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Bird box critique please - with solar powered camera (1 Viewer)

milks

New member
I haven't built a nesting box before so would appreciate some feedback. I wanted something with a camera but with no wiring to hook up.

The box is 190x155x155mm (wxhxd) and the distance from the hole to the floor is about 120mm.

I've made it translucent here so you can see how the camera housing protrudes into the box.

The box is wood, and the housing and solar panel brackets (not illustrated) will be 3D printed in a matte khaki plastic. I'm also considering 3D printing a bracket around the entrance so I can adjust the size for different birds though I'm a bit worried these other materials may be off putting to potential residents, is that likely?

Any feedback welcome |:d|

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uWOhOMMhsnexFCHDpKk-MXFEs9vxgTGM/view?usp=sharing
 
Great idea. Neither interior nor exterior things seem to bother. When I considered this for one of my boxes, I planned to place the solar panel at several metres away to get best sunlight. You probably should consider a battery for cloudy days and nighttime viewing, if your camera has IR capabilities.
As far as box size, hole size, etc., refer to one of numerous (official) sites.
Best wishes,
Bob
 

milks

New member
Thanks Bob, that's good to know :t:

I've designed the box to face East or West so that the panel faces South while shading the box itself though I think I'll still have to be careful that it doesn't get sun during the strongest part of the day.

I've pretty much finished the camera module and learned a lot along the way. Just being connected to wifi consumes a lot of power, sadly IR leds are out of the question with a panel of this size. Having the panel separate to the box would definitely be better though I really like the portability and ease of having it all in one unit.

I'm using an ESP32-Cam which can be put into deep sleep where it consumes just a tiny trickle of power so much of the electronics and software are focused on power management for example if it cannot connect to wifi or the light level drops or it detects the battery is low it'll put itself to sleep and test whether conditions have improved later.

Here are a few pics:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/ekRkqHR3Q3sbQmZg7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/dRbJf8dPA9xC1RDC7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/1QRucxtkCkuW6BJo9
https://photos.app.goo.gl/6oD3DpuiycrRxTXp8

And here's a still from the camera, it's a bit blurry as the focus is set for inside the box:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/nTDCgk5NfJPHzsRq6

I'll build the box next, wish me luck, I barely know which end of the saw to hold! ;)
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

I haven't built a nesting box before so would appreciate some feedback.

Great idea, and I like the way you designed the box to get a good camera angle.

To make the quality of the seals of the camera housing less critical, it might make sense to design the nest box itself in a way that provides a single-piece cover over the camera box (a "roof", if you like).

I'm not sure that 3D printing is the ideal technology for bird box bodies as the FDM printing process leads to a porous surface (at microscopical scale), which allows bacteriae to gain a very solid foothold in the material.

However, that's just something I'm concerned about when considering the food-safety of 3D printed materials, I have not heard about actual bird box builders' experiences.

Regards,

Henning
 

milks

New member
Thanks Henning. I hadn't really considered the microbial perspective of 3D printed parts. The rest of the box will be made of wood so shouldn't be too much of a problem though I was toying with the idea of printing the bottom panel such that it slides out and I can clean the inside of the box. I will stick to wood with brass hinges instead ;)

I've over-extruded the 3D printed parts by 8% to make them water tight and added a silicone gasket around the seal of the camera enclosure. I've used this in the past for outdoor electronics and they've been good enough to completely submerge in water so I'm not too concerned about the current design. It is also easy to access the electronics if something fails, just four thumb screws rather than a complete disassembly. The long-term picture is less clear though as the plastics may turn brittle with UV exposure etc. I will just have to see!

Pic taken during a heavy downpour.
 

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