Meteorological equipment specialists Biral is set to introduce its new BTD-350 marine thunderstorm detector at the Meteorological Technology World Expo this October.
With its rugged design for marine applications, the BTD-350 Marine Thunderstorm Detector, following the current BTD-300, is a standalone sensor that detects the presence of all forms of lightning to a range of 83 km. The BTD-350 is designed for marine applications, where severe weather, salt water corrosion and platform vibration produce a challenging environment for environmental sensors. The metalwork is corrosion-resistant stainless steel and aluminium, further protected by marine-grade paintwork. Reinforced antenna supports prevent damage from excessive vibration. This design has been extensively tested in accordance with European marine vibration, marine radio interference and marine corrosion standards.
The BTD-350 is for mounting on marine vessels as well as at coastal ports, marinas and dockyards. Mounted aboard support vessels or tankers, it gives a warning of approaching storm activity, and more importantly, about the threat of imminent overhead lightning activity. This is of particular importance to crew and maintenance staff attending to off-shore wind-turbine farms where the turbines are prone to lightning strikes. At LNG or LPG loading / unloading ports the BTD-350 is again essential in warning of an imminent electrical storm as vicinity strikes at these facilities can have disastrous results and loss of life and assets.
The innovative quasi electrostatic operating principle gives the detector a very low false alarm rate and the ability to warn of the risk of overhead lightning. Virtually maintenance-free, the BTD-350 can operate with the supplied PC compatible display software, seamlessly integrate with sophisticated weather monitoring systems or directly activate local warning devices.
Data from the highly sensitive quasi-electrostatic antennas of the BTD-350 is used to detect the first signs of charge accumulating in thunder clouds and on raindrops as well as the presence of charged ions in the atmosphere.
The BTD-350 will provide the range and bearing of all lightning activity up to 83 km (51 miles) away. The detection range exceeds the US Federal Aviation Administration requirements and detects cloud-to-ground as well as weaker but more common cloud-to-cloud lightning. The extreme sensitivity of the BTD-350 allows the weak discharges within the cloud to be detected even before the first lightning discharge.
The BTD-350 requires virtually no maintenance and is highly immune to radio interference which is the major cause of false alarms in traditional standalone detectors. It can either interface directly to an integrated system or be operated using the supplied PC compatible display and logging software and the optional warning relay module allows the sensor to automatically sound alarms whenever a storm approaches. Covered by a two-year warranty, the BTD-350 can also include a direction finder.