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BigShot Controller

Maintenance Manual

Version 201 Updated April 20, 2010

BigShot Controller Maintenance Manual Version 201 Updated April 20, 2010


1 BigShot Controller


Overview of major components

2 Solenoid Power Supply


Overview of major components

3 Operational Theory


System architecture Start and timing Trigger Sensor picking Interface signals Inputs and Outputs

4 Trouble Shooting


No Communication No sensor display Erratic behavior Double shots

Appendix A


Controller Diagrams

Appendix B


Solenoid Power Supply Diagrams

Appendix C


Manifold Pressure Transducer Configuration

1.0 Controller Block Diagram

1.0 Controller Block Diagram BigShot Maintenance Manual, Version 201 © 2010 Real Time Systems, Inc. All

1.1 LSCPU Real Time Control Processor

This Board is the central processing unit. It coordinates the control and data acquisition functions of the BigShot.

1. JP1, JP2, JP3, JP6, JP19 – No Jumper.

2. JP4, JP5, JP8, JP9 – Jumper pins 1 to 2.

3. JP11 – used to select external trigger mode. Short pins 1-2 and 3-4 for opto-isolated pulse trigger Short pins 5-6 and 7-8 for external closure trigger.

4. JP12 – FTB Filter Frequency.

5. JP15, JP18 – Jumper pins 1 to 2 if you want to convert Closure Out to an active low TTL out.

you want to convert Closure Out to an active low TTL out. BigShot Maintenance Manual, Version


BSCOM Power Supply Interface Board

The system has one of these boards for every four BigShot power supplies. The board sends and receives serial messages between the LSCPU card and up to four BigShot power supplies. The serial interface is RS422, in both send and receive directions. The trigger output to the BigShot power supply is TTL high-going. The bottom board is addressed as board one in the jumper area JP5 (pins 1 to 2). The BigShot software supports up to 4 boards only. The standard BigShot controller chassis has back panel connectors for up to 12 power supplies, so the max number of boards that you will see in a standard unit is 3 BSCOM boards. The next board up has addressed board 2 with JP5 pins 3,4. Board 3 will have JP5 pins 5,6. Each BSCOM board should have jumper JP2 installed.

1.3 DSMAN Manifold Pressure Interface

This board provides transducer interfaces for up to four, 4-20 ma manifold pressure transducers. However, the BSCTL unit supports only two of these channels. The board supplies power to the transducer. The transducer changes the current draw in proportion to the pressure on the transducer. The DSMAN board changes this current to a voltage, which is passed to the LSCPU card for conversion to a binary digital value. This digital value can then be scaled to a pressure value using the menu entries on the BigShot DOS control menus.

The following headers are used to configure the board.

Board address – JP12 always pins 1, 2

This board also provides an External Alarm feature driving a remote alarm. The remote alarm interface is selected to be one of the following:

1. Closure to Self Powered Alarm, Jumper JP13-1 to JP14-2

2. Supply 5 volts to turn on Alarm, Jumper JP13-1 to Jp13-2 and JP14-2 to JP14-3.

3. Supply 12V to turn on Alarm, Jumper JP13-1 to JP13-2 and JP14-1 to JP14-2.

1.4 LSETH Ethernet Interface Board

This board provides the Ethernet interface to the LSCPU card. The Ethernet interface is the physical layer used to provide a TCP/IP protocol stack. The protocol stack is used by the application software to provide an FTP server, over which data files such as hydrophone and gun data can be transferred.

The protocol stack can also be used to provide a remote control connection to the Windows based Graphical User interface, which runs on a separate Windows based PC.

1.5 PC CPU User Interface Embedded PC Board

This board is an AMPRO PC-104 embedded 486 PC-compatible processor that runs the DOS based graphical user interface software.

A transition board called the AMTRAN board sits on top of the PCCPU. It is a transition board for converting to more convenient interface connectors.

2.0 BigShot Solenoid Power Supply Block Diagram

2.0 BigShot Solenoid Power Supply Block Diagram BigShot Maintenance Manual, Version 201 © 2010 Real Time


AC/DC 12 Volt Supply

This power supply converts 120-240 VAC to 12 VDC for use by the BSPWR boards.

