CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

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Happy Chappies
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CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by Happy Chappies » 18 September 15 2:01 pm

Following on from a Victorian thread, there was an idea about a dedicated section of the GCA forum to discuss issues related to cache-construction, design, placement, etc. A bit of a space for people to throw out ideas around cache design, share new products or ideas, showcase what you’ve been doing, and ask any technical questions to help you in your builds.
I know I seem to get lots of ideas but rarely have the know-how to make them a reality.
Of course I don’t know what the demand for this is, so thought I’d just start it with a single thread – and we’ll take it from there… :D

Some thoughts however which might be helpful for happy sharing (and feel free to suggest more and I'll add them in below):
  • - No one has a monopoly on cache designs – but if you’re going to use someone’s idea, it’s only decent to ask them first, and if possible attribute it to them and give them the thanks they deserve.
    - If someone’s asking for ideas around a certain cache concept that they want to launch, it’s not cool to take that idea and put it out first. Please help them to launch it first instead.
    - Please be willing to share. I know we can all be a bit precious about our designs and ideas, but I’m sure there are plenty of ideas to go round, and anything which improves cache quality and fends off the never-ending tide of unimaginative micros must be worth doing.

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Happy Chappies
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Power options

Post by Happy Chappies » 18 September 15 2:05 pm

OK, I'll start the ball rolling with an issue I've been fiddling with for a while - That of how you might keep electrical power running to a cache.

I've got a design in mind that will need electricity to keep going. Not a heap, but enough to power a clock and an electronic lock. Obviously a solar panel and a battery is one option - but that limits me in terms of placement (ie. would need to be a sunny location), and would also make the cache more conspicuous and more vulnerable to damage. I could also just slot in a big battery and swap it out, but I'm not sure how frequent that would need to be and don't want to create a massive maintenance burden.

Wind? Could be done. Might even make it look more like a weather station :D but I'm not sure how much power that would reliably provide.

Or find one of those random powerpoints you find in public places.... But then I can see that running foul of all sorts of things.

Anyone had any experience in creative power sources? And if you've run solar, how did you go about it? Does it work reliably and not get interfered with?

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by CraigRat » 18 September 15 2:48 pm

If you do it right, you could place the solar panel a reasonable distance from the cache with the right sized cable. A GOOD small solar cell should still suffice in mixed light conditions.

A little discrete 5W panel charging a 12mAh battery would give you a heap of power and allow for a few days of no-sun too.

I used the above on a remote CCTV camera along with a little regulator to protect the battery and it worked quite well for the timeframe it was needed for (non caching related project).

I reckon solar is the best option as it is passive and a little more discrete.

OR:

How about a Hand cranked dynamo type setup?

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Happy Chappies
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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by Happy Chappies » 18 September 15 3:27 pm

CraigRat wrote:If you do it right, you could place the solar panel a reasonable distance from the cache with the right sized cable. A GOOD small solar cell should still suffice in mixed light conditions.

A little discrete 5W panel charging a 12mAh battery would give you a heap of power and allow for a few days of no-sun too.

I used the above on a remote CCTV camera along with a little regulator to protect the battery and it worked quite well for the timeframe it was needed for (non caching related project).

I reckon solar is the best option as it is passive and a little more discrete.

OR:

How about a Hand cranked dynamo type setup?

Good thoughts, thanks CraigRat - What is a 'GOOD' small solar cell out there (as opposed, I assume, to the cheap Chinese stuff?). Any recommendations?

Funny, I started thinking about Hand cranked options - but given that this cache will be using some power every day (on top of the clock), it needs something to keep it regularly topped up. I am however now finding some new cache ideas that might use a hand crank. See, the thread's working already! =D>

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by No_Tomorrow » 18 September 15 3:41 pm

What about if you've had the same idea as another person and they think you are copying/beating them to it?

I'm putting together a bunch of dangerous creature caches (where the cache is in a creature or attached to it) and a few themed containers in specific locations using different materials. I'm okay to share my ideas and others copy them and release before me (but not near me) but I'd hate to offend anyone if they thought i was copying.

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by Happy Chappies » 18 September 15 3:49 pm

No_Tomorrow wrote:What about if you've had the same idea as another person and they think you are copying/beating them to it?

I'm putting together a bunch of dangerous creature caches (where the cache is in a creature or attached to it) and a few themed containers in specific locations using different materials. I'm okay to share my ideas and others copy them and release before me (but not near me) but I'd hate to offend anyone if they thought i was copying.
Well, if they haven't put it up here already, they can't accuse you of copying... Good point though. We can't cover all situations and in the end, some people might get their noses out of joint if they feel like they've been copied (even if they haven't). In the end there's only so many cache ideas out there, so there's bound to be overlap. Good communication and common sense should help otherwise I hope.

Dangerous creatures, eh?...


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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by ziggiau » 18 September 15 4:39 pm

Excellent idea Happy Chappies. I often have a great concept in mind but not the skill to execute it. I have a lot to learn and am but a wee padawan.

The only thing I can add is a reference to the Adhesive wiki page (http://wiki.geocaching.com.au/wiki/Adhesive) that I've just tiedied up and based on previous forum posts discussing sticking stuff to other stuff. If anyone has anything else to add here either edit the wiki or let me know and I'll do it for you.

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Re: Power options

Post by geo_jas » 18 September 15 7:51 pm

Happy Chappies wrote:OK, I'll start the ball rolling with an issue I've been fiddling with for a while - That of how you might keep electrical power running to a cache.

