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Author Topic: Hive Data Recorder  (Read 3899 times)
The Bix
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« on: April 04, 2011, 11:51:57 PM »

Hi,

Below is a link to a chart that displays data recorded from one of my hives regarding weight and temperature.  A friend of mine with a real engineering background built this contraption which records temperature (inside and out) as well as the weight.  The microprocessor polls the information every ten seconds.  The "trendline" function was used in Excel to remove the "fuzzy caterpillar" effect with so many samples every minute.  Let me know if you want the raw data.  Would love to hear what you think.

--John

PS, the original document is a .pdf, trying to link it here: http://img842.imageshack.us/i/beedata.pdf/
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 06:39:38 PM by buzzbee » Logged
BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 01:25:04 AM »

Candy, candy, candy!

Very cool John, please tell us more.

What are you using for a weight sensor?  How are you getting the data from the micro into your computer?  If you happen to know what micro your friend used, that would be cool to know as well. 

Where is your inside temperature being measured?

Thanks for sharing.  Iím working on a similar system, but Iíve been bogged down the entire month of March building wooden ware are getting ready for springÖ.if weíre going to have one this year.  Iíve got my hardware designed, but I still have a lot of code to write for my system.  One design is using a Atmel XMega16 due to its precision ADC whereas another design is using a lower cost NXP 32bit ARM micro.
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The Bix
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 08:54:15 AM »

Candy, candy, candy!

Very cool John, please tell us more.

What are you using for a weight sensor?  How are you getting the data from the micro into your computer?  If you happen to know what micro your friend used, that would be cool to know as well. 

Where is your inside temperature being measured?

The weight sensor is a load cell which translates the force of the weight into voltage...it's the same type of technology we used to measure rocket motor thrust Smiley

The microcontroller saves the polled data in a .csv format onto an SD memory card, like the one for your digital camera.

The outside temp sensor is on the north side of the hive so it never sees the sun.  The inside is right in the middle of of the hive, we laid the sensor atop the top bar of the #5 frame in the bottom box.  I run double deeps over the winter and haven't added any supers to this hive yet.

--John
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deknow
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 10:41:17 AM »

...I've looked into doing something similar.  the roadblock (for me) was finding a sensor I could use for weight that would stay calibrated under a continuous load and changing temperatures.  ie....if you lift the hive off the sensor (may not be practical to do depending on the setup) at any time of the year, are you getting a consistent weight of "zero"?  If so, I would love to know more details about what is being used (manufacturer, specific part numbers).  Thanks!

deknow
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 12:10:13 PM »

Iím with deknow, I was also under the impression that load cells would have to be recalibrated.  Iíve never used one though, so I could be blowing hot air.

I was pondering a homemade (electronic) balance beam setup instead, but Iím interested to learn more about the sensor youíre using.

I like the SD and CSV for data xfer.   My XMega16 hardware is designed for a RS-485 wired link back to my hives (about 300í feet away) so I can view real time data on the computer when I want, however that does require a lot of wire.  The 32 bit ARM design uses a LPC1342 with a built in USB peripheral and I was planning to use that on my nucs; more for controls rather than instrumentation.
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The Bix
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011, 02:57:12 PM »

deknow and BB,

All those questions are far too technical for me.  You guys are so much smarter.  My reason for posting is that I just thought that some might be interested to see the results and speculate/discuss what the data mean.  I like the data and I'm looking forward to watching the trends going forward.  I plan to use this tool to help identify the nectar flow and figure out when to drop the supers on.  Would love to hear what anyone thinks about that.

--John
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deknow
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2011, 03:20:16 PM »

well
i asked the question about what sensor is being used for 2 reasons:
1.  i'd like to build such a device and was not able to find an apprpriate sensor for continuous use
2.  if an inapprpriate sensor is being used i would question the data
is it possible to ask the person who built it?
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edwardw
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 03:54:23 PM »

The person who built the device is kind of a tin foil hat wearing recluse.  Doesn't get out much. And, like John, is much more interested in the meaning of the data rather than the method of getting the data.

