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Polar bear in Churchill, Canada. Photo by Kieran Mclver Polar Bears International

As Polar Bears Test the Ice, This Mobile Research Station is Camera-ready

Photo by Kieran Mclver, Polar Bears International


As temperatures drop and ice sheets form on the shores of Canada's Hudson Bay, polar bears waiting ashore can finally take to the ice and resume their favorite activity: hunting seals.


Meanwhile, Polar Bears International has been monitoring the shoreline from Tundra Buggy One, a roving research vehicle and broadcast studio used to study the bears and to share their story with the world via the LIVE Polar Bear Cam and special broadcasts like this special on ABC's Good Morning America



"Bear season is short, and Polar Bears International has a limited amount of time each year to communicate the story of the polar bear and climate change," says BJ Kirschhoffer, Director of Conservation Technology at Polar Bears International. "We also operate in a harsh climate where power failure or long downtime can be dangerous."


Intelligent Controls worked with BJ to double the onboard battery capacity of Tundra Buggy One. The new battery bank powers everything on board, including the networking and wireless communication equipment that allow video streaming; a full webcast studio, complete with an encoding computer, studio lights, and mixer; and an exterior PTZ camera to film the polar bears. 


Tundra Buggy One, Polar Bears International


The new system includes eight 12 Volt Pylontech batteries and a Victron Energy Cerbo GX device. The Cerbo allows this mobile off-grid power system to be monitored online via Victron's remote management platform (VRM). 


Cerbo GX pulled into Pylontech 12 V batteries


"Lithium batteries give us reliability, predictability, and longevity not seen by traditional battery chemistries," says BJ. Increased power capacity allows the Buggy to pull 600 watts for nearly six hours, powering lights, cameras, and encoders without stress.


Pylontech RT12100G31 12V in snow


"Since the Pylontech battery management system communicates with the Cerbo GX, I can easily monitor our energy draw and remaining capacity with a high degree of accuracy, relieving any stress relating to running out of power mid-broadcast."


Pylontech RT12100G31 12V 100Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate battery bank on Tundra Buggy One


Take a tour inside Tundra Buggy One


To learn more about Polar Bears International or Tundra Buggy One, explore their website at We've been eating up their great educational content on their YouTube channel (like this video about sea ice ecoregions!)

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