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Here are some of the articles that have been recently posted to the PASSCAL website:

Shipping Logistics for Polar Programs

Antarctica Shipping

The PASSCAL Instrument Center arranges shipping for equipment used by Antarctic experiments.  PASSCAL can also arrange for shipment of your equipment along with the PASSCAL equipment to the Antarctic. Please contact passcal [at] passcal [dot] nmt [dot] edu if you wish to have your equipment included with your PASSCAL equipment Antarctic shipment.

For further information on the United States Antarctic Program logistics and shipping, visit

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Batteries for Summer Only Enclosure

Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are used for summer-only and year-round polar seismic experiments. For summer-only experiments, due to the roughly continuous sunlight, stations can be powered solely with rechargeable batteries.

For PASSCAL Polar experiments the preferred rechargeable battery is an AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) battery manufactured by Concorde Battery Corporation. Both the Sun Xtender PVX-420T and PVX-560T work well for a summer deployment where only a limited amount of storage is required for cloudy days.

Primary Batteries

Primary batteries are usually not necessary for summer only deployment due to the ample amount of sunlight available.


Programming a Q330 with Willard

Willard is Quanterra's program to program and control Q330's. It is a standalone Windows program which allows you to set parameters, monitor data acquisition, storage, gps power cycling, sensor control, and much more. It is a very powerful and complex program which does not lend itself to a brief 'walkthrough' via a webpage.

Due to its complexity and ability to control every aspect of a Q330, it is very easy to make a severe mistake which would make the Q330 not function as intended. We highly recommend that only experienced users of Willard program Q330 parameters. You should contact a PASSCAL staff member if you have any questions regarding using Willard to program a Q330.

During training at PASSCAL, users receive a walkthrough of Willard.


Loading Programs From Laptop to Q330's



Open the Windows control panel by pushing start button and then Settings and Control Panel.




Look under Ports (COM & LPT) to find the available com port numbers. In this picture we know that it is the “Keyspan” on COM 4 because we were using a Keyspan adapter.


If the Dataless Station panel appears select No. Otherwise proceed to the next step.


Instrumentation to support portable seismology available from IRIS facilities:

Dataloggers - This section encompasses the equipment which take in data and stores it on some type of non-volatile media.

Power Systems - All the required equipment to keep a seismic station contiously powered throughout it's deployment.

Sensors - The equipment that actually detects and quantifies ground motion. The sensor sends this information to the datalogger through a cable.

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Programming and Offloading a Texan with Pocus

  Please note: Programming texans should be performed by an experienced user or a PASSCAL staff member.



 1. CONNECT EVERYTHING. Connect power to the PC Interface box, the GPS Distribution box, and the hub. Connect a RT130GPS to the GPS Distribution box. Connect a cat-5 cable from the GPS Distribution box to the PC Interface box. Connect USB and serial cables from the PC Interface box to the hub. Install drivers for the USB to serial converters in the PC Interface if required. Connect a USB cable from the PC Interface to a USB port on the control computer. Complete any driver installation. Connect the Texans to the hub.


3-Channel Dataloggers

Quanterra Q330

Q330's are typically used for broadband standalone and telemetered real-time data recording. They have an external storage device (either hard drive or USB flash drive) and lend themselves for a variety of telemetered modes.


Reftek RT130

1-Channel (Texan) Dataloggers

The RT125A, or texan, is a compact single channel datalogger with a self contained power supply (two D-cell batteries). Its primary application is for active source experiments.

When recording continuously at 100 sps, the battery life is approximately 120 hours. Higher sample rates will shorten the battery life and may fill up internal memory before the battery dies.


Single channel, 24 bit ADC Physical size: 3.0" diameter, 7.7" length Power source: two D-cell alkaline batteries Sample rate: 25 to 1000 sps Storage capacity: 256MB or 512MB


Solar Mounts


65 Watt Single OR Dual Solar Panel Ground Mount Setup. Single panel is pictured below; a second panel can be mounted below the first. There is (a limited) angle adjustment range.

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Solar Equipment

Solar panels are used to produce the power to charge batteries needed to run a station.  The number and size of solar panels needed will depend on the amount of sunlight available at the site and the power draw of the station.  For stations at low to mid latitudes and at least moderate sun we recommend a power ratio of at least 20 to 1.  That is if the station draws 1 watt of power you need at least 20 watts of solar panel.  The Battery Usage Calculator  is helpful in determining power usage for stations.  To get the most power the solar panels need to be oriented to receive the maximum amount of sunlight using solar panel mounts.

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