User Interfaces

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The design of the Alvin electrical system includes the capability to interface to a wide variety of science equipment.  In general, though Alvin personnel will do their best to perform the final installation of the equipment onto the submersible, the specific condition or configuration of the vehicle may make one or more of these capabilities unavailable.  To make this go as smoothly as possible, proper planning, testing and communication with the Alvin Group is recommended.  When delivering equipment to the Alvin Group, it is important to provide adequate documentation, including schematics, wire colors, connector types, and test documents (where necessary).

The available volume for additional in-hull equipment is very limited.  In general, only small hand‑held equipment should be considered for in-hull use.  It is best for these to include a connector for their interface cable, so they can be disconnected for storage.

Electrical

There are a total of 46 through-hull wires available for science equipment use.  These are all 16ga, fused at 10A (fast), and some are in twisted pairs.  Because of wiring constraints, circuits using these conductors must be able to tolerate up to an ohm of end-to-end resistance on each wire.  These wires are terminated in-hull in AMP 206838-1 circular plastic connectors (CPCs); the mating connector for this is AMP 206837-1.  Outside, these terminate in one of the Science Basket J-boxes.

Power

There are six power channels available for outside science equipment use.  Each of these is 24V at up to 150W, though full power may not be available from them all at once.  Power channels terminate in one of the Science Basket J-boxes, and are controllable through the in-hull GUI controls.

A high-power channel is also available:  120V at up to 10A.  Specific arrangements must be made before planning to use this power channel.

Additional power channels may be available for in-hull science equipment use, provided through the Data Power Controller.  Voltages of 5V, 12V or 24V may be available, depending on other submersible equipment requirements.

Data

There are four multiplexed, through-hull serial data channels available for external science equipment interfacing.  Each of these channels is full‑duplex RS232, up to 115 Kbaud. Outside the hull these channels are accessible in one of two Science Basket J-boxes. Inside the hull these channels are terminated in a DB-9S connector.   

Data may be accessed in-hull via the submersible’s network, using wired and wireless connections via a UDP transport layer, or it can be converted back to RS232 serial data.  USB to serial adapters are available for use with laptops that lack RS232.  If science wires are used, those connections are made available inside the sub through the Science Panel interface.

There are several options for computing in-hull.  First, there is a dedicated science computer running Windows 7 or Linux in a dual-boot configuration.  This computer has Alvin network access and has limited peripherals available (one USB and one serial port).  Alternately, the Alvin group can supply a toxicity/flammability tested Windows 8 laptop. 

If these options are not acceptable scientists may supply their own device, though this requires pre-cruise toxicity testing. In these cases please contact the Alvin Group as early as possible to review the testing procedure.

Additionally, there are also two Ethernet data lines available for outside science equipment integration.  Though these provide 100Base-T signaling, experience has shown that they actually provide significantly less data throughput.  Outside the hull, these Ethernet lines are accessible in one of the two Science Basket J-boxes. Inside the hull, these lines are terminated in RJ-45 connectors.  One of these Ethernet lines is frequently used by the arm-mounted science camera.

Optical

Two optical fibers (SMF-28 or equivalent, Single-Mode, 9/125 micron) are available for science equipment use.  These are terminated in ST.  Though virtually any wavelength may be used, for compatibility it is recommended to have the in-hull equipment transmitting at 1310nm and the outside equipment transmitting at 1550nm.

Real-Time Processing

In-hull computing resources are available to minimize the need for separate scientific computers.  Access to a computer (either installed or tablet) can be made available to run science equipment applications.  In general, these machines have modest computing capability, USB ports, and are on the submersible’s network.  They are satisfactory for data logging and instrument control applications, though computationally-intensive functions should be saved for post-dive processing.

Video

The Alvin video system can handle multiple inputs of varying formats.  In addition to the standard compliment of imagers, the system is flexible enough to allow the user to integrate custom-designed and commercially available video and still cameras both inside and outside the personnel sphere.

Outside High Definition (HD) Cameras

With prior concurrence, one of the normally fitted HD cameras can be replaced with a user-supplied camera.  The power connection to the camera is on a 10-pin connector, modified from a Teledyne DG O’Brien 1281242-101.  The mating bulkhead connector is Teledyne DG O’Brien 1280242-101, with pinout:

Pin A      Power Return

Pin B      +24V Power (up to 150W)

Pin C      RS232 Common

Pin D      RS232 Downlink

Pin E      RS232 Uplink

In-hull, the RS232 control line (up to 115kbaud) is supplied on a DB-9S on the back of the Imaging Enclosure.

The video connection to the camera is a passed through the hull on an optical fiber Teledyne DG O’Brien 1535015-166.  The mating bulkhead connector is a Teledyne DG O’Brien  1535016-149.  This expects HD-SDI (SMPTE 292M), converted to optical with a Telecast Rattler 3G, transmitting on 1550nm.  In-hull, this video signal is normally integrated into the vehicle’s video system for display and recording. User-supplied recording devices can be used but must be cleared with the Alvin Operations Group and must pass toxicity and flammability testing protocol.

