QUESTIONS & ANSWERSAsk BCM a Question
Can I use SD cards instead of CF cards in the Pettersson D500x?
Yes. For a CF-to-SD adapter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XO2KSEO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1 This one has not failed for us with ~500 nights of use across 15 detectors.
Note: I am not sure if the D500x can use a 64GB SD card…. it may only use 32GB…. or it may not work at all. This has to do with the FAT32 file system not recognizing more than 32 GB. However, 32 GB SD cards are only $8. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YFG7T8F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Note: my D500 does not seem to recognize a firmware upgrade using this adapter…. so you still need to use a normal CF card for firmware changes. Other than that I haven’t come across an issue using this adapter with 32 GB SD cards.
How long does the D500x last on batteries?
Do not use rechargeable batteries. They are only 1.2v each starting out…. so you only have 4.8v at best. Then with a little age, a bad cell, and/or cold weather they drop like a rock.
If you are only doing a 2 night survey, the internal batteries are perfectly fine…. rayovac alkaline AA should go 3-5? nights… C should go a week. For 2 nights, stick with alkaline internal batteries and throw them out if they read 4.8/4.9 or under. If they read 4.6v, they tend NOT to survive 2 nights D cells might go 10-20 days: https://batmanagement.com/collections/batteries-power/products/pettersson-d500x-extended-battery-pack-1 note this uses 6 - D cells …so you can use rechargeable D. The D500 is happy with 9 v BTW, so you can pop alkaline in it too.
Additionally, there are certain lithium-ion battery packs that can be used. The caveats are that it needs to output 5 to 9v, and it must stay on regardless if any load is being drawn. Our D500x-to-DC power cable will connect your D500x to these battery packs. Use a rubber band to ensure the cable stays on the battery.
What are some recommended bat detector settings?
Settings for any detector need to be tweaked based on the microsite. For the Pettersson D500x, if you want more of the strong calls that can be classified, and less of the trash that generally not identifiable the key settings to pay special attention to are the trigger sensitivity (set it to very low for the fewest noise/out of range bat passes), the trigger level (160) and gain (45). The recording length should be 4 seconds to reduce the possibility of 2 bats in a single recording, which causes classifiers to skip over sometimes without rendering any decision. Locations with high activity consider bumping the trigger level up to 200 further weeding out low amplitude calls. If whispering bats are your target, consider bumping the gain up to 80.
Even at a "very low" trigger level, you may have an unacceptable number of noise (insect) files in your area. There is a way to edit these setting further that we are experimenting with in Florida... contact email@example.com if you need those instructions. For most of the country, LOW and VERY LOW trigger sensitivity works well.
How do I update the firmware on a Pettersson D500x?
First, be sure to have the D500x Utility program available here: https://batsound.com/downloads/ (Windows). Select a memory card in the app you will use as a firmware card. A tiny size card is fine, you may want to label it and keep in your master spare parts kit. Select the "transfer firmware" button in this app, then select the newest firmware that is a seperate download from https://batsound.com/firmware/ The app will confirm firmware transfer. Place this card in slot 1 of the D500x and power up, follow prompts to update the firmware. Keep this card in your kit or reformat in Windows to use as a normal memory card again.
Please check for updates before a new project, and if the D500x is behaving erratically, please be sure you are using the newest firmware.
What is the recommended way to weatherproof a D500x microphone?
The external mic is essentially weatherproof so long as you do not point it up so that it can collect water. So pointing horizontally should be fine. The only problem with vertical would be that you can't record through the water- there is less concern that the water would hurt anything. The directional horn can be removed and would allow water to not collect in the vertical position.
The connection to the cable should have some protection from soaking rain, but I think a minimalist configuration as shown in the attached will serve to protect and clear the airspace around the microphone. I made this one from 1/16" x 1" aluminum angle. I bent the angle at about a third the length to give me the option of mounting with a shorter or longer horizontal reach. You can get releasable cable ties to attach the mic to the angle. Please see the bottom of this article for photos and further explaination.
And BCM has been shipping mic protector tubes for some time now. These cleverly slip over a D500x mic and have a cap to minimize dust during storage, then the tube is reversed for actual deployment. See this illustration for proper use.
What type of CF cards should I use? And what size should I use?
The manufacturer currently recommends Sandisk Ultra/Ultra II CF cards, or Sandisk Extreme/Extreme III CF cards. These are the ones with the gold labels rather than silver. Sizes up to 32GB have been successfully tested.
We've tested CF card sizes up to 32GB. However, the Pettersson D500x has a total of (4) storage slots, allowing a total of 128GB of combined storage. Things like expected nightly bat activity, insect noise, recording length, and length of time between detector service checks are just a few of the main things to consider when it comes to making sure you have enough storage. As a general rule, try to stick with a single 16GB card for deployments lasting a few nights or a 32GB card for a week. You’ll have more flexibility in terms of when you’ll need to offload your data, and are usually large enough to accommodate a few busy nights of bat activity. One large card is better than 4 tiny cards; one large card will be faster to post-process.
I am having an issue with the D500X Recorder. The recorder seems to display a formatting error when using CF cards that are larger than 32 GB. Can you tell me why this error is happening and how to fix it? Or, is it that this machine is only capable of handling 32 GB or smaller CF cards? Also, where can in find information about firmware updates for these recorders? Thanks.
Hi - due to the FAT32 file format, CF cards are limited to 32 GB. Before any deployment please check that you have the latest firmware from the Pettersson website: https://batsound.com/firmware/
Hi. Checking to see if you have 3 d500x in stock and approximately how long it would take to receive them? Much thanks!
Hello Michelle- If you can order them online at our shop, they are in stock. If not we will have more in 10 days typically. Please call Jenni at 717-241-2228 if you need a few and we will expedite.
(1) What is the mass of the Standard Edition D500X. with c-cell batteries, microphone, microphone protector, 25 foot extended cable, and pouch? (2) In comparison, what is the mass and outside dimensions of the complete Grab N Go setup with Standard Edition D500X recorder? Does that include a long-range external battery? And if so what is the mass of the long range external battery? (3) We will be transporting detector setups up to 12 miles into Olympic National Park backcountry. Do you have experience to recommend a lighter weight option for weatherizing the D500X in the event we choose to forego the weather-resistant case.? Thanks so much.
Hello- the Grab N Go D500x in the plastic transport/storage/deployment box is about 8 lbs measuring 7x13x9 inches, without an external battery.
By itself the D500x/25' cable/microphone/internal batteries is about 6.5 lbs.
A 6v, 20 ah SLA battery weighs 8 lbs. and measures 6.18"L x 3.27"W x 4.92"H. This battery can fit inside the Grab N Go case. Depending on bat and ambient noise activity, this battery has powered D500x for over a month and still had charge; however your milage will vary and we do not recommend such a long service interval of -any- bat detector system.
To reduce pack size and maintain weatherproofing, you can set the D500x running in a dry bag, then roll up the bag normally with the microphone cable protruding. Shield this from direct sun as overheating will cause any detector to shut down, as there is no venting with the dry bag.