Edward
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 04:04:56 PM »

John, first of all we are NOT smarter than you.  You are a ROCKET SCIENTIST!  Seriously, Iím impressed  Smiley

Iím also looking forward to seeing your data.  A couple of observations of your first data set was the outside temp seemed to be reading 90F+ for a while.  Iím assuming that sensor got some sun?  I was also a little surprised to see it so warm in the hive at night.  Maybe that was due to the sensor being fairly close to the brood.  

Science is all about fitting data to theories, and vice versa, so itís great to have data.

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The Bix
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 04:36:48 PM »

A couple of observations of your first data set was the outside temp seemed to be reading 90F+ for a while.  Iím assuming that sensor got some sun?  I was also a little surprised to see it so warm in the hive at night.  Maybe that was due to the sensor being fairly close to the brood.

I think you're right about the outside sensor...the late afternoon sun may be catching it as the side of the hive actually faces NW rather than N.  I'll check that out tonight when I get home and make sure it's shaded.

The brood nest is moving upward, but most of it is still below the sensor, at least it was on Saturday. Smiley
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BlueBee
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 06:01:43 PM »

Supposedly, you should see a solid 95F when the brood is over the sensorÖor so Iíve been told.  Maybe youíll be able to track the movement/expansion of your brood chamber by just looking at the instrumentation.

I think youíll learn a lot from your instrumented hive even if the weight sensor isnít perfect.  Something is usually better than nothing!

John, is the instrumentation on your super strong hive, or is it another hive?
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deknow
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 06:25:22 PM »

poor data is unlikely to lead one to (or support) valid conclusions.  it would be nice to know how accurate this data is or isn't likely to be over time.

deknow
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edwardw
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 06:39:34 PM »

Due diligence in design, testing and implementation of the data recorder has been done.  

If you are looking for a reading that is accurate and precise to .01 gram, well, you aren't going to find it.  If you want a reading that is accurate and precise to .1lb, that is much easier to implement.


Edward
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 07:02:25 PM »

I did take a look at load cells on Digikey and found this one that looks promising, but it's expensive. 
http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=MSP6953-ND
You can find the data sheet on that link and review it. 

It looks like it would provide data accurate to within 3% over temp and 1% error in linearity.  However I canít decipher from the data sheet how much drift there is from the zero point.  I also canít figure out why a Wheatstone bridge is so expensive.

Edward are you the guy in the tin foil hat?  The man behind the curtain?  Good job!  Can you tell us what load cell/sensor you are using?  Does the zero point in these load cells drift over time if they are under constant load/mass?
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edwardw
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 07:20:54 PM »

A Wheatstone bridge is so expensive because it is in a value added product.  Someone had to produce very accurate film resistors that could be bonded with metal without de-laminating. Then they had to use repeatable steel/aluminum so it would be repeatable.  Finally they tested it over a wide range and gave you a calibration curve and told you how it reacts when you loaded it.  It isn't simply 4 99 cent Radio Shack resistors wire wrapped together.

If you move away from Digi-key to the industrial world where they weigh things a lot (Concrete batch plants, grain hoppers, etc.) you'll find load cells that will work for this application.  If you load the load cell up to full scale, let it sit and then take the load off you'll find how much it creep there is.  In this case, there is less than 2 pounds creep in 500lbs.  Acceptable for weighing bee hives.

Edward
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2011, 08:49:56 PM »

Sounds good Edward, can you tell us where to find industrial load cells?

I acknowledged early on I donít know squat about load cells.  So let me ask you this.  What is the difference between the load cells used in the industrial world vs the ones found in my $19 scales? 
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deknow
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2011, 09:15:24 PM »

Hi Edward,

I can understand if you want to keep your parts list proprietary.

2lb creep over 500lbs sounds just fine for this application.

without some test data (or at least a data sheet for the part) however, i remain skeptical.  the applications you cited don't generally require that a sensor be under load for long periods of time (months) and remain accurate without re-zeroing (or recalibrating).

deknow
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edwardw
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2011, 09:23:36 PM »

A Google search reveals many suppliers.  Omega and Honeywell are some of the bigger suppliers.  There are many smaller ones that do a good job as well.

