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Remote Station Engineering - Structural Systems


This page is maintained with specifications for mechanical components which are the current best-practices employed by GAGE in Polar Permanent GPS Station designs. Specifications are subject to change as the design evolves, however the most current design will reside here.

Technical Notes

  • Complete lists of permanent station components and tools, and a weight calculator, are maintained on the Documentation page.

Structural Frames for Rock Surfaces


Component Photo Manufacturer Part Number (click for PDF drawing) Description Weight (lb) Cube (ft^3) Why?
Rock Surface Frame (Small)

Frame construction:
T & E Tech
3772 Puritan Way #9
Erie CO 80516
858-229-8478

Pipe fittings:
Kee Klamp
PPS-TF-008 revB
sheet1
sheet2
sheet3
sheet4
See sheet 4 for bill of materials.
For use on rock or soil surfaces. Made of 1.5" sch40 structural aluminum pipe, with cast iron slip-on pipe fittings, bolted through at joints.

Accepts up to two solar panels, two wind turbines, four small or two large enclosures, comms antenna, and weather station.

Breaks down into 2 pieces, will fit inside Bell 212 or DeHavilland Twin Otter aircraft. Can also completely disassemble for shipping, use Uline S-4983 box.
87 Shipping: 7 (12"x12"x84")

Deploying: 24 (79"x44"x12")
Rigid, lightweight frame assembles quickly with minimal tools. Frame secured directly to rock, no guy wires.

Aluminum pipe with zinc-plated fittings and fasteners resists corrosion. No stainless to avoid thread galling.

Similar construction as large frame, but increased strength, more compact, and faster to install. Can be deployed with solar panels and cradle already attached.
Rock Surface Frame (Large)

Frame construction:
T & E Tech
(info above)

Pipe fittings:
Kee Klamp
PPS-TF-001 revG
sheet1
sheet2
sheet3
sheet4
See sheet 4 for bill of materials.
For use on rock or soil surfaces. Made of 1.5" sch40 structural aluminum pipe, with cast iron slip-on pipe fittings, bolted through at joints.

Accepts up to four solar panels, two wind turbines, four small or two large enclosures, comms antenna, and weather station.

Breaks down into 7 pieces, will fit inside Bell 212 or DeHavilland Twin Otter aircraft. Can also completely disassemble for shipping, use Uline S-4983 box.
140 Shipping: 7 (12"x12"x84")

Deploying: 13 (84"x30"x9")
Rigid, lightweight frame assembles quickly with minimal tools. Frame secured directly to rock, no guy wires.

Aluminum pipe with zinc-plated fittings and fasteners resists corrosion. No stainless to avoid thread galling.

Can elevate solar panels higher than small frame for high-drift locations.
Leveling Foot T & E Tech
(info above)
PPS-TF-002 revB Short sections of 1.5" aluminum pipe, drilled thru to match fittings on underside of frame.

Use various lengths from 4" to 14" to adjust to terrain.
Asst. bundle: 5 Asst. bundle: 1
(14"x12"x12")
Allows leveling of structural frame with simple, standard parts.
Enclosure Cradle
Cradle construction:
T & E Tech
(info above)

U-bolts:
McMaster Carr
Cradle for large enclosure: PPS-EN-001 revC
sheet1
sheet2

Cradle for small enclosure: PPS-EN-002 revC
sheet1
sheet2

U-bolts:
3043T73
Cradle bolts to frame with 5/16" U-bolts and washer plates.

Tie enclosures down to cradle with cargo strap (see below).
Large: 20

Small: 15
Large: 3.5
(52"x28"x4")

Small: 2.5
(35"x28"x4")
Positions enclosures securely on frame, and provides attachment points for tie-down with cargo strap.

Structural Frames for Snow Surfaces


Component Photo Manufacturer Part Number (click for PDF drawing) Description Weight (lb) Cube (ft^3) Why?
Single Panel 2-Pole Frame


Frame construction and internal pipe couplers:
T & E Tech
(info above)
2-pole frame:
PPS-TF-017 revA

Joinable aluminum pipe section:
PPS-TF-012 revA

Internal pipe coupler:
PPS-TF-011 revA
Simplest solar panel frame for snow surface. Each panel attaches to two 1.5" sch40 aluminum pipes, which are driven into the snow surface and secured with guy wires.

