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Design and Application of a Junction Box for Cabled Ocean Observatories

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Cabled ocean observatories enabling large amounts of power and two-way communication bandwidth for underwater experiments are a future approach for studying the oceans. On April 21, 2011, at Monterey Bay, California, USA, a network node composed of a junction box (JBox) and three scientific instruments was deployed at the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) site for a 6-month uninterrupted sea trial. The JBox is a facility that can provide multiple wet-mateable connections for various instruments. Each connection can draw 500 W of power and has 10/100 Mbit/s network communication. The current study presents the design and construction of the JBox with focus on the following aspects: a power distribution system with high reliability; a flexible springloaded mechanical structure for heat dissipation; communication that incorporates various data protocols; and self-protection against faults like over-current, short fault, ground fault, and flooding. The deployment and operation of the JBox is described. The sea trial results show that the technologies and methods applied on the JBox and the deploying approach are applicable and worthy of consideration for long-term cabled ocean observatories.

Keywords: cabled ocean observatories; deep sea; heat dissipation; junction box; power distribution

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2012

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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