Thee difference is that your $19 bathroom scale load cell probably only has a maximum capacity of 25 pounds.  And it isn't rated for a wide temperature range or very accurate. It also depends on the type you are looking to implement.  Compression (pancake type), bending beam or shear beam.  All have pro's and con's.  It isn't about keeping the parts list proprietary, it is more about people wanting to be handed a silver spoon and doing no work.  I did my research, found the part and tested it. 

As for how they perform, these are from the same supplier that a lab at my local college uses.  They built a single story house on a platform using these load cells and kept continuous weight measurements and then after it was built they saw how wind loading was transferred through the frame.  You can't build a home in a day and these were under load for over 6 months.  I think the creep was inconsequential.

Edward



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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2011, 09:49:21 PM »

Fair enough Edward, but can you disclose how much a load cell appropriate for a hive costs?  Are we talking $20, $50, $100?
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edwardw
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2011, 09:52:30 PM »

Under $50 should get a very capable load cell.  You won't be getting a 500# one for that range, but if you use some mechanics you can get it to work very nicely.

Edward

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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2011, 10:03:02 PM »

Thanks Edward, I will do some homework on this subject and try to get educated.  I was leaning toward implementing a balance beam type design, but if you can buy good load cells for under $50, that is worth investigating.

OK, how about micros?  Iíve told you the micros Iím using.  There are tons of micros out there with integrated ADCs, there isnít a huge amount of difference between them.  Can you tell us the micro youíre using?
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deknow
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2011, 10:13:39 PM »

It isn't about keeping the parts list proprietary, it is more about people wanting to be handed a silver spoon and doing no work.  I did my research, found the part and tested it. 

it's difficult to consider a raw part that requires support electronics and a programmed microprocessor a "silver spoon".  ...this is a DIY project that requires some experience and skill, not an off the shelf product.

i don't know if you are a beekeeper or not, but you should take a look around on this forum.  what you will see is beekeepers helping one another by sharing the best information they have.  if you look closely, you will see myself, and others that are asking a very specific question in a forum in which we freely share information with one another.  i absolutely have respect for wanting to keep something propriatary (ie, if you were planning to produce this as a product).  since that doesn't seem to be the case, i'm not sure what your issue is, but if you're unwilling to share, why are you participating in a forum?

deknow
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The Bix
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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2011, 10:20:30 PM »


John, is the instrumentation on your super strong hive, or is it another hive?


No, the monster hive is in one of my outyards.  The data recorder is on one of the hives here at my house.  I wanted it close to home.  This hive is still pretty healthy, but not gigantic.
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« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2011, 10:27:12 PM »

Edward, thanks for the info you have provided us.  I wonít probe for more unless you want to give it.  Honestly, thanks for what you have told us.

John, do you have any means of posting the hive data where we can monitor it?
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The Bix
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« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2011, 10:29:59 PM »

A couple of observations of your first data set was the outside temp seemed to be reading 90F+ for a while.  Iím assuming that sensor got some sun?  

BB, you are correct.  I got home and found that the sensor indeed was a bit too out in the open.  I think that the recent, crazy winds we've been getting may have moved the sensor.  But it is now concealed and shouldn't be a problem going forward.  Thank you for your keen eyes.

I'm happy that you're excited about the data too.  I was planning on pulling the card after a week and reposting the graph.
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The Bix
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« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2011, 10:55:47 PM »

It isn't about keeping the parts list proprietary, it is more about people wanting to be handed a silver spoon and doing no work.  I did my research, found the part and tested it. 

it's difficult to consider a raw part that requires support electronics and a programmed microprocessor a "silver spoon".  ...this is a DIY project that requires some experience and skill, not an off the shelf product.

i don't know if you are a beekeeper or not, but you should take a look around on this forum.  what you will see is beekeepers helping one another by sharing the best information they have.  if you look closely, you will see myself, and others that are asking a very specific question in a forum in which we freely share information with one another.  i absolutely have respect for wanting to keep something propriatary (ie, if you were planning to produce this as a product).  since that doesn't seem to be the case, i'm not sure what your issue is, but if you're unwilling to share, why are you participating in a forum?

