Pinecone Engineering - Remote Monitoring and Control Unit (RMCU)

Customer/End User: – Fugro/Trinity House Lighthouse

Project: - Remote Monitoring and Control Unit (RMCU)

Customer Requirement: -

The General Lighthouse Authorities' Marine Navigation Plan for the provision of Aids to Navigation provides an on-going and reliable service to all classes of mariners in the waters of UK and Ireland. The plan received Government approval in March 1997 following extensive consultation with the marine community and covers the period to 2015.


The aim of this project was to develop a remote monitoring and control system that would report the status and condition of various navigation and oceanographic buoy facilities. The key requirements for the system were to provide:



Pinecone Associates, in partnership with its client Fugro, undertook to design and develop a Remote Monitoring and Control Unit concept demonstrator for evaluation by Trinity House Lighthouse.

Fugro was the overall design authority and took responsibility for all aspects of wireless communication and GPS positioning of the buoy. Pinecone Associates was responsible for the signal conditioning interface, the mechanical design, assembly and manufacturing of the concept demonstration units.

A top level requirement specification for the RMCU was produced by Fugro which was then decomposed by Pinecone Associates into the detailed design documentation. A specification for the signal conditioning interface was produced and approved prior to detailed design commencing. The design took into account the low power consumption of the requirement and the need for all signal inputs to be isolated from ground. This initial design phase including mechanical layout and drawings took approximately 10 weeks. Prototypes pcb's were manufactured and test equipment designed to simulate the various services and facilities available on a buoy. During assembly and test of the two prototype units embedded firmware was written and tested. The two units were tested using a simulator designed by Pinecone Associates prior to  being dispatched to Fugro for system testing with the communications and GPS equipment.



Throughout the whole development process a good working relationship was maintained between Fugro, Pinecone Associates and Trinity House. The project was deemed a success by all parties and is a good example of Pinecone Associates design and prototype service. We look forward to production of further units following completion of the Trinity House trials.