Outside SD Cameras

Up to four Standard Definition (NTSC) cameras may be mounted.  These are provided with 24V power (up to 150W), RS232 for control (up to 115kbaud) and a coax for video, all of which terminate in a J-box.  In-hull, the RS232 control line appears on a DB-9S on the back of the Imaging Enclosure, and the video signal is converted to HD-SDI and integrated into the vehicle’s video system for display and recording.

Though not normally utilized, up to four more Standard Definition (NTSC) cameras may be mounted.  These are also provided with 24V power (up to 150W), RS232 for control (up to 115kbaud) and a coax for video, all of which terminate in a J-box.  In-hull, the RS232 control line appears on a DB-9S on the back of the Imaging Enclosure, and the video appears on a BNC on the back of the Imaging Enclosure.  Note that since the submersible’s video system is designed for HD-SDI signaling, these signals cannot be viewed or recorded without additional equipment being mounted.

Inside Cameras

The Alvin Group provides an in-hull hand held still/video camera.  If the user would like to provide their own in-hull camera, it is recommended that it be battery powered and internally recording.  If the camera provides an HD-SDI output it may be able to be integrated into the vehicle’s video system for display and recording. User supplied in-hull cameras can be used but must be cleared with the Alvin Operations Group and must pass toxicity and flammability testing protocol.
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Hydraulic pump flow and pressure characteristics

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Hydraulic flow diagram

Hydraulic

Five independent hydraulic control valves are available for science use. There are four variable flow control valves and one solenoid directional control valve.  The Alvin hydraulic system also provides power for Alvin’s manipulators, trim system, and other accessories.

Hydraulically-powered science equipment is mounted on either the Alvin frame or the science basket. The figure at left depicts the pump flow and pressure characteristics of the Alvin hydraulic system. The pump is a variable displacement pressure compensated open loop pump.

When designing equipment for use with the Alvin hydraulic system, the user should be aware that the flow versus pressure curve shown above represents the total flow available for all Alvin hydraulic systems:  submersible systems and science. Therefore, the flow and/or pressure to science-supplied gear may be reduced when other hydraulically-operated submersible equipment is used, e.g., manipulators, slurp systems, etc. Users should allow for a 100 to 300 psi pressure drop between the pump and science equipment, depending on flow and operating temperature.  For low flow applications (<2.2 gpm), the system can generate up to 2,000 psi pressure.  For higher flow applications, (2.2-3.0 gpm), the system can generate between 1,600-2,000 psi pressure.

When the port manipulator arm is activated, oil flow priority is given to the manipulator. The port arm requires up to 3 gpm and can use all the available flow for short periods of time.  This can cause interruptions and/or reductions of performance in other hydraulic functions that are operating.  If uninterrupted use of science hydraulic operations is required, the port manipulator arm should not be used when the science hydraulic system is on.

The Alvin system uses Royal Purple Marine Hydraulic Oil. High pressure 10 micron and water removal filtration is provided.

Note: Despite taking many precautions, the Alvin hydraulic system should not be considered “clean”.  Science equipment must be robust enough to operate with potentially contaminated oil.

Alvin uses flexible hydraulic supply hoses which are connected to hydraulic manifolds with 1/4" Swagelok fittings. Hoses used to supply equipment mounted on the science basket must pass through a disconnect plate to allow emergency release of the basket.

All valve outputs are connected to pilot-checked relief valves as shown in the hydraulic flow diagram. These relief valves provide load locking to the limit of the relief.

The science valve identifying numbers, valve types and relief settings are:            

Valve No.

Valve Type

Relief Setting

Aux 1

Solenoid

1000 psi

Aux 3

Variable

1000 psi

Aux 4

Variable

1000 psi

Aux 5

Variable

2000 psi

Aux 6

Variable

2000 psi


The control valves are normally operated by the Pilot from a panel in the personnel sphere. Solenoid valves are controlled by double pole, double throw (direction A or B), momentary, center-off toggle switches. The variable control valves work in a similar manner, except that the direction toggle switch connects the selected valve coil with a potentiometer that regulates the coil current and hence the valve flow in the direction selected.

For the latest information on the hydraulic system, please contact the Alvin Group in advance of intended use of the science hydraulic system.

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Basic light bar enables customization

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Standard loadout

Light Bar

The light bar is a 1 inch aluminum tube structure located on the brow of the sub.  Alvin lights and cameras are mounted to the bar but there is also limited space available for mounting science equipment. Equipment mounted on the light bar must have relatively low mass due to mounting constraints and to minimize effect on stability. The light bar is best for small instruments which need to be higher up on the front of the sub. If space in the light bar is required, the user should supply the proper mount to attach the gear securely.

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Aft science bay

Aft Science Bay

The aft science bay is a space underneath the submersible adjacent to the main batteries.  It has a useable volume of 9.5 in x 12.5 in x 43 in.  It is available to mount instruments and has an unobstructed downward view. Payload is limited to 100 lb in air. Mounting instruments in the aft bay will require modification of the existing bottom plate, or fabrication of a new bottom plate for larger instruments. If a new bottom plate is required, Alvin Engineering should be contacted to develop a mounting solution.