Jeff Napp at NOAA Seattle has been using the original TAPS-8 moored sensors in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea for several years now. These sensors have provided him with data unobtainable with customary samplers. Unfortunately, they are getting rather long in the tooth. They utilize a single transducer block with one poured epoxy face that makes transducer replacement difficult and chancy. The processor is slow and memory is limited. Time for an upgrade.

We are working on applying some of the technology of the TAPS-6 NewGen to the TAPS-8 moored sensor to improve the data storage capacity while keeping the low-power, timed data collection function of the TAPS-8. In addition, we are moving to external transducers to allow easy replacement in the case of damage or failure.

Jeff has given me permission to post the designs and similar data here on this website. Most of the cards are done, I just need to pull the files together and post them. NOAA is doing the case design. Transonics is building the first sets of transducers (covering the frequency range from 50 to 700 kHz, appropriate for sensing euphausiids). I am doing the electronics design and melding the old TAPS-8 code with the TAPS-6 NewGen controller code. Since this code is in Forth, and Forth is (and always has been and probably will be for the foreseeable future) archaic, they are looking towards replacing the controller completely with a modern doo-dad coded in (ugh) C++ sometime in the future. One thing for sure, you will NOT see it here!

The first system was completed and calibrated in July, 2010. It spent the winter in the Chukchi Sea. Brrrrr. The second and third units were completed this past spring and are taking their turns dodging ice cubes.

It turned out that the 68HC12 card from New Micros could not be made to STOP in a low-current mode as I had done with their 68HC11 cards previously. I have spent endless hours attempting to achieve the 100 micro-amp quiescent currents I did in a previous version and have, finally, given up. As, I might add, others who have tried this on other SBC cards. While NOAA comes to a decision as to what direction to take on a replacement CONTROLLER card that will enter a low-current sleep mode, I combined the designs for the previous TAPS-8 CONTROLLER card with the latest version. Preliminary schematics are available on the Revised Controller? page.