4.1.2. The Capaz hive scale

The first prototype of the Capaz hive scale was developed in 1997. In 2003, it was ready to be put on the commercial market. The scale is a 420 x 480 x 86 mm platform made of aluminium and stainless steel (Fig. 15). The scale can weigh up to 200 kg with a precision of 100 grams. Weight, ambient temperature, humidity are measured by default. The amount of rain collected and brood temperature can be added to the parameters measured. The number of measurements per unit time can be adjusted and depends on the topic of the study (Seeley and Visscher, 1985; Meikle et al., 2008). A very easy way to change the setup of the scale is by connecting the scale to the configuration software that accompanies the scale (Fig. 16). The battery lasts for approximately 200 days, but has a shorter life in the wintertime due to low temperature extremes. So far, no problems due to cold Nordic winter conditions (down to – 40oC) have been reported (Flemming Vejsnæs; pers. comm.).

The scale will send an SMS that is transformed to an e-mail. Using SMS limits the quantity of data that can be sent per unit time (Fig. 17). As standard the scale records data every second or every hour during the daytime. It is possible to change the setup of the scale, sending more SMSs per day, thus increasing the number of daily data. Every day, at a time determined by the user, the scale will send the data. Together with the scale, well developed software (Fig. 18) is provided, where all data can be downloaded directly from the e-mail mailbox. Data can easily be exported to excel spreadsheets. In addition, a web application can upload data directly to the internet. Different scale companies offer different online web applications. 

Fig. 15. The Capaz scale is an H-shaped platform made from aluminium and stainless steel, with the dimensions 420 x 480 x 86 mm (long x wide x high). Data are transmitted by cell phone. The rechargeable battery (12 V) lasts for 200 days. Ambient temperature and humidity are measured by default. Additional equipment is the rain collector and brood temperature sensor. Changes of the standard setup of the scale are done via the computer software. Photo: Capaz.


Fig. 16.
Configuration of the Capaz scale directly in the apiary. Photo: F Vejsnæs.


Fig. 17.
With the Capaz scale, all data are sent by a cell phone, as an SMS. The SMS is converted to an e-mail sent to an e-mail account. From here, it can be uploaded on the internet and/or downloaded by the software. A sample output received via e-mail follows the format: !33H74F71301122XXXX#0601+027033891+1970800+025033890+1961200+029033791+1961400+035033690+1931600+042033683+1952000+042033682+1962200+040033580+198!


Fig. 18.
The well designed software that comes with the Capaz scale allows easy exporting of data to spreadsheets.