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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. General Questions
  2. Marine Measurements
  3. Water Resources
  4. Navigation
1. General Questions

Q) My WH ADCP is lying on its side and it fails the H/W Test in the PA test. What is wrong?

The H/W Test expects the WH ADCP to be oriented within the operational range of the tilt sensors. With the ADCP lying on its side, the H/W Test will always fail.


Q) For downloading documents or software, I have the username/password I got from TRDI a long time ago but it doesn’t work. Where do I get the right username and password?

We now have a new and improved customer log in system. You’ll need to re-register for a unique user name and password to access our documents/ firmware / software: Click here

Now, upon login with your personal login and password, you will be able to access and download our files Firmwares, Softwares and Documentation from our library and look for specific technical information in our Field Service pool of online documents.


Q) I sent an ADCP in for repair and was wondering when it might be done?

Our Client Services Liaison Group will routinely keep you abreast of the expected ship date of your ADCP. Inquiries as to the status of a repair for which you have an RMA number should be sent via email to Please include the RMA number in the email (preferably the subject line).


Q) I just tried to turn on my ADCP and it won't communicate, what do I do?

Remember that there are many reasons that an ADCP won't communicate. The problem could be cable connections, power issues, or even the PC you are using. All ADCP technical manuals (available at this site or with the CD that came with your ADCP) include sections on basic troubleshooting that will help walk you through the first steps of determining what may be wrong. If after using the troubleshooting guide you are still stuck, feel free to contact Field Service at or by phone (858-842-2600).


Q) How do I calculate/set the Range to first bin?

The formula for Range to first bin (technically to the center of the first bin) is as follows:
Range To Bin One = blank dist+1/2(bin size + xmit length + lag). Blank distance (WF command) and Bin size (WS command) is user settable, or accepted as factory default. Lag length and transmit length are a function of the Bin Size (WS command), and the Ambiguity Velocity setting (WV command). There is no published formula to predict these values. We recommend that the user use Teledyne RDI's PlanADCP software to determine the Range to the first bin. For data that has already been collected transmit length and lag length are contained in the Leader data. These can be checked in Teledyne RDI's WinADCP software under the Utilities, File Details menu option. In order to set the distance to the first bin, only the blank distance should be altered. Changing the bin size will affect the standard deviation of the data. Reducing the blank distance can increase the chance of ringing in the data.


Q) I did all the built-in 'P-tests' in water but I cannot get a PASS with PC1

PC1 is the only 'P-test' which must be done in air. PA, PT2, PT3, PT4, PT5, PT6, PT7, PT10x (x=2-to-7), and PT200 tests MUST be performed with the transducer head submerged in water - a bucket of water is sufficient as long as the Beams/Ceramics are submerged. PC1 will not PASS in water.


Q: I've done the PC1 (Rub beam) test many times and it keeps failing. Is my ADCP broken?

Your ADCP is likely not broken. The PC1 test is designed to measure relative noise in the environment and then have you apply more noise by rubbing the ceramics with your hand. Sometimes your hand does not generate enough noise for the system to detect. This could be due to the environment you are in or for other reasons. A simple, safe, and easy to find material that works very well as a replacement to your hand is packaging material (a.k.a. bubble wrap). Using this instead of your hand will very likely provide enough relative frictional difference for the system to pass. If it doesn't, your system still might be okay. In this case deploy the ADCP into a bucket or container of water (preferably at least 0.5 meters deep) and record some data using BBtalk and the log file (F3 key), or you can record data straight to the recorder card if your ADCP has one. You can then look at the data in our WinADCP program and make sure that the echo amplitude counts in the 1st depth cell for all beams is between 128 and 192. If they are not, contact Field Service for further troubleshooting tips.


Q) How does the ADCP/DVL know I'm looking UP or Down? Why did my Instrument change sign when I turned it upside-down?

