Flood Triggered Automated Camera System (FTACS)

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Installation

The FTACS was installed on the 12th February 2009 at Sculpture Cave. The camera box was positioned on the steel observation box and the camera adjusted to an angle to suit the requirements of the final image (Fig. 27). The camera was set at 5MP resolution to increase storage capacity. Holes were then drilled into the observation box and the camera box riveted in place (Fig. 28).

Figure 27 - Mounting the camera box

Figure 28 - Rivets = fast and easy!

Holes were then drilled for the mounting of the enclosure (Fig. 29), which was also secured with rivets at the brackets. An 8-wire DIN cable was threaded through a waterproofed cable grommet in the side of the enclosure and followed through into the observation box via a length of UV resistant air-conditioning cable conduit (fig. 30). The gaps along the bottom of the enclosure were filled with silicone sealant.

Figure 29 - Drilling holes for the enclosure

Figure 30 - Mounted enclosure and cable relief

The probe box was mounted in a 2m length of 90mm PVC tubing inserted into a crevice and secured with cable ties (Fig. 31). Numerous holes were drilled into the PVC pipe at various depths to ensure the water level was consistent with the outside environment. The twin-core cable was routed through the PVC and up the steel cable conduit (already present) via a length of garden hose for protection from rock abrasion (Fig. 32).

Figure 31 - Probe box snug in PVC pipe housing

Figure 32 - Piping into the cable conduit

The PVC pipe was later sealed at the top with an end cap (Fig. 33). The twin-core cable can be seen appearing out the other side of the cable conduit in the observation box (Fig. 34) where the rest of the system was mounted. The fan contained within the camera box was wired with the solar regulator (black box in Fig. 34) such that it would operate only on solar power, thus conserving battery power and preventing needless operation during the night. A couple of moth balls were thrown into the box (green cylinders in Fig. 34) in the hope of driving out insects that may potentially make nests in inappropriate areas.

Figure 33- The mounted probe box

Figure 34 - The "rats nest" interior

Fig. 35 provides a view of the new FTACS mounted on the observation box whilst Fig. 36 provides another view of the FTACS, with the steel cable conduit which runs to the water probe box visible in the foreground (Fig. 36).

Figure 35- The completed FTACS!

Figure 36 - Watching, waiting...

At the time of installation, the valley into Sculpture Cave was as pictured in Fig. 37. Note the clear evidence of water inundation up to the top of the cave as indicated by the dead flora. Tree debris can also be seen on the left hand side – a tribute to the rate of flow. In comparison with Fig. 1, it is obvious that this was almost certainly a large flow event. Unfortunately the FTACS was installed after this flow, and was unable to capture the action.

Figure 37 - Sculpture cave after some massive flows!

 

 

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