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Why do we call SmartSolo a smart sensor instead of a seismic nodal system?

More frequently in recent times, the performance of seismic acquisition systems is largely focused on the electronics. Manufacturers these days are mostly considering the performance of electronics, and not dedicating so much design emphasis to the most important part, the sensor itself. This is why perceived specifications have improved so much during the past years, but neither resulting data quality nor productivity have improved much.

When we designed SmartSolo, the focus was always on the sensor. First, we made sure the best sensor (DT-Solo) was used. Second, we made sure the highest signal quality was recorded, without need for chasing unnecessarily high specs. The idea was to record the highest quality signal with the highest quality sensor, at the lowest cost with high efficiency and great reliability.

An example is dynamic range (internal electronic noise). Traditionally, dynamic range is tested for electronics (the signal path) only. The signal input is shorted, and the dynamic range is measured. For an electronic circuit, in the context of seismic signal digitization, the higher the dynamic range, the better the performance. To achieve this, the trade-off is much higher power consumption.

However, a seismic acquisition system is not  generally used with input shorted and in a super quiet environment such as that of a test laboratory. It has to be connected to a sensor, in our case a very high quality industry-wide accepted geophone element, to sense real seismic signals. It must also be able to withstand harsh field environments, where it is never as quiet as the test lab, and in fact the ambient noise is a lot higher than the internal electronic noise. Thus the actual dynamic range is a lot lower than the often quoted electronic circuit dynamic range.

Instead of chasing the highest achievable dynamic range, we intentionally designed the SmartSolo circuit with dynamic range high enough to accurately and appropriately recover the true signal from our high sensitivity geophone element. By doing this, we are able to get the SmartSolo IGU (Intelligent Geophone Unit) to consume much less power in a  smaller, lighter and very durable package. This means higher productivity, lower HSE risk, and a much more cost effective operation, with the safe knowledge that your deliverable seismic data is of very high quality. By adopting this design methodology for SmartSolo, the current demand for high density large-scale seismic acquisition really becomes possible.

 

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