Your ADCP/DVL comes with a Built-In orientation sensor. No need for sending a command to the system to indicate the orientation, your ADCP/DVL will do it automatically.

When turning the ADCP/DVL upside-down you need to make sure if not outputting velocities in Earth coordinates that Beam3 has the same azimuth as when it was looking for conformability. Indeed, except if outputting in Earth (North East Down) the direction of the flow depends on Beam3 azimuth, in other words if you rotate the instrument upside-down Beam3 will point out in the opposite direction. To be able to obtain the same direction, assuming the flow is propagating the same way Above and Below the ADCP/DVL, you should once turned upside-down rotate Beam3 +/-180degrees azimuth.


Q: I have a standard ADCP with a 50m pressure sensor. The ADCP is rated to 200 meters, so can I deploy to 200 meters?

No. Even though the ADCP's housing is rated to 200 meters, the pressure sensor is now the limiting factor because its rating is shallower. The ADCP cannot be deployed to a depth deeper than 50 meters (the rating of the sensor). If you do deploy beyond the recommended depth, your pressure data will not be very accurate(as you are overexposing the sensor, an effect that will cause hysteresis) and you have a chance of breaking the pressure sensor and possibly flooding the system.


Q: It says in your documentation that your connectors are "wet mate-able." Does that mean I can plug them in underwater?

No. There are 3 basic classifications for connectors: dry mate-able, wet mate-able, and underwater mate-able, Dry mate-able, connectors, like the computer end of the ADCP I/O cable, cannot have any moisture on them or they may not function as desired. These kinds of cables should be kept indoors whenever possible and should be protected from the elements in the same way you'd protect your laptop or cell phone. Wet mate-able, connectors are different, they can get a little rain or dirt or salt spray on them and still work okay. However, they CANNOT be submerged in water, doing so will cause damage to the components and whatever they are attached to. Only underwater mate-able, connectors, which have special parts that isolate power and safeguard communications can be plugged in and unplugged underwater. Teledyne RD Instruments's standard I/O cables come with wet mate-able, (ADCP side) and dry mate-able, (PC side) connectors.


2. Marine Measurements

Q) When using VMDas does it matter what the two characters after the $ sign in a GPS string are?

No. The system looks for the $, then the GGA indicator. It also checks the position fix status indicator after the position data. A 0 indicates no fix. A 1 indicates a non-differential fix and a 2 indicates a differential fix.


Q) Is the Range reported for bottom track along the beam, or corrected for the beam angle? Is it the depth of the water? Is it corrected for tilts?

The range reported is the average of the range from all four beams and it is calculated as the direct distance to the boundary. It is NOT along the beam. It's not corrected for tilts, but it is corrected for beam angle. Range is the distance from the transducer face to the boundary, typically the bottom.


Q) In VMDas I can test the system fine, but when I start to ping I get an error, time out check cables and the system will not collect data. Why is this?

There is an error in some of the configuration files. (1) There is an errant : (colon) at the start of a line in the file. (2) The configuration file may include an unnecessary WM1 command. For (1) Using a text editor (there is one embedded in VMDas) do a search on a colon and delete it. For (2) look for a WM1 command and delete it.


Q) In VMDas, is using the set up from options the same as using Set up from File?

Not necessarily. In the workhorse, yes the options set up are the same. However, using the configuration file there are more options that can be set. In Phased Array Ocean Surveyor transducers there is a difference when using Vmdas V1.44 or newer. The OS PA transducer has a function called Ambiguity Lanes. These are set depending on the WV and the EA (Beam three alignment setting). If the Set Up From file option is used, the Ambiguity Lanes are automatically set (presuming the correct EA angle is set in the configuration file). Using older versions, if the set up from options is used, the Ambiguity Lanes are not set.

In versions 1.44 and newer, when using Setup from option, Vmdas will take the alignment angle from the Transforms tab, transform it into an EA command, and send it to the system and automatically adjust the ambiguity lanes.