2.2 AC/DC Power Supply

This power supply converts 120-240 VAC to +5V, +12V, -12V and +24V for use by the BSFCB card.

2.3 BSPWR High Voltage Board

This board’s main purpose is to supply the high-voltage used to fire the solenoids. The output voltage is programmable via software commands to 75V, 100V, 125V, and 150V. This board also performs:

1. Fire Pulse timing to solenoids.

2. Continuity and Leakage tests for the solenoid and sensor lines.

3. Test Mode Loop Back test.

4. BOLT sensor power supply.

5. Over-current protection on solenoid outputs.

The high-voltage firing signals to the solenoids are output from this board and the sensor signals are input to this board, and then routed to the BSFCB card. The boards receive serial setup commands via an RS485 link to the BSFCB card. It is triggered by a TTL signal from the BSFCB card to start a firing cycle

There are two of these cards in each module. The bottom board is for channels 1 to 4 and the top board is for channels 5 to 8. There is a jumper on each board to tell the board if it is a 1-4 board or 5-8 board. This jumper is JP4. JP4 pins 7,8 always have a jumper. JP4 pins 5,6 have a jumper installed on the bottom board, and JP4 pins 5,6 have no jumper on the upper BSPWR board.

There is a trim potentiometer on the BSPWR board, which is near JP4 on the left side of the card. It is used to trim the Continuity/Leakage test circuit. This is done at the factory and does not require adjustment in the field. Adjustment of this potentiometer will alter the accuracy of the continuity/leakage test.

2.4 BSFCB Fire Control Board

a. This card is mounted on top of the two BSPWR cards and is the main control board for the BigShot power supply. It has the following functions:

b. Receive and process serial command messages from the BigShot Controller via an RS422 serial link. When setup messages are received, the BSFCB sends setup information to the BSPWR cards via an RS485 serial link.

c. Send serial status messages once per second to the BigShot Controller. These status messages contain the current depth, pressure and auto-fire status.

d. Receive fire commands via a TTL start pulse from the BigShot Controller and do the following:

1. Relay this fire pulse to the BSPWR cards to signal them to fire the guns.

2. Digitize (8 bit) and store the 8 gun sensor inputs at 10 kHz rate.

3. Digitize (16 bit) and store the 4 hydrophone channels at 1 KHz rate.

4. Latch gun depth and pressure data and send back to BigShot controller.

5. Send a 10 msec window of gun sensor data for all guns via serial messages back to the BigShot Controller.

6. Send the digitized hydrophone data via serial messages data to the BigShot Controller.

7. Send one gun sensor expanded waveform back to the BigShot Controller for use in the expanded sensor display.

3.0 Theory of Operation

3.1 System Architecture and Components

The BigShot seismic source controller is designed to control from 8 to 128 guns. It is made up of two hardware modules: the BSCTL unit (BigShot Control Module) and the BSPWR unit (BigShot Power Supply Module). These units are 19-inch rack mount units, which are 2U (3.47 inches) in height.

The BSCTL unit houses the main control electronics which provide the DOS based graphical user interface, the navigation and recording system interface signals, gun synchronization algorithm, manifold pressure transducer interface and the system wide timing control.

The BSPWR unit houses:

1. High voltage gun solenoid driver and timing circuits.

2. Gun sensor power supply.

3. Hydrophone interface and 16-bit (1 kHz) digitizer circuitry.

4. Gun sensor interface and 8-bit (10 kHz) digitizer circuitry.

5. Gun depth/pressure transducer interface.

6. Gun firing loop back TEST feature.

7. Continuity and Leakage testing facility.

Each BSPWR unit covers 8 gun channels, 4 hydrophone channels, and 4 depth/pressure channels.

