A pulsed light command system for the scamp platform and Alvin

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Hosom, David S.
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This report describes the pulsed light command system used on an ancillary platform designed to augment the task capabilities of the submersible ALVIN. Deep submersibles are called on to perform increasingly complex tasks on the bottom of the ocean. Many tasks that are not within the capabilities of a specific submersible can be accomplished by using an ancillary platform. The submersible then assumes the roll of controller much in the same manner as tug boat or even a tractor trailer cab in controlling the load carrying vehicle. The ancillary platform carries the load and provides for the special task requirements. Control of this platform underwater then becomes the primary submersible task. Mating and unmating connectors at depth is one part of the task and is generally an unsatisfactory operation because alignment is difficult and electrical insulation resistance is of low quality. In addition most submersibles have a limited number of electrical wires penetrating the hull that can be made available for control purposes. Some type of command link is required that does not require hull penetrators, has reasonable alignment requirements, can be mated and unated underwater many or unlimited times and provides good command reliability. Since most submersible have viewports, a pulsed light transmitter through a viewport was reviewed and found to satisfy all of the requirements. There are no wiring modifications required and the transmitter unit can be easily installed and removed as required. an acoustic link was considered but this would have required some ships wiring. In addition, there are many acoustic devices on submersibles and interference would be an important consideration. Finally, the pulsed light technique has not been investigated as extensively as acoustic methods and is interest as an alternative approach. A project to evaluate the feasibility of ancillary platforms with a pulsed light command link was carried out. This project was called SCAMP for Self Contained Ancillary Modular Platform.
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