Should the UN have its own LEO Satellites

Should the UN have its own LEO Satellites?

LEO is short for Low Earth Orbit.

LEO Satellites can provide broadband Internet to the whole of the earth’s surface.

Currently, an estimated 2.6 Billion people remain unconnected to the Internet.

That means one-third of the earth’s human population, can’t go online.

Whilst the reasons are not just due to lack of coverage, it is a factor.

LEO Satellites, and in particular the latest innovation of direct communication between satellite and mobile (Cell) Phone, has the potential to reach unconnected remote areas.

But should the UN (United Nations) have its own satellites?

Currently, there are two companies that have successfully launched and demonstrated ‘sat2handset’.

These companies are AST Space Mobile, & Lynk.

But they are commercial companies, and in the case of AST Space Mobile, Shareholders.

Therefore need to make profits.

The UN (United Nations) has set seventeen Sustainable Development Goals known as the SDGs.

These goals include SDG4, which aims to provide quality education and lifelong learning opportunities, for everyone worldwide.

Unfortunately at the halfway point in the initiative, we are not on target.

The 17 SDG targets were agreed in 2015, with a completion target date of 2030.

During the #SDGDIGITAL conference at the United Nations on 17th September 2023, a speaker revealed that we would need to connect people at a rate of 1 Million a day, starting now, in order to connect everyone by the 2030 target date.

Clearly, this is not happening, despite some really great announcement pledges being made at the conference, by the leading telecommunications operators.

Therefore a UN-sponsored LEO Satellite system would help achieve the SDGs, particularly in the goals of Education (SDG4), and Health (SDG3).

Imagine being able to connect to local village terminals, or even directly to donated Mobile / Cell phones, which could serve as WIFI Routers.

Direct to Mobile (Cell) from LEO Satellite, now exists.

The UN could either pay for its own system, or partner with the existing commercial companies, to provide the service.

I suppose you could think of the arrangement, as being similar to a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).

Should the UN have its own LEO Satellites?


Using Mobile Cell Phones to Achieve SDG4

Using Mobile Cell Phones to help achieve SDG4.

SDG4 is short for Sustainable Development Goal 4, and is one of 17 goals.

The 17 goals were set up in 2015, by the United Nations.

SDG4 is concerned with education.

Specifically the goal is to provide ‘Quality Education’ for all of the worlds children and youths.

The goal also promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all of the worlds population.

However in a recent ITU (International Telecommunications Union) meeting (available on YouTube), it was stated that in 2023, only 15% of the target has been achieved.

So we are half way through the SDG goals target timeline, yet have only achieved 15% of the target.

The Challenge is Remote

One of the challenges of providing education to every child, is remoteness.

Children in isolated communities may not have access to schools.

Even if some form of school exists, a lack of teacher training, affects attainment outcomes.

So why can’t they just Google it?

The internet has revolutionised access to education for millions, but millions still don’t have access to the Internet.

In fact less than half of the worlds population still currently has no Internet access.

Factors causing this include extreme poverty, but also connectivity issues.

There are two main ways that the Internet is delivered to people.

The first is via Mobile or Cell Phone data.

The second way is via cables under the ground.

Connecting a community to the Internet via these two methods, can be uneconomic.

It can be uneconomic due to Socio-Economic and Population Density issues.

Basically what that means is the people are too poor to afford it, and / or there are two few in one place, for a telecommunications provider to make a profit.

So how can phones help?

There is now a third way of connecting to the Internet.

The third way uses standard Mobile Cell Phones, but connects to the network in a different way.

The different way is via Satellite.

Whilst Satellite phones have existed for a long time, they were specialised pieces of equipment, and used traditional Geostationary Satellites, at high orbits from the earth.

New technology using what are known as LEO, or Low Earth Orbit Satellites.

LEO Satellites orbit the earth at a much closer distance, than traditional communication satellites.

This has reduces latency.

Latency is the time it takes for the radio signal to go from earth to the satellite, and back down to earth.

Reduced latency allows for effective online learning to take place, in the same way that it can via traditional terrestrial based Internet communications infrastructure.

Direct communications to Mobile Cell Phones, from LEO Satellite, is now a reality, with several pioneering companies now operating satellites services.

This technology has the potential to help achieve SDG4, and provide Quality Education for all.


SDG4 Using Direct to Handset Satellite

SDG4 Using Direct to Handset Satellite connectivity.

Direct to handset is the connection of standard mobile phone (cell phone) handsets, straight from a communications satellite.

Traditional mobile / cell phones, connect to the nearest cell tower, on earth.

These towers only have relatively short distance communications coverage, so there are many of them, within a relatively local area.

What is SDG4

SDG4 is short for Sustainable Development Goal 4.

SDG4 is one of seventeen goals set by the United Nations (UN) in 2015, with the aim to achieve them by 2030.

The aim of SDG4 is the ensure that all children and youths, have access to ‘Quality Education’.

Although access to education worldwide, has improved over the last six decades, millions still can’t access it.

Direct to Handset communications via satellite, offers a way to help address the challenge.

Traditional mobile / cell phone connectivity is uneconomic to implement in remote areas of the world.

One reason is because of the costs associated with what is known as the ‘Backhaul’.

Backhaul is how to cell tower, is connected the the rest of the network.

Backhaul via Fibre Optic links, isn’t feasible, due to the remote locations of local populations.

Another backhaul technology used in traditional cellular networks, is satellite or microwave links.

This can solve the backhaul issue, but there is a second issue.

The second issue, is financial.

Remote communities in the poorest parts of the world aren’t exactly ‘cash cows’.

It is not financially viable, for private telecommunications companies to install infrastructure, to connect remote communities.

A dollar a day is apparently what people in many parts of the world, have to live on.

These people could not afford to pay, what the telecoms company would need to charge, to make a profit.

Good News

Direct to Handset connectivity via satellite, is now a reality.

We as a world, have the ability to connect even the remotest communities in the world.

Connecting people to the Internet will help achieve SDG4, as well as other SDG’s.

I heard on BBC Radio 4 yesterday, someone say that we are all now online.

Not true!

It is estimated that there are 2.7 Billion people, still not connected to the Internet.

Achieving the goal of ‘Quality Education’ for all, needs all people to be able to access information.

Internet connectivity and UN Sustainable Goal 4, go hand in hand, in helping meet the 2030 target.

SDG4 using direct to handset satellite, can help achieve this.


Using LEO Satellites to Provide Education For All

Using LEO satellites to provide Education For All.

Education For All, is a long term ambition of the United Nations (UN).

However the target of every child having access to Primary School education by 2015, was not achieved.


LEO is short for Low Earth Orbit.

It is a type of communications satellite, that as the name suggests is in a low orbit.

LEO satellites circle the earth, and are wirelessly or optically linked.

This provides total communications coverage, wherever you are located in the world.

One popular use for LEO satellites, is the provision of satellite Internet.

Companies like Starlink and Oneweb, provide such services, but there are many other LEO satellite operators.

Satellites For Education

It is possible to connect to the Internet, using ‘traditional’ satellites.

Traditional satellites are much further away from the earth, and cover a large area of the earths surface.

This surface coverage, is known as the satellite footprint.

Being further away from the earth, results in signal delay.

This is because radio signals, take a small amount of time to travel.

As traditional satellites may well be in an orbit 36,000 miles from earth, then there is a delay.

This causes issues when trying to use it for e-learning, which may involve live video connections.

LEO has less signal delay, as the satellites are only hundreds of miles above the earth, not thousands.

So know hopefully you understand that LEO satellites can provide reliable online learning, and worldwide Internet coverage.

Using LEO Satellites to provide education for all

Further Reading Links:

Publications | Global Education Monitoring Report (unesco.org)


Marine Generator Servicing

Marine generator servicing, includes both periodic and emergency maintenance.

Periodic maintainence is better than having to carry out emergency maintenance, after a failure.

Marine generators are all three-phase power.

