The Mixing Zephyr Pages

Mixing Zephyr Program
Time Lapse Video Imaging:
Autonomous Video Camera Systems (AVCS)

The AVCS is a time lapse video system which we developed jointly with Deep Sea Power and Light and Pisces Design (both located in San Diego, CA) in 1988. These systems consist of a pressure housing with optically correct Lexan viewport containing two Sony V9 camcorders and controlling electronics. One camcorder is operated in camera mode while the other is operated in video tape recorder (VTR) mode. This gives four hours of recording capacity. Lighting is provided with 2 Sea-Lite Maxilites, each with 50-watt bulbs installed. The system is powered by a 72 Ah Sea-Battery.

In preparation for this cruise, we changed three parts of these systems. The first were the controlling electronics which were originally Onset Computer Tattletale IV single board datalogging computers. There were replaced with VCS modules from Pisces Design, dedicated controllers for Sony camcorders which would greatly increase the simplicity of maintaining and operating the systems. With the change to the control approach, the cameras would always be powered on and the current drain of the 12V to 7.5V converter pack built into the cameras would become a significant problem. Thus these were replaced with a Pisces Design low power controller. Finally after the loss of our mounting frames following the October 1993 deployment, we had Dave Thoreson of the School of Oceanography design and fabricate a replacement which would be more compact, consisting of a simple tripod mounted directly to the battery. At sea these were modified to have three vertical stainless steel rods project beneath the battery to lift it off the underlying seafloor.

These systems are used to record video imagery of black smoker plumes, at a data rate of 5 seconds each hour. These data are used to analyze the translation and deformation of turbulent structures within the plumes as a means of estimating the velocity of flow. In addition they can provide valuable information on changes occurring in the mineralization and biology of the associated sulfide structures.

Deployments During the Mixing Zephyr Program

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