Surrey based Planet Ocean, reports a significant increase in uptake of their new Minibuoy system. Minibuoy is designed for sheltered and inland waters deployments. The 0.61m diameter platform, the smallest in the range which extends to 3.6m has recently undergone a complete mechanical overhaul with an all polyethylene equipment housing replacing the original stainless steel version.
The new design is manufactured using a computer controlled flat bed router which allows custom housings to be manufactured quickly and cheaply. Standard housings can carry either two 10W or two 5W solar panels. An additional mooring point below the buoyancy module has been added that provides improved stability in higher currents, and a choice of 7 different buoyancy modules are offered to cover a huge range of environmental conditions. Buoyancy can be stacked to create spar buoy configurations should the need arise.
The platform has already been used for a variety of applications including dredge monitoring, and water quality monitoring and has spawned two new products for Planet Ocean. "Mini-Metbuoy" is a small meteorological buoy providing wind speed and direction, air temperature, air pressure and humidity along with GPS position direct to the web using the companies' well proven GPRS telemetry module, DBT-3. The ultra low power of the DBT-3 module ensures that even the small minibuoy platform can support the payload, and solar power supply. Communication with the DBT-3 is bi directional, and the buoy/sensors can be configured remotely from your desk meaning no costly site visits are required. Position alarms as well as over or under condition alarms are sent by email and/or SMS text.
The newest in the range is "Acoustibuoy" which draws on the unique features if the Instrument Concepts ic-Listen range of smart hydrophones. Acoustibuoy is a small, simple to deploy PAM (Passive Acoustic Monitoring) buoy, which measures, records and transmits calibrated acoustic data via either UHF radio or GRPS cell phone telemetry direct to the web. Raw WAV files, or FFT Spectral data can be sent. The system can be used for acoustic environmental impact studies, turbine and wave generator diagnostics and performance monitoring, marine mammal detection and monitoring and diver monitoring.
The most recent configuration to ship saw a Valeport MIDAS EMCM current meter, deployed below a minibuoy.