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Mounting Strategies

To position the counter/logger under a drip our preferred method is a sand filled sock to form a stable pad that sits happily on stal tips and uneven surfaces. Note that pure wool or cotton socks will probably rot! A loosely compressed pad of aluminium foil is an alternative approach to sitting the stalagmate on an uneven surface. Some users have employed wire frames to hold the Stalagmate securely. If there is a risk of flooding the stalagmate will need to be tethered. This can be achieved by drilling a small hole into the tunnel through which the lid bolts pass - a cable tie or wire can be then be attached for tethering purposes.

Some users have employed wire frames to hold the Stalagmate securely. If there is a risk of flooding the stalagmate will need to be tethered. This can be achieved by drilling a small hole into the tunnel through which the lid bolts pass - a cable tie or wire can be then be attached for tethering purposes.

For drip counting and water collection the stalagmate can be placed in a beaker (an 800 ml tripour works particularly well) fitted with an outlet port and tube leading to a suitable container.

Deciding on the time interval

For sites with faster driprates (say > 5 drips per minute) it may be important to preserve sufficient headroom to accommodate any changes in drip rate. The trade-off when keeping the interval short to accommodate transient increases in driprate is leaving sufficient memory to continue logging until the next visit to the site. In practice the impact on logging time is only an issue for the fastest driprates when using the 64k Stalagmate when ther interval will have to be set to say 1 minute to accommodate the maximum driprate of 5 drips/sec. This will give about 40 days of logging time before the memory is full.

The Stalagmate Plus can count 16,000 drips over 32,000 intervals which places almost no contraints on logging capacity - the battery life at 2 years becomes the governing factor. Unless a very high resolution record is required, setting an interval of 30 mins will give good resolution with sufficient memory for 1.8 years of logging.

The logger can be set counting before going into the field - you will get spurious noise at the start of the record when it is being transported but this can be edited out later. Alternatively you can set a delayed start to start logging at a specified date and time or, btter still, use the trigger facility to start logging when in position on-site. There is no penalty on battery power, since the device is live all the time.

Final Setup

At the site, set the box so that drops fall onto the centre of the lid, and tilt the box slightly so that dripwater gently falls to one side and does not form a permanent pool of water. Hits are registered by a flash on the yellow LED (active all the time, even when not logging), so it can be positioned quite accurately. A piece of filter paper on the lid has been found to be a useful way of conducting the water away from the centre, and does not affect the Stalagmate's functionality.

Downloading data

Various strategies can be employed for downloading data. If using a laptop in the field, this can be done any time while the logger is running (without interupting logging). If taking a laptop into a cave doesn't seem a good idea another option is to simply swop loggers and offload data onto a PC at a later date. Alternatively, a Windows PDA can be used to collect data on site.

 

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