Three-phase means that there are three output ‘bus bars’.

Bus Bar’ is the name for the three metal connectors, which provide the output voltage, from the generator.

Each ‘phase’ is a voltage, which is 120 degrees from the other two voltages.

To explain this, remember that there are 360 degrees in a a circle.

360 divided by 3 (the three phases) = 120 degrees.

Periodic Maintenance

Periodic checking of Marine Generators, reduces the chance of unexpected failure.

There are a number of periodic checks that can be carried out:

Mechanical Factors

Marine generators, are driven by a Prime Mover.

The Prime Mover, is normally a slow or medium speed diesel engine.

A drive shaft connects the Prime Mover, to the Generator.

The drive shaft is supported using bearings.

Check bearings for mechanical wear.

This can be done using Feeler Guages, and the results checked against manufacturers stated tolerances.

Generator bearings, that support the Stator, can also be checked.

Excitor’ bearings can also be checked.

Electrical Checks

Insulation Resistance Checks, using Insulation Resistance Meter.

Check Automatic Voltage Regulator, using voltmeter.

Excitor Diode Plate Checks, using diode tester.


Routine periodic maintenance is prefereable to emergency maintenance.

Marine generator servicing, includes both mechanical and electrical checks.

This is an introduction, to Marine Generator Servicing.

For more in depth in person or online training, contact me via Linkedin


Robot Types in Manufacturing


Robot types used in manufacturing, consist of three basic types.

This blog pots discuses robotics terminology.

You will also learn about technical considerations, when choosing a robotic system.

Robotics Terminology

SCARA – short for ‘Six-Axis, Selective Compliance Articulated / assembly Robot Arms’.

Cartesian Robots

Six-Axis Robots

Six-Axis Robot characteristics:

  • Mounted on pedestal.
  • Offer most directional movement & control, of the three robot types.
  • Robotic movement in X, Y, and Z planes + Pitch, Roll, and Yaw.
  • Wide variety of applications, including welding, and moving pallets of goods.

SCARA Robots

SCARA manufacturing Robot characteristics include:

  • Can be compared to a human arm.
  • Pedestal mounted.
  • Four axis system, consisting of X, Y & Z motion planes, plus a forth rotational axis at the end of the Z plane (for tool rotation).
  • SCARA robots suited for tasks requiring movements that are fast, repeatable, and accurate.
  • Example uses of SCARA types include palletising / depalletising tasks, machine loading & unloading, and assembly of small parts.

Cartesian Robots

  • Also known as ‘Gantry robots’.
  • Hang down from overhead grid.
  • Use motors and linear actuators to position a work tool.
  • Grid shape area that robot moves in, is rectangular. Can be very large, if required, and space allows.
  • Three directional movements, X, Y, and Z.
  • Very precise, due to structural rigidity.
  • Ideal for material handling, and straight-line component insertion applications.

Considerations when choosing a robot type.

  • Load capacity
  • Orientation
  • Speed
  • Distance

Load capacity

Maximum payload, which is a fancy way of saying what weight a robot arm can lift.

It is important to consider future production and handling requirements, which might affect maximum payload capacity.

Large Payload Load Capacity

Cartesian robots are best suited to handle larger payloads.

This is due to its overhead grid gantry design.

This allows for greater accessibility to larger components.

On both SIX-AXIS & SCARA robots, the mechanical joints are all located at the end of the arm.

This limits the size of the payload capacity.

SCARA & SIX-AXIS robotic systems, are better suited to small part assembly.


  • How the robot is going to be mounted.
  • How the robot moves parts.


When choosing a robotic system, it’s important to match the robots speed rating, to the task required.

The last thing you want is a robot unable to keep up with the production line conveyor belt!

Generally Cartesian robotic systems are more commonly used for high speed work.

High speed work, such as Material handling, and Assembly tasks.

The overhead grid mounting helps.


Cartesian systems are fixed to an overhead gantry grid system.

This allows further distances to be travelled, compared with fixed pedestal Six-Axis, and SCARA robots.

For commercial help, please visit, and contact via Yesway Ltd

Craig Miles | LinkedIn


How to Save Electricity Costs

Do this to save electricity, and lower bills.

How to save electricity costs are on most peoples minds right now.

This article mainly focuses on the home, rather than industry.

Different electrical appliances use widely different amounts of electricity.

Knowing which are the expensive to run, can help reduce electricity usage and therefore bills.

KiloWatt Hours

Kilowatt hours are how electricity usage is measured, and is important.

Electricity is charged in KiloWatt Hours, or KW/H for short.

Utility bills state the cost of the electricity per KW/H.

Lets use the figure of 20 Pence per KW/H.

What this means is that if you use a KiloWatt of electricity for an hour, it will cost 20 Pence.

Not all Devices are Created Equally

A KiloWatt of electricity is the same as 1000 Watts.

Watts of electricity consumption is labelled on all electrical devices, such as Kettles, Radios, and Toasters.

Use the labels to identify dvices which are using lots of power.

As a general rule devices which heat using electricity, use more.

Heating devices include Kettles, Electric Ovens, Tumble Dryers & Dishwashers.

Tumble Dryers are one of the worst culprits for electricity consumption, as you are using electrically generated heat to dry clothes

Use high Wattage devices less.


Things Network Gateway Diy Build

What is the Things Network

The Things Network originated in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2015.

The idea was to create a crowd funded Internet of Things network, that was open to the public.

The network uses LoraWAN spread spectrum wireless technology to enable data from environmental sensors, to get onto the Internet.

The network has quickly expanded through crowd funding and volunteers installing their own ‘Gateway’ devices.

The Gateway devices receive data that has been transmitted from sensors, and puts that data onto the Internet cloud.

Sensors can include pollution monitoring devices, Smart Parking detectors, flood warning sensors etc.

The LoraWAN that I mentioned is the wireless technology that allows the transfer of data from the sensor (which might be in a field a mile from the Gateway), to the receiving Gateway device.

LoraWAN Characteristics

Lorawan is suitable for applications that only require small amounts of data to be transferred at a time. Therefore LoraWAN would not be suitable for transmitting video from a CCTV camera (WIFI would be more suitable).

Data transfer is also quite slow.

What LoraWAN excels at is allowing small amounts of data to be sent over relatively long distances (such as 10Km), while consuming very low battery power.

The good communications range, and low battery power consumption make it ideal for the Internet of Things, or IOT for short.

To start using the Things Network, there are a few options available.

Firstly you can buy a ready made indoor Gateway that the initiators of the Things Network have now manufactured.

A second option is to buy a Gateway designed for commerical LoraWAN use. These Gateways are often designed for outdoor use, and feature weatherproof construction.

A third option to get onto the Things Network, if there is no local Gateway within range, is to build your own Gateway.

There are a few options and ways to build a Gateway, including using an RF board from RAK Wireless.

The option that I used to build my Gateway, uses an 880A LoraWAN Concentrator board from IMST of Germany.

The RF Concentrator board is controlled and connected to the Internet via a Raspberry Pi.

Full details for construction are given below.

Building the Gateway

For beginners to building their own gateway, I would recommend joining, or founding a local Things Network .

The Lorawan Gateway that I am going to describe here, is designed to operate on the Things Network, however other lora networks can easily be installed.

The main components that you will need are:-

1) A Concentrator board from IMST of Germany. The Concentrator board is the wireless communications part of the system, responsible for receiving the wireless data signals, from the remote environmental sensors (Air quality sensors etc).

2) A small computer to store the software that controls the Concentrator board. We are going to use the UK designed Raspberry PI 3.

A Micro SD Card, for holding the software used by the Raspberry PI.  A small 4 GB card is fine.

3) A suitable Antenna (or Aerial), with pigtail connecting cable.

4) A suitable 2 Amp rated power supply, with a micro USB connector.

5)  7 Female to Female connecting leads, suitable for raspberry PI.

4) A suitable case, to house the components.

