Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. Carlisle, Pennsylvania (717) 241-ABAT
Pettersson Family Bat Detector
Frequently Asked Questions
We receive all kinds of questions here at BCM, many with quick-fix answers, and others that require a more in-depth look into finding the right solution for you. Whatever the question, we will do our best to find you a quick and thorough answer, so that you can move forward with minimal frustration and delay. We have compiled a list of some of our most frequently asked questions regarding some of the acoustic products we offer. As this list will be updated over time, if you do not see an answer to a troubleshooting question you may have, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 717.241.2228.
What is the routine I should do to a D500x to check it's setting before every deployment?
1. Verify time settings
Under F1>TIME SETTINGS, verify the time, date, and time zone (aka UTC off-set), and enter GPS coordinates in D/M/S. If a project spans the "daylight savings time" time-change-date(s), make the D500x "DST aware" by turning DST "ON, otherwise it can be left off.
2. Verify timer
Under F1>TIMERS, select Relative Timers. Activate (and deactivate) a timer by pressing the "on" button on the keypad. Verify that sun set/rise times are accurate (if not, something in TIME SETTINGS above is incorrect). The D500x will then turn on at sunset (18:59 in our example at right) and turn off at sunrise (05:49). Users can enter a +/- HH:MM offset if desired. Deactivate other timers (should be dashes). Check F1>TIMERS>ABSOLUTE TIMERS and verify all are off to avoid conflicts.
Pro tip: The D500x should report within a few minutes of the local sunrise/sunset reported by your favorite weather app. If not, the TIME SETTINGS is programmed incorrectly.
3. Check user profile
Under F1>USER PROFILES, use the left/right arrow keys to select USER0 and program the values on the screen-shot, and press ENTER. Then at the "ready" screen, ensure that USER0 is the current active profile by pressing ENTER. Use the left/right arrow keys to select USER0 and press ENTER. Note that :"Profile 0" is NOT the same as USER0!!
4. Start a recording
Press REC and use the arrow keys to select the settings of 45/160/0 for a typical recording session. (Note; for whispering bats, you might try 80/120/0). An asterisk will flash when input and trigger thresholds are met and the D500x would trigger. If the asterisk is solid and the Tr bar is maxed out, move to a less noisy area or reduce gain & increase the trigger level until levels stabilize. Trigger levels higher than 200 will start missing low amplitude bat passes.
Pro tip: the above routine takes less than 30 seconds to verify and is recommended each and every time a detector is deployed.
Pettersson D500x Quick Start Video
Problem playing video? See this video on YouTube
Why can’t I get my M500 and BatSound software to work? I keep receiving an error message when I try to start the software.
This is most often experienced due to a lack of having the correct Windows add-on packages installed on your computer. These can be found easily and downloaded directly from the Microsoft website. The following packages are required:
Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 (already included in Windows 8/8.1)
Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2013
Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2013 is available in a 32-bit (x86) and a 64-bit (x64) version. If your have a Windows 32-bits operating system, install the x86 version, if you have a 64-bit Windows version,Šinstall both the x86 and x64 versions.
In order to check if the software packages are installed on your computer, open the Control Panel and select >Programs (or Programs and features). This will show a list over the installed programs.
Make sure that your M500 is not plugged in during this time. After you have made sure your PC is up to date and has the software and appropriate packages installed, then you can plug in the M500 into the USB port.
What size CF cards should I use with my Pettersson D500x?
This is going to be highly dependent upon how much bat activity you expect to record, your record settings, deployment length, and how much data you can afford to lose if you accidentally wind up using up all the storage you allotted for your detector before you have the chance to offload your data. Remember, the D500x has (4) storage slots, so you have the potential for up to 128GB of storage per detector! If you are going to be checking your detectors on a regular basis (daily or every other day), you may be okay to use a lower capacity CF card or fewer storage slots. We suggest 1- 16 GB card for surveys up to 2 or 3 nights. Avoid the temptation of stacking 4- 32 GB cards in the device as you will find this to be be overkill for typical needs. Pro Tip: Always format cards in the detector just before deployment to minimize possible corruption (regardless of make and model detector!).
