Swim platform anti- duck automated sweeper arm

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
So a glimmer of an idea with just above 0 knowledge to get the idea made real. Apologies if this is too rudimentary, but the ask is free.
I am a boat owner, the swim platform on the stern is a haven for ducks to bed down for the night- they are very messy and I would choose to have a non harmful way of making them go elsewhere- I could drape a net over the area but that is a PIA to deal and not as much fun as trying to figure this out.

In short a self contained weather resistant cylinder that will sit centerline of the swim platform against the transom. ( this part I am good with)
-A small solar panel will feed batteries
-that power a motor that sweeps 180 - over the course of a few seconds- do not want or need speed here- the shaft of the motor will have a right angle bracket that a 5 ft thin bamboo/fiberglass pole will attach to.
-then rest for 3-5 minutes
-then come back again.
-repeat either for 12 hours on /12 hours off- or 24 hours.
-needs an on/off control that stops the sweep but does not lose programming

I have been jumping around the forums for a little bit and know that I need some guidance on a starting point. I am thinking that if I can identify the appropriate type/size motor to use, I can work back to how to control it and how much power is needed to run it and how much solar to keep it powered. the kindergarten drawing attached shows the points that I need to figure out.

Thanks in advance for any feedback
 

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MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
13,712
Rather than have the motor/sweeper operating on a timer, why not use a motion detector to initiate a sweep cycle?Then the ducks would always get an unwelcome treatment when they first arrived.
Another scheme would be a wired grid to deliver a nasty shock, similar to an electric fence that retains farm animals? No moving parts, and they can't jump over it.
 

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
Rather than have the motor/sweeper operating on a timer, why not use a motion detector to initiate a sweep cycle?Then the ducks would always get an unwelcome treatment when they first arrived.
Another scheme would be a wired grid to deliver a nasty shock, similar to an electric fence that retains farm animals? No moving parts, and they can't jump over it.
I can consider a motion detector- but thinking that I need 180 degree coverage ( thinking it would need multiple sensors) , need to keep form factor as small as possible with no appendages other than the swing arm to get snagged.
As far as the grid-we use the platform a lot and dont want to have to deploy/ stow items every time we are on the boat. Otherwise I would go back to looking at netting.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
13,712
If the platform is similar to what I have seen, it has hardwood strips with spaces between them so that it will have good traction and good drainage. The charged wires could be anchored along the sides of the strips, just below the tops, and not need to be removed for human use. But of course the shock system would need to be switched off.
If the water is salt water, there may be an isolation issue, though.
One other thought is an electronic noise maker that would startle the ducks. That could be a small package that was out of the way. Or even a motor shaker to shake the platform and startle the ducks.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
7,198
Another scheme would be a wired grid to deliver a nasty shock, similar to an electric fence that retains farm animals? No moving parts, and they can't jump over it.
I've used an electronic fly swatter/zapper (click on it) to repel cats from going in my yard with success. MINE was plugged into a 5V source and the zapper came from the afore mentioned zapper, purchased at Harbor Freight. Looks like a tennis racket. The single concern I'd have is that if yours needs to be powered over night you may be draining batteries. So my approach, unless I solve for the constant drain issue, would otherwise work. Same as @MisterBill2 suggests.
the shock system would need to be switched off.
Yes. The flip of a switch and wait 10 seconds for the capacitor to be drained would shut down the grid. The grid would have to be made of several strands of wire, half of them connected to one side of the zapper and the other half to the other side of the zapper. And if you forget to shut it off, as soon as you step on it you'll get a gentle but good reminder to shut it off. It won't harm anyone other than insects. Not likely to even harm a frog. But it would certainly be an unpleasant experience for the organism that steps on it.

I used something similar to keep the cats out of the window in an apartment where I wasn't allowed to have pets. Once the cats experienced the strange and frightening sensation you couldn't possibly put them on the window sill.
salt water, there may be an isolation issue
Ducks don't seem to like salt water very much, so I'd assume (potentially wrongfully so) that this is a fresh water application.
 

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
So- zapping the ducks is not an option. Besides my admiral having a conniption- the boat is in salt water and is subject to wakes so there are times when the swim platform will get wet. Not to mention rain.
primary use is going to be dusk to dawn when the ducks ( yes they do well in salt water too) use the platform to roost for the night.
So swing arm, minimal intervals with a slow sweep all to be frugal with power draw.
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
631
I wonder if spraying them periodically with compressed air or water would scare them off? Air might be too noisy, plus the noise and energy required for the air compressor.. While ducks aren't bothered much by water, I imagine there is some amount between "windshield washer" and "fire hose" that will dislodge them. And they probably don't like any amount of water spraying directly up into their bellies.
But is there any way to hinge the swim platform so it just folds up against the stern?
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
13,712
Adequate hinges that are corrosion proof for that environment cost a whole lot. Plus, there are probably asorted "outcroppings" on the stern so the deck could not fold up enough. PLUS it seems that boat appearance matters very much in many circles. The foot zapper grid would need a good amount of talent to make it both unseen and still effective. The sweeper timer will need extra circuits to counter duck attacks, because ducks can be very sneaky. How about adding the shock feature to the sweeper bar?? Use an automotive ignition spark coil with a contact driven by the sweep motor shaft. Give the ducks a real jolt.
And make sure the mechanism gives off a sound just before sweeping so that after a while the ducks will associate that sound with the sweep happening.
 

