Building the SAM-III Fluxgate Magnetometer

The SAM-III magnetometer kits are provided by Whitham Reeve of Reeve Engineers in Anchorage Alaska. Their description is available at:


With permission from them, we reproduce their build instructions here for both team members and the general public to review:



Whitham Reeve maintains the construction manual as a living document and when they are created new versions can be found at:


Scott Goelzer of Coe-Brown Northwood Academy has provided a guide to help identify the electronic components used in the assembly of the magnetometer:



After the initial build of the magnetometer, the software must be loaded into the processor. Again with permission, we reproduce their software setup document here:



As with the SAM-III construction manual, the Reeve source of the software setup documentation is:


The magnetometer electronics are housed in a convenient hand-held enclosure. This enclosure requires some minor assembly and the instructions can be found here:



The BEN-1 Gray Rectangular Enclosure Assembly Instructions are written and maintained by Whitham Reeve. Evolving versions of the instructions can be found at:


Building the Deployment Hardware

There are two assemblies that form the deployed magnetometer.

The assembled magnetometer is paired with an Arduino-based digital processor with a GPS chip to provide an accurate time tag. The resulting assembly is placed into a PVC "tree" that holds the three sensors in an orthogonal right-handed orientation with the electronics at the top. This assembly is placed into a larger water-tight PVC tube set five feet into the ground for thermal stability.

Instructions for building the PVC assembly that holds the magnetometer and allows it to be buried safely in the ground is available here:



Assembly of the deployment electronics is simpler than the assembly of the magnetometer. It is described in the following document:



The second assembled component is the doghouse, a weather-proof box set 15 to 20 feet from the magnetometer. It holds the batteries, photovoltaics, data transmission antenna, and associated circuitry.



The policy of the SWUG project is that UNH will provide all of the necessary materials or offset the cost of purchase. Some items, such as the PVC tubes, the batteries, and the lumber needed to build the doghouse are better purchased locally than shipped. In this case, we UNH will reimburse the school for the costs.

As with all of the documents provided here, these are living documents that will continue to evolve as the array matures. If links are broken, please email

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Last modified: December 10, 2022