The cable link between the BSCTL and each BSPWR is an off-the-shelf 9 pin molded Dsub cable with male pins on both sides. This interface has a full duplex RS422 (differential) asynchronous serial link running at a baud rate of 56700 baud. The BSCTL sends parameter setup messages to the BSPWRs over each BSPWR link whenever the user changes a menu entry or between shots when the BSCTL wants to change the gun timing. The BSPWR sends a status message once per second to the BSCTL with gun depth/pressure data and auto-fire data. When the BSCTL sees these status messages coming from a BSPWR unit, it displays a numeric status indicator in the upper right hand corner of the DOS graphical user interface (GUI). A “1” indicates a BSPWR is present on the connector Guns1-8 on the back of the BSCTL module. A “2” indicates a BSPWR is present on the connector Guns9-16 on the back of the BSCTL module and so on up to “C” for BSPWR unit 12. Note: the current BSCTL has back panel connectors for up to 12 BSPWR modules or 96 guns. For 128 gun models, consult the factory.

The BSCTL module connects to a keyboard, standard VGA video (or LCD) display and a parallel printer. No special drivers are needed for the DOS operating system to get these components to operate.

The BSPWR units connect to the guns, hydrophones and in-water depth and pressure sensors.

3.2 System Start and Timing

When the operating mode of the BSCTL unit is not OFF it can be started in 4 ways:

1. Internal cycle at a menu controlled interval (F3) in trigger mode “CYC”.

2. Pressing ALT-F on the keyboard when in trigger mode “MAN”.

3. Pressing ALT-T on the keyboard to test one gun.

4. External trigger signal or the front panel TRIGGER push button when in trigger mode “EXT”. See

section 1.1 for external trigger type selection.

Once the BSCTL is triggered it will attempt to fire the guns at the aim-point, which is defaulted to be 50 msecs after trigger. The Aim-Point can be changed from 25 msecs to 25-250 msecs (more in some software versions) on the F3 menu. The Clock Time Break output is a TTL signal which has a leading edge at the Aim-Point. This leading edge can be low or high going depending on the F3 menu setting. CTB Pulse width is also programmable in the F3 menu.

Each gun has a parameter called ”Gun Delay” which is set in the F4 menu. This number is in units of msecs and has a resolution of 0.1 msecs. It represents the time before the aim-point where the high-voltage to the gun is turned on. So, for example, if the aim-point is 50 msecs and Gun 1 has a gun delay of 9.9 msecs, the high-voltage to the gun will be turned on at 40.1 msecs after the BigShot is triggered, or 9.9 msecs before the Aim-Point. On the F3 menu is a “Fire Pulse Width” entry. This is the length of time the high-voltage is turned on to the gun. It is typically 25 msecs but for some guns G and GI it is set to 60 msecs, for sleeve guns 15 msec.

The BigShot adjusts the “Gun Delay” time for each gun that is selected to be “AUTO” tuned (F4 menu). The gun delay is adjusted so that the gun aligns at the Aim_Point. The fire time of the gun is determined to be one of three points on the gun sensor return signal: level-cross, peak-time, or zero-cross. See the “Sensor Picking Diagram” on the next page and the operator’s manual for details on how the sensor signals are analyzed.

3.2.1 System Trigger Distribution

The system start signal received by the LSCPU card is initiated by keyboard command or a

hardware external start signal. It is distributed to the rest of the system in the following sequence:

1. The LSCPU processor generates a TTL start signal going to the BSCOM boards, which are in a board-stack with a common interface buss.

2. Each BSCOM board simply buffers this signal out to four (4) BSPWR units over the serial command cable.

3. Inside the BSPWR, the BSFCB board receives this start signal and starts a firing cycle. During this firing cycle the BSFCB board generates a start signal to the BSPWR board below it, which starts the firing cycle on the BSPWR boards, and they ultimately fire the guns via high- voltage FET switches.

3.3 BSCTL Interface Signals 1. Trigger Input – Can be configured to be a contact

3.3 BSCTL Interface Signals

1. Trigger Input – Can be configured to be a contact closure or TTL high going input via jumper JP11. See section 1.1

2. Clock Time Break Output – A TTL signal whose leading edge is at the Aim-Point. Configuration is programmable in menu F3.

