Buoy Project

Project Lead: Kealy Smith

Research Team:

Software Team:

Modeling Team:

Electrical Team:

The Great Lakes Research Center uses Tidas 900 weather buoys built by S2 Yachts to gather weather data on the Great Lakes. These large 600 pound buoys run predominately off of solar panels located on the outer hull of the buoy. Inside of the buoy is an impressive array of sensors and communication devices to gather thousands of data points per day from the shorelines of the great lakes. During the summer, these buoys are able to operate at the peak efficiency due to the abundance of solar energy available. Unfortunately, however, near the end of the buoy season (late fall), the buoys are no longer able to store enough energy to allow them to operate at peak efficiency. When this happens, the buoys become unstable and, in most cases, unusable. This means that the buoys must be recovered and brought in for the season, losing thousands of points of useful data.
In October of 2013, the Great Lakes Research Center partnered with the Robotic Systems Enterprise to design a solution to the inefficient power management system currently in the Tidas 900 buoys.

Objective for Research and Modeling Phase:
In the researching and modeling phase of this project, the team researched different components and gathered all data required to start work on phase I of the buoy project. The team was composed of first and second year students, or students with no enterprise/industrial experience. This allowed students to learn how to work on industrial projects as well as teach them good project management techniques and tricks. This team was only active for a few months and was disbanded at the end of Fall 2013.
Phase I Objective:
In phase I of the buoy project, the RSE was tasked with creating an intelligent power management grid that is able to passively react to changes in the environment in order to preserve battery life.


Current Phase