Turtle Sense communicator housing final assembly

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The main pieces of the system have been completed at this point:

  • The Comm PCB and phone assembly
  • The Smart Sensor
  • The PVC pipe housing

The pieces now get assembled into one unit. The instructions below assume that the unit will be used in a severe weather environment, and that it may be subjected to dropping (by the Post Office, for example). Some of the instructions below are intended to prevent damage to the unit from those causes.

Materials used

  • AA NiMH batteries, qty 8
  • 8-AA cell battery holder
  • 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 1/4" Wood blocks, qty 2
  • Nylon cable ties, about 5"
  • Parafilm
  • Small bubble wrap (about 1/4" thick)
  • Teflon tape
  • Vaseline
  • 10 gram dessicant package

Battery pack assembly instructions

The battery pack before wrapping in Parafilm and bubble wrap
  1. Make sure the 8 AA cells are fully charged.
  2. Install the batteries in the battery holder.
  3. Attach the battery cable to the battery pack.
  4. Verify that the Comm board is functioning (blinking LED, etc.)
  5. Secure a cable tie (or two in series) around the battery pack and the middle of the battery clip.
  6. While holding the two wood blocks against the sides of the battery pack, secure a cable tie (or two in series) around the middle of the battery pack. The blocks help prevent the batteries from coming out of the holder accidentally. The wood blocks should be over the cable tie holing on the battery cable.
  7. Wrap the battery pack tightly in Parafilm.
  8. Wrap a piece of bubble wrap around the middle of the battery pack.
  9. Wrap another layer of Parafilm around the entire battery pack.

Final assembly instructions

The Communication head before final assembly. From left to right are the Communication compartment, the Battery compartment, and the Molex connector with a protective bottle.
  1. Secure a cable tie (or two in series) around the middle of the Comm PCB and Phone board.
  2. Wrap four complete turns of Teflon tape around the threads of the Inside Threaded Pipe Plug, Looking from the top of the plug, with the electronics pointing down, wrap the tape counterclockwise from the top of the threads downward.
  3. Insert the desiccant package in the space between the Comm board wood mounting blocks.
  4. Screw the plug of the electronics assembly into the PVC pipe assembly. Start it by hand, and then use the handle of a adjustable crescent wrench to tighten the plug further. The handle of about a 10" adjustable crescent wrench should fit into the slot of the plug.
  5. Put a small piece of bubble wrap into the bottom of the battery compartment.
  6. Put the battery pack into the battery compartment, with the battery clip up.
  7. Put another small piece of bubble wrap on top of the battery pack.
  8. Smear a thin layer of Vaseline on both surfaces where the battery compartment slides into the electronics compartment.
  9. After noting the position of the cat5e cable, slide the battery compartment and the electronics compartment together. As you insert it, give the electronics compartment 3/4 of a turn with respect to the battery compartment. This allows the cable to spiral around the inside of the PVC pipe. Also be careful that the battery wires are inside and do not get pinched.
  10. There may be air pressure in the battery compartment pushing the connection apart. If so, tighten the set screw until the air escapes, and then back off the screw about 1/2 turn.
  11. The system is now ready to connect with a Smart Sensor and install in the field.