Electronic / Mechanical Engineer Technician - Seafloor Seismology

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

You will join a group committed to advancing the performance and reliability of Ocean-Bottom Seismographs (OBS) in order to support discovery of the earth’s internal structure and its dynamic processes such as earthquake faulting and volcanism. Advances in datalogger performance, autonomous timing, acoustic and optical telemetry, and the availability of new low-power, low-noise seismic sensors provide the opportunity to design a new generation of OBS with greater capability and longer recording durations.

The Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrument Center (OBSIC) (https://obsic.whoi.edu) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution seeks to hire a full-time, junior electronics / mechanical engineer technician in the OBSIC lab. OBSIC provides Ocean Bottom Seismographs (OBS), and the technical support to operate them, to the academic research community.

Under the supervision of senior OBSIC staff, participate in the design, maintenance, and operation of Ocean-Bottom Seismographs (OBS) and related support equipment. Assist in mobilizing/demobilizing sea-going seismic experiments.  Participate in sea-going experiments for up to 3 months per year. Examples of recent expeditions include OBS cruises to the Galapagos, Antarctica, the Aleutians, and the Caribbean.

This is a regular, full-time, non exempt position and is eligible for benefits. The internal working title for this position could be either Engineering Assitant II/III. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience. This role is a on-site role.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities


Seeking an engineer with background, and/or enthusiasm for learning, in the following areas:

  • Assembly & maintenance of seafloor seismographs 
  • Deployment & Rocovery of seafloor seismographs 
  • Analog, digital, and power circuit design
  • PCB design, layout, fabrication, and testing processes
  • Debugging and testing, both in the lab and in the field
  • Low-power, low-noise analog systems.
  • System integration
  • Serial and Ethernet communication
  • Experience writing embedded code in C/C++
  • CAD based design / use of WHOI Dunkworks rapid prototyping facility
  • Design and modification of level system for a new sismotoer

Desired Experience:Cadence Allegro/OrCAD Capture and PCB EditorFamiliarity and comfort with Linux OS, embedded systems software, and use of scripting languages (bash, Python, MATLAB, JavaScript)Some familiarity with embedded microcontrollers


Engineering Assistant II

  • assists in assembly, maintenance, and repair of equipment with instruction and advice; exercises judgment in selecting or adapting procedures and equipment; selects and operates standard test equipment, records test data, and performs routine analyses; conducts various tests or experiments to troubleshoot and correct minor malfunctions.

Engineering Assistant III

  • performs non-routine assignments of substantial variety and complexity given well-defined objectives and technical advice from a supervisor or engineering staff member;
  • fabricates and constructs complex components of instrumentation requiring care and accuracy, seeking advice as necessary;
  • uses computers to run application programs or to do simple programming tasks;
  • uses CAD systems to prepare schematics, drawings, or parts lists; makes recommendations concerning these items; may direct field operations in area of specialty.



  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

Engineering Assistant II - High School or equivalent plus three years' mechanical or electronics experience, or Technical School training plus one year related experience, or one to two years' progress toward an engineering or related degree.

  • With some supervision, applies acquired knowledge of established procedures to the
    assembly, testing, and use of equipment in support of engineering projects related to
    oceanographic research.

Engineering Assistant III - High School diploma or equivalent plus six years' mechanical or electronics experience, or Technical School training plus four years' practical experience, or two to three years' progress toward an engineering or related degree.

  • With little supervision, applies a broad knowledge of established procedures to the
    assembly, testing, or calibration of equipment developed and used in support of
    engineering projects related to oceanographic instrumentation.

Physical Requirements


Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.



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