Section 4: Scientific Equipment & Procedures


LABORATORY SPACES - Permanent wet and main laboratories are located on the main deck aft, on the starboard side. A computer laboratory is located in a UNOLS-compliant container on the 01 deck.

UNCONTAMINATED SEAWATER - Uncontaminated seawater is provided to the lab via steel piping upon request. A thermosalinograph in the main lab logs measurements to the ship’s MET system. A fluorometer can be added to this system upon request.

DRAINS - Lab sinks drain directly overboard. Please make sure to collect liquid waste and do not allow it to drain to the sea unless you have specific approval to do so.

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM - Normal ship's power is 110 VAC. Both 110 VAC and 440 VAC power is available in deck outlets, and 220 VAC may be obtained by advance arrangement with ship’s engineer. Scientists with stable power requirement should contact the ship. An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is available in the main laboratory and in the computer van.

UPS - A Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) is maintained in the computer laboratory to supply clean and reliable power to the ship’s computer racks. A separate UPS is located in the main lab for science party devices. Please do not plug your UPS into our UPS! If you bring your own UPS, please ask the Restech for an appropriate place to plug it in.

REFRIGERATION AND FREEZING - A large chest freezer is located in the wet lab (14 cubic feet). A mini fridge is often installed in the main lab. Additional refrigerators and freezers can be installed in the main lab upon request.

Hazardous Materials

Working supplies of hazardous materials may be kept in the labs. Stock supplies and spares are to be kept in the appropriate storage container and/or locker. The science party should supply emergency response kits specific to the chemicals they bring aboard.

CHEMICALS - Use care in storage, handling, and disposal of toxic chemicals, particularly inside laboratories. All chemicals brought on board should be accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provided by the chemical manufacturer. Plastic bottles are safer at sea and should be used unless specific chemicals must be stored in glass. Disposal of chemicals is regulated by University policy and international laws. The ship's captain must know what chemicals you are carrying. A chemical storage locker is available and is the only safe way to carry most chemicals aboard ship. Please make arrangements with the resident technicians in advance for proper stowage and for appropriate disposal at the end of your cruise.

GASES - Scientists may bring their own gases on board. The Restechs have special racks to store gas cylinders in on the main deck. Scientists need to provide regulators and tubing. Any gas under pressure is dangerous so be sure to consult the captain or the resident technician for safe stowage methods and locations.

LITHIUM BATTERIES - The location of lithium batteries stowed on the ship must be made known to the captain. Spare Lithium Batteries should be stored in a flammable materials locker. The ship carries Lith-x as its Class D fire suppressant, but the science party is encouraged to bring their own fire response equipment.

RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL - The use of radioisotopes, or other isotopes in concentrations not found in nature, is strictly controlled aboard Sproul. Permission to use radioisotopes must be obtained from the SIO Ship Scheduling Office in writing, following written application (which is reviewed by the Radioisotope Committee) describing aims of the work and the isotopes, quantities, and procedures to be employed. Such usage must be consistent with strict precautions for safety and to prevent contamination of the ship. Use of isotopes is prohibited in ship's laboratories. All handling of isotopes must be done within a designated portable isolation van. Vans are available upon request to the resident technicians. Cleanup costs of any isotope spills will be charged to the persons responsible.

Profiling & Sampling Equipment

ACOUSTIC DOPPLER CURRENT PROFILER (ADCP) - Currents are measured by Teledyne RDI 300 kHz narrowband ADCP. Data are processed and current profiles are displayed in real-time on a color monitor in the main lab and computer van. Data processing and recording are done on a Linux (Ubuntu) system using UHDAS software. Heading corrections are derived from the ship’s motion reference and GPS systems. These corrections are applied to the data in real-time.

ECHO-SOUNDING - The scientific echo-sounder system on Sproul is a Knudsen Engineering, Ltd. model 3260 featuring chirp technology and digital signal processing. The transducer may be run in 3.5 kHz or 12 kHz. The echo-sounder software runs on a dedicated acquisition computer and which is also the primary display of the echogram. A hard copy may be printed with the onboard EPC labs model 1086 Thermal Graphic Recorder. The system uses a hull-mounted EDO model 323B transducer for HF operation. In addition to the digital and print echogram, data are logged in a proprietary format (.KEB) or in SEG-Y format, depending on watch-standing burden.

MET ACQUISITION SYSTEM - The Shipboard Meteorological Acquisition System (MetAcq) acquires, filters, averages, corrects, displays and distributes meteorological sensor data from a wide variety of sensor types and data input devices.

Meteorological sensors such as ones made by RM Young, Vaisala, Alden, Coastal Environmental Systems, Seabird, FSI, Omega and most sensors that have an RS485, RS422, RS232 digital interface or any analog sensor that can output a voltage, frequency or 4-20ma current can be accommodated.

A typical system measures air temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed/direction, relative humidity, shortwave radiation, longwave radiation, seawater temperature, and seawater conductivity. Sensor information is combined with time and GPS position information and displayed on the local video display or web server and written to data files. Data can be acquired simultaneously on all enabled ports via a Rocketport serial distribution unit. One or more ports can be configured to support RS485 communications through RS232 to RS485 converters. Sensors that have analog outputs are first connected to signal conditioning modules that are physically located near the sensor. These modules then convert the analog signal to RS485 that is then routed to the lab. Collected data is stored on data files at user-selected intervals. This interval is typically once every 30 seconds. Acquired data that has been collected from the sensors (uncalibrated) is stored in an uncorrected data file (date.UCR). Data that has been corrected by applying the most recent pre-cruise calibration data is stored in a corrected data file (date.COR).

Atmospheric meteorological sensors are generally located above the ship's upper bridge deck. Sensors that measure seawater properties are generally located near the uncontaminated seawater intake area or in one of the ship's laboratories that has a connection to the uncontaminated seawater line.

At least once a year all sensors are removed from the vessel, refurbished, and calibrated at an appropriate shore based maintenance/calibration facility. Calibration data for each sensor is kept onboard each vessel and entered into the shipboard acquisition/setup file that is used by the acquisition program to correct sensor data for display and storage.

More information about each individual sensor, and documentation of the software is available in the docs directory inside the provided MET’s data directory.

Computing Resources

INTERNET - Two internet connections provide limited bandwidth Internet to the ship. Everyone has Internet access. Some websites and high bandwidth functionality is disabled to maximize the usefulness of the connection. If there are specific websites that you will need to access during your cruise, technicians aboard can make sure that your connection is not blocked. There are two internet links available. The network will choose which link is used automatically based on availability and performance.

Internet Connections Available:

1. Satellite Inmarsat Fleetbroadband: Has potential the to reach ~384 kbps with ~1200ms latency, however, throughput rate is not guaranteed as there can be bandwidth contention with other ships operating in the same region.

2. Verizon 3G/LTE cellular modem: Speeds vary based on operating area and environmental dynamics, but this connection can be significantly faster and vastly lower latency than the satellite link.

PUBLIC COMPUTER -There are two public terminals available for general internet use. One is accessible from either the lab van or the main lab. The other is outside the master stateroom.

PRINTERS - An HP Color LaserJet CP2025 is networked and located in the computer van. We recommend that you load the printer driver onto your computers prior to coming aboard.  You can check for the printer driver on the HP web site linked here.