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Station Inspection Guidelines - Download Checklist

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    If you have any questions please contact motus@birdscanada.org.

    **Document the details of each check on the accompanying datasheets Motus Station Registration Form.docx**

    Important! Ensure the Sensorgnome drivers are installed on your computer before checking towers - https://sensorgnome.org/Connecting_to_your_SensorGnome/Installing_drivers_for_the_SensorGnome_on_your_computer

    Outside The Box

    Tower, antenna, and solar components:

    1) Inspect station from a distance to assess levelness of antenna.

    2) Ensure all guy wires are taught and that they haven't corroded significantly, and that stakes are still firmly in ground and haven't shifted.

    3) Ensure tripod hasn't shifted substantially or sunk into the ground. Correct or level as appropriate.

    4) Re-check antenna orientation with a compass (magnetic north) and document. Fix if neccessary.

    5) Clean solar panel with mild soapy solution and paper towel. Clear any vegetation that may have grown over panel.

    6) Inspect solar panel power connections


    Inside the Box

    1) Check and record voltage - note time of day and relative sun exposure.

    2) Record battery type and charge controller model to assess any potential power issues

    3) Engage gnome (plug usb cable into your computer, or ethernet cable if available and appropriate update installed), open web interface and ensure UTM and clock are correct and is updating regularly. See web interface instructions here - https://sensorgnome.org/The_Web_Interface

    4) On the web interface, inspect antenna recordings to assess noise and current tag detections, ensure proper frequencies are being scanned, etc. Ensure all antennas are being detected

    5) Copy data files to computer. See - https://sensorgnome.org/Download_data_from_a_SensorGnome

    6) Update or replace boot files (tag registration and/or edit deployment files) as necessary. Refresh to update tag registration file. Reboot to refresh deployment file.

    7) If the site seems excessively noisy or the data files excessively large (>500MB or so depending on the location), change the deployment file as described here -


    If  the data files are too large to reasonably download see instructions on swapping data cards here - https://sensorgnome.org/Download_data_from_a_SensorGnome/Swapping_out_data_storage_media_in_the_field

    8) Organize hardware inside the box and tighten/check all connections

    • Check that there is no tension being placed on any wires - especially antenna coax cables
    • Ensure USB hub and BeagleBone are secured to the Pelican case to reduce chance of connections getting loose
    • Ensure all connections are secure - USB connection between BeagleBone and USB hub, GPS cable, Y-cable for power, solar connections if applicable, coax cable to funcube, funcube to USB hub
    • Tape the USB - funcube connection with aluminum tape. Electrical tape (as seen below) gets too hot inside the SensorGnome and does not hold
    • If there are excessive lengths of any cable (eg. coax, GPS), organize and secure to keep other cables clear and reduce clutter that could bump connections. Make sure you don't tighten cables so much that there is stressed placed on any connections.


    9) Always inspect web interface as the final step to ensure no connections became loose during check. Power down computer, then unplug gnome from your computer.

    10) Submit data to sensorngome.org from each site in a single zip file - see https://sensorgnome.org/Sending_Data_for_Automatic_Processing



    Ants are particularly fond of the gnome and power supply storage boxes. If a box has ants you'll know right away. It's easiest to quickly and carefully remove and open the gnome so that the usb cable can be taken out before the ants start to swarm. An effort should be made to remove as many eggs as possible, but it's kind of futile. Ant poison drops (a good squirt) can be placed in each corner of the box, or a few ant bait traps, to reduce, discourage or remove the colony.



    Gear to take to each tower:



    - spare pipe insulation

    - extra goop

    - electrical tape

    - spare velcro

    - spray bottle with water or mild soapy solution

    - paper towel

    - small stool or chair

    - zip ties

    - keys when necessary



    - spare funcube

    - spare charge controller

    - charged computer

    - spare 32 GB SD cards

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