Micro Sonar

Moderator: Jeff Snyder

Micro Sonar

Postby divetech » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:43 am

We are looking at purchasing a micro sonar as we have just upgraded from our Video Ray Explorer to a Video Ray Pro 3 XE GTO.

Thinking of an Imagenex 852 or a Tritech sytem (sea sprite?) anybody have any expeience of either system?


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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Micro Sonar

Postby Jeff Snyder » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:38 pm

Hi Mike,

We've just begun breathing some new life into the forum with dedicated moderators to each subject matter forum. I realize your post was from September, but I figured I would take a shot at responding to your post.

I've seen both the 852 and the Micron. They are probably comparable in performance as far as the sonar imagery is concerned. A few differences to consider between the two sonars:

The Micron is a chirp pulse that sweeps a bandwidth from 650 kHz to 750 kHz. The Imagenex is fixed with frequencies of 675 kHz and 850 kHz. The higher-frequency from the Imagenex may give you some better detail and resolution.

Both sonars can be configured for RS-485 communications or RS-232 communications. The RS-485 comms will work on several ROVs (VideoRay, Outland, and inspection-class ROVs). The RS-232 comms will work on SeaBotix and other machines.

Currently, the Micron is supported by VideoRay (via a variant of the Micron, the SeaSprite) and SeaBotix as an add-on scanning sonar; you can purchase the Micron through their respective dealers, the factories can supply you with a subsea whip for connecting the Micron to their ROVs, and the factories can assist with you with integration/operation of the Micron through each ROV. This is not the case with the Imagenex 852, which would mean that would need to splice your own subsea cable to connect the 852 to your ROV.

Another advantage of the Micron is that it can be configured to perform pass-through communications to the Tritech MicroNav USBL Beacon Responder; the MicroNav is an acoustic tracking system that you can use, from topside, to track your ROV with a topside transceiver and a vehicle-mounted responder. A special jumper connector cable allows you to marry the MicroNav Responder directly to the Micron where it can receive its power and triggering pulses...no such functionality is available for the 852, which would mean that you would need additional power and/or data comms to effectively power and trigger a USBL beacon on a vehicle carrying an 852.

The software interface for each sonar is another area of differentiation. The Imagenex software is simple and effective...but for some reason, the code (for some of the software packages) has a tendency to eat up every bit of operating RAM that your computer has, regardless of the power of the compute...perhaps Imagenex has corrected this issue. This isn't a big deal if your computer is dedicated solely to your 852, but if you intend to run other applications (such as a video capture program) on the same computer, it could be an issue.

On the other hand, you can use the Tritech SeaNet Pro software, downloadable from their website, to access the Micron sonar. The same software can also be used to interface to other Tritech products, and to simultaneously interface to the MicroNav USBL system and/or a video capture capability, though I have never run multiple interfaces at once. The transmit power and acoustic gain settings take a bit of getting used to because they are controlled by either dragging portions of bars on the left side of the control display or by dialing in the power and gain with toggles at the upper toolbar. However, once you get used to the interface, you have the same control as with the 852 with the added benefit of SeaNet as a single software package providing you an access point for other tools.

Now, if you think about these sonars from the perspective of service, you will get solid service from either company. Imagenex is located in British Columbia, and Tritech is in Scotland. So, that is something to consider (shipping charges and time) with the sonars. I can't really speak to the reliability of the 852...I have had an issue with my Micron, but I sent it back to Tritech and they repaired it and fully tested it, for a fee.

I'm not sure about pricing between the two. My guess is that the Imagenex is a shade less than the Tritech Micron. And if you are cost conscious, capable of creating your own subsea whips, and fine with the idea have a dedicated software interface for it, then the Imagenex might be the way to go. But, if you would like a little bit more factory support from the mini-ROV manufacturers, factory-spliced and potted whips, and a more sophisticated software interface, then I would say that the Micron is the way to go. It also gives you the added benefit of jumpering that MicroNav USBL Beacon on it, too.

Hope this helps.
Jeff Snyder
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Location: Rhode Island, USA

Re: Micro Sonar

Postby scott_bentley » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:11 pm

To learn more about Tritech's CHIRP technology, see http://www.auv.co.uk/products/chirp.htm
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