The first thing I need to make you aware of is the risk of static electricity, to your IMST ic880a Concentrator and Raspberry PI.

Static can damage the sensitive electronic components, therefore it is advisable to take precautions, such as not touching the board components, and wearing an anti static wrist strap.

The first thing you need to do is to format the micro SD card, that will be fitted to the raspberry PI, to hold the gateway software.

The SD card association has a free piece of software, for Windows PC and Mac, to do this. My card was already formatted, so I skipped this step.

The next step is to burn the actual software that will power your gateway, onto the Raspberry PI.

To do this, I used https://etcher.io/    

I first installed Etcher onto my  linux desktop computer. As most people use Windows PC, or Mac, you will need to find a suitable alternative to Etcher.

I also downloaded the operating system needed to run the Raspberry Pi, which is called Raspbian Stretch Lite , onto my desktop PC.

Put your micro SD card into your computers micro SD card reader. If your computer (like mine) does not have a card reader, then external USB plug in ones can be purchased cheaply (I got mine from my local Asda supermarket for £6).

Fire up Etcher, or whatever card  burning software you prefer, and select the copy of Raspbian Stretch Lite , that you previously downloaded to your PC.

Follow the instructions, and burn the operating system software onto the micro SD card.

Once you have successfully burned your Raspbian Stretch Lite, onto your SD card, insert it into the Raspberry Pi (the slot is on the underside of the Pi).

The next thing to do is to connect your Raspberry Pi to a suitable monitor (I used a TV, that had a HDMI connection), and also connect a USB keyboard, power supply, and mouse.

The power supply should be 5 Volts DC, and Raspberry Pi power supplies are widely available. I used a USB phone charger, with 5 Volts output, and a current rating of 2000mA.

Boot up your Raspberry Pi (connect the power), and you will see lots of computer code scrolling across your screen (if you have done everything successfully, so far).

When the Raspberry Pi asks you for a user name and password, use the following default ones (the  bit after the  ‘ : ‘ ).

Username: Pi

Password: Raspberry

After you have successfully logged in, type:

 sudo raspi-config

Numbered options will now hopefully be on your monitor screen.

Select [5] Interfacing Options, and then P4 SPI

Then select [7] Advanced Options , and then [A1] Expand Filesystem.

You now need to exit the raspi-config utility, either by hitting the ‘CTRL’  and  ‘X’ keys, or by typing sudo reboot

Next you are going to Configure the locales and time zone.

Type this in, to set the locales, and follow instruction.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Next, type this in to set time zone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

The next stage is to update the raspberry Pi software, do this by typing:

sudo apt-get update

Then install any upgrades to the operating system software, by typing sudo apt-get upgrade

Next we are going to install Git , which is needed to be able to download the Things Network software from Github.


sudo apt-get install git

The next step is to create a user called TTN (the things network).  This user will eventually replace the default raspberry pi user, which we will delete.

sudo adduser ttn

Then:    sudo adduser ttn sudo

Logout, by typing logout

Once you have logged out, log back in using the user name and password that you have just set up, when you added a user.

You can now delete the default Raspberry Pi user, by typing

sudo userdel -rf pi

Set the WIFI  SSID and password details, which can be found on the back of your home router / Hub (usually).

To set the WIFI details type

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf 

Once you have typed in the above text, you should see some code on the screen. Add the following to the end of the existing code, making sure that you enter your SSID and password details, in place of the shown text.




Now we are going to clone the installer from Github. This will download the software which runs the gateway, from the Github repository.  Type each of the following three code lines into your Pi, one at a time, hitting the return key after each line of code.

  git clone -b spi https://github.com/ttn-zh/ic880a-gateway.git ~/ic880a-gateway
  cd ~/ic880a-gateway
  sudo ./install.sh spi

Identifying the LoraWAN Gateway

The software will give the gateway the default name of ttn-gateway.

This however may need to be changed, to prevent issues with other Things Network Gateways within wireless range.

Wiring it Up

The next step is to connect the  Concentrator board, to the Raspberry Pi, and also connect the antenna.

The components including the antenna should be mounted in a protective box,  and the antenna connected to the Concentrator board.

It is very important that the Concentrator board is not powered up, with no suitable antenna connected, of damage could occur to the board.

Once the antenna is connected, then the next step is to connect the Concentrator to the Raspberry Pi.

Connect using female to female connecting wires, as follows:

iC880a Concentrator pin Description RPi physical pin
21 Supply 5V 2
22 GND 6
13 Reset 22
14 SPI CLK 23
15 MISO 21
16 MOSI 19
17 NSS 24


It is important that you identify the correct pins, by referring to the manufactures data sheets (Both IMST & Raspberry Pi).

We accept no liability for loss or damage caused, by following these information only instructions.

For help, and to learn more about the Things Network Gateway, or what the Things Network can do, why not get in touch with me.



Craig Miles (C) 2018 -2021 , all images and content, unless stated separately.

Lorawan Server

LoRaWAN architecture and uses in Sensing

Lorawan IOT Gateway construction



Preventative Maintenance For Electric Motors

Preventative Maintenance

Preventive maintenance programs are the key to the reliable, long-life operation of electric motors.
Whilst AC Induction Motors are particularly reliable in service, almost all electrical equipment requires periodic planned inspection and maintenance. Planned preventative maintenance ensures electrical motors, and starters are kept in good working condition at all times. This is critical for businesses that rely on electric motors. A scheduled routine of motor inspection should be carried out throughout the motor’s life. The periodic motor inspection helps prevent serious damage to motors by locating potential problems early.

Periodic Preventative Maintenance Inspections

Planned electric motor maintenance programs are designed to help prevent breakdowns, rather than having to repair motors after a breakdown. In industrial operations, unscheduled stoppage of production or long repair shutdowns is expensive, and in marine shipping environments, a potential safety issue. Periodic inspections of motors are therefore necessary to ensure the best operational reliability.

Preventive maintenance programs require detailed checks to be effective. All motors onsite (factory, ship, etc) should be given their own individual identification (ID) number and have a record log. The record log is usually computerised these days. The motor records kept should identify the motor, brand, inspection dates, and descriptions of any repairs previously carried out. By record keeping, the cause of any previous breakdowns can help indicate the cause of any future problems that might occur.

All preventative maintenance programs should refer to the equipment manufacturer’s technical documentation prior to performing equipment checks.

There are simple routine maintenance checks that can be applied to three-phase induction motors, which help ensure a long service life to a motor. 

The Simple checks that can be carried out, include a review of the service history, noise, and vibration inspections. Previous noise issues could for example be due to motor single phasing. The previous vibration may have been due to worn bearings, which allow the Stator to turn. Other checks include visual inspections (damage and burning), windings tests (insulation resistance & continuity), brush and commutator maintenance (dc motors, not AC Induction Motors), and bearings and lubrication.

Inspection frequency and the degree of inspection detail may vary depending on such factors as the critical nature of the motor, its function, and the motor’s operating environment. An inspection schedule, therefore, must be flexible and adapted to the needs of each industrial or marine environment.

Induction Motor Preventative Maintenance

The main failure points of AC Induction Motors are either the Stator coil or the bearings which allow the Rotor to rotate.


Stator coils are wound coils of copper wire, that surround the Rotor of an Induction Motor.

In Single Phase Induction Motors there is a single length of copper wire, that is wound as the Stator.

In three-phase Induction Motors, there are three separate lengths of copper wire, that are wound together, to form the Stator.

Therefore in a Single Phase Induction Motor, the Stator can go faulty if breakage occurs somewhere along the length of the single would copper wire.

In a three-phase induction motor, however, there are other reasons that a motor may fail, and also preventative maintenance checks we can make.

The three separate coils of wire contained within the stator of a three-phase induction motor, need a high insulation resistance between them.

Dust or moisture can reduce the insulation resistance between the three separate coils of wire.

If the insulation drops too much (below 1-2 Mega Ohms), then the motor may stop working.