deknow

deknow, I started this thread to discuss the data.  Instead, you and BlueBee immediately jumped into the setup and wanted information that Edward has worked hard to develop.  It's truly ingenious.  I tried to get you back on track in an indirect sort of way, BB seemed to get the message but you pushed further.  So, I'll be a bit more deliberate and politely ask you to stop cracking on Edward for not sharing the setup...the data is being shared and I welcome you to discuss the data -- again, the original intent of the thread. 
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edwardw
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2011, 02:42:22 PM »

If you have a hive close to your house there is a probably more economical option than programming a microcontroller.  The products from DATAQ (www.dataq.com) are really great.  The DI-145 and DI148U are very economical and work great.  The WinDAQ Lite software that comes with it is plenty.  10Hz sample rate is definitely overkill for this.  They are 10 bit resolution.  One of the nice features about these is that they can read 0-10v (which is good when you are amplifying a load cell).  Also, the chart recorder program is very good.  You can setup an initial calibration and when saved it does not alter your original data.  It saves your data in the raw format.  If you come back weeks later and find out your calibration was off, you can recalibrate your entire data set.  They have an unlimited sample count (limited by file size you specify).  They also let you calibrate your sensors in the chart program and display it in your chosen unit.

Another person I found (coincidentally he is local also) that does hive temperature logging is on this site:
www.beehiveslueth.com

The data (in chart form) is here:
www.beehivesleuthDOTcom/graphs/graphsDOTphp

He has them all interfaced to the interwebs for live update, which means having an internet connection near the hives.

Edward

« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 06:07:15 PM by buzzbee » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2011, 10:22:10 AM »

Thanks for the very interesting information Edward. Just a side note, the applications that Edward sited do remain under a constant load for actually years at a time specifically the Concrete batching example carries the load of the hopper that the material is carried in for the life of the load cell. In the newer Bituminous silos the load cells carry the weight of the silo and then the added weight of the product for indeterminate lengths of time dependent on the speed of transfer and use.
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2011, 06:59:50 AM »

I pulled the data yesterday evening just after 6PM and appended that to the data from the last post.  Interesting.  Four days ago, the hive reached a peak weight of ~88 lbs, then began a steady drop down to below 80 lbs.  Then it began a march back upward.  The drop in weight corresponds with lower outside temperatures.  So, is it safe to conclude that the weight drop was due to the colony's consumption of stores on those colder days when little to no foraging occurred?

http://img860.imageshack.us/i/weekdata2.pdf/
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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2011, 09:02:39 AM »

 grin edwardw and Course Bee  grin

Could you please keep the information you are describing more "user friendly....?

 lau         lau      lau


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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2011, 10:04:14 AM »

First a disclaimer:  I donít know what Iím talking about.  Iím speculating here.  Donít take any offense to what Iím saying here.  Iím just trying to understand the numbers and fit them to theory.

1 gallon of honey = 12 lbs, so if you lost 8lbs in 4 days, your bees seemed to have gone thru 0.66 gallons on honey in just  4 days.  That seems like a lot.  A gallon of honey consumed by bees gives off 16384 Calories.  So your bees consumed about 10813 Calories in 4 days.  Thatís an average of 2703 Calories a day!  That is an enormous amount of energy, probably an impossibly high amount, but I honestly donít know.  A USDA adult male only consumes 2000 Calories in a day (giving us an average energy output of 100 watts).  The hive data suggest the bees would have to be putting out north of 100 watts during those 4 days unless some of the weight loss could be attributed to loss of bees, undertakers removing bodies, loss of liquids, or something else.

I would agree the bees should reduce the weight of the hive faster in colder weather since they consume honey as their fuel source to make heat.  The colder it is outside, the more energy has to be generated to keep the brood at 94F.  However the amount of energy needed is proportional to the delta temperature between the inside to outside temperature.   I donít see a big delta temp change between your inside and outside temps during that time, so again Iím a little baffled.  This may be due to the location of the inside temperature sensor.  It will be even more interesting when Edward gets more sensors in there!   

John thanks so much for posting the data, this is great to have and great to speculate on! 

