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General TSI-880 Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Legend:All Products
Product Class (Sky Imaging)
This Product (TSI-880)

1. General

1. What kind of optical interference filters do the MFR, UVMFR, and SPUV use?

The MFR, UVMFR, and SPUV all use new technology "Ion Assisted Deposition" interference filters. The slit width and effective center wavelength are exceptional and stable. However, while the throughput/transmission of IAD filters is far superiror compared with previous generations of optical filter technologies, we still recommend that yearly factory calibrations.

2. What is the average lifetime of a TSI?

We have designed systems for minimum life of approximately 10 years. Actual life will be highly dependent on the site salt and moisture levels as well as other factors such as local maintenance. For example, ocean sites may suffer corrosion faster. The all-metal NEMA enclosures used in the TSI are quite tough. The TSI-880 is generally more mechanically rugged and has a removable arm for rapid transport and deployment, whereas the TSI-440 arm is fixed, requiring much larger transit cases.

3. If a TSI system is exposed to salt spray, will regular cleaning hurt the chrome mirror? Generally, how often will the mirror need to be replaced?

Although the mirror is made from heavy gauge chrome plated steel, it will eventually rust out (especially in high salt marine locations). Also, abrasive cleaners can accelerate corrosion. At ocean locations cleaning the dome a few times a week may be desirable, but not doing so will not hurt the mirror. If properly maintained and cleaned with a salt-free water mixed with a slight ammonia window cleaner (such as Windex), the mirror should last several years. If not properly maintained, it is unlikely the mirror would last over a year under heavy salt conditions. The chrome coating is comparable to a car bumper.

Periodic use of automotive paste wax helps prolong the life of the mirror.

An optional polished stainless steel mirror is also available which is repolished by the user perriodically.

4. I got a 'JAVA.LANG.EXCEPTION' error on my TSI-880. Why is this?

A probable cause is the imager's Ethernet connection (between the camera and the image processor in the TSI-880) is lost or miswired.

Verify the RJ45 Ethernet cable running between the imager and the image processing CPU in the lower chassis is fully seated and is inserted in the proper Ethernet port. Do not plug the imager cable into the external "LAN" port, that should run to the nearest hub in your local facility.

5. How difficult was it to develop the cloud cover image processing algorithm?

Developing this proprietary algorithm was not easy and took several programmer-years. The hardware had to be specially developed to accommodate automatic image processing. There are many techniques that were carefully tested involved in getting the cloud cover accurately under a variety of conditions. NOAA later compared TSI results to trained human observers with excellent results.

Testing the algorithm under widely varying sky and weather conditions was just as time consuming as the R&D effort itself of the hardware and software.

6. What is the policy of TSI software upgrades?

One year of free upgrades. TSI software has been well tested by YES and at government-sponsored instrument inter-comparisons. However, just as with other cutting-edge technologies, the TSI software is constantly changing and improving. We also actively work with our user base testing and developing new retrieval algorithms (e.g., learning to calculate UV-B from a knowledge of the clouds and the ephemeris.)

7. Does YES sell reusable flight cases for the TSI?

Yes, flight cases are available. We highly recommend the use of these flight cases for moving TSI systems.

8. Can I run systems in remote areas without AC power via solar panels?

Yes, but there are limitations in locations that are statistically cloudy. The UVB-1, YESDAS, MFR/UVMFR, and SPUV systems all run from DC power, but solar panels require a careful assessment of the total solar resource available at your site. The minimum number of available sunlight hours (shortest day of the year), along with the worst case total power (duty cycle) determines a PV or wind system size.

There are vendors who can provide turnkey solar power installations, or you could build this yourself. The solar cells are connected to a battery bank via a "charge control module", and the battery line is run to your instruments via YESDAS-2's battery connection. One such vendor is www.northerntool.com which is a good place to look for these components.

We have been careful to try to design all systems to run form DC power. However, some instruments such as the TSI and RSS require so much power (i.e. hundreds of watts) that running them off-grid is impractical. In these cases a small propane gas or diesel generator starts to make economic sense v.s large banks of solar panels.



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This page was last updated on Monday, September 11, 2006 .