Periodic checking of the insulation resistance can help identify issues before they prevent the motor from running.


The bearings by the fact that they are a moving part, and therefore subject to friction, are more likely to fail.

Periodic preventative maintenance, or automatic (using IOT Sensors) Vibration testing can be used as an early indicator of bearing wear.

(c) Craig Miles 2019-2021.  craigmiles.co.uk

+44 (01522) 740818


Induction Motor Servicing Tips For Ships & Factories

Induction Motor Servicing.

Induction motors are used widely in factories and on ships.

They are very reliable machines, but faults can develop over time.

That is why you need Induction motor servicing to be carried out.

Potential faults include burnt out Stator windings, worn bearings, and water damage which causes low insulation resistance.

This article covers tips on Induction motor servicing.

Safety & Isolation of supply of induction motors.

Correct electricity supply isolation procedures are critical for safety.

Taking a casual approach to electrical supply isolation can prove fatal.

Three phase Induction motors, typically operate in factories at around 400 Volts AC (Alternating Current).

Marine installations typically operate at an even higher 440 Volt Alternating Current (440 VAC).

It is important that no one works on a piece of three-phase machinery, such as an Induction motor unless you are qualified to do so.

On board ship, proper authorisation, such as a valid ‘permit to work’, signed off by a ships chief engineer, should be in place before carrying out any Induction Motor servicing.

On land seek authorisation from the responsible senior managers, with appropriate responsibilities for safety.

For work to be carried out aboard Ships, permission from someone such as the Chief Engineer is appropriate.

Once permission has been gained, and the appropriate paperwork issued, only then can work commence.

Certainly in the marine environment, and normally onshore as well, ‘locks and tags’ will be issued.

The lock is to ensure that once an isolator switch has been turned off, no one can switch it back on accidentally.

The ‘tag’ details who has isolated the supply, and is working on that circuit.

Only the person who has been issued with the lock and tag set, can remove them.

Double check that circuit is dead.

Don’t assume that just because you have locked and tagged the appropriate electrical isolator, that you are safe to work on a circuit.

The isolator may be incorrectly labeled, or even worse, you have taken someone else’s word for it.

Before you stick your fingers in, and potentially kill yourself, you need to use an appropriate device to check that the circuit is safe to work on.

Induction motor servicing can be dangerous, if proper procedures are not followed.

There are three possible devices that can be used:

  1. Test Bulb
  2. Multimeter / Voltmeter
  3. Line Tester

Firstly lets look at the test bulb as an option.

A test bulb with appropriate leads and clips attached, can provide indication of a live circuit, but has a flaw.

If the bulb filament breaks, then you could falsely assume that the circuit is safe to work on, with possibly fatal outcomes.

The second option is the Multimeter / Voltmeter which these days will probably be a ‘solid state’ digital type, rather than the older analogue types, which are commonly referred to as ‘AVO’s’ in the UK.

The Multimeter / Voltmeter being ‘solid state’ is more likely to be a bit more reliable than, a filament bulb tester. However it still may be broken, and you would not necessarily know. An example being the test probe wires may be ‘Open Circuit’.

The third option, the ‘Line Tester’, will provide the most reliable indication of whether a circuit is safe. Therefore this is the preferred option.

The reason that a line tester is safer is because it contains four separate Neon bulbs (some modern ones are LED).

The bulbs light up according to how high the voltage is, for example a 400 VAC supply would light not only the 400VAC light, but the lower voltage indicator lights as well.

So imagine that the 400VAC indicator bulb has broken.

The lower voltage indicator bulbs will still light up, for example the 230VAC and 110VAC indicator bulbs.

Therefore the engineer will still have an indication that there is voltage in the circuit, and can investigate further.

Before using a Line Tester you should use a ‘proving unit’. A proving unit is a small hand-held device capable of producing a voltage such as 250 Volts.

The Line tester can thus be tested using the proving unit, prior to testing a real live circuit.

To test the Line Tester the two probes are pushed against the Proving Unit which then produces a voltage.

This will be indicated by an indicator LED lighting up on the proving unit itself.

The Neon or Led indicator lamps of the Line Tester should also light up at the same time, to indicate the voltage being supplied.

Tips when changing bearings on Induction Motors

Bearings on Rotor

The bearings on an induction motor, allow the ‘Rotor’ to rotate inside the ‘Stator’ which surrounds it.

Over time they can become worn, which may increase noise and vibration of the motor.

Bearings are not usually adjustable, so replacement is required.


Importance of  Bearing identification code facing outwards.

When refitting bearings to an induction motor you will notice that the bearing itself has a code written on the one side of it.

This code is the product identification code, and is what you need to quote in order to order the correct replacement bearing.

Once the correct replacement bearing has been obtained, and is ready for fitting, ensure the following.

Firstly, that the bearing identification code is facing away from the Stator, and outwards towards the end of the motor shaft.

This will help you in the future, if you ever have to replace the bearings again.

The reason for this is that you can just remove the end plate of the induction motor, and read the bearing code easily, provided it has been fitted with the code facing outwards.

If the bearing code was facing inwards, then it is harder to read the bearing code, and might mean that the motor shaft has to be disconnected from its mechanical load.

This adds to the motor downtime, and hence has financial and productivity implications.


Ways to remove bearings from induction motor shaft.

The ideal way to remove an old bearing from the induction motor rotor shaft is to use a bearing puller tool.

Removal is then just a matter of fitting, the tool into position, and winding in the screw thread in a clockwise direction.

As this happens, the bearing is slowly pulled up and off the shaft.

If however you don’t have a puller, other methods, such as  using a metal bar to leverage between the bearing and the end of the shaft can be tried.

However this is not the way I recommend, and you do it at you own risk of injury and damage to the motor shaft.


Methods for fitting a new induction motor bearing.

Ideally, you will have a hydraulic bench press, that you can use to put massive pressure down onto the bearing to ‘press it’ onto the shaft, in the correct position.

When using such a press, a number of precautions should be observed.

Firstly, ensure that you are fully competent to use the hydraulic press. Even fairly cheap versions are capable of exerting many tons of pressure, which can be dangerous to human health.

Secondly, ensure that the tube or sleeve that you fit over the shaft of the motor is only just wide enough.

The reason for this is that a wide metal tube (or sleeve) put over the motor shaft in order to push against the bearing, can damage it.

This is because too wide a tube will make contact with the plastic middle of the bearing, or the outer metal edge.

Both of these two scenarios are bad, because the pressure applied to anywhere but the centre metal part of the bearing, will cause damage.

This damage can result in the replacement bearing being ruined, which defeats the object of replacing it.

Using a hydraulic press is the method that we would recommend, however, this option is sometimes not available.

In particular to engineers working at sea in a marine environment, such as a cargo ship.

If you find yourself in this situation, then there are other ways to re-fit a replacement bearing to an induction motor.

One method is to take advantage of the fact that metals contract and expand due to cold and heat.

This method involves carefully wrapping up the Stator part of the induction motor in a polythene bag and putting it in the freezer overnight.

This will vary slightly shrink the size diameter of the bearing shaft.

The second part to the operation involves gently heating up a pan of engine oil so that it is warm.

Obviously, extreme care needs to be taken, so that either fire is not caused by the oil igniting, or the engineer receiving burns while trying to handle the hot bearing.

Once the bearing is warm, the Stator can be removed from the freezer, and the warm oiled bearing should slip fairly easily onto the shaft.

The oil can then be wiped off the bearing with a non-fluffy cloth, and motor reassembly can begin.



Transformers & The Different Types of Electrical Transformers

Induction Motor Starter Types








Electric Morris Minor

This blog post is about my design suggestions for an electric Morris Minor.

There have already been some prototype electric Morris Minor conversions already, which I will discuss.

In addition I have designed alternative ways to successfully convert classic cars such as the Morris Minor.

History & background

The Morris Minor is a British car designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, that was launched in 1948.

