remote/reciever board combo that is designed to do almost
exactly what I am thinking about.  Will IR remotes work in daylight?

--Lawrence


{Original Message removed}

2002\06\26@014554 by Peter L. Peres

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On Tue, 25 Jun 2002, Tony Nixon wrote:

>Lawrence Lile wrote:
>>
>> The big  problem is, hummingbirds are fast.   His toy car can lower the
>> trapdoor in several seconds, and by then the wary hummingbird is long gone.
>>
>> What he'd like is a radio controlled remote system that releases the
>> trapdoor instantly.
>
>Spring loaded flap with a solenoid latch comes to mind.
>
>I guess, if the the poor little hummingbird is slightly faster than the
>operators reflexes, then it's likely to be squashed like in a mouse
>trap.
>
>Maybe a micro switch attached to the bait, or activated by weight on the
>floor surface to operate the solenoid.

Last time I checked a hummingbird weighed under 5 grams and the bait
should be a drop of fragrant honey or flower nectar essence (aka perfume)
in a small tube simulating a flower ;-). The thing you could trigger on
would be wing flapping. Up to 200Hz. You can't see the wings when they
flap them, just blue blur. Like a fan turned up high ;-).

Up close there should be a lot of signal out of an electret microphone.
This needs to be tried though.

Peter

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2002\06\26@023353 by Peter L. Peres

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On Tue, 25 Jun 2002, Lawrence Lile wrote:

>We had considering just setting a hummingbird feeder inside a running
>microwave with the door interlock defeated, but the biologist I am doing
>this for had some .. ah... concerns.  I'll assume he's figured out a way to
>make his trap so it won't damage the little beggars.  I'm just making a
>trigger.

Hummingbird pie ?

>I can get an IR remote/reciever board combo that is designed to do almost
>exactly what I am thinking about.  Will IR remotes work in daylight?

Yes, use filters though.

Peter

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2002\06\26@043832 by Peter L. Peres

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On Tue, 25 Jun 2002, Dave King wrote:

>One thing to consider is that the bird weighs in at about 20 grams (I think).
>Any trap doors "slamming shut" that make contact might harm the bird.
>And anything that touches the wings could really do a number on it. Then there
>is the problem of the birds metabolism, trapping it for any extend amount
>of time
>could kill it so you need to be able to notify when its sprung. If it were
>a bigger
>bird you could just run a used tazer into the feeder.....;-]
>
>We have a few Hummer feeders here but it took  a year before they would do
>more than zip on by. They are a blast to watch though when they feed. The
>feeder
>is about 3 feet from my desk outside the window. Makes it easy to watch.
>
>Dave

Hehe. I used to live in a building that had some sort of parasite flowers
on a vine outside. The birds would come and feed from the flowers. In the
beginning I did not realise they were hummingbirds, they are comparable in
size to small bees. However there are no *blue* bees. Upon looking closer ...

I think that 20 grams is a little on the bomber side. Those birds we have
here are really small. Less than 5 cm length/wingspan. 5 grams is 'heavy'
I think. Average weight is 2-4 grams I think. This is a much as one or two
small denomination brass coins here (about US penny size) ;-).

I aggree about the wings not being touched. The birds are zippy fliers and
they can fly backwards as fast as forwards. No room to turn with the beak
inside a flower I guess ...

Peter

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2002\06\26@052454 by Roman Black

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Lawrence Lile wrote:
>
> We had considering just setting a hummingbird feeder inside a running
> microwave with the door interlock defeated, but the biologist I am doing
> this for had some .. ah... concerns.

Lawrence! I'm amazed! That is a TRULY AWFUL
suggestion. Awful. Because the magnetron will
soon overheat! ;o)
-Roman

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2002\06\26@174325 by Lawrence Lile

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Roman, join me for barbecued hummingbird ribs once this project is done. I
have heard they are scrumptious, and quite filling if you have several
thousand of them.

--Lawrence
{Original Message removed}

2002\06\26@175746 by Tom Messenger

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They are indeed, if my neighbors cat be any judge. Once a hummer hit the
window and broke it's neck, wham. Dropped to the ground, dead, while we
were watching. Before five seconds had elapsed, the neighbors cat walked
over, sniffed it twice, then picked it up and swallowed it whole. Beak,
claws, and feathers. Yum.

At 04:42 PM 6/26/02 -0500, you wrote:
>Roman, join me for barbecued hummingbird ribs once this project is done. I
>have heard they are scrumptious, and quite filling if you have several
>thousand of them.
>
>--Lawrence

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2002\06\27@005136 by M. Adam Davis

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I'm just waiting for peta to come along and close the piclist,
piclist.com, all of our consulting companies, MIT and Microchip down
(just for good measure).