Length of pipes is project-specific. If transportation allows, use long lengths of plain pipes. Alternatively, use multiple shorter lengths of Joinable Aluminum Pipe Sections with Internal Pipe Couplers.
20
(2x 10ft pipes, holds one panel)
1 (~120"x4"x4")
(2x 10ft pipes, holds one panel)
Rigid, lightweight frame assembles quickly with minimal tools.

Straightforward and quick to install. Relatively easy to dig out and raise above snow surface in accumulation zones.
3-Panel Tripod Frame  
note: above two photos show older design with three 50W solar panels and external pipe couplers.

Frame construction and internal pipe couplers:
T & E Tech
(info above)

Pipe fittings:
Diamond Aluminum
Tripod frame
PPS-TF-006 revE:
sheet1
sheet2
sheet3
sheet4
See sheet 4 for bill of materials.

Internal pipe coupler:
PPS-TF-011 revA
For use on snow surfaces. Frame made of 1.5" sch40 structural aluminum pipe and slip-on pipe fittings, bolted through at joints.

Accepts three 80W solar panels, two wind turbines, comms antenna, and weather station.

Tripod folds flat to fit inside Twin Otter or 212 aircraft.
70
(for 10ft overall height)
9 (~72"x36"x6"
for 10ft overall height, which breaks down into 4ft top section plus 6ft legs)

Rigid, lightweight frame assembles quickly with minimal tools.

Tripod design allows rigging with minimum number of guy wires, and omnidirectional solar panel arrangement mitigates against snow buildup on leeward side.

Aluminum pipe and fittings with zinc-plated fasteners resist corrosion. No stainless to avoid thread galling.
Low-speed Wind Turbine Mast Mast construction and internal pipe couplers:
T & E Tech
(info above)
PPS-TF-007 revA Accepts low-speed wind turbine mount adapter. Attach 18" diameter plywood footer to flange foot fitting.

Use pip-mount saddle clamps and bolt hangers (see below) to form three guy wire attachment points.
15 0.5
(~120"x2"x2")
Locates wind turbine on separate mast away from solar panels.

Overall height is site-dependent. Use single long length of plain pipe, or multiple shorter lenghts of Joinable Aluminum Pipe Sections with Internal Pipe Couplers (see above).

Enclosures


Component Photo Manufacturer Part Number (click for PDF drawing) Description Weight (lb) Cube (ft^3) Why?
Large Enclosure
Enclosure:
Hardigg (Pelican)

Foam:
R&B Sales
Enclosure:
472-463L-MM24-CEM133

Foam: PPS-EN-005 revE
sheet1
sheet2

Connector Layout: PPS-EN-009 revC
sheet1
sheet2
Large enclosure holds electronics board plus ten 100 amp-hour batteries.

Styrofoam panels fit inside enclosure without adhesive, to create rectangular enclosure to tightly hold batteries and provides nominal thermal insulation.
Empty case:
57

With foam:
70

20
(52"x28"x24")
Rugged well-sealed "military" plastic enclosure, stackable, with large handles. Easy to handle and UV resistant.

Connectors are recessed within ribs of case to reduce risk of shipping damage.
Small Enclosure
Enclosure:
Hardigg (Pelican)

Foam:
R&B Sales
Enclosure:
472-463L-MM36-CEM133

Foam: PPS-EN-003 revE
sheet1
sheet2

Connector Layout: PPS-EN-010 revC
sheet1
sheet2
Small enclosure holds electronics board plus six 100 amp-hour batteries.

Styrofoam panels fit inside enclosure without adhesive, to create rectangular enclosure to tightly hold batteries and provides nominal thermal insulation.
Empty case:
40

With foam:
53

14
(35"x28"x24")
Rugged well-sealed "military" plastic enclosure, stackable, with large handles. Easy to handle and UV resistant.

