Automation of the Ons Lighthouse

Published on Wednesday, 11 January of 2023


The Ons lighthouse is located on the highest point of the island of Ons, an archipelago belonging to the municipality of Bueu at the entrance to the Ría de Pontevedra.

The first project for this lighthouse dates to 1861, although the construction of the current lighthouse dates to 1926, when it was necessary to adapt the lighthouse to the characteristics approved in the 1902 Lighting Reform Regulations in order to achieve a greater range (25 nautical miles).

To date, the Ons lighthouse has been operated by the lighthouse keeper, a profession with an outstanding role in the maintenance and control of the lighthouse that is currently on the verge of extinction. This situation has created the need to launch a project for the automation and monitoring of this lighthouse.

With a solid experience in the renovation of historic lighthouses, the MSM team has overseen all the necessary measures to implement the remote control and supervision of this lighthouse, as well as the supply and installation of all the necessary equipment for this project.

The project involved the lamp changer and manual control being replaced by a new lighting system developed by MSM: the MLL1000 lamp. This is a lamp that is already part of the new equipment of the Lighthouse of Ons and that has been specially designed for classic glass optics, using an LED diode to generate a virtual light source that respects with total precision the focal point of the original optical system.

In addition, a photocell was installed in order to automatically activate the start and stop of the optics rotation system depending on the twilight. The whole autonomous system was completed with the installation of a control panel model MMC160 and a remote-control panel model MMB02-F, which allows remote monitoring and supervision of the lighthouse thanks to a long-distance point-to-point wifi link without direct vision.  This enables all of the information on the status and alarms to be transmitted between the Ons Lighthouse and the Control Centre of the Port Authority of Marín and Ría de Pontevedra – a total distance of 20 km!

It is worth highlighting the peculiarity of this lighthouse that, in order to achieve a greater optimisation of the useful life of its rotation motor (it rotates at two different speeds), in the morning its rotation speed is slower, while at night, when it is switched on, its rotation speed increases, adapting to the times required to optimally emit its luminous signal.

Another of the devices that has been installed in the Ons lighthouse as part of this renovation project is a ‘lightning inhibitor’.  This is a electromagnetic protector that neutralises the threat of lightning strikes to provide additional protection to the lighthouse structure and its equipment.

Finally, and as part of a more extensive project to modernise and increase the safety of navigation in the coastal network of the AP Marín and Ría de Pontevedra, 10 beacons were installed on the buoys that mark the area between the Isle of Ons and the Ría de Pontevedra.  A whole set of beacons, installed with our MBL400C LED lantern (one of them sectored pending installation) and the autonomous lantern MCL400P. In addition, these beacons are integrated with telecommunications via UHF to enable them to be monitored and remotely controlled through the software developed by MSM.  Global Netcom is a web application (designed by MSM engineers) that allows AtoN operatives to control and manage a beaconing network in real time whilst reducing the required maintenance schedules, as the program detects any type of incident to act enable the responsible authority to take immediate action.

MSM is privileged that the Port Authority of Marín and Ría de Pontevedra has again trusted our services to support them with for the renovation of this historic lighthouse using LED technology and an automation & remote monitoring solution to ensure the safety of maritime navigation at the entrance of the Ría de Pontevedra with highly advanced and reliable equipment.

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