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
You all must have run into some tough ducks in the past........
Name of the game in my area is to make my boat less attractive than some else's. Zapping, air jets and water streams all sound fun, but will take way to energy to keep up in the long run.
So back to the original ask- nice slow motor that has just enough torque to move the sweep 180 degrees once every 5 minutes.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,652
You all must have run into some tough ducks in the past........
Name of the game in my area is to make my boat less attractive than some else's. Zapping, air jets and water streams all sound fun, but will take way to energy to keep up in the long run.
So back to the original ask- nice slow motor that has just enough torque to move the sweep 180 degrees once every 5 minutes.
Just curious. What if a duck refuses to move? Or gets cornered? How will you prevent the motor from burning up?
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
13,712
Just curious. What if a duck refuses to move? Or gets cornered? How will you prevent the motor from burning up?
DJS makes a very good point. One option would be to have that motor pull the sweep arm back to a start position, and then a strong spring to drive the sweep/snap.
The actual timer can be a "555" timer IC, because the time does not need to be precise. 5 minutes +/- 30 seconds will not make any big difference.
What might work very well would be a windshield wiper motor mechanism that can do one wipe and stop. That would avoid the need for any reversing controls, and come in a weather resistant package as well. And quite a few will do one sweep with only one press of a button, which would work very well.
Some of those systems should be available at an automotive scrap yard, which may or not exist in the TS locality.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,854
When we put motors visitors could interact with directly into museum exhibits, we used a plain old tungsten filament light bulb in series to deal with stalls. If the motor stalls, the bulb lights and limits current, if the motor is running, the bulb stays dark.
 

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
Just curious. What if a duck refuses to move? Or gets cornered? How will you prevent the motor from burning up?
Having done battle with them for years, they just want a safe quiet place to roost. If there is any interruption or perception of danger they will go somewhere else. The goal is to make my boat less appealing to somewhere else and they will stay away.
 

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
DJS makes a very good point. One option would be to have that motor pull the sweep arm back to a start position, and then a strong spring to drive the sweep/snap.
The actual timer can be a "555" timer IC, because the time does not need to be precise. 5 minutes +/- 30 seconds will not make any big difference.
What might work very well would be a windshield wiper motor mechanism that can do one wipe and stop. That would avoid the need for any reversing controls, and come in a weather resistant package as well. And quite a few will do one sweep with only one press of a button, which would work very well.
Some of those systems should be available at an automotive scrap yard, which may or not exist in the TS locality.
I have looked at windshield wiper motors and can go there if needed. However, they are bulky in comparison to the form factor I am looking for ( everything contained in 4" PVC Pipe less than 10 inches tall ). They also need 12v and are stronger motors ( thus needing more power) than I need. Really want to be as stingy as possible with current demands as the batteries will be charged by solar and I am looking at best of a 25% charge efficiency due to placement on the boat and the swing of the tides.
Hoping to do this at 5v.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
7,198
What about a predatory bird statue? Or a recording of a predatory bird call? Or both? Aside from a small amplifier and speaker, you're not going to use much power.

Just thinking off the deck.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
13,712
I have some other ideas that may require less space, maybe even less power. But how big is this swim platform? Some boats are LARGE and their platform is three feet by 18 feet, others a lot smaller have a swim platform maybe 18 inches by four feet. Now I am wondering about small laser devices the size of a laser pointer, or smaller, that could flash their beam into a multi-faceted reflector and produce a startling burst of light. That might need to happen more frequently, but it should not take much power. A 5 milliwatt laser is very bright.
 

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
I have some other ideas that may require less space, maybe even less power. But how big is this swim platform? Some boats are LARGE and their platform is three feet by 18 feet, others a lot smaller have a swim platform maybe 18 inches by four feet. Now I am wondering about small laser devices the size of a laser pointer, or smaller, that could flash their beam into a multi-faceted reflector and produce a startling burst of light. That might need to happen more frequently, but it should not take much power. A 5 milliwatt laser is very bright.
Platform is 14ft wide by 3ft deep so I would need a lot of laser pointers. Not to mention my neighbors probably would not enjoy the ongoing lite show.
 

Thread Starter

ewo250

Joined Dec 4, 2022
11
So despite the creative suggestions on my form factor- I have been plugging away at the heart of my concept and will appreciate constructive feedback on the following= I am thinking to use a servo motor will a default 180 degree sweep such as this- https://www.amazon.com/LewanSoul-LD...8878&sprefix=180+degree+servo+,aps,109&sr=8-5
Connected to Arduino UNO Rev3 board. I have found tutorials to set sweep time and intervals. What I have not found yet is if I can put a 12 hour pause in the programming to go from 0 to 180 and back every 5 minutes.

Also have found a few 70 degree ultrasonic sensors https://www.amazon.com/Integrated-U...957&sprefix=ultrasonic+sensor+,aps,93&sr=8-10 that may get rid of the need to have the sweep going all the time.
 
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