So far we've talked about barking dogs (several times), hummingbirds,
horse fences, and I think we discussed electrocuting fish at one point.

So, when's the barbecue?

-Adam

P.S. For the confused - peta are people against the unethical treatment
of animals.  Sometimes known for their rather drastic methods of
expressing their displeasure.

Tom Messenger wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\06\27@012319 by Dave Gomez

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I'm more in favor of the other definition, People for the Eating of Tasty
Animals!!

Could you imagine the float down the parade line, a big old grill, with your
favorite meat cooking away.

Dg

On 6/26/02 9:05 PM, "M. Adam Davis" <RemoveMEadampicTakeThisOuTspamspamUBASICS.COM> wrote:

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2002\06\27@012819 by Irek Rybark

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PETA is watching you!
Shame!

Ira
http:/teamur.netfirms.com


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2002\06\27@030450 by Russell McMahon

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> So far we've talked about barking dogs (several times), hummingbirds,
> horse fences, and I think we discussed electrocuting fish at one point.

At one stage on the Water Rockets list they got as far as raw deer liver,
but the list survived (not without some getting upset).


       RM

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2002\06\27@044710 by Roman Black

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Lawrence Lile wrote:
>
> Roman, join me for barbecued hummingbird ribs once this project is done. I
> have heard they are scrumptious, and quite filling if you have several
> thousand of them.

Sound yum! But bags I *don't* get the job of
plucking all the little mongrels. ;o)
-Roman

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2002\06\27@053552 by Roman Black

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Irek Rybark wrote:
>
> PETA is watching you!

Yes, I believe that many of their members are also
members of the WMBFSPWUMPFAMAATAWSMAHDAWWTMTWABPBRHNC;
"well-meaning but fairly stupid people who use many
products from animal manufacture and animal testing
and who smoke marijuana and have dreadlocks and who
want to make the world a better place but really have
no clue"
;o)
-roman
(apologies offered to all PETA members who really DO
have a clue)

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2002\06\27@070136 by John

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Hello Lile & PIC.ers,

What about a length of string for that matter?
Pull it, delatches the spring-loaded door,
OR it is taut continuously, until tripping is required..

then the bird-watcher pulls the lanyard to blow the whistle
on the boiler to wake up the midget captain to strike the match to light
the candle to burn the string..


>Date:    Mon, 24 Jun 2002 16:24:50 -0400
>From:    Olin Lathrop <spamBeGoneolin_piclistSTOPspamspamEraseMEEMBEDINC.COM>
>Subject: Re: [EE]: Hummingbird trap
>
>> A friend of mine is a biologist, a professional ornithologist.  (My cat
is
>> also an ornothologist, an avocation I have tried to stop for quite a
while
>> as she leaves them on the front porch).  He studies hummingbirds, and is
>> looking to make a trap for them.
>
>Does this really need to be radio controlled?  Can't this be done with
>something as simple as a pushbutton, a battery, a solenoid, and long wire?

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Manufacturer & purveyor of laboratory force testing apparatus, and related
products and services.

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2002\06\27@135142 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
On Wed, 26 Jun 2002, Roman Black wrote:

>Lawrence Lile wrote:
>>
>> We had considering just setting a hummingbird feeder inside a running
>> microwave with the door interlock defeated, but the biologist I am doing
>> this for had some .. ah... concerns.
>
>Lawrence! I'm amazed! That is a TRULY AWFUL
>suggestion. Awful. Because the magnetron will
>soon overheat! ;o)

Sorry, the magnetron will overheat iff the SWR is bad. An open door
guarantees (almost) a low SWR ratio. Therefore the magnetron will not
overheat. This has been tried ;-). *Everyone* from Alpha Centauri onwards
knows that humans use 2.4GHz microwaves frequency and amplitude modulated
with 50 or 60Hz for *something*. <g> Presumably to reheat some dead
animal's mashed remains for ritual purposes. <G>

Peter

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2002\06\27@140646 by Lawrence Lile

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PETA is not my only worry,  It is actually illegal to possess even feathers
from any migratory bird not specifically designated as a game bird, and that
goes for hummingbirds.  This is no joke, my bird-bander friend was
approached by a homeopathist to obtain a single hummingbird feather for one
of the hoemopathist's witches brews.  My friend politely declined, citing
federal statutes.  He failed to mention that fact that homeopathy is pure
hummingbird-doodoo.

