I'm a senior undergraduate biology student at Fairmont State University (Fairmont, WV). My adviser has been keeping bees (currently the State Beekeeper of the Year) and doing scientific studies with them for years. He has just presented a study where he has been gathering and logging the weight of a hive for two years straight, logging every 10-30 minutes the weight of the hive (changed after first year to 10 minutes from 30 minutes). It has raised some questions that we think further data collection would answer.
We want to be able to collect weather data in real time. I'm looking at the USB Weather Board from SparkFun combined with the ARGENT Weather Sensor Assembly 80422. The board allows you to connect an external light sensor so the TEMT6000 Breakout Board also from SparkFun would be good so that the main board can be protected under the shelter of a roof that protects the hive and scale.
This sensor pack would let us log:
- Wind Speed
- Wind Direction
- Barometric pressure
- Relative humidity
- Ambient light
We also want to incorporate a counter that will count the number of bees leaving and entering the hive, which is outlined at: http://www.instructables.com/id/Honey-Bee-Counter/
A further metric is that by internal monitoring of the hive temperature you can estimate brood size (amount of new bees being raised). This requires a HUGE amount of temperature sensors to be installed within the hive. Here's where the feasibility problem and issues comes in. I'd be looking at the temperature sensor Texas Instruments TMP275 which allows for up to 8 sensors to be tied together within a bus. If we go with 8 sensors per frame, 10 frames per box, we'd be looking at 80 sensors per brood box, and the hive can eventually have 3 or 4 brood boxes once mature. So 240 to 320 temperature senors would need to be captured from 30 to 40 data buses each with 8 sensors.
Logging the weather data seems pretty straight forward and the bee counter project seems straight forward (the author of that project is onboard to help us implement the counter as well). But logging all that data for estimating brood size can be a big deal I think.
A similar project for estimating brood size was done at this site: http://mietz.imkerforum.de/ and the author used custom hardware and a ATMEL board that he designed. Does anyone know of a way to implement this kind of mass-sensor data into Arduino(s) and get it all collected back at a central computer?
Everything will need to be timestamped according to the time on the central data logging computer, connection can be made by Ethernet, or any other method, we're going to have to run more wires from the house to the hive for this project anyway. Currently just a single serial cable is run from the house to the hive along with power for the digital scale.
Any help would be appreciated, we're pretty novices when it comes to this stuff and ultimiately this is for scientific research so we're going to want the design to be robust and redundant as possible. ;-)