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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Arapahoe County, CO USA
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    19

    Default Hive Weight Measuring Device

    Hi,

    What do you think about me installing a unit underneath my hives that would record the weight of my hives at one hour intervals throughout the year? The log of observations would be extracted and the results graphed.

    I thought it would provide another tool to observe my bees without disturbing them. I realize that nothing beats an up-close and personal inspection, frame by frame. But, this would be an interesting addition to the arsenal to stay ahead of the power curve and spot problems earlier and reducing the number of inspections needed.

    My initial thoughts were to observe:
    1) Spring Buildup (healthy colony)
    2) Nectar flow (adding supers)
    3) Depletion of reserves in the winter (identifying a need to feed)

    Then I found this http://www.coloss.org/publications/C...Apidologie.pdf

    Great idea or dumb idea?

    Thanks,

    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    908

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    The Bix - I have purchased a simple device some time back which allowes me to weigh hives with a minimum of fuss.

    I will post more after Christmas when I have a bit more time.
    We have SHB and there is considerable evidence showing that disturbing the bees less may lead to fewer SHB being attracted.

    The weight of a hive - so I expect - should give me an indication of hive staus and need to extract honey. Naturally it will never eliminate - just reduce - the need to check on a hive by opening.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    Putting hives on platform scales isn't uncommon. Allen Dick www.honeybeeworld.com had hives on scales all last winter and he has some good charts in the diary. His work may give you some ideas on how to approach things.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Arapahoe County, CO USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    CB,

    Thanks, that's great information! Very interesting stuff.

    My process, however, would be a little different, perhaps easier. The weight would automatically be recorded electronically at regular intervals. Once the unit was in place, you'd never need to take it off and you could do multiple hives. The files could be downloaded and charted very quickly. You could also sample the data manually as well.

    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    Here is a .PDF of the physics of weighing objects where the density is not uniform, eg off center mass. This allows to you accurately weigh a hive by weighing from both sides and not double counting some of the weight.

    http://tinyurl.com/beemass

    Edward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    John,

    What specific technology are you using for measurement and accquisition ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Arapahoe County, CO USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    Hey Fuzzy,

    A load cell to measure the weight and a micro controller to interpret the data.

    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Yuba City, CA, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    You could even use Bix's model but instead of load cell's, using thin film piezoelectrics mounted in the corners.

    Interesting thread.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    The thin film force resistors I've seen have a lot of drift over time and don't have repeatability. They are very good at telling you if there is pressure on something, just not how much over time.

    Edward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    I purchased an old platform scale for measuring hive weight. I have not yet gotten it prepped and ready for bee season, but considered information available at this NASA site prior to searching, http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Doc...veProtocol.pdf . I researched the load cells idea; I recall finding load cells to be cost-prohibitive but cannot remember the details at this point. I'd like to learn more about the cost aspects you are looking at.
    gk

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    The load cells are less than $30, and when weighing the hive give a resolution of 1/20th of a pound. The accompanying data logger isn't much more, but if you want to add an LCD and interface the price does increase.

    Edward

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    EdwardW,
    I am interested in learning more about your ideas to connect load cells and logger, especially vendor information and planned arrangement. When I researched the idea, I was not finding a great selection of loadcells to fit the application of hive weighing.
    George

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    I took the sensors and hooked them up to a microprocessor that runs the code to check and convert them every minute. It also had an SD card connected and logs the data to their.

    It can either run off line AC power or 2 12V car batteries.

    Edward

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    908

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    edwardw - would you have apicture or drawing? I have a device but it is raining here and I can't install it at this point.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    I don't have any pictures now. Right now it is breadboarded. I haven't etched the final PCB's yet. Also, a 2GB memory card will last a long time. 1 year takes a little over 100 MB. The final one will fit under the hive (electronics included) and the batteries will be separate if using that, or you can run the AC cord to it.

    Edward

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,395

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    I would be very interested in it if I could connect to it via WiFi. I put WiFi in my bee yard so I could use my laptop while working the girls. Was thinking of using areoscout tags to monitor temp inside the hives. So this would be another great use.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    How do you surf the web and work with the bees? Those activities seem mutually exclusive. Or do the bees like to surf the web?

    I have no plans on adding WiFi to it. The complexity, cost and support wouldn't be worth it. Right now you take the memory card out of the device, drop into your computer, download the file and replace the card. It takes about 30 seconds to complete.

    The main objective of logging was to collect information (weight, temperature, etc) at hives that you don't get to a lot, but want to collect data. If your bees are connected to the grid why not just use an ethernet cable and collect real time data?

    Edward

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    EdwardW,

    I too am interested in gathering weight, temp, and maybe humidity information from hives. I would appreciate learning more about your planned set up and from what vendor you are planning to get your load cells from. I did not have luck finding load cells that fit specs...goldilock's complex. I recalled lamenting over 1000-2000# measuring capacity and fairly prohibitive costs. 30$ load cell is a much better number.

    Thanks in advance
    George

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Arapahoe County, CO USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    Hey George,

    I should tell you that the product that Edward and I (mostly Edward) are designing is one of a proprietary nature and, as such, we wouldn't be able to divulge the information you're requesting without compromising all the work we've put into it so far.

    We're working on the prototype right now, perhaps in the Spring a production model would be available.

    Also, this isn't really a plug and play device...there's a lot of bit diddling that has to be done to get all the components to play nice. We have a lot of hours invested in this one so far.

    John

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Hive Weight Measuring Device

    I was starting to ponder that might be the situation; thanks for the clue-in. I have seen some commercial devices advertised in europe, and it all makes great sense if you can get prices in the right range. I am a born tinkerer and have a day job in technology development...so I can appreciate all your diddling, hard work, and hours invested. Good luck with your endeavor.

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