The Morris Minor originally was produced with an 918cc Side valve Petrol engine, but this was replaced in the early 1950s by an Overhead Valve (OHV) engine.

The OHV engine was improved and its size increased during the remainder of its production. and the later models were 1098cc in cubic capacity size.

The standard Morris Minor had the engine connected to a four speed longitudinal mounted gearbox, attached at the back of the engine.

The gearbox output is connected to a long single drive shaft, which runs underneath the car.

The drive shaft connects the gearbox to the rear axle.

The rear axle incorporates a ‘differential’ which fixes the speed ratio, between the rotational speed of the drive shaft, and the rotational speed of the road wheels.

Therefore as the engine power is transferred via the gearbox and drive shaft, to the rear axle, it is a rear wheel drive car.

Any design for an electric Morris Minor, will probably stick with the rear wheel drive configuration.

The reason for keeping the electric Morris Minor as Rear Wheel Drive, or RHD for short, is engineering design simplicity.

The front suspension on a Morris Minor was advanced for a British car of its time (1948).

The front suspension used torsion bars, as the springs, and featured ‘rack and pinion’ suspension, that is still used in modern cars.

The shock absorbers are different to the type used in modern cars, and are known as ‘lever arm shock absorbers’.

To convert an electric Morris Minor into powering the front wheels, known as front wheel drive, would require major suspension modifications (unless hub motors were used).

This is because the original Morris Minor steering and front suspension system, would need a lot of component changes.

Of course its possible to make a front wheel drive Morris Minor, but more expensive, and also changes the cars handling characteristics.

If however you are hell bent on a front wheel drive electric Morris Minor then its possible.

My solution would be to use hub integrated motors.

Hub integrated motors consist of an individual electric motor powering each driving wheel.

For instance to create a front wheel drive Morris Minor, you would have two motors driving each of the two front wheels.

If you wanted to use hub motors, but to keep the traditional Morris Minor rear wheel drive configuration, you would fit the motors to the two rear wheels.

So let’s decide to stick to the original rear wheel drive layout for our electric Morris Minor.

There are four ways that you could configure the electric motor layout. This also applies to many other classic cars, which share the same basic layout.

Firstly, the original internal combustion engine can be removed, whilst leaving the Morris Minor gearbox, driveshaft and rear axle (Inc differential) in place.

An electric motor is then attached to the original Morris Minor gearbox.

Some electric motor conversions that use this layout configuration, are clutch less in design. The torque & high rev range of many electric motors mean that the car can be driven in the same gear for most of the time.

Other electric car conversion designs still incorporate a conventional clutch.

The advantages of retaining a clutch are better motor speed control, and more importantly more retention of the original Classic Car experience.

A second option for mounting the electric motor in your Morris Minor, would be by removing the gearbox and either mounting the electric motor at the front end of the drive shaft and directly attached to its front end.

Or alternatively the drive shaft could be removed, and the motor mounted directly to the rear axle differential input shaft.

This second method of attaching the electric motor directly to the rear axle differential connection, has advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is a saving of weight, by removing the drive shaft which runs underneath the car, from front to back.

Less weight is a good thing for performance of your electric car.

The disadvantage is that it makes it a bit harder to mount, than if you mounted the electric motor at the front end, and retained the driveshaft.

It is harder to mount, because you need to create a mounting cradle which attaches to the rear axle, and supports the weight of the electric motor.

Morris Minor Hybrid

You may well of heard of Hybrid cars.

If not, then let me explain what they are.

A hybrid car is a car that uses a combination of combustible fuel, such as petrol or diesel, and electric power.

A hybrid car might drive the wheels using an electric motor at low town speeds, and petrol at higher speeds.

Alternatively, the petrol (or diesel) motor could be used, if the battery was low on charge.

The use of electric motors at low speeds around towns, has obvious environmental advantages.

However you might also still want a traditional petrol motor for long distance trips.

My design for a Morris Minor Hybrid, keeps the petrol engine, whilst also adding electric front-wheel drive.

The rear wheels continue to be driven by the Morris Minors petrol motor.

Whilst the front wheels are driven by ‘in-hub’ electric motors.

A simple solution would be to have a manual switch, to be able to select the drive system.

Alternatively an automatic electrically controlled system could be used.

I am currently considering the design for an automatic system, and will provide further details in the future.

Gearbox Considerations

If you want design simplicity for your electric Morris, then keep the original gearbox.

The electric motor is simply attached to the gearbox, in place of the original petrol motor.

This is done via a special adapter plate, and a coupler.

The potential problem with using the original gearbox is excess motor torque.

Vehicle Electric Motors produce a lot of torque at low RPM (Revolution Per Minute).

The standard Morris Minor gearbox was designed to handle a maximum engine torque of 60 lb/ft (81 N·m) at 2,500 rpm.

The above torque figure is for the most powerful Morris Minor, built from 1962 onwards.

The gearbox was upgraded in 1962, along with the engine size (to 1098cc from 948cc), and gained Baulk-Ring-Synchromesh .

To ensure that you do not suffer premature gearbox failure, it is important that you consult electric motor manufacturers’ datasheets.

For an ordinary road going car, this should not be an issue, if precautions are taken to select a suitable motor.

For those looking to upgrade their Morris Minors performance, then this is definitely a consideration.

The characteristics of electric motors is instant maximum torque at very low rpm.

This sudden surge of torque needs to be considered, as it could damage the standard minor gearbox in a relatively short time.

The morris minor has been converted and upgraded for many years by enthusiasts, including the gearbox.

One popular conversion is to fit the Ford Sierra gearbox.

The Ford gearbox offers two advantages.

The first advantage, is that the Sierra gearbox gives you five forward gears, compared with the minors original four.

The second advantage of changing the gearbox to the Ford unit is strength. The gearbox is stronger and can handle more power.



Zigbee Technical Characteristics

Characteristics Overview

Zigbee characteristics make it suitable for short range wireless communications.

It is based on the IEEE 802.15.4-specification, created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The technology is used to create personal area networks, also known as PAN(s).

PAN’s are created using low-power digital radio tranceivers, using Zigbee technology.

 PAN’s are used in applications including home automation, data collection, and medical devices.

Zigbee is designed to be used in small scale projects requiring wireless connection.

Characteristics of the technology is low-power consumption and RF transmit power, low data transmission rate, and short communication range.

  • Developed by Zigbee Alliance
  • IEEE 802.15.4 based specification
  • High level communication protocols
  • Used to create Personal Area Networks (PAN)
  • Uses small low power digital radios
  • Typically used for home automation, medical device data collection, other projects requiring low power & low bandwidth
  • Conceived in 1995, standardised in 2003, revised in 2006

Features of Zigbee

  • Low power
  • Low data rate
  • Close proximity data communications
  • Wireless ‘ad hoc’ network (WANET), which is a decentralised type of wireless network.

Zigbee Advantages (compared with other WPANS, such as Bluetooth & WIFI)

  • Simpler
  • Less expenditure

Applications (typical uses)

  • Wireless light switches
  • Home energy monitors
  • Traffic management systems
  • Other consumer & industrial equipment, requiring short communication range & low wireless data transmission rate
Typical  Performance
  • 10 – 100 meters range (per device), based on line of sight
  • Range dependent on both power output & environmental characteristics
  • Long distance communication possible by passing data through a ‘mesh network’, which allows the data to transfer through ‘intermediate’ devices between zigbee nodes
  • Long battery life, due to low power consumption
  • Secure communication using 128 bit symmetric encryption keys
  • 250 kbit/s, which is suited to intermittent data transmissions, such as from a sensor or other input device.

Wireless Data Overview

What is 802.15.4 and Zigbee?

IEEE 802.15.4 is a technical standard which defines the operation of low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPANs).

It specifies the physical layer and media access control for LR-WPANs, and is maintained by the IEEE 802.15 working group, which defined the standard back in 2003.


