Montana Ghost Hunter

Tag: Equipment

Let’s talk about EMF Detectors!

by on Feb.07, 2011, under Equipment

I’ve been getting a few emails about EMF detectors.. mainly what to buy, etc. I thought I’d talk about this today. I personally own two EMF detectors – KII Meter and the 7021 Cell Sensor EMF Detection Meter. I’ll talk a little about what I own, and the other detector that my Montana Ghost Hunting group member has.

K-II EMF Meter - K2 MeterKII Meter

Let’s first talk about the KII Meter. I purchased the KII for two purposes. The first purpose is to isolate and locate consistent (or non-consistent) spikes in the EMF field. I use it for base readings prior to an investigation.  The second purpose is to use the KII as a call-and-response tool for potential communication. Let’s talk about the good and bad here. The default KII has a momentary switch, meaning as soon as you let go of the switch the KII is off. You can address this by modifying the KII with a toggle switch, use a coin or another item to lock the button down. I personally think the KII is a great tool, and any investigation should have one in the equipment box. One thing to be weary about, when the unit is activated it will flicker – especially if you do not modify it. The other issue is that it is extremely sensitive to two-way radios and cell phones. The KII should be away from any communication device. It can also register ‘hits’ with vibration, so don’t shake it or bump a table if it’s laying on it. Knowing about false positives is important for good evidence.

I mentioned call-and-response. If you’ve modified your KII you can leave it on away from you and request that spirits interact or walk by the KII to possibly trigger a result. I personally have the KII out during EVP sessions, but have seen this behavior.. yet.

Technology Alternatives 7021 Cell Sensor EMF Detection Meter7021 Cell Sensor EMF Detection Meter

Actually, my son has this unit. It’s the cheapest EMF meter you can get. It does work. It’s not too sensitive but could be used for high spikes on EMF. It also has a sensor and trigger which could be used as EMF traps. On one investigation (not using my son’s but another team member) we were able to use this as a EMF trap while investigating another room. The EMF detector will have a audible tone when EMF spikes occur.

Lutron 822-A Fully Digital EMF Meter (Wide Range, High Resolution)Lutron 822 Digital EMF

This is a great EMF Meter, and again, another device that should be in the equipment box. Unlike the KII it will give an exact measurement of EMF in the area. The KII provides a ‘range’ and will indicate that range via lights (0-1.3 milligaus will be one light).  But let’s say we want to know if the mG is .25, then you’ll need a unit like this. It is accurate and is very useful for getting precise base levels of a room prior to investigation. The draw backs of this unit, no visual indication besides the LCD display of change. Meaning, no visual lights, or audible sounds for spikes.

As you can see all of these detectors have pros and cons. There really isn’t a ‘best’ but I would recommend getting them all for your team or solo investigations. Personally, you can never have too many EMF meters. It’s a good entry level tool for beginning investigators and it’s always a bummer when you don’t have one in a location when you need it (ie: the other team member has it in the other room, etc).

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Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Flash Game Camera

by on Jan.28, 2011, under Equipment, Shows

Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Flash Game CameraI got a email the other day asking about some of the infrared photos on this site.. and what cameras were used to create them. I tried to email that visitor (but the email bounced) so if you’re out there, I thought I would make a quick post, since I have been asked that a few times on the blog.

First off, a lot of the infrared camera shots were from my custom modified IR camera. If you’re interested, check out my post on how I converted a digital camera to infrared. Some of those interesting shots were actually taken in the day and not at night. That is one reason for the crazy exposure. I have used the camera at night with a infrared illuminator for light source.

Now the other shots (and the original emailer asked what camera was used on Ghost Adventurers) were taken with a Moultrie Game SPi I-40 camera. This is a great game camera which can take shots triggered by motion or manually. It has a tripod mount as well as the ability to tie on poles/trees, etc. It has incredible battery life. I’ve had mine for two years now.. and I’m still 60% charged. The Moultrie Game Camera writes to SD card, so space is dependent on the size of card you use. You can also configure the quality which can increase or lower the number of photos per session. Again, I’ve never run into a issue here. It stores a ton.