Connectors are recessed within ribs of case to reduce risk of shipping damage.
Connector Drill Template
T & E Tech
(info above)
PPS-EN-004 revC Allows accurate thru-hole drilling for power connectors, RF connectors, and vent plug on recessed rib of Hardigg MM36 or MM24 enclosure.

See below for enclosure drilling layouts.
Makes life much easier when assembling.
Vent Plug W.L. Gore Vent plug:
PMF100444

Backing nut:
M10510-008
Metal shell, teflon membrane vent.

One vent plug mounted to wall of every enclosure. Standard practice for enclosures containing rechargeable batteries.
Incl. in enclosure Incl. in enclosure Allows slow equalization of internal/external pressure to relieve potential battery gases caused by charging system failure.

See Enclosure section above for drawing of connector (and vent plug) layouts on enclosures.
Vacuum Insulated Enclosure for Polar Plateau System

Nanopore PPS-EN-007 revF Specialized enclosure for Polar Plateau system.

Use vacuum-insulated panels to create six-sided chamber inside Hardigg MM24 enclosure. Internal chamber houses GPS/Iridium electronics board plus 9 SLA batteries or 6 SLA + 10 lithium batteries.

Wires in photo are from heat pads located beneath 1/8" masonite layer on bottom of enclosure.
Large enclosure:
95
Large enclosure: 20
(52"x28"x24")
Vacuum panels offer highest insulation value among commercially available products.

Electronics and batteries are contained in vacuum insulated chamber to conserve heat.

Protect fragile vacuum panels with 1/16" HDPE plastic on exposed surfaces.

Accessories


Component Photo Manufacturer Part Number (click for PDF drawing) Description Weight (lb) Cube (ft^3) Why?
Pipe-Mount Saddle Clamp DX Engineering DXE-CAVS-3CS (Saddle + V-bolt)

DXE-VBK-CAVS-3CS (V-bolt only)
Aluminum saddle clamp with V-bolt attaches solar panels, wind turbines, weather stations, and Iridium antennas to aluminum tube frame.

Same as stock part DXE-CAVS-3P except uses modified V-bolt (5/16-18, Grade 2 zinc-plated steel, overall length L=3.5").

Secure with washers and 5/16-18 zinc-plated nylon locknuts.
Incl. in panel Incl. in panel V-shaped saddle and bolt provides better grip on piping than circular.

Modified V-bolts are same thread size as all other frame fasteners.
Cable Tie-Down McMaster Carr 69855K73
(12" length, for all cable tie-downs except 1-meter monument)

69855K74
(18" length, for 1-meter monument)
Nylon-coated stainless steel reusable cable tie-down, 1/4" width. Used to secure cables to pipes. Secure and quick to install, unaffected by UV or environmental conditions.

Easily removed and repositioned if necessary.
Weather Station Mount DX Engineering

Kee Klamp

McMaster Carr
DXE-CAVS-3CS


Kee-Lite L68-8

7126K13

8096K63
Attaches Vaisala WXT-520 weather station to aluminum tube frame.

Reverse saddle clamp and attach to flanged Kee Klamp fitting.

Use 1" galvanized conduit, with plastic end fitting to reduce cable chafing.
Secure and quick to install. Set screws on flanged fitting are secure, do not need to bolt through.
Iridium Antenna Mount DX Engineering

Kee Klamp


McMaster Carr
DXE-CAVS-3CS


Kee-Lite L68-8

4549K606

4880K82
Attaches Aeroantenna Iridium antenna to aluminum tube frame.

Reverse saddle clamp and attach to flanged Kee Klamp fitting.

Use with 3/4" NPT galvanized pipe nipple, with plastic end fitting to reduce cable chafing.
Secure and quick to install. Set screws on flanged fitting are secure, do not need to bolt through.
Cargo Strap
Grainger 6A265 Secures enclosures to cradle. Hook ends fit through holes on sides of cradle. Extra security for enclosures, especially the enclosure lids.