WLAN is short for Wireless Local Area Network.


WPAN is short for Wireless Personal Area Network.

Zigbee versus Bluetooth & WIFI

For the Internet of Things (IOT) & IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) the choice of wireless technology, depends on application.

If large amounts of data need to be transmitted between the sensor, and the receiving end, then Wifi may provide the best solution.

An example of an application requiring high data rates is transmitting video images, such as those from a CCTV camera.

WIFI is ideally suited to such an application.

Where WIFI has disadvantages however, is in power consumption and maximum amount of user nodes.

The relatively high power consumption of WIFI, compared with Bluetooth (especially Bluetooth Low Energy), and Zigbee, has issues.

The main issue is that the technology is not well suited to battery powered operation.

If WIFI links are used for data transmission, from remotely located sensors, then regular battery changes are necessary.

Of course if a mains electrical supply is available, then this isn’t an issue.

Bluetooth offers better (lower) power consumption than WIFI, so is a better solution for battery powered equipment.

The disadvantage of Bluetooth is that only 7 connections can be made simultaneously.

The connection time to establish a new connection is also longer in both Bluetooth and WIFI, compared with Zigbee.

Zigbee offers very low power consumption (especially in sleep mode), making it suitable for remote sensors, with long battery lives.

Battery lives can be a few years!

Zigbee is best suited to applications that require small amounts of data to be transmitted at a time.

An example is medical data monitoring of patients, or wireless light switches (Home automation).


Bluetooth Integration Services Smart Factories


Wet three phase Induction Motor Effects

Flooded or Wet Induction Motors

First of all, try not to!

When designing a marine of industrial installation, you need to consider the IP, or ingress protection rating of your Induction motor.

By choosing a motor with a high enough IP rating, it is possible that when you submerge your Induction Motor, nothing will happen.

This is because the higher the IP rating,  the better the motor casing is at keeping out dust & moisture, from the motors delicate ‘internals’.

Lets imagine a scenario, that an incompetant person has decided to save a few ‘quid’ by specifying an IP54 rated Induction Motor.

This motor will withstand dust & a splash of water, but not submersion, and is therefore suited to dry factories on land, but not a typical marine environment.

So what would actually happen if it gets submerged?

Inside the induction motor are tightly wound coils of copper wire, called a ‘stator’.

It is important for the motor to work, that there is a high ‘Insulation Resistance’ between each of the three ‘Stator Windings’.

Despite being wound tightly together, the stator windings are in fact insulated from each other by the coating on the copper wires.

What happens if water gets into the stator windings, is that the ‘insulation resistance’ between the three separate windings that make up the stator, goes down to very low levels.

The insulation resistance between the ‘phases’ can be measured using an insulation resistance, or IR tester.

Insulation Resistance (IR) testers, often refered to as ‘Meggers’ after a famous brand of IR testers, inject a high voltage through two separate stator windings, or  between a winding and the casing of the Induction Motor.

The display on the IR tester shows the resistance between the separate stator windings.

The insulation resistance should be very HIGH.

On ships, SOLAS (Marine regs) specifies a legal minimum of 0.5 Mega Ohms.

In practical terms you should not accept an Insulation resistance of less than 1M (Mega) Ohm on board ships, and not less than 2M Ohms for land based installations.

Low IR on board ships will cause an Earth Fault alarm to be triggered.

Induction motor servicing tips. Photos (c) Craig Miles 2017-2021.

How to Dry Out a Flooded Induction Motor on-Board Ship.

If you find yourself in the situation of having a flooded motor, with resulting very low insulation resistance, the situation can be remedied.

Firstly consider safety, as water and electricity are not a good combination, and water can conduct electricity.

Follow all correct electrical supply isolation procedures (Valid Permit to work, Locks & Tags etc).

Check and re-check that you have correctly isolated the supply,  using an appropriate tester, such as a ‘live line tester’. Also check that the tester works (using ‘Proving Unit, or known test supply) , both before, and after testing the isolated supply.

Once you are satisfied that the motor is safe to work on, then drying out the stator windings of the flooded motor, can be done in two ways.

The first method is to dismantle the Induction Motor, so that the stator windings are exposed, and to place the motor in a warm environment.

As getting the motor back in service quickly is important, a warm air source, such as a hairdryer can be used to warm the windings, and chase out moisture.

If using something like a hairdryer be careful, as hairdryers have a low IP rating, as they are not designed to come into contact with water.

Therefore keep it at a safe distance from the motor.

Never stick one inside the stator of a damp motor for instance (disclaimer: this blog is for information only, and should not be relied on legally, as it’s free. If you injure yourself, due to lack of proper formal training, then I accept no liability)

Periodically you can re-check the Insulation Resistance readings until they have risen back up to acceptable levels, and the motor is dry.

Important note:  Seawater is corrosive, and the motor is likely to need washing / cleaning out, with freshwater etc, before you start the drying process.

The second method that can be used, is to gently heat the windings up using an electrical welding set.

A  low current from the welding set is passed through the windings, which causes them to gently heat up, which helps dry them out.

I am not going to elaborate on the second point too much, as you really need ‘hands-on’ training on how to do it, and I accept no liability / nor want you to injure yourself.

Your marine training provider can show you how to do this.

Once the windings have totally dried out, and the insulation resistance is back to the pre ‘flooded’ levels, then the motor can be reassembled and re-connected.

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Induction Motor Maintenance & Testing

Induction Motor Starter Types

Induction Motor Servicing Tips For Ships & Factories



Satellite Wifi

Satellite WIFI for remote communities is a challenge.

It is estimated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that 2.6 Billion people are not connected to the Internet.

Thats 2.6 Billion People, like you and me.

2.6 Billion brilliant minds that could contribute to the world.

Just imagine a world with those 2.6 Billion connected.

The business and cultural opportunities, could impact the world in a positive way.


So What Now

So what now?

I did my TEDx talk last Sunday.

My talk, which could possibly be described as a passionate ramble at times, was for a reason.

That reason is the desire to help the unconnected.

Currently, it is estimated according to the ITU, that 2.6 Billion people are not connected to the Internet.

Another statistic, again estimated is that there are 263 Million Children and youths aged between 6 and 17 years old, without a school to attend.

263 Million is the estimate by UNESCO, in their 2018 report, but it’s only an estimate.

So what can we do about this situation?

How can we both connect those 2.6 Billion and also provide education for the 263 Million?

Let’s look at the options for Internet connectivity first of all.

Hers TEDx version 2, which was an interview about the idea. Version 1 was the traditional stand up version.

Connecting the Unconnected

Connecting the unconnected 2.6 Billion people without Internet access.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recently released the connectivity figures for 2023.

They estimate that 2.6 Billion people are still not connected to the Internet.

This figure of 2.6 Billion has come down since the previous year’s figure of 2.7 Billion, but is still too high.

Imagine a world without connectivity to the Internet.

Imagine the lack of opportunities.

Opportunities that we take for granted.

So what can we do?

What can we do to help connect the 2.6 Billion unconnected people?

First of all, let’s look at the challenges:

Remote Location

Displaced Refugees

Lack of personal finance

Lack of Financial Viability for Traditional Telecommunications Infrastructure


Giving Fifty Percent Of Profits to Charity

Giving fifty percent of profits to charity, is something I woke up thinking about this morning.

So I googled it, to find out if it already existed, and it did.

As some of you may know, I run a small business, but am also a part time teacher.

This year I have become increasingly interested in the United Nations SDG4 goal of providing every child in the world with what is termed ‘Quality Education’.

Quality Education is the official term used for SDG4 (Sustainable Development Goal 4).

Unfortunately the there is a need for this goal in 2023.

Unfortunately we as a world are not currently on track to meet the SDG4 target of goal achievement by 2030.

So what has this got to do with giving away fifty percent of profits?

Well just visualise and imagine for a moment, a world where all businesses voluntarily did this.

Imagine the impact on the world, both in your local community and in developing countries.

