Intelli- Buoy - Buoy Embedded With Electronics for Environmental Studies




About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations base...

Bodies of water are essential to human life. All drinking water comes either directly or indirectly from river water, and they provide beneficial environments for life. Unfortunately, many of these bodies of water can and have become polluted. Elevated levels of contaminants in both the water and sediment along these bodies and unstable levels of pH in the water are only several issues that endanger aquatic environments. As such, there must be a way to quickly and precisely measure several qualities of bodies of water. A buoy was created to monitor the environment of such bodies to track water qualities such as pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and others over time. This buoy can be deployed into the water and record data on two SD cards. Upon retrieving the buoy, the data can be read using a laptop.

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Step 1: Parts List

The following items were purchased for the prototyping of the Intelli-Buoy:

Qty Item#

6 3/4"elbows with 3/4" outlet

2 3/4" x 8' PVC pipe

3 3/4" T Connectors

1 8 x 8 Electric box

4 3" elbows with 3/4 side outlet

2 3" x 8' PVC pipe

1 PVC Cement/Primer KIT

2 Arduino controllers

1 SD micro card 8GB or better

1 Turbidity sensor

1 pH sensor

1 Temperature Sensor

1 Oxygen sensor


1 PVC pipe cutter

1 roll Emory sand paper

All the PVC part were purchased @ Home Depot or Lowes, Electronics were purchased @ Sparkfun, Adafruit, Amazon, or DFRobotics

Step 2: Frame Assembly

For the assembly of the Buoy frame See Fig 1-27 for visual assemble instructions.

All PVC pipes will need to be primed and glued together with PVC cement.

Step 3: Sensor POD Assembly

For the assembly of the Sensor POD See Fig 1-9 for visual assemble instructions.

All PVC pipes will need to be primed and glued together with PVC cement.

Step 4: Weather Station

The weather vein was purchased from spark Fun. The wires run down the mast into a 3/4" PVC pipe which connect to the weather vein bridge. The weather vein bridge connects to the second level via 2 3/4" PVC pipes which will connect to the electronic box.

Step 5: Electronics

The images will display the configuration of the micro controllers, and sensors.

The code supports the following sensors: Turbidity, Ph, Oxygen, Temperature and a weather station vein.

Arduino pin configuration :

Controller #1

1. Temperature = Pin 7

2. pH= Pin A0

3. Disolved Oxygen = Pin 1 & 2

4. LED =Pin 13

Controller #2

4. Turbidity= Pi A5

5. Weather Vein : Wind speed = Pin 3 RAIN collection = Pin 2

6. LED= Pin13

Step 6: Coding

The attached code was used to extract data from the sensors while the buoy was in the water. Once out of the water 2 SID cards are pulled from the micro controllers and the data interpreted. Please note for a second device we create we used a Mega for all the sensor and communication features..To be show on Instructables at a later time.


Dissolved Oxygen, Ph, Temperature Sensors code will be used with controller #1

Weather Station Vein, Turbidity Sensor code will be used with controller #2

Step 7: Prototype Buoyancy Test

Here are two videos that demonstrate the features and Buoyancy of the Intelli-Buoy.



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    2 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Awesome project. I was thinking about building something similar, but without the weather station, for some local lakes. Have you thought about having it transmit sensor data live, e.g. via LoRaWAN?
    Also, do you have any more details on the type of sensors in use?


    1 year ago

    This looks great! What is the pod made from?