I've got a design in mind that will need electricity to keep going. Not a heap, but enough to power a clock and an electronic lock. Obviously a solar panel and a battery is one option - but that limits me in terms of placement (ie. would need to be a sunny location), and would also make the cache more conspicuous and more vulnerable to damage. I could also just slot in a big battery and swap it out, but I'm not sure how frequent that would need to be and don't want to create a massive maintenance burden.

Wind? Could be done. Might even make it look more like a weather station :D but I'm not sure how much power that would reliably provide.

Or find one of those random powerpoints you find in public places.... But then I can see that running foul of all sorts of things.

Anyone had any experience in creative power sources? And if you've run solar, how did you go about it? Does it work reliably and not get interfered with?
My reverse cache uses a latching switch so it doesn't use any power at all while it's dormant. You could use this and a GPS chip to find the time instead of using a clock. Only problem is that it takes a minute or so to get a lock.

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by Richary » 18 September 15 9:35 pm

Yes I had an idea for a cache that reacts as you get nearer to it, but again that requires it to be permanently powered up. So it was either rig up some sort of power source like solar, or go and change the battery regularly - but I'm not sure what the power consumption would be and how often I would have to do it. I know there is a cache on the northern beaches of Sydney with an FM transmitter involved in the bush, but don't know how the CO has powered that one.

As for the remote solar idea, that could work, or there are some here that require batteries to work. So it might be possible to have a remote location where you connect the power up, and then a well buried cable so people can't follow it to find the cache location. Though not sure if the restrictions on buried caches relate to buried power cables to the cache, I suspect it might cause an issue.

So it's an idea I have for a few years (and the equipment to do what I am thinking) but the power restrictions have stopped me progressing any further with it so far.

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Re: Power options

Post by WazzaAndWenches » 19 September 15 12:04 am

Happy Chappies wrote:I've got a design in mind that will need electricity to keep going. Not a heap, but enough to power a clock and an electronic lock. Obviously a solar panel and a battery is one option
I've been tossing around a similar idea but using something a bit different to a clock and lock. I do, however, need a supply of low voltage/low current power to keep a small 6v battery charged. It's vital that the components remain well hidden but I can hide a small panel high up in a tree.

Any suggestions on panel specs and charging circuits would be most welcome. Perhaps the info may help open the doors for a few more electrically based cache containers.

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by The Morris » 19 September 15 12:21 pm

It may not be relevant to your specific ideas but Roymerc near has a series called Bring Your Own Battery near Denmark WA - you need to provide your own AA. Most people have one or two in their pockets so I don't think it would be difficult for them to provide their own power for some sitations.

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by gmj3191 » 19 September 15 5:07 pm

The Morris wrote:It may not be relevant to your specific ideas but Roymerc near has a series called Bring Your Own Battery near Denmark WA - you need to provide your own AA. Most people have one or two in their pockets so I don't think it would be difficult for them to provide their own power for some sitations.
Actually those caches use a 9V battery which are not as common these days, however you just need to make it clear in the listing. With the roymerc ones in Denmark, there was a nearby cache which contained a "loan" 9v battery for desperadoes who'd forgotten to bring one..

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by Happy Chappies » 21 September 15 12:49 pm

The 'bring your own battery' is an interesting concept I hadn't considered - It won't work for what I have in mind here, but definitely one I'll jot down for future use. It also opens up options in terms of having a battery/charging station at one waypoint where it's nice and sunny, and then the cache itself somewhere else (shady if need be), and the finder then has to bring the battery from the charging station to the cache. Of course then it relies on people putting it back/correctly, which (from those I've known with keys to caches hidden in similar ways) opens up a whole range of issues.


As I look out my window at the river flowing by (yes, gloating :mrgreen: ), I wonder whether a water powered dynamo could potentially work - But I have the funny feeling that even if that's technically possible it would probably be prone to all sorts of cloggages and such.

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Re: Power options

Post by Happy Chappies » 21 September 15 1:03 pm

geo_jas wrote:
Happy Chappies wrote:OK, I'll start the ball rolling with an issue I've been fiddling with for a while - That of how you might keep electrical power running to a cache.

I've got a design in mind that will need electricity to keep going. Not a heap, but enough to power a clock and an electronic lock. Obviously a solar panel and a battery is one option - but that limits me in terms of placement (ie. would need to be a sunny location), and would also make the cache more conspicuous and more vulnerable to damage. I could also just slot in a big battery and swap it out, but I'm not sure how frequent that would need to be and don't want to create a massive maintenance burden.

Wind? Could be done. Might even make it look more like a weather station :D but I'm not sure how much power that would reliably provide.

Or find one of those random powerpoints you find in public places.... But then I can see that running foul of all sorts of things.

Anyone had any experience in creative power sources? And if you've run solar, how did you go about it? Does it work reliably and not get interfered with?
My reverse cache uses a latching switch so it doesn't use any power at all while it's dormant. You could use this and a GPS chip to find the time instead of using a clock. Only problem is that it takes a minute or so to get a lock.
Never thought of using a GPS chip for time-keeping. Neat idea. (But probably even more out of my scope of abilities!). I need the clock so that the cache can be locked/unlocked at certain times of day (ie. it won't be available 24 hours), so it needs to be connected to an electric deadbolt or switch of some kind. Still figuring out how much power that will draw and the best configuration which is reliable but efficient.

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Re: CCCC: Cache Construction Centre of Competence

Post by No_Tomorrow » 21 September 15 7:23 pm

In case anyone else likes the idea of scaring the crap out of geocachers :-" , BCF's owls (the still headed ones) just dropped in price to $15 to clear them.

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