Powering a MicroRider Instrument: Startup and Shutdown Sequence

The MicroRider is a small instrument package for turbulence microstructure measurements, designed to integrate with a variety of marine instrument carriers, such as Gliders, AUVs, moorings, CTD rosettes, profiling floats and the WireWalker.

Depending on the age if your MicroRider instrument, it will either have an IE55-1206-BCR or a MCBH(WB)-8-FS connect on the rear end-cap.  This connector serves as the power supply, RS232 serial output and ON/OFF signal for the MicroRider. 


To power on your MicroRider, here is the startup sequence:

Using the connection to the IE55-1206-BCR or MCBH-8-MP connector, where:

Pin 1: +12VDC Power
Pin 2: Power Ground
Pin 3: Not Connected
Pin 4: Not Connected
Pin 5: RS232 TX
Pin 6: RS232 RX
Pin 7: ON Signal
Pin 8: ON Signal Return
  1. Connect the Power to Pin 1 and Pin 2. This power must always be available (on and live) to the MicroRider.  The power supply board has a low power watchdog circuit that checks the power. 
  2. If the power voltage is OK (within limits) than the power supply board waits for the ON signal to be activated. 
  3. The ON signal is connected to Pin 7 and Pin 8. It is either done by shorting across Pin7 and Pin8, or by sending a small current (1mA – 2mA) into Pin 7 and return on Pin 8. 
  4. When the ON signal is detected by the power supply board it energizes the MicroRider. 
  5. The internal computer boots up. 
  6. At this time the customer RS232 connection on Pins 5/6 through a terminal program (Motocross) can be made so the customer has manual control of datalogging. Or, the computer can be set up so it automatically starts datalogging. 
  7. To safely shut off the MicroRider the customer must stop datalogging. 
  8. Then remove the ON signal which tells the power supply board to shutdown. 
  9. The MicroRider goes back to the very low power watchdog state waiting for the next ON signal. 
Basically: 

  • Power must always be available 
  • ON/OFF is controlled by the user through a shorting switch or using a small current driver 
  • Datalogging is either started automatically; or the user can manually control through the serial connection. 
  • Power must not be disconnected while datalogging or the onboard computer files will be corrupted and it will not work properly.

IAPSO – IAMAS – IAGA Conference

Dr. Fabian Wolk and Dr. Rolf Lueck will be at the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean (IAPSO) Conference in Cape Town, South Africa from August 27 to September 1, 2017.

European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference

Dr. Justine McMillan and Jeremy Hancyk will be at the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC) in Cork, Ireland from August 27 to September 1, 2017.

Justine will be presenting her paper “An Assessment of the TKE Balance at a Tidal Energy Site Using ADCP and Shear Probe Measurements” at the conference.

Rockland Scientific Hires Staff Scientist

VICTORIA, BC, CANADA, July 24, 2017 — Rockland Scientific Inc. announced the appointment of Dr. Justine McMillan as Staff Scientist. Dr. McMillan will act as scientific and technical liaison between Rockland’s customer base and the company’s R&D and customer service teams.  
Dr. McMillan recently completed her doctoral degree at Dalhousie University, focussing on the measurement of turbulent flows in energetic tidal channels. Her work has been instrumental in the ongoing tidal energy resource assessments. She has also become an advocate for ocean literacy and scientific communication, and is “excited to join the Rockland team.”
“I’ve used Rockland’s instrumentation in several sea-going campaigns for my research work at Dalhousie, which allowed me to develop extensive experience in the processing, analysis and interpretation of turbulence data sets. My experience enables me to support Rockland’s customers, not only helping them get their data, but also assisting them in turning the data into research-paper-ready information”, says McMillan.
About Rockland Scientific: Rockland Scientific Inc., located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, provides sensors and instrument systems for ocean turbulence measurements. The instruments are either ship-deployed profilers, moored systems, or deployed from autonomous gliders, floats, or AUVs. RSI measurement systems are used worldwide in a multitude of disciplines, such as Climate Research, Renewable Ocean Energy, Coastal Management and Erosion Studies, and Fisheries Research. 

Rockland Scientific Awarded Camosun College Co-op Employer of the Year

Rockland Scientific has been awarded the Camosun College Co-op Technology Employer of the Year Award for 2016, as well as the overall Co-op Employer of the Year Award for 2016.