What brand of CF cards should I use?
The manufacturer recommendation states that only Sandisk Ultra/Ultra II or Sandisk Extreme/Extreme III CF should be used. Sizes up to 32 GB have been used. BCM highly recommends adhering to this recommendation. Other CF cards may be used but have not been thoroughly tested and could result in corrupt or lost data. BCM has had the most success with Sandisk, we have also used Transcend and Kingston over the years with higher failure rates.
The dB meter keeps jumping even though I’m not recording. What’s going on?
Make sure the high-pass filter is on in your cureent User Profile. This filter attenuates low-frequency signals and may be picking up frequencies below 20kHz. If you want to record signals with frequencies below 15kHz (Western US, the Florida Bonneted Bat, or other wildlife such as flying squirrels), make sure you have this filter set to OFF. Otherwise, keep it on.
How long can I deploy my detector before the batteries die?
This is highly dependent upon your record settings! Things like recording length, high insect volume, display mode, and trigger level are all things that can contribute to increased battery usage. Consider that the more often your detector wakes up to record, the more battery power is being used. How much mileage you get out of a deployment will also be influenced by whether or not you are using internal or external batteries, or solar array for power. If you are using the D500 with AA batteries, expect just 4-5 nights. If you are using the D500x with C batteries, expect to run about 8-12 nights under "normal" conditions. When the D500x reports 4.6v (with alkaline batteries), it will probably only last one more night. You can get 6v batteries 13 or 14 amp hr for about $20-$30 at local “battery warehouse” type stores. These may run a D500x nearly a month, however we strongly recommend servicing any brand detector once a week to prevent data loss.
What temperatures can my D500x withstand?
The D500 has a manufacturer recommended operating temperature range of 0° to 50°C.
Why won’t my external batteries power up my D500x?
Begin by charging your external battery. While your battery is charging it is a good idea to check to make sure your detector will power up when using internal batteries. (C or AA depending on the year your D500x was made). If your detector powers up, the problem most likely lies in the external battery. Once charged, test your detector to see if it will power on when using the newly charged external battery.
Also, we recommend having a multi-meter on hand in order to test the voltage of your external batteries. Often times if a SLA (Sealed lead-acid) 6V battery has been left alone for too long without being charged, it may have lost is ability to power your device without further maintenance. Occasionally, a neglected battery can be “resurrected” by means of a trickle charger used for small vehicle batteries. With regular use and or/maintenance, a standard 6V battery charger such as the Battery Tender brand offered by BCM is more than sufficient for keeping your batteries in top shape. Also read our newsletter that we made discussing care and storage of SLA batteries to greatly extend their useful life.
Why do sometimes my batteries last for long deployments, and other times they need to be replaced after only a couple of days?
Similar to the question regarding expected battery life, it’s highly dependent upon how often your detector is recording. If one night’s deployment yields 2000+ recordings on Detector A, and Detector B records only 100 files, it becomes clear that Detector A is using more power to make all of those recordings, resulting in an increased demand for battery power and ultimately, less time before you will need to swap out your batteries.
My detector will turn on and appears to be functioning normally, only the microphone doesn’t seem to be picking up any sound. Do I need a new microphone?
Not necessarily. First determine that the microphone cable is securely attached to the detector. Likewise, ensure that the external microphone is fully connected to the cable. If this has been confirmed and your D500x is still not picking up sound, detach the microphone from the cable and plug it directly into the detector. If you can suddenly pick up sound, this would be indicative of a bad microphone cable. If the problem still persists, it may be your microphone or the mic port on your detector. If you have a spare functioning microphone, you can determine whether or not it is the microphone port. If you suspect that this is the problem, it may be time to send your detector in for repair.