The other great feature of the Moultrie Game Camera is that it records the date/time, temperature and moon cycle.  I like to use this information when there discussions of temperature drops, etc. Then I make note of the time and cross reference the photos to see if it matches the drop. Currently I have one, but would like 2 or 3 for investigations. It is nice to set them up statically as motion traps, but also to take random shots as a hand held unit. See the photo below:

Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Flash Game Camera

When taking shots by hand it’s important to stabilize the camera, since it’s similar to ‘night shot’ on point and shoot cameras, and ayou can get photo artifacts or tracers.. not good evidence.

If you guys are looking to pick up the Moultrie Game Camera it’s available for only $150 at Amazon at the time of this posting. I ‘ve seen the crew of Ghost Adventurers use this particular camera on investigations with interesting results.

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EMF Pump Phase 2 – Success!

by on Jan.30, 2010, under Equipment

My first attempt with the EMF Pump was a failure (in my eyes) but at least I was too far away from my logic. After posting that earlier post, Brad (founder of Spokane Paranormal) commented and offered to lend his hand! I was able to call him on the phone and roughed out a wiring diagram to wire two box fan motors in parallel. Nice that I had two laying around and was already playing with this concept, but I liked the idea of using just the fan coils (removing the shaft.. which luckily for me is really dangerous to mess around with).

At Entities-r-us.com, I found a post where Brad provided some results with using a EMF pump…

It has helped us alot in gathering evp evidence. On our first investigation using the emf pump we gathered 17 evp’s. On our next investigation we went to a place we have investigated many times. Our usual evidence yielded on average 4 evp’s. When we went back and used the emf pump we gathered 17 evp’s and 2 apparitions. It seems as though it gives them more energy. The evp’s were very clear and louder as well. Instead of gathering mostly class b evp’s, 14 of the were class a. One of them was so loud and clear you would swear that somebody had sat next to the recorder and just spoke into it. It was louder than any of the investigators throughout the whole night.

So here is my procedure, and again, I’ll add my standard disclaimer… I don’t take any responsibility for any death, injuries or loss of property. I’m just illustrating how I did this.

I used two Lakewood box fans, the kind you find at Walmart, etc. Oddly, my two fans were purchased at two different times, so the motors were different. I completely took apart the fans and released the motor from both of them. After taking apart the motor housing or cage, I removed the shaft which spins the fan.

In my case, I wanted to stick with the electronics assembly of the first motor, but I need to tie in the second motor. After the switch, I connected the same color wires to the first motor and combined the ground (black). The other colors represent speed stages with red being the high speed setting. The switch is a 3 way selector switch with off, 1, 2 and 3 speeds.

Brad instructed me to use a 3″ 110 VAC case fan (Radio Shack part #273-242) to help cool the coils. With out the fan mechanism the coils get HOT and will eventually shut down with out some cooling. This fan will be used to exhaust heat away my enclosure. Brad uses a Playstation 2 shell for an enclosure, which I really like that idea, but I wasn’t quite sure where to pick one up quickly (I needed this to be done for an upcoming investigation) so I opted to use a small tool box ($5 at Walmart).

After wiring everything and testing if both coils worked and no fires occurred I began to think about mounting the coils and electronics. Below is a photo of my coils with everything wired up, including the fan with temporary test leads.

I used my dremel tool to cut the brackets that held the motor originally in the box fan and reattached the motors to my pieces. From there, I ran to Ace Hardware and started buying all sorts of spacers, socket heads and locking nuts. I used spacers to raise the coil mounts about a 1/4″ off of the bottom of my enclosure. I also bought a square U-Bolt to sit between my coils. I would use this bar to zip tie some of my wires to keep things tidy and away from the hot coils. I decided to mount the fan to the top of the lid and used a forsenor (spelling) bit to cut the large vent holes at the top. Thinking about additional venting I added some smaller holds to both sides of the enclosure.