In your local community, there could be a flourishing of arts, sports and mental health, as local charities and groups receive cash boosts.

On the world level, successful businesses from wealthy countries, could benefit would-be entrepreneurs in developing countries, by providing much needed micro-finance.

Accessing this micro-finance could be done via an online website, powered by a newly expanded Internet, using LEO Satellites.

An expanded Internet, that reaches all remote corners of the earth.

A secondhand smartphone is potentially all that is required.

Giving fifty percent of profits to charity is something I am considering now.

Refugee Education Using Satellites

Refugee Education can traditionally be hard to achieve.

The very nature of a refugees situation, means that they are displaced.

Being displaced from their normal geographic home, disrupts schooling for the young.

But there is a new possible solution.

The solution is direct to handset education.

More specifically I am talking about direct-to-handset, from Low Earth Orbit Satellite (LEO).

Traditional mobile / cell phone connectivity is achieved using ‘Cell Towers’

Cell Towers are the metal towers with rectangular antennas on, that are a common everyday sight.

The issue with cell towers is that they are owned by regional telecommunication companies, who also provide geographically limited SIM cards.

Displaced people may be in refugee camps newly arrived locations, not covered by their existing phone contract.

This can mean high roaming charges, or even no connectivity at all.

Imagine instead, a worldwide SIM card, for refugees education.

Imagine accessing broadband enabled lessons, from any location.

This could be achieved, as the technology now exists.

Currently two companies have successfully in 2023, run trials of satellite to ordinary mobile / cell phone.

Therefore worldwide quality refugee education for all, including refugees, is now possible.

Reading Links: 2023 Connected Education GRF Pledging Roadmap.pdf (unhcr.org)

Reliable space services: Why and how? – ITU Hub

How technology is helping education reach refugee children | CIO

Improving futures through education | The Global Compact on Refugees | UNHCR (globalcompactrefugees.org)

The Role of Technology in Refugee Education – Refugee Research Online

AI Teachers for SDG4

Ai Teachers.

AI is short for Artificial Intelligence.

AI has the ability to revolutionise teaching and education.

It also has a role to play in meeting the SDG4 goal.

The SDG4 goal is short for Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Sustainable Development Goal 4, is a United Nation initiative, to provide ‘Quality Education’ for all of the worlds people.

So how does AI help achieve Quality Education for all?

AI education chatbots can be tailored to respond to an individual learner.

AI can also learn via the actions of the user (the students), and tailor the teaching and learning experience delivered.

This ability of AI to provide individualised teaching, based on monitoring, is important for SDG4.

It is important because there is a shortage of teachers worldwide.

And millions of children don’t even go to school!

Imagine a new way.

Imagine students with smart phones, connected via LEO Satellites, direct to their handset, anywhere in the world.

Imagine students with a personal learning device (app & smartphone), able to not only teach, but to adapt that teaching style and content, based on user inputs.

The current schools model is broken, certainly in the UK.

At the same time its surely morally right that every child has the access to education, to level the field, to give everyone a chance.

Therefore we have the chance to reimagine our schools, as we enter this new AI era.

New schools where there are currently none.

And a new educational environment, in schools worldwide, where AI helps ‘know’ the child, based on device interaction.

I’m not saying teaching in its current form is redundant, but that we can improve student engagement, and attainment progress, using AI.

Further Thoughts

Current teaching in schools, is not an optimal education experience.

Its not an optimal experience for many of the children in each class.

This is because of individual educational needs.

Individual educational needs include ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism.

They also include a hidden issue.

The hidden issue affecting individual educational needs, is family, life events and environment.

As a teacher, I’ve seen this first hand.

We aren’t robots, and life affects us.

Life events therefore affect the students ability to learn.

If your parents are getting divorced, for example, that is often likely have an emotional effect on a child.

Life events occurring outside school, can have an affect on lesson focus and concentration.

So how can we improve the situation?

AI chatbots and personalised education through AI Teachers, will help.

SDG Goals Using LEO Satellites

SDG is short for Sustainable Development Goals.

SDG comprises seventeen separate development goals.

The seventeen goals were agreed by the United Nations in 2015.

The goals cover various development goals, such as gender equality and education for all, and have an achievement target date of 2030.

My personal focus is mainly on SDG4, though there is a crossover with other SDG goals.

SDG4 has the aim of providing ‘Quality Education’ for all of the citizens of the world.

Currently, this is not the case, with millions of children growing up, without an education.

LEO Satellites are clusters of small satellites, located in a low orbit, of less than 1000 miles from the earth’s surface.


Connecting Schools To The Internet

Visualise and imagine this.

You’ve never used a mobile phone, you’ve never even heard of Google; even the Internet itself is an alien concept.

This is not science fiction, this is the lived reality for an estimated 2.7 Billion of our fellow world citizens.

This impacts the lives of unconnected people, through less access to opportunities, opportunities that we in this room, take for granted.

One example of less access to opportunities is in education.

By the end of this article, I hope to share with you, and explain three ideas:

Idea one, is that the United Nations’ ambition of universal access to education for all, can be helped using Low Earth Orbit Satellites.

The second idea is, that universal education for all, will help stimulate the world economy, for the better.

And finally, idea three, is that universal education for all, will have cultural benefits, on a local and international level.

Universal Education is a long-time declared objective of the United Nations but has yet to be realised.

Its latest incarnation is the Sustainable Development Goal 4, known as SDG4.

Universal education means that everyone has access to an education.

Unfortunately, currently, not everyone does.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, which is the agency of the UN, concerned with telecommunications:

An estimated 5.3 billion people, or 66 per cent of the world’s population, were using the Internet in 2022.

This represents an increase of 24 per cent since 2019, which was accelerated due to COVID, with an extra 1.1 billion people estimated to have come online during that period.

However, this leaves 2.7 billion people still offline.​ Source: International Telecommunications Union (www.itu.int/itu-d/sites/statistics/facts-figures-2022)

Whilst the increase is good news, that still leaves 2.7 billion members of the world’s population with no access to the Internet.

This impacts the goal of educational and life opportunities for those 2.7 billion unconnected people. Source: International Telecommunications Union (www.itu.int/itu-d/reports/statistics/facts-figures-2022)

Another reality, is that women and girls are affected more, with less access than males, to the internet.

According to the 2022 report entitled ‘ Measuring Digital Development: Facts and Figures 2022’ (www.itu.int/hub/publication/d—ind-ict-mdd-2022), overall the world average is 6% more males have internet access, than females.

This figure however is an average, with gender parity in the Americas region, but an 11% difference in Africa overall.

Providing Internet connectivity for all, as a way of contributing towards to objective of education for all, is one part of the solution.

In a world where one in five schools are estimated not to even have proper access to drinking water, and same-sex toilets, internet access may not seem a priority. (Source: unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2021/the-sustainable-development-goals-report-2021.pdf)

Indeed the SDG 2021 report also states that an estimated quarter of schools worldwide, don’t even have electricity!

Another issue highlighted in the same report, and facing many parts of the world, is a lack of trained teachers, which impacts the educational attainment of students.

The United Nations through its Sustainable Development Goal 4, is trying to address these issues.

However there is one important issue that hasn’t been talked about, and that is reaching all children, to provide an education.

Some areas of the world are remote and sparsely populated.

This presents a challenge in meeting the UN SDG4 goal of every child being able to access education, by 2030.

Not all children can physically attend a school, for many reasons, including remote location, or being a displaced refugee.

You might think the solution is mobile or cell phone data, thus allowing remote learning.

But to use a mobile phone, you need the telecommunications infrastructure, to connect your call.

Traditional mobile phones, rely on a network of locally positioned ‘cell towers’.

These cell towers connect the radio signals sent back and forth to your phone, enabling calls and data to be sent.

Installing a cell tower involves money, and the company naturally wants a return on investment, simply put, to make a profit.

