This is a project to monitor the number of birds that visit my bird feeder, as well as record the amount of time spent feeding. I used an Arduino Yún and a capacitive touch sensor, Adafruit CAP1188, to detect and record the birds feeding. On a routine basis, the accumulated data is sent to a Google Docs spreadsheet to record the number and time spent by the birds visiting the feeder.
Data is only transmitted during a set period of time prior to sunrise and after sunset.
Step 1: Step 1: Parts
These are a list of the parts that I used to assemble my project. You could use a variety of project boxes to create your project, but these are the items I had on hand at the time.
1 6x3x2" Project Enclosure
1 3x2x1" Project Enclosure
1 roll 1/4" Copper Foil Tape
1 CAP1188 8-Key Capacitive Touch Sensor
1 Arduino Yun
1 micro-SD card
2 DB-9 male connectors
2 DB-9 female connectors
1 Bird Feeder (CedarWorks Plastic Hopper Bird Feeder)
1 Tail Light connector from automotive supply store
Step 2: Step 2: Wiring
The Arduino Yun and the CAP1188 are wired to provide a hard reset of sensor at startup. There are other capacitive touch sensors available with either one, five or eight sensors. I chose eight because my bird feeder has six sides.
CAP1188 SDA == Yún Digital 2
CAP1188 SCK == Yún Digital 3
CAP1188 RST == Yún Digital 9
CAP1188 VIN == Yún 3.3V or 5V
CAP1188 GND == Yún GND
CAP1188 C1-C8 == Connect to wires on each perch
Power for the Arduino was provided externally, by running a wire underground from my garage, and up through the pipe used as the bird feeder stand. The wire was connected to a 5-VDC power supply in the garage. This project should work with batteries, but I didn't want the hassle of changing batteries on a routine basis.
I constructed a 16" long cable with DB-9 connectors on both ends to connect the Project Box with the Arduino Yun and the box containing the CAP1188. The capacitive sensor needs to be located as close to the perches as possible.