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Instrumentation and Calibration Laboratory
The Instrumentation and Calibration Laboratory is dedicated to assure the operationality and precision of several types of equipment.

Laboratory of Instrumentation and Calibration tasks

Instrumentation Area Responsibility over the instrumentation store
Preparation, maintenance and small repairs on equipment
Preparation/assembly of instrumentation packages for cruises on the R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO
Maintenance of the instrumentation of the R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO (bridge and laboratories)
Design and production of instrumentation software
Design and production of prototype equipment for specific aplications
Calibration Area Verification and calibration of equipment

Instrumentation Area / Instrument store

Types of instruments stored at the Section of Oceanography

Type Application Remarks
Current meter Mooring 15 units 6,000 m
10 units 2,000 m
Acoustic releases Mooring 10 units 6,000 m
Temperature recorder and thermistor chains, 200 m Mooring 5 units 6,000 m
Sub-surface floats Mooring > 2,500 kg buoyancy
CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) Vertical and horizontal profiling 1 unit 600 m,
1 unit 3,400 m
OPC (Optical Planckton Counter) Vertical and horizontal profiling 1 unit for tow bodies
1 unit for laboratory
Multiple Water Sampler (Rosette) Vertical profiling 12 x 2.7 l
Fluorometres Vertical and horizontal profiling, and during navigation 2 units
ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) Hull mounted. Acquisition during navigation 1 unit in R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO
APT Weather Satellite System Acquisition during navigation and ground station 1 unit in R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO
1 unit in ground station
SEASOAR Vertical and horizontal profiling, and during navigation Removable system mounted in R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO

Instrumentation Area / Preparation, maintenance and small repairs on equipment

The laboratory has two small workshops for these tasks (16 m² for general works and 9 m² for electronics), moderately equiped for those jobs. It is also at these workshops that we prepare and integrate instrumentation packages that are installed at R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO for the different missions.

Instrumentation Area / Design and production of instrumentation software

The software provided by data acquisition equipment manufacturers is not always designed to meet the particular requirements of some research programmes. Hence, the Instrumentation and Calibration Laboratory has designed and produced instrumentation software for specific applications.

Software for specific applications

Applications Short Description
GPSTIME Routine to automatically set the internal clock of the PC's installed on R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO to UTC time, for sincronized data acquisition
GPSERVER Application developed for R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO that integrates, stores and allows for visualization of the information produced by the bridge equipment (GPS, Echo Sounder, Gyro and Meteorologic station) and makes it available to any equipment or PC's installed on the ship
BATIPLOT Application for PC to store (on HD) and show the ship's track in color according to bathymetry. The output is very similar to that of a navigation plotter, allowing for the use of digital maps
DIGIWAC DIGISUMA Applications for the digitalization of data with Wacom and Summagraphics tablets
OPCLAB Application for storing and display of discrete data with the Focal's Optical Planckton Counter - Laboratory model
DEMEREC Application for automatic storage of events, GPS and depth informations during longline fishing experiments
AUTOCALC Application for salinity calculation, automatic storage and report printing using the Guildline's AUTOSAL
GPSLOG Application for storage and display of GPS and depth at the L/V ÁGUAS VIVAS
GPSIMUL GPS Simulator for software development

Instrumentation Area / Design and production of prototype equipment, transformation and upgrades

Some research programmes can not find in the equipment available in the market the answers for their specific needs. That is the basis of instrumentation development.
The Instrumentation and Calibration Laboratory of DOP/UAç has been developing its capabilities of designing and producing prototype equipment, namely through the use of COTS technology (Comercial Off The Shelf). This technology allows for a very quick and versatile product development with a very good ratio cost/quality/versatility.
The laboratory has also been working on the upgrade/modification of existing commercial equipment.
Below is a list of the types of equipment produced or in course of production. We will add another one or two very shortly, as soon as we can reveal their characteristics and specifications.

Prototype Equipment


Equipment to measure and store wave height data at the surf zone.
This equipment was produced for a research group of the Geology Section at the Natural History Museum (Lisbon) and the University of Algarve according to their specifications. It uses three high sensivity pressure sensors to measure the variation produced by waves.
This autonomous equipment uses its 480 Kb of RAM to store values from the three sensors, at acquisition rates of up to 100 Hz. The internal software allows for a later transfer to a PC for data processing.


This was an upgrade done in the "Focal Technologies" Optical Planckton Counter
This equipment was designed to be used in a towed body with real time data transmission via electromechanical cable. At DOP/UAç we needed to use it in other circunstances where it was not possible to have a conductive cable, and where real tome was not critical.
Therefore, we performed its upgrade to include an internal datalogger wich can be read at sea after each tow.


This is a multi-parameter telemetry station. Internal electronics provide vast programming possibilities for different applications, storage of data, control of data modem and UHF transmitter. The station will accept virtually any type of sensor.

Calibration Area

Presently, in a stage of upgrading the existing facilities, the 17 m² laboratory is prepared to carry out calibrations on several parameters.

Calibrated parameters

Parameter Range Precision Base Equipment
Temperature -5°C
±0.001°C TRONAC CTB-408, Constant Temperature Bath with cooler
TRONAC PTC-41, Precision Temperature Controler, -5°C to + 40° C, ±0.001°C
ATB 1250 NBIS/General Oceanics Automatic Temperature Bridge
ESI SR 104, 10 kOhm Standard Resistor
National Physical Laboratory Water Triple Point Cell
Salinity 2 a 42
Guildline Portasal Mod. 8410
Four stirred and filtered, 150 litre tanks, for diferent salinities
Pressure 1 to 700
±0.025% Buddenbeg Mod 480D Dead-Weight Tester, 1-700 kg/cm²

Additional parameters to be verified and calibrated in a near future

Parameter                     Base Equipment
Dissolved Oxygen Tank with controled flow, temperature and atmosphere
Current Tow tank with controlable speed gantry

For more information please contact the senior technician in charge Luís Macedo (

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