Autonomous Recording Unit - best\easiest recording options

Final Goal: Create an autonomous audio recorder for long term use outdoors

Approach: Use Arduino to record audio in 30-60 minute intervals relative to local time of sunrise and sunset. A low cost olympus audio recorder is preferred as the actual audio recording device to insure high quality audio recording.

Audio unit: I currently have access to several Olympus dm-620 units which can be controlled via an optional rs-30w remote module operated with an infrared remote. I’m not sure if the unit can be controlled via usb cable.

Other required components:
Real time clock
Battery-powered operation
Possible logging of temp\humidity
Ir module?

Input and suggestions needed:
As someone new to the Arduino community I’m looking for an approach that will allow me to complete this project in about 30-50 hours. I do have people who can offer general programming guidance. Would you recommend avoiding any custom digital recording options? Is it feasible to try to control the recorder with an IR module? Via the usb cable?

Suggestions for battery powered Arduino projects; can Arduino run in a low power mode? I would like the Arduino to run for 2 weeks; I only need it to be active to turn on/off the recorder and collect temp/humidity data.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, brett

Is it feasible to try to control the recorder with an IR module?

Yes the Arduino can be made to send IR signals just like your remote.

can Arduino run in a low power mode

It has basically three modes, on, off and sleep. You need something to wake it up out of sleep. One way is to have a RTC (real time clock ) chip with an alarm output, that can trigger the wake up.

See

Definitely possible

While recording the arduino will take more power than the dedicated modules, so you will need a large ish battery
Just buy a lipo battery from one of the radio control supply companies like hobbyking

Get a real time clock module with alarm output, this will allow the arduino to go to sleep and be woken up at the desired time.
Note not all real time clock modules have his feature

Temperature and humidity is easy, there is a module that does this. Search ebay for arduino temperature humidity module

Not sure why you want IR but yes, this can be done as well.

Easily doable in a lot less than 50 hours.
Assuming you have some experience in programming and making stuff

Keep the IR receiver well 'shaded' from direct sunlight,(for your project, face it towards north in the northern hemisphere etc).

Avoid cheapo IR components. Vishay are good quality ones.

If you design in a modular fashion, it will be easier to swap out any 'module' that underperforms after a field test.

Have you considered rain, sun, snow, wind, wildlife, solar power pack etc...

Thank you to all who posted their input; it was very helpful. I do have a couple observations and follow-up questions:

  1. After reviewing the link that rogerClark posted, producing a high quality audio recorder with the Arduino might be ambitious. So I'm still interested in employing a dedicated recording solution, like the Olympus audio recorder I mentioned.
  2. It's obvious that I can transmit IR from the arduino, but how difficult would it be to replicate the output of a factory made remote control? I thought reproducing an IR signal would be simple, but it looks unlikely at this point.
  3. Any hope in controlling the recorder with USB? or even replicating the signal of the module that is physically connected to the recorder?
  4. Are there known stand alone audio recorders or modules that are easy to interface with the arduino?

Thanks again!

-Brett

but how difficult would it be to replicate the output of a factory made remote control?

That is done all the time. In fact that is the point in using it.

  1. Any hope in controlling the recorder with USB?

That is way more difficult than using IR.

  1. Are there known stand alone audio recorders or modules that are easy to interface with the arduino?

What ever happened to 4?
Not that I know of.

Thanks Mike,
I found this instructable. http://www.instructables.com/id/Clone-a-Remote-with-Arduino/ I'll give it a try.

Just go through the examples in the IRLib or IRremote libraries = more robust approach & not difficult.

Generally, it is not advised to drive an IR LED from an Arduino without a current limiting resistor. Even better to use a transistor circuit for longer range.

Lots of examples available online for the libraries & circuits.

Remember that 98% of instructables are crap. Do not drive any LED direct from an arduino pin without some sort of current limiting. And PWM does not count as current limiting.