3. Field Time Break Output – analog sum of all gun sensor signals.

4. Closure Output – a programmable width closure signal whose leading edge is at a programmable time found in menu F3.

5. Program Pulse Output – this is a TTL high-going signal whose timing is identical to the closure output.

3.4 Gun System Input/Output

3.4.1 Manifold Pressure Input

The BSCTL unit has 2 channels for manifold pressure monitoring. The use of 2 channels is only needed in a flip-flop shooting arrangement with two compressors supplying two manifolds (one for each separate gun array). The type of transducer used for these ports is a 4-20ma (milliamps) pressure transducer. Many transducer manufacturers make this type of transducer, and they are available from Omega Engineering. They have a much lower cost than the specialized in-water pressure transducers. The transducer varies the current from 4 - 20 ma to represent the pressure on the diaphragm. The DSMAN board has a receiving circuit that converts this current to a voltage between 0 - 5 volts. This voltage is passed to the LSCPU card, where it is converted to digital form, and passed to the GUI software for display. The operator must calibrate the transducer data channel(s) by entering values for zero offset and slope. ( See Appendix C )

3.4.2 Manifold Pressure Input

An external alarm feature is provided, which allows the user to connect a remote alarm. The type of alarm is configured on the DSMAN board, and the selections are described in section 1.3.

3.4.3 High Voltage Gun Firing Output

The BSPWR board has a 12VDC input, which is converted to high-voltage DC output via 4 flyback switching regulators. The voltage level is controlled by a set of four control resistors. One of the four resistors is selected via software, such that the user can select 75V, 100V, 125V or 150V. The BSPWR unit outputs this voltage to a storage capacitor, which is on a separate board. The storage capacitor is connected to a manual switch on the front panel. When activated, this switch routes the high-voltage from the capacitor for this channel to a FET switch on the BSPWR board. The control processor on the BSPWR card is responsible for turning on this FET switch to route high- voltage out to the gun.

The high-voltage signal goes through a high current relay on the BSPWR board before going out to the gun. This high-voltage relay is used to disable firing of the guns when the Man Over Board connection is broken, or when the BSPWR is performing Continuity/Leakage testing. A comparator circuit also monitors the high-voltage going to each FET. If the voltage drops below 90% of the selected voltage, the comparator output goes inactive – (comparator output is routed to the BSPWR CPU which, upon sensing that voltage has dropped below 90%, turns off the indicator LED for that channel).

The same indicator LED is also used to indicate another condition. If the solenoid output channel is shorted to 2 ohms or less, the CPU sensing circuitry will detect it, and turn off the channel to protect the FET. The channel LED will blink for a couple of seconds to indicate this condition each time gun firing occurs.

Gun solenoid outputs are connected to the BSPWR via the 16-pin solenoid connector on the back panel.

3.4.4 Gun Sensor Input

Each gun channel has a gun sensor input that is used to tell the BigShot when that gun has fired. Each type of gun has a different type of sensor, and the BigShot is designed to handle them all. The gun sensors enter the system through the gun sensor connector on the back panel labeled SENSOR. They enter the BSPWR board first.

On the BSPWR board, several features are available before sensor signals are routed off the board:

1. The BSPWR board can be commanded via software settings to supply a 20 volt constant current power source. This is used for BOLT gun PCB sensors.

2. Gun sensor output can be tested for continuity and leakage via a software command.

3. Gun sensor output from the BSPWR board can be changed from the true gun sensor to a divided-down signal derived from the high-voltage output pulse to the guns. This is TEST MODE, and is very useful for doing a loop back test of the gun sensor analog inputs.

The gun sensors go off the BSPWR board to the BSFCB board, (4 channels from the bottom BSPWR board, and 4 channels from the top BSPWR board). The input buffer amplifiers on the BSFCB board are designed to accept BOLT, G, and Sleeve-gun sensors. If the user wants to use hydrophones as a gun sensor, he may need to add some jumpers to configure the board for a charge amplifier that is compatible with most blast hydrophones. After the input amplifier stage, the sensor signals enter a gain stage, which is programmable via menu entry on the F4 menu. The signal can be gained-up x25 or gained down to 0.1. (True gain = x1 @ value of 5.0, x5 @ value of 25.0) Then the sensor signal goes through a 1KHz low pass filter before being digitized at 10 kHz by an 8-bit A/D converter.

At the time of the shot, data from 25 msecs before the aim-point to 50 msecs after the aim point is stored in the local RAM on the BSFCB card. A small portion (+/- 5msecs around the aim-point) is transferred to the BSCTL unit for all guns and 50 msecs (+/- 25 msecs around the aim-point) is transferred for one gun. The BSCTL unit analyzes this data to determine if the gun fired, and if so, how far from the aim-point the firing occurred.

