We pulled the cameras today to perform maintenance. We hope to get them back in the water as soon as possible!
The SPCP2 (Phytoplankton) camera was down for two days due to a problem with the network cable. It is now back up and running and we will hopefully recover the data from the local camera storage.
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.
The wiper on illumination housings got fouled by mussels and stopped working several days ago. Eric and Sam dove on the cameras today and cleared the wiper and also removed a rather large fish that had taken residence inside the cage so both cameras should be back online now.
Pichaya and Paul cleaned the cameras yesterday in the midst of a significant bloom of phytoplankton. All the new fixtures are working well.
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
We’re taking the cameras down this week for maintenance. We plan to clean the entire system, repair and replace worn out parts and improve the anti-fouling wipers and fish exclusion cage. The cameras should be back up next week.
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.
After almost three weeks of maintenance, the SPC system is back on the pier! The housings got a fresh coat of tape, the end-caps were cleared of barnacles, and the ports have new anti-biofouling wipers. As soon as the cameras were turned on, they started capturing loads of images of diatom chains. Hopefully the new wipers will keep the samples coming at full capacity with minimal service requirements.
The SPC has been out of the water for the past two weeks for cleaning and maintenance. We are in the process of outfitting the cameras with a new anti-biofouling system to keep the ports clear. If it works out, it will reduce the need for manual cleaning by our dive team. The instruments are set to go back in the water next week. Stay tuned!