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I have a motion detector in the attic. I'm not sure if I have a raccoon up there. Need some way to see if it works. Answered

 I need some kind of counter to see if the light is going on and off and that will tell me if I have a visitor?I don't want to put a whole lot of money in it and I'm not that great at soldering small stuff
 Thanks for any help you can give me



Had squirrels in my attic, tried this on a whim..... ran a long power cord to a strobe light I put up there. Plugged it in when they sounded especially restless, and heard them deserting in a hurry. Humane, and appeals to the technogeek in me. I'm sure you could adapt a short burst of strobe to your motion sensor; might be worth a shot anyway.


8 years ago

Your Raccoons are our Possums. IF you have one you can get rid of it quite easily by making it believe that another possum is already there,-they are very territorial.

Sounds silly, but I have learned to mimic their wheezy tone,- and use it to warn them off!

In 10 years I have had two,-and both left very quickly when they heard the 'possum in residence'. Suckers!

Please post an audio or video file. Not that I don't believe you, I just want to hear you make the noise for sheer entertainment value. :-)

No !**!! way!!

In my Autumn years, on the...er, built for comfort side, standing in front of a camera making a guttural hissing noise..................................................., are you nuts!!!!!

But I promise you, I do it; it works!! I knew it likely would, after hissing and spitting at cats! They avoid my bird garden now!! That tone is easy to master.

(It might seem eccentric, but I discovered the benefits of affirmative action as a 10 year old. Our Pekingese kept biting me. So one day I bit him back!! Grabbed him; held him; and buried my teeth in his haunch!!

He never bit me again. TRUE).

Anyway, why the hell not try to communicate in 'their' language;-they sure as hell don't understand ours!!  But they do understand tone that is similar? to theirs.

Works for me. But no demo's thanks!!

I have actually seen a raccoon on the roof........

Went to Animal Control and asked about a trap, but they are always out

I can buy one (at least $55) put my name, address etc....and if I do catch one, Animal Control will pick it up ....but then I have to go and ID my cage to get it back.....

Decided to try playing the radio up there (on a "talk station" to mimic people, as someone suggested on some other site) as put a 24/7 light uo there too...

Then I decided on the motion detector.......

I have not heard any scratching around lately....but I want to make sure he/she is gone

Good luck to you!

Whatever works, is the way to go. They are so territorial that I guess any suggestion of company scares them off!

(I wonder how they breed!!).

Because they are territorial-and protected here in Oz,- they have to be taken to a location close to where they were found. Frequently that results in their returning to their original location.

But they will not hang around if they think that area is taken!!

Darn, I was really looking forward to that. Guess I'll have to go into my attic and make odd noises to entertain myself. Sigh... another typical Thursday night....

Soooo..., on a Thursday night you are to be found in the attic making odd noises to entertain yourself.....

Okkkkkkkkkk........ /////////

You thought my screen name was just a joke, didn't you? Silly....

Ultra low-tech: Replace the light bulb with a screw-in outlet, and plug an old-style non-digital electric clock into the outlet (These can be found at Goodwill for about a buck). Set the clock to 12:00 and leave the attic. Every time the motion detector clicks on, the time on the clock will advance. If you know how long the motion detector stay on each time it's triggered, you can figure out how many times it went off based on the time shown on the clock. 

Thanks......I was thinking of putting in, the screw in outlet, in one of the light sockets........now I'll go look for a clock

I have a radio up there now playing on a "talk station" 24/7.......that is suppose to drive him/her away along with the light........

Don't want to close tha access right yet...want to make sure the visitor is gone....

It has (or maybe more than one) gotten in different locations, I sealed one up but still have one left open, for now

If I can get a clock and set it for a week or so, and no reaction, I'll seal the other access up

Thanks for everyones answers


Went looking for a clock today, struck out at three different thrift stores. If you didn't need one there would be ten of them setting on the shelf!!!!!

Makes sense to me. Or plug in a radio, turn the volume up, and every time the detector picks up motion you'll hear it. (And it might scare off your furry resident, at least briefly.)

Of course depending on where he is, the motion detector may not pick him up.

Works for me, if an audible alarm is more practical than climbing into the attic to check the clock. You might even be able to plug in a light socket cord, and run the light out of the attic access to a visible location. That's why I love low-tech solutions. They're so much easier to bodge.

Also, because I suck at soldering.

Most towns have traps you can borrow to trap the little begger and move him somewhere else.  I your town doesn't you can rent a live trap and put it in the attic.  Find where he might be getting in and close it up.

Make an enormous mouse trap.

All kidding aside, I'd just stick some food up there.  Use some peanut butter to stick some kitchen scraps to a plate or something.  If there are signs that it was eaten or footprints or something, then you know you have a visitor.  Way easier than using electronics.  If you do have a raccoon, then you could start setting traps.

You could use a breadboard so eliminating having to solder. Then once you know if you have a visitor or not you can take everything apart and re-use it for other projects.

I don't know your electronics experience so I'll give a high level suggestion, if you understand it... good, if not then you can ask some more questions to get it sorted.

1) If you have access to a microcontroller it would be as easy as powering it by battery, having a light dependant resistor (LDR) as part of a potential divider, supplying the microcontroller with an analogue voltage then incrementing a counter every time the voltage drops when the light goes on. You could display the count simply with 4 or 8 LEDs counting up in binary, shielded with something of course to prevent them setting off the counter).

2) A second option, without the microcontroller is a little more complicated if you've not got much electronics experience. I'd use an LDR in a potential divider to give a different voltage whether the light's on or off. This feeds in to an op-amp which will be fully on or off dependant on the voltage from the potential divider. The output from the op-amp clocks (causes a pulse which increases the counter) a 4 or 8 bit binary counter, at the output of which there are 4 or 8 LEDs which display the count of on/offs in binary.

3) SIMPLEST: put a piece of food up there that the racoon can't resist. If it's been eaten you have one, if it's not, you either have no racoon or one that's too full to eat your tasty treats.