Pisces Programmer

Radio telemetry transmitter being programmed.The Pisces programmer is used to interact with our transmitters. It can start and stop tags, as well as program them to have a unique code-set and schedule. This device is controlled by our Pisces Tool software software built for the Windows® environment. A full list of programmable features is as follows:

  • Coded or Beeper Emission: settings such as pulse width, pulse interval and entirely user-defined codesets are possible.
  • Initial Burst: the user can set the transmitter to emit a certain mode for up to an hour after the initial programming is transmitted to the tag.
  • Mortality: enable whether the transmitter will go into a different emission state when there has not been enough movement detected.
  • Scheduling Functions:
    • Delayed Start: have the transmitter start at a certain time and date in the future.
    • Termination: have the transmitter go silent at some date.
    • Day Scheduling: have the transmitter follow a set on/off schedule by calendar dates, or by the day of the week.
    • Time Scheduling: have the transmitter emit only during set times of the day. Can also be combined with day scheduling.

The above settings can be saved in a configuration file and sent/shared to colleagues to review as well.

Utilizing these functions can extend the lifetime of a transmitter significantly. For example, our TX-PSC-I-80 transmitter has an expected lifetime of 64 days with the following parameters:

  • 20ms pulses, emitting every 2s (AKA 30ppm)
  • Emit 24 hours per day, 7 days per week

However, if we only want to track the animal on the weekends, and from 9AM-5PM, we can extend this transmitters lifetime to approximately 453 days, over 7 times the original estimate!

The new Pisces Tool version 6.1 software also enables the user to see in real time how the current configuration effects the lifetime of the transmitter, by showing visually when the tag will be on, and the estimated expiry date. Changing values for pulse width, interval, time/date scheduling, will dynamically update the view, allowing users to easily see and understand exactly what their changes do to effect the approximate lifetime of the transmitter.

Although Pisces Programmers are needed to program tags, if you do not need it for long term purposes it is possible to rent these units and/or have us program your tags before we ship them. The software for the programmer is free, and can be downloaded on our software page.

Example of Pisces Tool updating the display:

pisces tool - used in programming wildlife radio transmitters used for tracking

In the above example, the tag life estimator has been enabled for an 80mAh tag. Green means the transmitter is emitting that day, red means it is off, and grey means it’s past the expected expiry date. As the user makes changes, they are automatically reflected in the calendar view.