Most recipes for homeopathic medicines require a small amount of whatever
compound it is to be mixed thoroughly with a gallon of water.  A single drop
of that mixture is added to a second gallon of water, then mixed for a
number of minutes.  A single drop of THAT mixture is now mixed with another
gallon and so on for about 15 times.  Staticstically, there is not an even
chance that a single molecule of the original substance is present in the
final solution. (I'll do the math on my afternoon break just to see.)
Homeopathists claim that these solutions get more powerful each time they
are diluted in this manner.  Uh- huh.


--Lawrence


{Original Message removed}

2002\06\27@141147 by Dale Botkin

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On Thu, 27 Jun 2002, Lawrence Lile wrote:

> Staticstically, there is not an even
> chance that a single molecule of the original substance is present in the
> final solution. (I'll do the math on my afternoon break just to see.)
> Homeopathists claim that these solutions get more powerful each time they
> are diluted in this manner.  Uh- huh.

Well, of course they're right.  Carry that to its logical conclusion --
the water *I* drink has *none* of the ingredients, and I'm fit as a
fiddle.  I'm sure the full stength solution would probably make me quite
sick.  See how well that works?  8-)

Dale

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2002\06\27@142920 by Alan Shinn

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As others have mentioned, he can spring (or gravity) load the door and
then pull a pin etc. somehow.
As mentioned, using the current radio set, a solenoid (with a diode so
it only pulls on one of the two states) would work.
Also, Radio Shack has lots of RC toys that don't go at all till you push
a button or such so you can ditch the diode.
Also, as far as RC goes, there is a remote doorbell gizmo that even has
settable addresses etc - could be made to work.
Someone mentioned a wire to trigger the solenoid.
BUT, I have to wonder, why not just pull a string? (I know, I know, no
PIC! no electrons even!)
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Alan Shinn


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Make your own replica
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2002\06\27@144135 by Brendan Moran

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Sorry, I just had to...

> BUT, I have to wonder, why not just pull a string? (I know, I know, no
> PIC! no electrons even!)

<Patronize>
No electrons? SURE there are! Tons of them!!  String is made up of BILLIONS
of atoms, all of which have.... can you guess? ELECTRONS!!
</Patronize>

--Brendan

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2002\06\27@152428 by Peter L. Peres

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On Thu, 27 Jun 2002, Russell McMahon wrote:

>> So far we've talked about barking dogs (several times), hummingbirds,
>> horse fences, and I think we discussed electrocuting fish at one point.
>
>At one stage on the Water Rockets list they got as far as raw deer liver,
>but the list survived (not without some getting upset).

What for ?! Gaskets ? <duck>

Peter

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2002\06\27@154318 by Peter L. Peres

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On Thu, 27 Jun 2002, Alan Shinn wrote:

>As others have mentioned, he can spring (or gravity) load the door and
>then pull a pin etc. somehow.
>As mentioned, using the current radio set, a solenoid (with a diode so
>it only pulls on one of the two states) would work.
>Also, Radio Shack has lots of RC toys that don't go at all till you push
>a button or such so you can ditch the diode.
>Also, as far as RC goes, there is a remote doorbell gizmo that even has
>settable addresses etc - could be made to work.
>Someone mentioned a wire to trigger the solenoid.
>BUT, I have to wonder, why not just pull a string? (I know, I know, no
>PIC! no electrons even!)

How do you make a hummingbird that weighs 2 to 4 grams and hovers with its
beak insied a flower without practically touching it pull a string. I
think that if it flies into a spiderweb it crashes or gets stuck. These
things are SMALL. Think slightly oversized bee when you think hummingbird.

Peter

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2002\06\28@063015 by Roman Black

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Peter L. Peres wrote:

> >Lawrence! I'm amazed! That is a TRULY AWFUL
> >suggestion. Awful. Because the magnetron will
> >soon overheat! ;o)
>
> Sorry, the magnetron will overheat iff the SWR is bad. An open door
> guarantees (almost) a low SWR ratio. Therefore the magnetron will not
> overheat. This has been tried ;-). *Everyone* from Alpha Centauri onwards
> knows that humans use 2.4GHz microwaves frequency and amplitude modulated
> with 50 or 60Hz for *something*. <g> Presumably to reheat some dead
> animal's mashed remains for ritual purposes. <G>

Hee hee! Sorry I must confess in all my years of
fixing the darn things i've never had the urge to
take the door off, defeat the interlocks and run
it for extended periods. :o)
-Roman

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2002\06\28@094923 by Doug Butler

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Hummingbirds around here (Cape Cod Mass USA) have a wingspan of nearly 4
inches (100 mm).  I know there are smaller species in other parts of the
world, but unless you have some giant bees, I would never mistake a hummer
for a bee!

Doug Butler
Sherpa Engineering


> {Original Message removed}

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