Thursday, 14 July 2016

Motion Sensing Scarecrow Review

Our scarecrow experience
This year we finally decided to take the plunge and converted our backyard entirely into a garden; out with the grass entirely, and in with the flowers and vegetables.  A good plan to be sure, but with one major challenge: the local wildlife is equally enamored with the idea.  As we discovered last year with our small plot –it’s extremely difficult to raise vegetables to maturity without the rabbits, squirrels, and groundhogs, etc.  feasting on them before we do.
Now one would think that with the yard completely enclosed by an 8 foot fence, we would have an edge in the defense category, and it does help but the reality is that we would need to extend the fence coverage both underground and over top of the entire yard to ensure 100% protection; a great solution if you don’t consider the cost.  So we needed a different approach.  Enter the modern day version of the scarecrow; scarecrow® by Contech. The idea is simple: an infrared motion sensor attached to a sprinkler head, and powered by a 9V battery.  Every time anything warm blooded (including you) enters the area, a short blast of water from the sprinkler startles the culprit and sends them running;  harmless and effective, and @ $70 cheap coverage for a small yard.  But does it actually work?  We’ve had ours for three months now and on balance I would say yes.  Sure, we’ve had the odd visit from the groundhog next door, and I found it helps keep everyone on their toes if you move the scarecrow to a new location occasionally. So the scarecrow is ultimately part of a solution that I would recommend.
Note: In our case we also had to make a modification to the device setup. After the first few days of use I noticed that the scarecrow seemed to work only intermittently. At first I wasn’t sure if this was normal operation as it does apparently randomize its operation to an extent.  It turns out it wasn’t working properly.  The issue was that the water pressure at our house is too high for the 9V battery to open the water valve unless the battery is at 98% capacity.  The solution: a trip back to Canadian Tire to buy an RV pressure control (fits on your faucet before the garden hose, regulates pressure to 40 PSI, cost $20.00). Problem solved.  Now it works as advertised – expect 5-6 months on a single battery. 

So I’m pleased with this overall, but I’m concerned that if others have this issue, how likely are they to figure out how to fix it?  I think the pressure control should have been included in the scarecrow design, but I understand that on product like this, keeping the price point in the $50 to $75 range is important.  Anyway, that’s my 2¢.  Hopefully if anyone is having the same issue they will come across this post.