This is not an issue in central London or even central Lincoln, but in a remote village in Sub-Saharan Africa, with ten villagers, and low income….its an issue.

It’s also not feasible to supply the electricity and communications links, that connect the cell towers to the network.

So what’s the answer, how can we connect those in remote locations, and give them access to the modern world?

Through recent advancements in telecommunications, and in particular, the satellite industry.

such as LEO Satellite constellations, the realisation of education for all, is potentially here.

All it takes is a will! I will share ways that through new technologies, we as a planet can ensure everyone has the right to an education.

I will also discuss the economic and cultural benefits of providing Universal Education.

Well I want help to spread this idea, and want people to know that the UN aim of Universal Education, is possible, with the aid of new satellite communications technologies, to provide 100% global Internet coverage.

I want as many people as possible to come together, and start taking action on making this happen.

My hope, is that the idea will spread, and reach those members of the world community, who can help make the aim of Universal Education, a reality, within the next five years.

Its just not right (in my opinion), that there is a gulf of educational opportunity, based on where you happen to be born in the world.

Satellite Communications can help bridge this educational divide.

Imagine a world, where there is no such thing as an ‘economic migrant’, as their country of birth has the same opportunities, enabled by telecommunications, and educational leadership, on a world scale.

There are 263 million children and youths, aged between 6 and 17, according to recent estimates, not attending school, according a UNESCO.(uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs48-one-five-children-adolescents-youth-out-school-2018-en.pdf)

At least that’s the estimate, from UNESCO, which is part of the United Nations.

Lack of access to educational opportunities, hinders children’s life chances.

I have a child, maybe you do to.

Or maybe you know a child.

Imagine that child without a school to go to.

Imagine a child you know, not able to fulfil their greatest potential, dreams, or life ambitions.

Instead that child is more at risk of a life being imposed on them.

A life possibly of child labour, child marriage, or even modern slavery.

You see schools (for all their faults, but that’s for another time) are a way of giving visibility to a child, as well a life chance.

The UNESCO estimate of 263 Million (2018 figures) children and youths, without education is an estimate, as the true figure isn’t accurately recorded.

We don’t actually know the true figure, because we as a world don’t see them, we don’t mark them on any kind of school register.

Its not all bad news, according to UNESCO, the world situation has improved, over the last 50 years of tracking.

According to their data, we as a world have gone from a quarter of the youth population lacking basic literacy skills, to less than 10% in 2016. However the global adult literacy rate in 2016, was at 86% (Source: www.uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs45-literacy-rates-continue-rise-generation-to.next-en-2017_0.pdf).

But that still leaves 750 million people, two thirds of whom are female, behind. (Source: as above)

That’s 10% of other peoples children, but for the grace of god and luck of the draw, wasn’t you and yours.

Your kids, or children you know, got an education…….whether they appreciated it at the time of not 😊

So how do we ensure all children get that opportunity.

The right to school, the right to lifelong learning, the right to freedom.

As I briefly touched upon, in my introduction, the United Nations, has set 17 Sustainable Development Goals, known as SDG’s.

Those goods were agreed in 2015, with a target of 2030, to achieve them.

So good news, problem solved, what the heck is the point of this TED talk then.

Well are we on track to achieve it.

Back in the year 2000, the UN adopted the target of providing ‘Education For All’ (at the World Conference on Education for All, Jomtien, Thailand, 5- 9 March 1990) , by 2015.

It wasn’t achieved, and despite progress, and may well of got worse, due to the covid19 pandemic.

 “Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been”. 

António GuterresSecretary-General, United Nations, on 10th July 2023. (Source: unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2023/)

But I believe its still possible to achieve sustainable development goal 4.

Its possible to provide education for all our children, wherever in the world they are located.

It just requires a concerted effort by the world community, and help from LEO.

Who is LEO?

LEO is not a person, or even the name of a lion, but instead is an abbreviation of Low Earth Orbit.

Low Earth Orbit, or LEO, refers to a type of space satellite that, as the name suggests, is closer to the surface of the earth, than other types of satellite.

These satellites are smaller and lower powered than traditional satellites.

They orbit much closer to the earth, at less than 1000 KM from the earths surface, compared with 36,000 km for a bus size geostationary satellite.

LEO satellites have been put into space in large numbers in recent years.

This is because unlike geostationary satellites, which are stationary, in relation to part of the earths surface, LEO Satellites are constantly going round the earth every 90 minutes.

Traditional geostationary satellites have communications coverage with part of the earths surface, such as the European continent.

This is known as the satellites footprint.

As the earth is round, the geostationary satellites footprint cannot cover the whole of the earth.

LEO satellites work in a different way, to geostationary satellites.

LEO Satellites are able to provide worldwide communications coverage, because there are a large number of them, known as a constellation, constantly circling round the world.

This ensures that there is always one above the earth within communications range above whatever location you are in, anywhere in the world.

So what you may say!

Well imagine a world where geographic location is no barrier to being connected to the Internet.

Imagine a world where all children, young people and adults, could benefit from online learning.

Imagine remote schools and communities, being able to access up to date information, rather than relying on limited text books.

By utilising LEO Satellites, we could enable this.

There are two ways that LEO satellites can provide Internet connectivity to all.

The main way currently used is using ground terminals, which receive and send the internet data between the ground and the LEO Satellite.

Another technology that has just become a reality, is direct to phone internet connectivity, via LEO.

Direct-to-phone connectivity, could be an access to education game changer.

It could help reach more children. This technology now exists!

But they don’t have phones, is the obvious retort.

True, but LEO could connect up isolated villages to village terminals.

We could use refurbished community computers, or even low powered raspberry pi computers, running from open source software.

These community computers could be tethered to an old smartphone. The smartphone would be the device that connects the computer, via Wi-Fi tethering, to the satellite.

Who in this audience has an old smartphone that they no longer use?

This could be part of the solution, towards enabling education for all.

Lack of electricity to power the phones and computer, can be overcome using small solar panels, or other cheap ways of charging, such as wind up chargers.

So what are the benefits of education for all, and lifelong learning opportunities.

Economic empowerment on a worldwide scale, could be revolutionary.

Imagine a world, where there are no economic migrants, because there are plenty of opportunities, in their home country.

Of course it would be naive to believe that there would be no need for people to move around, ever again.

War and conflict encourage people to seek a safer country.

In the past displacement of people, could be disruptive of there access to education, but this can also be solved vis LEO, and online learning.

Low Earth Orbit satellites, and internet connectivity for all, I believe, go hand in hand with the SDG4 vision of ‘Quality Education’ for all.

Not only can lessons be bought to children in the most remote areas of the planet, but new world markets and opportunities for business and economic trade will develop.

Is it a threat?

Will my livelihood suffer, due to competition from newly connected parts of the world.

I don’t believe so, as…currently offline communities will be able to sell their unique local goods, to the world.

Over time they will get wealthier.

They will then become consumers, which could include British goods and services, and of course other countries.

There are cultural benefits too, both for the local communities, in these remote areas, but also for the wider world.

By connecting these communities to the outside world, we not only provide access to education, and opportunities, but allowing new ideas, information and products to spread to a wider audience.

In summary and to conclude,

  • It doesn’t seem right that a child goes to school, based on where they were born, or how rich their parents are.
  • Satellite technology, via the new generation of Low Earth Orbit Satellites, now enables fast worldwide connectivity.
  • We can provide education, even to the most remote places on the planet.
  • All we need is a collective will, by the international community.

Thank you for reading.

General notes:

SDG4 Last Mile Connectivity

SDG4 is the United Nations’ target of providing quality education for all, by 2030.

Part of the issue is that 2.7 billion people are still not connected to the Internet.

By connecting these 2.7 billion people, we can improve access to education, and also improve existing attainment standards.

LEO Satellites can provide low-latency broadband Internet to the earth ground stations.

In fact, the latest developments, enable direct from satellite to mobile/cell phone connectivity.

Heres some ideas on my creative engineering video blog.