If there is a reduction in buoyancy whilst the Fiobuoy is submerged, could the rope slip?

Whilst the Fiobuoy is submerged, the rope (held securely by the jaw and pin), sits between the Fiobuoy’s handles. In order for it to slip, there would need to be a significant and sustained force pushed downwards directly on the Fiobuoy. This force would need to counter the Fiobuoy’s own bouyancy of 3.5 or 8kg.

Although unlikely, if this were to occur, the worst case scenario would see the rope merely slip between the next handles, remaining tethered and the jaws securely closed.

Is the Fiobuoy’s jaw and pin strong enough?

In traditional acoustic releases, the release mechanism needs to support the payload weight. Whereas, with the Fiobuoy, the rope (with a breaking strain of 5,000kg) not the jaw and pin, holds this weight. The Fiobuoy’s jaw and pin only needs to hold a maximum of 8kg of buoyancy plus some tidal drag. The jaw and pin has also been tested to withhold several times this load.

What is the range of the acoustic system?

We have limited the Fiobuoy’s acoustic range to a distance of 500m line-of-sight. This is primarily because at no stage is the Fiobuoy untethered from its anchor, so it will always be at the original drop site. With GPS devices, users can usually be certain of being within a few tens of metres, well within the 500m range. We can also supply systems of 1km distance or greater on request.

What frequency does the acoustic signal transmit on?

Unlike traditional acoustic communications equipment, the Fiobuoy’s system uses advanced digital signal processing employing Broad Band Spread Spectrum techniques (similar to mobile phones). This means the transmitted energy is ‘spread’ over a range of frequencies, typically 14 kHz – 31 kHz for the Fiobuoy. This has the advantage of overcoming real world impediments such as Doppler shift and signal bounce due to temperature or salinity layering or marine life.

The system is not the traditional simple signalling system but full two-way confirmed-packet protocol enabling modem to modem type data communication.

Is your Deck Control Unit compatible with other releases?

No it isn’t. After researching this option we found that many multi-brand compatible systems try to do too many things and ultimately end up not doing any of them particularly well. We have concentrated on making our system the most reliable on the market. To ensure this, we use highly sophisticated encoding and Broad Band Spread Spectrum technology, making our Deck Control Units integral and specific to the functioning of Fiobuoys only.

Will the Fiobuoy’s acoustics interfere with my other equipment?

The Fiobuoy’s acoustic system transmits less than 1 watt into the water. It is highly sophisticated and due to its Spread Spectrum technique is almost undetectable by other systems. As a result equipment such as ADCPs will not be affected, nor will such systems affect the Fiobuoy’s communications.

Will the Fiobuoy still work in extreme temperatures?

The Fiobuoy’s mechanics, plastics and electronic systems will not be affected by extreme temperatures. We have customers successfully deploying Fiobuoys in areas ranging from near freezing in the Arctic Ocean off Canada to 26°C in the Pacific Ocean off Papua New Guinea.

Can I use other battery types?

Currently we use alkaline batteries which have a life of approximately 3-6 months or 12 months, depending on your Fiobuoy model and usage patterns. We prefer to use alkaline batteries because they are compatible with the Fiobuoy’s specific electrical requirements. We are however constantly reviewing other battery chemistries and expect to be able to use some of the newer lithium technologies soon.

Our 200m models do have spare internal space to support two battery packs providing extra energy for longer deployments.

What is the Fiobuoy’s lifespan?

Fiobuoys are built to last a minimum of 10-15 years. Our very first models ever made are still in perfect working condition and still being used by the Royal Australian Navy.