Anchoring


Component Photo Manufacturer Part Number (click for PDF drawing) Description Weight (lb) Cube (ft^3) Why?
Rock Anchor Bolt Assembly



Rock bolt:
Industrial Hardware

Carabiner:
Omega Pacific

Bolt hanger:
Petzl

Chain and locknut:
McMaster-Carr
Rock bolt:
20A-0W12

Carabiner:
OPL6

Bolt hanger:
P38150

Chain:
3363T91 x 2'
3363T91 x 5'

Locknut:
95615A210
1/2" x 6" impact-expansion stud anchor. For sites with solid rock available for anchoring.

Assembly with chain, carabiner, and bolt hanger is used to anchor corners of structural frame and limit movement.

Order chains cut to 2 ft. and 5 ft. lengths to accommodate various rock surfaces.
2
(complete assembly)
<0.5
(complete assembly)
Simple equipment, strong and quick to install. No epoxy required, sets with hammer blows.

Very secure and vibration resistant.
Rock Anchor Stake Assembly

Anchor stake and drive cap:
B&B Machine and Grinding

Carabiner:
Omega Pacific

Fender washer, shaft collar, chain:
McMaster-Carr
Anchor stake:
PPS-RG-001 revA

Drive cap:
PPS-RG-002 revA

Carabiner:
OPL6

Fender washer:
91117A246

Shaft collar:
6436K17

Chain:
3363T91 x 2'
3363T91 x 5'
For sites with no solid rock available for anchoring.

Attach carabiner and chain to stake, secure with clamp-on shaft collar and fender washer.

Assembly is used to anchor corners of structural frame and limit movement.
Stake:
7

Complete assembly:
10

Drive cap:
4
Complete assembly:
<0.5
Simple, quick, and secure.

Use drive cap and sledgehammer to pound stake into surface, or use stake as deadman anchor with piled rocks.
GPS cable anchor

Rock anchor:
Industrial Hardware

Loom clamps:
McMaster Carr
Rock anchor:
20A-2Z04

3/8" clamp:
8863T13

3/4" clamp:
8863T16
Drill 1/4" hole into rock, then pound in 1/4" x 1.25" split-drive rock anchor with cable attached via 3/8" loom clamp (unsheathed cable) or 3/4" loom clamp (sheathed cable). Used to secure GPS antenna cable to ground at sites where rocks are scarce.

Simple, quick, and secure.
Snow Anchor Stake Assembly





Anchor stake:
B&B Machine and Grinding

Carabiner:
Omega Pacific

Bolt hanger:
Petzl

Wire rope, Gripple, thimble, swage sleeve, swage tool, wire rope cutter:
US Rigging Supply
Anchor stake: PPS-RG-003 revA

Carabiner:
OPL6

Bolt hanger:
P38150

Wire rope:
W-21-006

Gripple:
G-RG-06

Thimble:
F-15-206

Swage sleeve:
S-11-006

Swage tool:
P-21-005

Wire rope cutter:
P-20-C9
Anchor stake / guy wire assembly for snow surfaces.

Each wire rope assembly consists of 3/16" wire rope, one thimble, and one swage ferrule. Each complete guy line consists of two wire rope assemblies, one snow anchor, two carabiners, one Gripple rope tensioner, and one bolt hanger attached to structural frame.

Tension guy lines with ratcheting, lockable Gripple wire rope tensioner. Releasable mechanism with custom tool, but releasing can be difficult. Bring several spare wire rope assemblies and Gripples; cut wire and use new wire rope and/or tensioner if necessary.
Snow stake:
4

Complete guy wire assembly:
11
Snow stake:
<0.5
(36"x3"x3")

Complete guy wire assembly:
0.5
Simple, strong, and versatile. Pound into snow or use as deadman anchor.

Gripples securely connect guy wires together and do not loosen under high winds and extreme temperature swings. Locking feature resists vibration. Can use backup swage ferrules on wire ropes if desired.
 

Last modified: 2024-07-08  14:50:58  America/Denver