The user can select the Gun Fire Time to be either:

1. Level Detect – Gun Fire Time is defined to be when the signal crosses the Voltage Threshold (menu F3).

2. Peak Detect – Gun Fire Time is after the signal crosses the Voltage Threshold and at the time a valid peak is found, which is 2 up-going samples and 3 down-going samples.

3. Zero Cross - Gun Fire Time is after the signal crosses the Voltage Threshold and a valid peak is found, which is 2 up-going samples and 3 down-going samples, and then at the time the signal crosses zero volts Gun Sensor TEST Mode

As mentioned in the earlier section, the BSPWR board has the ability to change the gun sensor output of the BSPWR board to be a divided-down signal derived from the high-voltage output pulse to the guns. This is TEST MODE, and is very useful for doing a loop back test of the gun sensor analog inputs. One thing to remember about TEST MODE: Normal guns have a fire-delay time of about 10 msecs. The delay time when using TEST MODE is only 0.5 msecs, so if you are switching from NORM mode to TEST, you will need to change the gun delays in menu F4.


Near Field Hydrophone Input

Each BSPWR has 4 near-field hydrophone inputs (NFS for short). The signal comes directly from the back panel to the BSFCB card. There is an input amplifier for each channel, which has a header that can be changed depending on the type and scale of NFS used. The two normal types are; differential-amplifier, with an attenuation of 1 or 5, and charge-amplifier, which works well with direct Piezo element hydrophones. The value of parts will vary depending on the sensitivity of the hydrophone. After the buffer amplifier, the signal is gained by factors of 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, or 5.0. This is software selectable. The signal is then filtered by a fixed, 500 Hz, low-pass, anti-alias filter. Next, the signal is digitized at a 1 KHz rate and stored on the BSFCB. The length of the record is up to 1000 msecs. The hydrophone signals are then transferred to the BSCTL for display and recording to disk in SEGY format.

3.4.6 Depth/Pressure Input

Each BSPWR has 4 depth/pressure transducer inputs (DT/PT for short). The signal comes directly from the back panel to the BSFCB card. Each channel is supplied with 24 volts. The in-water transducer pulses this power line at a frequency proportional to either depth or pressure. The base frequency is usually 2000 Hz. A depth transducer is usually scaled at 0.01 meters per Hz and pressure transducers are scaled at 1 Hz per PSI. The input circuitry estimates a comparison level of 80% of the full signal, and uses this as a comparison voltage in a comparator producing a squared-up signal that can be passed to the CPU for frequency measurement. The CPU measures the frequency and sends it back to the BSCTL once per second in raw frequency form. The BSCTL unit performs all scaling to depth and pressure. The BSPWR latches the depth and pressure just before Gun Firing Time to be sent back as the Gun-Depth and Pressure at fire time.

4.0 Trouble Shooting Guidelines

This section identifies some common problems that may occur. The list is by no means exhaustive, and as users point out new problems they have encountered, they will be added.

4.1 No Communications with a BSPWR unit

This is indicated by the status number not being displayed in the upper right had corner of the GUI. That is, if you have 4 BSPWR units plugged into Guns 1-8, Guns 9-16, Guns 17-24, Guns 25-32, you should see a “1234” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. If you only see “1 34”, then the second BSPWR unit is somehow disconnected from the BSCTL unit. Try these steps to debug:

Note: When you disconnect or turn power OFF to a BSPWR unit, the status number will remain unchanged for momentarily, but should go off after 8 seconds.

1. Is Power on the BSPWR unit? If not, turn it on and see if the display changes to “1234”.

2. If Power is on, cycle the BSPWR unit ON and then OFF. If the “1234” now reappears, then something went wrong inside the BSPWR unit. Monitor the unit to see if it repeats the

problem. If so, send it in for repair. Please include a complete description of the problem. Sending a unit with “NOT WORKING” does not give us enough information to ensure we have really solved your problem.

3. Check the cable from the BSPWR to BSCTL for loose connections. If they are secure, try a new cable.

4. If the problem persists, try changing cables;

Move a cable from a “good” port to the “bad” port, if something shows up in the display while using the bad port, then the BSCTL is probably not the problem.

