New wipers installed

Pichaya and Eric removed the entire SPC frame yesterday morning to take care of some major maintenance. After only three months since the last surface cleaning session, the whole system had gotten pretty fuzzy. Check out all that growth!

Aside from giving the SPC a shave, the major reason for pulling the instrument was to reinstall the port wipers. Putting the wipers on the frame is too challenging for a diver to do underwater, so we had to wait for a good swell window to bring it to surface.

Once the SPC was on the pier, Devin and Alejandra joined in for some good ol’ barnacle smashing and gunk scraping. After the system was reasonably clean, we attached wipers. A good amount of time went into aligning the blades – each one needs to sweep across two ports with enough pressure to remove any sediment or critters.

With the wipers installed and tested, the team decided to change the u-bolts for a clamp system. The u-bolts have held the camera housings to the frame for several years. The threads were corroded from years of exposure and ran the risk of coming loose. Moreover, the clamps are a little easier to install and leave more space for cables.

After re-securing all the cables and the copper mesh cage, Pichaya and Eric returned the fully assembled system to its spot on the pier. All told, the camera was out of the water for about 6 hours. Between the cage and wipers, we hope the SPC will not need to come to the surface again for another 6 months or so.

The SPC immediately started collecting a huge number of images of diatom chains! Go to the image viewer for more of those. You can also look at our historical data and to see how the plankton population shifts over time.

Check out more of Pichaya’s pictures of our cleaning session on Scripps Pier.

 

Cameras Cleaned

There has been a great deal of fouling due to growth of muscles on the camera in the past few months. Today Pichaya and Paul cleaned the cameras and removed large amounts of small muscles from nearly everywhere on the system. Likely both wipers had been fouled and where not operating for the 10 days. Given the extensive fouling on the cameras, they will be temporarily removed for a major service in the near future.

Cleaning Dive

Pichaya and Paul cleaned the cameras yesterday in the midst of a significant bloom of phytoplankton. All the new fixtures are working well.

Cameras Back Up

We installed the cameras today after a two-week down time for maintenance. They are back online and recording data.

We completed the following major work on the cameras

  • Replace a broken wiper
  • Improve the contrast in the SPCP2 images by adjusting the illumination optics
  • Replace the old and damaged aluminum plates with fiberglass
  • Replace the permanent copper mesh with a larger, removable mesh for monthly cleaning

Below are some photos of the assembly before going into the water

  

Zebra-Tech Hydro-Wipers Added to Automatically Clean Camera Ports

In early June we added two custom designed Zebra-Tech  Hydro-Wipers to the camera system to automatically cleaning the view ports and reduce the number of port cleaning dives required and increase the data quality between cleanings. The wipers have been running once an hour for the last three months. The wipers have made a huge improvement in data quality and reduction in cleaning effort. The ports can now be left for several months at a time without the need for manual cleaning while the port surface remains nearly as clean as immediately after a manual cleaning by divers.

Below are two videos of the new wiper setup. The first video shows the ports after 6 weeks without any manual cleaning, the second video shows the wiper in action. Videos are courtesy of Jimmy Fumo and Melissa Carter.