For the potentiometer switch I made a template based off of the original fan housing (basically two notch cuts above and below a circle cut). My switch popped into that just like how it did in the original box fan chassis. I bought a little cooler knobby and attached it with a set screw.

Here is a photo of the EMF pump opened.

Here is a shot from above with the EMF closed.

Here is a better view of the front showing the knob to fire the unit up.

Again, I would like to thank Brad from Spokane Paranormal for helping with this build! I really do appreciate it, and I’m excited to start using this on upcoming investigations with Tortured Souls Investigations.

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EMF Pump Phase 1 – Failure?

by on Jan.26, 2010, under Equipment

So, working on my EMF Pump, I’m feeling like I need to state that Phase 1 might be a failure. I had high hopes, and I’m concerned on what it can do, and I’m concerned on safety if I continue. Any brainiacs out there that might be able to lend a hand.. or at least a ear?

My strategy is to use coils from fans. One coil (electric motor) will spin a magnet in another coil above it. Issues, I’m running into…

– EMF field generated is strong but distance is really shallow
– Electric motor gets real hot
– My magnets are not providing enough to create a decent field. I’m able to generate about a 1/4 volt of juice

I’m thinking about removing the drives entirely and just power the coils with AC current (110). Here comes the safety issue. Will this fry me? If so, what’s the best way of going about this, and will this generate enough EMF?

I’ll probably buy some larger rare earth magnets and continue with my first plan to see if I can increase the EMF field. I also noticed that applying the second coil actually decreased my EMF read out.

Help please.

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Radio Shack Hack Ghost Box 12-469

by on Jan.25, 2010, under Equipment

I mentioned this a while back that I was going to make a modification to the Radio Shack Pocket Radio (#12-469) to allow it to sweep uninterrupted through the AM or FM bands. This can be used in conjunction with EVP sessions. Personally, I’m not sold on this technique, but wanted to give it a shot regardless.

Here is the radio you need. I’ve heard they’re not selling this anymore? If this is true, you can many tutorials on other various Shack hack ghost boxes types. The concept is the same for all, removing the ‘mute’ pin.

Okay, here is where I add my standard disclaimer. I’m not responsible for any injury or loss of equipment when attempting this modification. Do this at your own risk!

The first step is to remove the three screws from the rear including the one in the battery compartment.

Once you’ve removed the screws you’ll see the PCB (Printed Circuit Board).

Now this circuit board is attached to another circuit board below it. You’ll need to remove two more screws that connect the circuit boards to each other. They’re connected with a set of connector pins. You’ll be able to separate the circuit boards, but be careful!

Now flip the circuit board you removed over and you’ll see the series of pins. They’re all labeled, and what you need to do is to clip the MUTE pin. Triple check that you’ve identified the correct pin.

Now with a pair of wire cutters clip the pin as close to the circuit board as possible. I circled the pin for reference.

What this will do is prevent the radio to lock on a channel during scanning mode. Now reverse the steps, gently reattach the circuit board to the other. Screw in the two screws securing the circuit board. Attach the cover and screw in the three screws. To test, add batteries and hold down the center button. The channels should begin scan, but never stop.

I also found this video showing the same unit I used.

Let me know how it goes!
Thanks!

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Upcoming New Investigations

by on Jan.20, 2010, under Equipment, Investigations

I’m very excited about 2010. The group which I’m a member of, Tortured Souls Investigations, has some great investigations lined up for Spring 2010, which the potential of more local locations. This weekend we kick off 2010 with a great location with lots of local history, so I can’t wait!

I have some plans for new ‘gadgets’ for 2010 as well. Side note, I hate it when people call them ‘gadgets’ or ‘toys’. Can’t we call it equipment?? Not sure why you don’t hear them be referred as ‘toys’ on TAPS or Ghost Lab, etc. Maybe I need to make them to look more like ‘equipment’. Heavy, metal, something with ‘authority’ might be needed. EMF detectors that you need to wheel in with a hand truck.. no we’re talking!

