All posts by Tommy Liddell

Hydrolynx 5096 – Upgrade to ALERT2

The following are the basic steps required to set up a 5096 A2 transmitter.  These steps are for rain and stream sites only:

  • Upgrading 5096 Transmitter hardware (adding ALERT2 board and new radio)
  • Adding additional components to site
    • GPS antenna
    • Polyphaser
    • Solar Panel (if site does not have adequate power already)
  • Programming 5096
  • Novastar5 needs to have new ALERT2 point added (Scott will do this)

Equipment Needed

  • Laptop with RS-232 cable
  • Drill with 3/16”, 1/4” and 1/2” bits and hole saws
  • GPS antenna, mount, hardware and cable
  • Polyphaser with mount hardware and cable
  • Upgraded ALERT2 5096
  • 21 amp-hr battery
  • Wattmeter
  • Scanner
  • ALERT2 field decoder
  • Spare antenna
  • Spare cables and cable fittings (N-type connectors, BNC connectors, adapters)

Common Commands

  • SET-STAID – Sets the station id. For Ventura County, this is the station number (e.g., 188, but with a “20” prefix: 20188)
  • SET-RF – Adjusts the parameters for the radio (Maxon 125E-v2 is inverted (1), all other radios (0))
  • SET-TDMA – Used to program frame length, offset and delay of TDMA transmissions
  • SET-EV – Used to adjust parameters for Event sensors
  • SET-A2 – Sends all previously programmed parameters to the ALERT 2 board


  • Attach antenna or dummy load to antenna port before the 5096 is powered up
  • Attach GPS
  • Connect Power

Line Gun

The goal of using the line gun is to create a taught line across the creek by which to pull the Sontek Hydroboard back and forth to make a discharge measurement. The projectile is fired across the creek from the “shooting side” and retrieved on the “receiving side.” The main line is then attached to the gun’s temporary line and pulled across the creek by staff on the receiving side.  In most instances, the main line is then attached to existing eye bolts using carabiners and other ropes; in other instances, trees, vehicles and other sturdy objects may be used. Below are the steps for pressurizing and firing the line gun.

  1. Use an allen wrench with key cut to make sure the valve on projectile is open (this will allow residual pressure to bleed out of projectile tank and allow pressure from SCBA tank to enter when desired)
  2. Attach yoke to SCBA tank and projectile
  3. Close bleed valves on the SCBA tank side and gun side of the yoke
  4. Open SCBA tank valve and allow pressure to build to 1800 PSI, then close SCBA tank valve
  5. Close projectile tank valve using the allen wrench with key cut, then bleed residual pressure from the lines using bleed valves at each end of the yoke
  6. Removed yoke from SCBA tank and projectile
  7. Pull black line tight, align the projectile and slide the projectile into gun
  8. Attach black line to release pin using carabiner
  9. Unfold stock on line gun
  10. To charge line gun, close valve and check pressure
  11. Release safety (if safety doesn’t release, close valve and bleed off extra pressure)
  12. Fire projectile at approximately 30-degree angle


Load Tester


  1. Test battery voltage without load, as described here
  2. Remove the test leads from the battery and connect the load tester (pictured) alligator clips or hooks to both the red and black test leads
  3. Again, touch the red and black test leads to the proper battery poles
  4. Resistor should warm considerably and voltage should drop from original reading
  5. If the voltage drops less than 0.5 volts and then stabilizes, the battery is good
  6. If the voltage drops rapidly and more than 0.5 volts or fails to stabilize, the battery should be replaced


Schlumberger Diver – Download Data

equipment_baroAt several locations, Mini-Divers have been installed as a redundant water level sensors to the existing gas purge systems. With a 5-minute data logging setting, the internal memory of the Divers will be full in ~83 days. There is no memory wrap feature and the Divers must be stopped/started in order to erase existing data. Data for the Mini-Diver and BaroDiver must be downloaded individually.

  1. Connect the threaded end of the USB interface cable to the Baro-Diver
  2. Open Diver-Office

Wire Weight

wire_weightThe basic parts of a wire weight gage include a drum wrapped with a single layer of cable, and a weight attached to the end of the cable. A readable disc, graduated in tenths and hundredths of a foot is attached to the side of the drum. A Veeder counter, reading in whole feet is also included. One complete turn of the drum represents one foot of vertical movement of the weight. To take a reading of stage, perform the following:

  1. Open the wire weight gauge house
  2. Move the checkbar forward so it rests in position under the weight, if not already in position
  3. While grasping the drum crank handle, disengage the pawl and lower the weight until it touches, but not fully rests on the check bar
  4. Read the interval at the pointer on the graduated disc (the numbered hash marks correspond to tenths and five-hundredths of a foot graduations and the small hash marks correspond to one-hundredth foot increments)
  5. If the check-bar value does not match, perform the following inspections:
    • Make sure the check-bar is set correctly
    • Check that the cable is wrapped on the drum properly and the threading sheave is positioned properly, directly above the wrap on the drum
    • Make sure the graduated disc is not slipping (caused by loose clutch screws)
    • Check the Veeder counter for proper operation (occasionally the counter is not synchronized with the graduated disc and will not turn over to the next whole foot in synchronization with the disc
  6. If the check-bar value is satisfactory, slide the bar back and slowly lower the weight to the water surface (the weight should only touch the water surface enough to form a distinctive “V” shape on the water surface)
  7. Read the Veeder counter and disc as previously described
  8. Record the stage height on the front sheet
  9. Wind in the weight.
  10. Confirm the check bar elevation and reengage the pawl before closing and locking the wire weight gauge enclosure