Swift – Frequently Asked Questions

August 14, 2017

Q1: Will the Swift configuration tool work on a Mac?

A1: The configuration tool currently only works on a Windows platform. Other users have reported successfully using Parallels to configure the Swift units. BRP has not tested this method and cannot guarantee that it will work. BRP uses the NuVision Solo 10 Draw TM101W610LBL Tablet to program our units in the field.

Q2: Is there software available to assist with analysis of the Swift data?

A2: Yes, we have Raven Lite and Raven Pro. Raven Lite is our free (general public) program that allows users record, save, and visualize sounds as spectrograms and waveforms. It is intended for students, educators, and hobbyists. Raven Pro is our workhorse analysis software package. It is a powerful, user-friendly research and teaching tool for scientists working with acoustic signals.

Q3: Will a AA to D-cell battery adapter work with the Swift unit?

A3: There is no technical reason to believe that the AA to D converter would not work, but BRP has not tested this configuration, so we cannot guarantee that it will work.

Q4: Do you offer any discount pricing on the Swift units?

A4: We cannot provide any discounts because the price we charge is our costs. Our goal is to provide the best unit we can at an affordable price to the research community.

Q5: Do you have a rugged housing that can withstand harsh environmental conditions?

A5: Yes, we have a version that we fit into a customized Pelican case that is sturdier and works better in areas where animals may “inspect” the units. This version has a slightly higher price – please email us for more information.

Q6: Can you please provide some more information on the accessories I will need in addition to the recorders and where I can purchase them?

A6: You will need to purchase 3 D-cell batteries for each unit and a SD card. We recommend Panasonic Industrial batteries and the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card. This is a link to a 128GB SD card – any size card of this type will work.

Q7: How much data will the Swift recorder produce and how long will it run? 

A7: The table below shows approximate runtimes. These times may vary depending upon temperature and type of batteries. These estimates were made assuming new alkaline batteries:

Sample Rate (Hz) Approx Runtime (Hrs) Approx Runtime (Days) Data Generated per Day (GB) Data Generated over Runtime (GB)
  8,000 672 28  1.4  39.2
 16,000  636  26.5  2.8  74.2
 32,000  588  24.5  5.5  134.8
 48,000  552  23  8.3  190.9
 96,000  504  21  16.6  348.6

Q8: What is the frequency range of the Swift units?

A8: The units can be programmed to record at 8kHz, 16kHz, 32kHz, 48kHz or 96kHz sample rate. The sample rate is two times the effective recording rate. For example, setting the sample rate to 16kHz, will record with an effective record rate of 8kHz.

Q9: What kind of microphone is on the Swift unit?

A9: The manufacturer of the microphone is PUI Audio. Part number is POW-1644L-B-LW100-R. It is omni-directional and has a signal to noise ratio (min) of >58db with a frequency response of 50 Hz to 16kHz.  If you require additional information about the microphone, please email us.

Q10: I lost the USB cable you sent me. Can I use the cable that I use to charge my smartphone?

A10: The cable is a standard USB 2.0 micro USB cable that is commonly used to charge cell phones and other devices.

Q11: Does the Swift record in dual-channel mode?

A11: Currently, the Swift recorders do not function in dual-channel recording mode. The circuit board and microphone connector are capable of dual-channel recording. However, the microphone and the firmware are not. This is something that we plan to develop on a future version.

Q12: What is the file format produced by the Swift unit?

A12: The Swift produces WAV files. The file size is configurable using the Configuration Tool.

Q13: What is the bit depth of the Swift?

A13: The Swift records with a 16-bit word length.

Q14: What are the weight and dimensions of the standard Swift unit?

A14: Dimensions are 8” X 5” X 4” with the tree bracket attached; 4.7” X 5.1” X 2.4” without the tree bracket. The weight with 3 D cell batteries and tree bracket attached is 2.4 pounds; with batteries and without the tree bracket it is 1.65 pounds; without batteries and without tree bracket it is .75 pounds.

Q15: What are the weight and dimensions of the rugged Swift unit?

A15: Dimensions are 8.5” X 6.75” X 4”. The microphone is enclosed inside the case. We do not include tree brackets for the rugged unit. The weight is 5.5 pounds with 12 D cell batteries; without batteries, the weight is 1.8 pounds.

Q16: Is it possible to utilize this unit in harsh environmental conditions such as those experienced in the Arctic or northern Canada?

A16: We would recommend the rugged unit with lithium batteries for these conditions because of the need for additional power for operation in cold climates. The electronics will be fine in sub-zero weather, but the batteries will degrade much faster and alkaline batteries will not even function if it is really cold.

Q17: What is the working temperature range of the Swift unit?

A17: The electronics are rated to -35 degrees Celsius. Alkaline batteries will not function at this low temperature – you will need lithium batteries. We anticipate the maximum operating temp to be about 50 degrees Celsius.

Q18: Is it possible to program multiple recording periods per day with different schedules on different days?

A18: No, this is not a current capability of the Swift unit.

Q19: Is it possible to program the recording time in relation to sunrise/sunset?

A19: This is not currently possible, but it is something that we want to do in the future.

Q20: One of my units lost its microphone windscreen. Where can I get a replacement?

A20: We use the WindTech 10380 Military High Density Windscreen from B&H.

Q21: I’m trying to use rechargeable batteries, but they don’t last as long as you say batteries should last. Why is that?

A21: In general, rechargeable batteries do not work as well as regular alkaline batteries. Our experience is that they work fine when they are new, but very quickly degrade over time. We recommend Panasonic Industrial batteries or Duracell Procell batteries. Additionally, if you need even more recording duration, you could use lithium batteries. These will greatly extend your recording time.

Q22: I’m getting an error message that says that the firmware is not compatible with the Swift program. How do I update the firmware?

A22: Be sure that you have downloaded and installed the latest version of the Swift Recorder Configuration Tool from our website. If you are still getting a message about firmware incompatibility, close the program and unplug the Swift from the USB port. Then plug the Swift back into the USB without the Configuration Tool running. Wait a minute or two while the Swift USB driver installs. Then try starting the Configuration Tool and it should connect. If you continue to have problems, please send us an email.

Q23: I’m getting an error message when trying to sync the Swift unit with time on my computer.

A23: Be sure that you are using the American date format (MM/DD/YYYY).

If you have additional questions, please email BRP.