UnderCover 2 FAQ

FAQs – UnderCover 2

Do I get UnderCover 2 as a standard offering with other SmartCover products?

Yes.  All SmartCover manhole monitoring systems come with UnderCover 2 as an inherent part of the solution.  So, no need to buy a separate unit – if you are monitoring level in a manhole using SmartCover, you get security at the same time.

How is UnderCover 2 different from the previous version?

Use of MEMS technology enables the unit to be mounted in a wider range of configurations while ensuring robust detection of unauthorized entry events with low false alarms. The sensitivity of the intrusion detection is remotely configurable.

Can I use UnderCover 2 as a standalone intrusion monitoring solution?

Yes.  The UnderCover 2 entry detection functionality is an included feature within all SmartCover® remote monitoring units.  As such, it provides robust real-time alerts for manhole entry in sewer, water, electrical, communication and other related utilities.  In addition, many non-sewer applications are addressed by using SmartCover® units with UnderCover technology.

What industries use UnderCover for intrusion monitoring?

Various other applications for UnderCover® include utility vaults, communications infrastructure, electrical grids, nuclear power installations, border protection, military facilities and virtually any other remote locations that demand monitoring and protection.  Because UnderCover provides a “true security solution” that is optimized for robust real-time remote monitoring and a high degree of configurability, it can be readily deployed across a wide range of intrusion detection requirements, based on threat and the requirement for real-time alarms

Does installation of UnderCover require confined space entry?

As with all SmartCover® remote field units, the patented UnderCover® is designed to avoid the need for confined space entry in many applications.  Because UnderCover 2 offers a broader range of configuration options, including securely locating the remote monitoring unit separately from the entry sensor, some specific applications may involve confined space entry.

What is expected life of the UnderCover 2 power pack?

Assuming a nominal communications frequency of once every 12 hours, the estimated battery life is approximately five years.

What is MEMS and why is it used in UnderCover 2?

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology generally consists of miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements.  MEMS enables implementation of very small electro-mechanical sensors for detecting changes in position, velocity, and acceleration, which makes it ideal for remote intrusion-detection.

What are the configuration options for UnderCover?

There are three standard configurations of the UnderCover System, offering options for the location of the remote field unit (RFU) and the sensor type.  Each configuration offers increasing resistance to tampering and addresses increasingly sophisticate threats.

UnderCover 2.1a is the exact same configuration as the standard SmartCover® level system absent the ultrasonic distance sensing module (DSM) with a threaded cap covering the sensor connector. The remote field unit (RFU) mounts on the manhole cover or hatch or entry door, and the tilting of the entry cover at a fixed angle, configurable by the User, triggers the unit to send an alarm to the Iridium® satellite system. A single standard SmartCover® antenna is mounted on the entry cover. If the manhole cover is flipped or the antenna is covered when the alarm is triggered, the UnderCover will send the entry alarm signal when the antenna is uncovered and able to communicate with Iridium®.

UnderCover 2.1b is the same as UnderCover 2.1a, except an additional antenna is mounted on the bottom of the entry cover, opposite the antenna on top, providing additional access to Iridium® in case the entry cover is flipped and the antenna mounted on the top can’t communicate upon opening.

UnderCover 2.2 removes the RFU – and therefore the MEMS sensor – from the manhole cover and places it in a location more difficult to defeat in the enclosure. The opening of the manhole is sensed by whisker/limit switches mounted on the underside of the entrance/manhole ring.  When the cover is in place, the switch is engaged, when the cover is moved/opened, the switch goes to the neutral position and fires off a signal indicating the entry has been breached. The antenna is located outside, mounted somewhere near the entry.

UnderCover 2.3 is the most robust and difficult to defeat security solution.  In this case the same sensors used for UnderCover 2.2 are used to sense an opening, but the RFU is remotely sited to avoid tampering.

In either case for UnderCover 2.2 or 2.3, if the sensor is damaged or cut, that signal is the same as the sensor being activated and a signal indicating a breach is sent.


How long does it take for an entry alarm to be received?

The one-way trip from antenna to an alarm receiving device (e.g. cell phone, Iridium® phone, other handheld device that can receive text messages, etc.) is generally between 5 and 15 seconds.