Seriously, I’m interested in making a EMF pump this year as well as some better ghost beacons and illuminators. Along with building some new projects, I’m starting to assemble a little wish list of equipment to purchase. Mel Meters, Data Recorders, etc.

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Ghost Beacon Project

by on Oct.19, 2009, under Equipment

So I’ve been kicking around the idea of building a ‘ghost beacon‘. The concept is something that flashes in the IR and UV light spectrum, that might be able to attract some spirit activity. Does this work? Who knows, but it sounded fun and nerdy, so I’m all over it.

I was looking around for various schematics on how to do this, but I stumbled across a great kit at BG Micro, that I thought would be perfect. The kit was the Tiny Cylon kit. Normally, this uses 5 small red LEDs and a 555 IC chip pre-programmed to display various light patterns. I thought it would be cool to replace some of the LEDs with IR and UV LEDs.

The kit comes non-assembled (basically a circuit board, resister, switch, IC and 5 red LEDs). I also purchased a few 940nm/50 degree LEDs and a few T1-3/4 UV LEDs. The UVs are a bit pricey at $1.49 ea, but these IRs are on .20 ea. I would probably try ones with greater degree though. The 940nm make it completely invisible to the human eye though.

PA150002

The kit is very easy to assemble, just add the components and start soldering! The kit comes with a battery pack (3 AAA batteries) with postive/negative leads so you need to solder those as well.

PA150003

I initially had some trouble powering the unit. Doing a quick check with my volt meter, I noticed that something was ‘off’ with my incoming power supply. Re-seating the batteries in this case fixed the problem. You can use the switch to change light modes. I believe there are 5 or 6 different modes.

PA150004

PA150007

I posted a small video at YouTube showing you how the lights work, etc. You can see it below:

Please let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions, tips, etc. You can also get a hold of me on Twitter now as well!

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IR Flashlight Illuminator – Refraction Lens Modification

by on Oct.12, 2009, under Equipment

So a while ago, I posted a how-to on building a simple IR (infrared) illuminator using a flashlight and colored gels. This is a great, easy way to add additional infrared light to your night shot cameras.

Recently, I was at a investigation at Rankin Hall, and this was my first test of these IR illuminators. Overall, they worked great, but I felt that the light beam was too focused and it created a large spot on the wall when pointed to it. I wanted to ‘wash’ that out and cause more of a ‘flood’ effect. Doing some brainstorming and asking other nerdy friends, a friend came up with the idea of using a fluorescent light cover. I thought this was absolutely brilliant idea, since the flood lights had ‘nubbed’ surfaces causing the light to refract on multiple points on the surface.

I went to Ace hardware and picked up a 2×4 sheet of this material (approximately $7) and took it home. Here are the steps I took to complete this project (this is starting with a functional IR illuminator).

I laid the material on the floor and took apart my flashlight to use the reflector as a stencil.

PA110002

I used a utility knife to outline the reflector. There is a flat side and a nubby side. I scored the plastic on the flat side. Be careful with this material, it’s very brittle and can crack easily.

PA110004

Next, I used a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel to cut out a square around the circle. This will give you a more manageable piece to work with. Once that is out, you can cut on your score mark easier. Try not to damage the surface, and stay with in the outline. I used a sanding bit to smooth the edges, but a file would probably work as well.

PA110006

Next you lay the additional lens in the lens holder. It should be a sandwich. Refraction lens, gels and the actual lens. I kept the nubby side towards the light source.

PA110007

Here is what the light source looks like.. pretty cool!

PA110009

I wanted to show you the before and after conditions of the IR illuminator as well. These shots were taken with the IR converted digital camera, using the IR flashlight as the light source. Here is the shot without the refraction lense modification.

