This bat listener kit has been carefully engineered and is - thanks to the detailed printed instructions - easy to assemble in an hour or so if you are familiar with identifying and soldering electronic components. At first I tested it with my indoor ultrasonic spider repellent. Then at dawn I adjusted its sensitivity to just below self-triggering, went outside and waited for the vampires to dive upon me. A single bat passed by several times and the listener responded as expected with a creaky noise. The maximum detection range seems to be several ten meters, may be up to fifty if the bat is screaming straight at the device and the sensitivity has been adjusted appropriately. Do not forget to switch it off after use to save battery life.
Bought one each as stocking fillers for my kids, plus one for me. They arrived in the antipodes in great time, well packed. Everything present and correct, and a snap to put together. Appropriately minimal instructions on the kit, because it's simple, and a handy sheet on how to solder. The only problem I had was waiting for morning for the sun to charge it up. Definitely a good buy.
The bat listener is an easy project to put together. The PCB is very well marked and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The sensitivity dial is very touchy in an indoor environment; it took me a few tries to figure out what the best settings for listening to CFL bulbs and power supplies are. I got the chance to try it out outdoors soon after in a place with lots of bats. I could track them chirping and flying around a security light pole. The bat listener picked them up from around 25 meters and was easy to track their flight with. It was a very neat experience to be able to put together a piece of equipment and test it out in the field.
I bought this kit mainly because I wanted a different type of easy soldering project than the usual digital clocks and blinking LEDs. It arrived very promptly in good anti-static packaging, and with a set of printed instructions that were easy to read and included the schematic. The resistors were bundled, which is nice when you are a beginner like me, and the PCB was very well marked and made it easy to understand the assembly. The plastic case is easy to assemble and is reasonably durable and attractive for the price. After assembly, I powered my new detector up and investigated the sources mentioned in the manual. The background noise from the environment is moderately loud, but when I ran the detector over a laptop and smartphone screen I could easily hear the difference between the less active parts of the screen and the power couplings. My TV made a different, louder noise, and the tubes of my nixie clock and its 180V DC power supply were also very loud and very distinct. The transistors in the power supply are very high pitched and screaming sounding. I listened to a 110V surge protector to compare, and it had a much deeper tone and sounded like it was operating on a different frequency, I guess? Overall, as a beginner to electrical circuitry, this kit has been very stimulating during assembly and during my novice investigations of electronic devices.
I bought this kit as a beginner at soldering because I wanted something useful to learn the basics of circuitry with. It was very easy to put together and the PCB feels like a high-quality board. Everything was well marked, so I had no trouble understanding how to assemble it even though it was only the second kit I put together.
This device is useful as a proof of concept. I assembled it and then tested it and all I heard was a faint white noise that changed vaguely around an EMF but it had to be very close and even then it was not easy to tell if it was just random. I then thought maybe I put the chip in backwards, well I hadn't but when I reversed the chip it fried it and now I have a device that really doesn't work. Other than that the quality of the component seemed very good.
Response from The Curious Electric Company | May 11, 2017
Thanks for the review. Yes - it does need to be very close to the cable/device to detect (basically the sensors need to tocuh the cable/device). I'll update the info to say this. I've had pretty good volume/output from this but very variable with the source - old AC power supplies are very loud, phone backlight power supply is quite feint, but audiable when close to the front of the phone. You can improve the sensitivity with a larger hand wound inductor. Its based on the ElektroSlutch and they ahve plans for hand wound sensors: https://lom.audio/product-category/elektrosluch/ If you'd like me to send another IC then I can put on in the post to you. Regards, Matt