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« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2011, 10:18:33 AM »

If brood is being reared it is conceivable to use a lot of honey.This is the time of year a lot of hives starve.
I have had extremely heavy boxes mid march be all but empty by the beginning  April if weather does not cooperate.
If the weather is warm enough,they could also be getting robbed.
A frame of brood will use nearly a frame of honey. Add this to the emerged population and the last of the overwintering bees and it can seem like it must be leaking out somewhere.
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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2011, 10:33:12 AM »

Thatís a good point buzzbee, I wonder how many calories of food a larvae really consume per day?  If youíve got lots of frames of brood to feed, maybe that 2703 calories a day is appropriate.  10,000 little mouths could eat a lot  Smiley  

John, can you do a check for us and find out how much brood you have?
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« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2011, 03:28:04 PM »

Oh great, just what I need, another reason to go look at the bees. Wink

I got back in from the inspection just a few minutes ago.  When I look at next week's installment, I need to remember that I started pulling things apart around 12:40PM and got it all back together at around 1PM. 

Well, I'm not really all that happy with what I've found.  There is very little activity in the upper deep hive body, empty comb, no brood at all and a little honey, but not much (I did reverse the hives bodies about a month ago).  The numbers seem to be down too. 

I have about 4 frames of honey in the lower deep and 5 frames of brood, maybe a little less.  Most of the brood is capped brood.  I found about a frame and a half of eggs and very little larvae.  I didn't see the queen, but I did spy what I believe to be a supercedure cell, only one.  I hope I didn't disturb it.  It was close to the middle of the frame about 2 inches below the top bar.

The lack of larvae would seem to indicate that the laying of eggs stopped at one point, maybe when we got that cold snap early in the week.  I also wonder if quite a few of the overwintered bees died then as well and that lightened things up.
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« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2011, 12:46:49 AM »

Too see how much energy bees exert could you figure the average weight of a bee and the average distanced traveled and figure how much work that would take.  Then convert to calories?

Edward
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« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2011, 01:20:21 AM »

Edward, I made a post in this section about one method of measuring the energy output of a hive that is NOT flying.  Itís much easier to figure their energy output if theyíre all in the hive, like during winter.  The basic concept there is honey consumed -> H2O+CO2 + heat.   The H2O and CO2 leave the hive as vapor and hence that is your weight loss in the winter.  The heat component shows up as an increase of temperature inside the hive.  That is more detectable with a foam hive.

When bees are flying it becomes much more complicated because honey -> H2O+CO2+heat+flying.  Then you have to figure out how many milliwatts is required for each bee to fly.  I donít know how many milliwatts of energy that is, but obviously flying is going to be pretty energy intensive!  Youíve raised a very good question!  Flying might be where a lot of those extra calories are going.
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« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2011, 09:58:57 AM »

Update to data file:

http://img696.imageshack.us/i/beedatafull.pdf/
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« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2011, 03:21:14 PM »

It took me a while to figure out how to download your hive data pdf file from imageshack.  The image on imageshack was too small to see anything until I got the data downloaded.

A couple of interesting observations.  It looks like on the 10th and 15th of April the hive gained about 7 lbs even though those appeared to be pretty cool days, topping off at 50F.  Iím a little surprised to see that much gain on a cool day.  How many pounds of bees would you guess are in the hive?  Iím just trying to get a feel for how many foragers you have bringing in pollen.

The other interesting thing is the delta between the inside temp and the outside temp seems to be increasing.  I would expect that if the bees are moving closer to the sensor or if your population is exploding.

As an aside, have the bees been putting any propolis on the sensor?

Thanks for the data John; always interesting to look at.
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« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2011, 09:46:08 PM »

Blue,

Edward and I were discussing the weight gain you noticed too.  I also noticed that there were huge variations in the outside temperature readings on a couple of the days where there was some "weight gain".  It is possible that the load cell is sensitive to such huge swings in temp over a short time span.

I'm not that experienced to estimate how many pounds of bees are in there, but the bottom box is loaded and the top is probably about one third full.  12-15 lbs?

There was a little propolis on the temp sensor, but not as much as one would expect.

--John
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