3. Water Resources

Q) What is the latest software or firmware for the SP or CM.

You can find your answers at the SmartLink


Q) What is the format of the latest SDI-12 output that is available in your new firmware but is not documented?

You can find your answers at the SmartLink


Q) My SP data files donít always playback properly in WinRiver although they are perfect in the iPAQ.

What has happened is that the ensemble number got reset in the middle of the file. This can be due to Bluetooth issues possibly caused by batteries that are beginning to die.

The solution is to use BBSub to renumber the ensembles to be sequential. Then the file will playback normally.


Q) Can I view the CM vertical data in WinADCP as beam 3?

No, the vertical beam although it is the 3rd beam in the instrument is totally different in format from a regular beam and thus can not be displayed in WinADCP. However you can see it in WinH ADCP. Its format is documented in the CM Operational Guide.


Q) I heard that you have a newer float for the SP that allows it to handle much faster water. Is this true?

It is true. OceanScience the manufacturer of the float is doing trials with a customer as of now, October 2006.


Q) Can I use any iPAQ or Palm Pilot or other Pocket PC with the SP as they are cheaper than what you supply?

You can use any model that you find works; however TRDI is not in a position to support you in any way should you have problems. Supported models are listed in the SmartLink.


4. Navigation

Q) Where Can I find the Explorer Manual and Set-Up card?

The Explorer can be downloaded from the Document Download page @ Item 53. ExplorerDVL Operation Manual & 54. ExplorerDVL Setup Card at the bottom of the page.

Q) It is said the Explorer can interface to several sensors on the Brochure, but which sensors?

Explorer can interface to a list of 10 sensors described below:

Sensor ID Manufacturer Model Sample Interval
Gyro Compass 1 TBD TBD Ping
GPS 2 Garmin 15H-W (010-00240-01) Ping
Pressure 3 Paroscientific 8000 Series Ensemble
Speed of Sound 4 Applied MicroSystems MicroSVT&P Ensemble
Mag Compass 5 Honeywell HMR3000 Ping
CTD 6 Seabird Fast CAT SBE-49 Ensemble
Echo Sounder 7 Benthos PSA916 Ensemble
Temperature 8 RDI Internal in Transducer One Wire Ensemble
Mag Compass#2 9 PNI TCM3/5 Ping
Pitch, Roll, Temp, Pres 10 TRDI CM Sensor Package 72B-1000-00 P/R: Ping
T/P: Ensemble

Note that 4 sensors can be connected to your Explorer at a time since most of them have redundant information.


Q) What can I do with these sensors connected to my Explorer?

As a recall, your Explorer DVL does not have internal attitude sensors compared to the standard DVL.

The reason is mainly because these are already present/available on most of the vehicle the Explorer is and will be integrated onto.

Thus we decided the Explorer should be volatile enough to use what is already installed instead of being redundant with onboard sensors by providing built-in sensor package.

With the Explorer you have the ability not only to use the data coming from these sensors to improve your navigation but also to set-up these sensors for turn-key operations.

Indeed, you can talk to each sensor via the Explorer using a Sensor Terminal through BBTalk or through any Terminal application connected to the Explorer (itself connected to the sensors).

Your set-up commands can be saved and sent to the respective sensors at each deployment automatically. This will save you a great amount of integration and interfacing time.

Additionally, the Explorer can be set-up as a data pass through. Indeed, once the Explorer is connected to your onboard sensors, your Explorer can be set to be data-transparent, in other words your Explorer can be set to output everything that is sent to him from your sensors. Thus, in that configuration, you can think of your Explorer as a network smart* node.

*smart indeed, since your Explorer will at the same as it is passing the sensor data through, it will additionally provide a great amount of high resolution 3-Dimensional velocity and range data to the incoming sensor data stream.


Contact Info: Tel. +1.858.842.2600 | Fax +1.858.842.2822 | E-mail: