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Monday, August 29, 2005

CORK Project in Final Assembly Stage


Jim Cowen's CORK (Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit) experiment package is in the final stage of testing and assembly. The package, which consists of a McLane PPS (phytoplankton sampler) and an iSEA electrochemical analyzer, is to be deployed on a site located on the Juan de Fuca ocean ridge. The package will measure microscopic life in a 990 foot bore hole as well as the chemical composition of the surrounding habitat. These devices are designed to operate independent of each other.  However, ESF engineers were able to come up with an interface that will allow the PI, Jim Cowen and Post Doctorate Fellow, Brian Glazer to retrieve data from both devices without bringing the experiment back on the ship and connecting to the devices separately. The interface consists of an inductive coupler, optical interface, and Rabbit 3000 microcontroller.

One part of the inductive coupler is connected to the Rabbit 3000 Interface and Control Module via a separate CODEC (encoder/decoder) pressure case, while the other end is attached to a mini-sub. Control signals from a notebook computer are encoded using a Manchester CODEC and passed onto the inductive coupler. The signal is decoded at the other end and is supplied to the Interface and Control Module. This module then routes the proper programming information to either the PPS, or iSEA. Data from either device can be retrieved in reverse order. Also attached to the CODEC pressure case is a laser optical transceiver. This interface will be used as a backup to the inductive coupler.



Both halves of the inductive coupler that supplies communication to and from the experiment package.


  Floatation ball to be suspended above the CORK package.



Dave Harris checking the operation of the inductive coupler.


Jim Jolly testing a spare Interface and Control Module.




Dave Copson (left) and Brian Glazer (right) discussing final design of manifold.



Mike Cole (left), Jim Cowen (center), and Dave Copson (right) discussing last minute changes to the sled.



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