The Co-operative Education and Career Services department at Camosun College annually recognizes an outstanding employer in each of the program areas, and one employer across all program areas. The award is given based on the employer’s involvement with co-operative education ranging from assisting in workplace education preparation seminars to providing a co-op student with an enriching work experience. John Wells writes, when nominating Rockland Scientific:

“My time at RSI has been extremely positive and given me highly relevant experience that will be invaluable when seeking full time employment. This co-op has further validated my choice to pursue a career in Mechanical Engineering Technology by demonstrating that I have an aptitude for the work and that this type of work is in fact enjoyable and rewarding for me. Most importantly, I am confident that this co-op has truly initiated my transition from student to practicing technologist.”

Employer partners provide valuable and relevant learning that enhance the students’ success and that of the co-operative education program at Camosun. In particular, their strong mentorship of the students, building upon their strengths and encouraging their career growth throughout the technology world has proved invaluable. The award was presented by Nancy Sly, Director of Applied Learning, Co-operative Education and Career Services at Camosun College.

Rockland Scientific to present at the University of Porto Seminar on Ocean Turbulence

Rockland’s Dr. Rolf Lueck will be delivering the seminar Ocean Turbulence: Synergy between scientific advancement and technological innovation alongside Dr. Jorge M. Magalhães from FCUP (University of Porto). The seminar, organized by the Underwater Systems and Technology Laboratory (LSTS-FEUP), will take place on June 2nd, 2017, at the University of Porto (FEUP).

Robotic Ocean Turbulence Measurements at the Observatório Oceânico da Madeira

When scientists go on holiday: Rockland’s Dr. Rolf Lueck recently presented “Robotic Ocean Turbulence Measurements” as the guest speaker at the Observatório Oceânico da Madeira. The presentation focused on the measurement of micro-turbulence, the autonomous vehicles used with the instruments and their respective technological advances.

Boaty McBoatface’s RSI MicroRider

“Boaty’s second big adventure in the Orkney Passage (from Eleanor Frajka-Williams)

Here is the promised post about Boaty’s second mission in the Orkney Passage, which took place during 12-14 April. This post was written by Eleanor Frajka-Williams of Southampton University, with some editing by Stephen Griffies of NOAA/GFDL and Princeton University. It should appeal especially to those interested in details of Boaty’s engineering feats and some of what it does while beneath the ocean surface.”

Read the full article here.

Boaty’s Rockland Scientific MicroRider is also nicely visible in this video from the British Antarctic Survey:

Limiting the Size and Duration of Data Files: autoexec.bat

When preparing for a long duration deployment it is important to consider the length of the data file that will be generated. MicroRiders are often deployed for days or weeks at a time. The default setting on RSI instruments is to collect a single data file unlimited in size. A file collected over days or weeks can be unmanageable in post processing. Furthermore, a file can be lost if the instrument is turned off incorrectly while recording. To limit the size and duration of resulting data files use the flag -t followed by the number of records you would like in each file (1 record is approximately 1 second) . Please note that you will loose 30 to 40 seconds of data every time a file is written; users often use 3600 records (approximately 1 hour). To change your system to automatically use the command odas5ir -f setup.cfg -l 3000 -t 3600 you will need to change the autoexec.bat file:

1. Download the file to your data acquisition computer,
2. Edit the contents of the file to be odas5ir -f setup.cfg -l 3000 -t 3600, or the number of records you prefer,
3. Delete the existing autoexec.bat off the CF card,
4. Upload the new autoexec.bat file to the CF card.

Please note the flag -l 3000 sets the clock on the instrument. For instruments with the Tidal Energy Configuration, which use a sample rate of 1024Hz, the clock must be set to -l 6000.

Warning: Commands on the autoexec.bat file are case sensitive.

To learn more about PicoDOS commands, please review the ODAS5-IR User Guide available in our downloads section.

Canada’s first three-glider mission maps whale habitat

Ocean Tracking Network:

For the first time in Canada, a triple glider project has successfully mapped out critical gray whale habitat off the west coast of Vancouver Island. While previous missions have deployed one or two gliders, this Whales, Habitat, and Listening (WHaLe) project—funded by the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction, and Response (MEOPAR)—is the first to fly three coordinated gliders.

In addition to the common suite of water property sensors—temperature, salinity and oxygen—the gliders on this mission carried a broadband hydrophone to identify and count whale vocalizations, an echo sounder to remotely quantify zooplankton biomass variability, and optical instrumentation identifying phytoplankton to elucidate the major components of the whale food chain. The University of British Columbia glider also carried a specialized Rockland Scientific sensor suite for measuring ocean turbulence, to better understand why submarine canyons create such favourable habitat for the whales.

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