PICT0043

As you can see, there is a intense center point. Sorry the photo is slightly blurry, the IR camera should have been on a tripod, since it’s still shooting in low light, but I just wanted to illustrate the ‘spot’. Next is with the modification.

PICT0042

You lose a bit of distance, but the area is more covered with IR light. The beauty with this modification, if you need a beam, you just remove the refraction lense. Very quick.

Let me know what you think!

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Rankin Hall Investigation

by on Oct.09, 2009, under Evidence, Investigations

So I was able to attend a interesting event here in Missoula. 107.5FM are having a ‘ghost hunt’ every Thursday for the month of October. Apparently, the first week was a ghost hunt ‘simulation’, I wasn’t aware of this.. or what was involved, but the public was invited and were participating in a contest to attend a ‘real’ ghost hunt the following Thursday(s).

I was contacted by my group (Tortured Souls Investigation – TSI) to see if I would be able to attend the upcoming ghost hunt. 107.5 was planning to have two paranormal investigation teams (TSI and GIG – Girls Investigation Ghosts) take the winners from last weeks simulation. The crowd consisted of about 20 people (which is large for a investigation in my opinion). Going into this I was VERY weary of participating. I was worried it was going to be too much of a media circus and I was also unsure if the people involved would take this seriously, or mock our efforts.

There was media and there was a lot of hype involved, but I was really impressed with the participants. Quickly it was obvious that the people who were there were into it.. with respect and seriousness.

Rankin Hall consists of three floors and is one of the oldest buildings on the University of Montana campus. The first team had the main floor and the upper floor. The second team (TSI) started in the basement. After a hour and half or so, the teams swapped locations. KPAX, one of the local news stations, also attended and stayed for the majority of the hunt as well.

I was particularly excited to use a few pieces of new equipment. It was a great opportunity to use the GeoPhone, but we had no interesting results from it. I also used the Moultry game camera in hand-held mode. Normally, I use the game camera with stationed on a tri-pod, but wanted to give this a shot. I feel like I need to work on my aim a bit, and be just touch more still. I was also able to use my digital camera converted to IR during low light. I had to use my flashlight IR illuminators to light the room prior to shooting any photos.

I noticed that my flashlights are too focused, and I need to figure out how to disperse the light a bit and create a more wash/flood. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this.. please let me know.

I was hoping to use the ShackHack ghost box, but the opportunity did not present itself during this investigation, but it could be possible for next week’s hunt.

Overall, the Rankin Hall investigation provided low activity. There seems to have been a few personal experiences, but no real ‘hard’ evidence, but it was great to make some new local friends interested in the paranormal.

You can see photos from the Moultry game camera and the digital still IR shots in my Flickr Gallery.

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KII EMF questionable evidence on Ghost Hunters

by on May.12, 2009, under Equipment, Shows

A couple of years ago, I was watching the Manson Murder episode, where the KII was unveiled. I remember I was super impressed that the EMF detector would react to questions. Shortly after this episode I acquired my own KII.

I’ve taken this to a few investigations, but did not experience any weirdness with the device. The first thing that I noticed about the device is that it had a tactile switch. This means that if you take your thumb off or adjust the thumb, the device would turn off or fluctuate. I ended up using the coin technique to address this problem.

Here is a video that describe this “issue”. Please notice what he says about when the device is on. I’ll reference this in a bit.
http://www.paranormal-tips.com/?p=18

After hearing the suspect evidence on the TAPS 2008 live special, I was thinking about the original show which really got me excited about the KII. I thought I would take another look, since I truly understand the behaviour of the KII.

Here is the TAPS epsiode:

Please watch at 2:30 point in the video, where Jason is holding the KII. You’ll notice the first light going off with responses to the questions. As the original video states, if the first green light goes away, the KII turns off! The first green light stays on if it’s on. This could be more ‘tainted’ evidence. Not sure.

As for me, I’ll be modifying my KII with a toggle. I’ll be sure to provide a how-to when I do.

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