UHDAS icon

Instructions for ADCP Operators

Before a cruise:

  1. Log in
  • log into the ADCP UHDAS computer currents as user “adcp”
  1. Launch the UHDAS gui by either of the following:
  • in a terminal window, “UHDAS”


  • click on the little ADCP icon on the task bar

A gui tool (“UHDAS”) comes up with tabs at the top, starting you in the Control Tab (Control over logging).

  1. Click “Start Cruise” to set up for data logging

UHDAS will ask you for a cruise name. Enter something like nbp0407 or lmg0413a, (usually matches the ship schedule cruise name). This cruise name is used in several contexts, and must have only upper or lowercase letters, underscore, or digits (not the first character).


If you need to log data to a pre-existing cruise directory (e.g., you only wanted to stop data acquisition temporarily but chose to “End Cruise” as well), you can resume logging to it by giving the same cruise name again and confirming your choice in the UHDAS dialog box that appears. If in doubt, start another cruise leg. See the Control Tab in the Gui Tour for details.

  1. Check the ADCP logging paramters.

In the Control Tab, check parameters for the ADCP(s) against the values on the ADCP Operator’s checklist.

For instance, you may want to start with Bottom track “OFF”, whereas the default may be “ON”. Except for bottom tracking, these parameters should not be changed from the default values for routine logging. (See below for details about Bottom Tracking).

Check that the RDI deck units are on.

  1. Click “Start Recording” to initiate data collection

The gui will switch over to the Terminal Tab to display a dialog with each of ADCPs as it initializes them in sequence. You can watch the dialog but do not try to use the buttons. The dialog is written to a file in the /home/adcp/log directory.


for Ocean Surveyors

If you get the instrument is hopelessly confused message, which happens on occasion....

(1) A window will pop up telling you to cycle power on the deck unit. Click “OK”

(2) Another message will pop up asking if you want to “Continue logging other data streams”. Click “No”.

(3) When any terminal window updates have been completed, it will return to the Control tab of UHDAS.

(4) Now cycle power on the deck unit (turn off, count to 10, turn on).

(5) Now you can click “Start Recording” to try again. It is possible for the instrument to get confused even after cycling power, so you may have to repeat the sequence.

  1. Once recording starts, green is good

After logging starts, UHDAS switches over to the Monitor Tab, showing green panels for each data stream being logged.

  • Each panel is labeled with the instrument name and the serial port used. Ascii messages are displayed in the panels if the serial stream is ascii. If the serial stream is binary (e.g., ADCP raw pings) the panels contain a timestamp and number of bytes for each message recorded. Small colored buttons in the upper right corner reflect the status of the data being logged.
  • If any of the logging panels in the Monitor Tab do not start acquiring data within a few seconds, check that the appropriate instrument, i.e., one or both of the RDI deck units and the necessary serial navigation devices, are up.
  • After about 10 mins, there should be 5-min profile plots that display from the “Plots” tab. After 90 minutes, there should be a plot that displays from the “Average Plots” tab.

During a cruise

  1. monitoring: (more detail in the Monitoring Section)
  • Green is Good. Look at the panels in the Monitor Tab If everything is logged correctly, there will be no red status warnings.
  • Red is Rubbish. If a data stream is lost for some reason (serial port failed, instrument failed) then part of the panel will turn red, as will the button in the top right corner. If this happens, check the instruments and serial cable connections. It may be necessary to change logging ports if one of the ports fails. If any of the physical configuration changes, the configuration file will also have to be altered.
  • A daily email message will be sent to the ADCP Operator’s email account(eg. ET@nbp.usap.gov) containing information about the UHDAS ADCP computer system, logging, and processes. These messages should help in identifying and debugging problems.
  • The UHDAS ADCP website (http://currents/adcp) will have figures that are updated regularly. Figures that update every 5 minutes are in the Plots Tab of UHDAS. Figures that update once per hour are in the Average Plots Tab. Figures should be updating regularly. If for some reason the figures quit updating, check the logging panels under the Monitor tab and make sure everything is green. If they are, DON’T ADJUST ANYTHING: the raw data are good, but the processing software hit a glitch for some reason. See UHDAS Troubleshooting for more detail.


Green panels indicate that a serial message was received with a valid checksum. This does not say whether the message is useful. This is usually only a problem with a flaky Ashtech. ADU units can lose their satellites and send messages with lots of commas or zeros, so the panel is green, but the data are worthless. For Ashtech specifically, look at the messages and make sure they are not junk. This link illustrates Ashtech message faliure modes.

  1. Switching Bottom Tracking mode between OFF and ON
  • go to the Control tab
  • click the button for Bottom Track (for the ADCP of interest) to toggle it. This enters the bottom track command but does not send it to the instrument. Do this before you stop recording to minimize downtime in pinging.
  • If “the instrument is hopelessly confused” state is recurring frequently (e.g., when bottom track configuration is changed), you might want to power cycle the OS deck unit after you stop recording (turn off OS deck unit, wait 10 sec, turn deck unit back on).
  • Stop recording (wait until UHDAS is back at the CONTROL tab) and start recording with the new parameters. No need to end cruise or exit UHDAS.
  • NB150 Bottom Track: switching between Bottom Track

    on and Bottom Track off is a simple toggle.

  • Ocean Surveyor Bottom Track for NB mode: switching

    between Bottom Track on and Bottom Track off is a simple toggle.

  • Ocean Surveyor Bottom Track for interleaved mode:

    we always want TWO kinds of pings. If Bottom track is off, we want BB and NB pings. If you turn Bottom Track on, please turn NB off (the deepest mode). When you turn Bottom track off, turn NB pings back on (see table at the end of this section).

  • click “Stop Recording”
  • A pop-up box will ask you [...text...] “Do you want to stop data acquisition? * Click “Yes”
  • click “Start Recording” (again, wait a moment for it to think)
  • Watch the dialogs as it starts communication with the ADCPs. It is at this point that the new command is sent to the instrument.
  • Watch the Monitor tab to ensure that all panels come up green, with scrolling messages in them.
  • Click back to the Control tab to verify that bottom tracking has changed status. Then return to the Monitor tab to leave the system with the green panels showing.

EXAMPLE: Ocean Surveyor Bottom Track for interleaved pinging


Bottom Track OFF

(deeper than 500m) –default–

Bottom Track ON

(shallower than 500m)

BB pings ON ON
NB pings ON (off)
Bottom Track (off) ON
  1. Data archiving:

UHDAS computers are usually set up with two identical bootable disks, where the “home” partition of the second disk acts as a backup location for the data (/disk2/home/data mirrors /home/data).

UHDAS can also write the data to an external disk (eg. USB disk) or an accessible network (nfs) directory on another computer.

The status of the backups should be indicated in the daily ADCP Operator email.

After a cruise

  • go to the Control tab
  • click “Stop Recording” (wait a minute for it to think)
  • click “End Cruise”. This may take a moment while UHDAS cleans up temporary files from the cruise that is ending.