If the port is still bad, move the bad port cable to a good port; If the good port remains OK and the bad port is still bad, then something is wrong inside the BSCTL.

Check the internal ribbon cable by swapping it to other ports, and try swapping

the BSCOM board. Be sure to jumper BSCOM boards correctly when swapping. See Section 1.2

5. If the problem looks like it is toward the BSPWR unit, check the internal cable going to the BSFCB board and ultimately try swapping the BSFCB board.

4.2 No Sensor display for a whole 8 gun array

Try the steps in section 4.1


No Sensor display for a single gun

For this troubleshooting, try to determine if the problem is inside the controller or out in the gun umbilical or gun string:

1. Is the gun really firing? Look at the gun LED to see if it is going off each shot. If so then the solenoid is connected. The gun may still not be firing, so try just this one gun to see if it fires. If not, check the gun.

2. If the gun did fire, check the sensor connections. Run Continuity/Leak test to see if this gun has abnormal values. If so, fix umbilical or gun and retest.

3. Check F4 Gun Delay menu to see that the gun delay is in range, (8 to 20 msecs).

4. If Continuity/Leak test OK, check sensor connections. If BOLT gun, output voltage on sensor will drop from 20 volts to 10-15 volts when connected to gun sensor.

5. If gun sensor connections OK, then try TEST MODE to see if gun sensor appears. If yes, then there is still something wrong with the gun.

6. If TEST MODE bad on that gun, then start looking inside the BSPWR unit for loose connections. The BSFCB input amplifier may be burned out due to direct short from solenoid voltage to sensor.

7. You can switch sensor input cables between power supplies to see if the problem moves with the cable or stays with the power supply.

8. You can try switching the cables going to BSFCB J12 and J13. If the bad channel stays with the same gun on the display, then the BSFCB board has a problem. If the problem moves to another gun, then the problem occurs before the BSFCB card, i.e. the BSPWR card, or outside the power supply in the cabling.

4.4 Erratic Controller Behavior

Does it reset sporadically such that you see it boot up from DOS?

1. In BSCTL Check A/C power connection

2. BSCTL Check 5V power on LSCPU card. It should be greater than 4.85 volts and less than 5.15 volts.

3. In BSCTL Check cable going from AC/DC power supply to LSCOU card for corrosion.

4. IS A/C power clean? No significant spikes.

There is an adjustment potentiometer on the MAP55-4002 located near the right, rear connector. If the voltage is too low (< 4.9 volts), or to high (>5.15 volts), then adjust the potentiometer while monitoring 5 volts at J5 of the PC CPU transition board on top of the embedded PC.

NOTE: Do this adjustment very slowly and carefully. The MAP55-4002 adjustment potentiometer is very sensitive.

4.5 Double Shots

1. Are you getting triggers from more than one source? CYCLE and EXT?

2. Is the EXT trigger clean? No relay chatter.


BigShot Controller Internal Wiring Diagrams

BigShot Controller Schematic Diagrams


BigShot Power Supply Internal Wiring Diagrams

BigShot Power Supply Schematic Diagrams


Manifold Pressure Transducer

Be sure that the transducer being used is connected between pins A(+) and B(-) for the number 1 Man Pressure channel. A second transducer would connect to C(+) and D(-).

With zero pressure to the transducer, set the F7 menu parameters to 0.0 for “zero”, and the “scale” to 1.00. Note what the main menu reads for the pressure. If it reads+6, then enter “+6” for the zero value. If it reads –9, then enter “-9” for the zero value. Then set scale to 3.00 (if you are using a 3000psi transducer), and all should work correctly (read the correct pressure) including the graph. You may need to tweak the scale factor a little up or down to get the pressure exactly in agreement with the gauge on the manifold.

If after verifying the wiring and the setup of F7 values, the readings are still incorrect;

With no transducer connected, a voltmeter at pins A and B (C and D) of the manifold pressure connector should read about 20 to 24 volts. When no transducer is connected, the pressure that will be displayed will be a large negative number, around –250.

If the voltages are good, and you are reading the large negative number without any transducer connected, then the transducer may be faulty.