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Free-falling Optical Profiler

A versatile platform for measuring the apparent optical properties of the ocean and designed to interchange Sea-Bird Scientific's hyperspectral or multispectral optical sensors.

The Free-Falling Optical Profiler, or Profiler II, measures the color of the ocean and how it varies spectrally throughout the euphotic zone. The Profiler II is used by the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Australia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, India, Germany and Israel to provide calibration and validation data for ocean color satellites. It is used operationally by naval research groups to provide observations of the optical properties of the ocean for anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures and laser LIDAR bathymetry. The Profiler II is also the workhorse sensor suite for the global optical oceanography community who investigate basic fundamental biological and physical processes that involve light in the ocean.

The Free-Falling Optical Profiler offers researchers the unique opportunity to use this system as a free fall profiling device or in conjunction with a detachable float for near-surface measurements (HyperTSRB). The Profiler II is designed to interchange Sea-Bird Scientific’s hyperspectral or multispectral optical sensors making this system the most versatile platform for measuring the apparent optical properties of the ocean.

The Profiler II system comes complete with a molded flotation collar that is easily mounted to the profiling frame for real time, near-surface measurements. Upwelling radiance and irradiance measurements can be collected as close as 5 cm from the sea surface.

The optional integration of Sea-Bird Scientific ECO series sensors offers a new combination for concurrent determination of chlorophyll fluorescence and optical backscattering in either profiling or surface mode.


  • Bio-optical algorithm development
  • Satellite calibration and validation
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Data products include water leaving radiance, remote sensing reflectance, energy fluxes, and PAR


  • Various deployment configurations - Free fall, frame mounted, buoy mode
  • Multiple radiometer options - multi, hyperspectral or combinations
  • Full ancillary suite - tilts, temperature, conductivity, depth, ECO Puck series sensors
  • Easily deployed to avoid ship shadow anomalies
  • Data logging and processing software included

Electrical Characteristics

A/D Conversion: 16 bit ADC
Sample rate: 12 Hz max
Data rate: 57.6 k baud
Telemetry interface: RS-422 / RS-232
Power requirements: Powered throughMDU-200 & 12VDC PS

Physical Characteristics

Length: 100 cm
Weight: 8.2 kg
Descent rate: 0.1 - 1.0 m/sec
  (user adjustable)
Operating temperature: -2.5 to 40 degrees C
Depth Rating: 220 m

Ancillary Sensors

Pressure Sensor
Range: 30 bar (435 psi) ;
  10 bar (145 psi) optional
Accuracy: 0.01 % FS
Resolution: 0.002 % FS
External Temperature Sensor
Range: -2 to + 32 degrees C
Accuracy: 0.005 degrees C
Precision: 0.001 degrees C
Conductivity Sensor
Range: 0-70 mS/cm
Accuracy: 0.005 mS/cm
Resolution: 0.001 mS/cm
Tilt Sensor
Linear range: +/- 45 degrees C
Accuracy: <0.2 degrees C
Optional Sensors WET Labs ECO pucks: Fluorescence, Backscattering, Turbidity


The list below includes (as applicable) the current product brochure, manual, and quick guide; software manual(s); and application notes.

Title Type Publication Date PDF File
Free-falling Optical Profiler Datasheet Product Datasheet Tuesday, August 22, 2017 PDF icon datasheet_ProfilerII.pdf
AN122 ECO Calibration Log Template Application Notes Wednesday, July 5, 2017 Package icon AN122
Profiler II Manual Product Manual Thursday, June 22, 2017 PDF icon Manual-Profiler-II-SAT-DN-00223.pdf
ProSoft User Manual Software Manual Wednesday, June 14, 2017 PDF icon ProSoftUserManual7.7SAT-DN-00228.pdf
SatView Manual Software Manual Wednesday, June 14, 2017 PDF icon SatView-Manual.pdf
SatCon Manual Software Manual Wednesday, March 9, 2011 PDF icon SatCon-Manual.pdf

SatView is a real-time interactive data logging and display application for use with Sea-Bird radiometers. SatView makes it easy to connect to your Satlantic instruments and view time series, spectral plots, and depth profiles while capturing data for subsequent conversion and post-processing.

SatView features include:

Version 2.9.5 released April 11, 2014

SatView 2.9 provides Windows 7 compatibility, improved PAR sensor support, wavelength range settings for spectral views, additional cast card fields for post-processing, support for up to 96 serial ports, GPS data validation and many more. Please refer to the release notes for a detailed list of recent improvements.

File SatView-2.9.5-b7-x86.exe for Windows 7/8/10

Version 7.7.19 released April 12, 2016

ProSoft 7.7.19 provides a number of key improvements including support for ancillary SAS sensors, support for  BETA_IRED and BETA_GREEN sensors to calculate backscattering, corrected backscattering coefficient units, robust handling of corrupt timer data, HyperSAS IR camera integration, interruptable processing, and more. For a detailed list of recent fixes and features, please refer to the release notes.

File ProSoft7.7.19-b2_Setup.exe for Windows 7/8/10

SatCon is a software utility for converting raw binary data, as logged by SatView, into readable ASCII text suitable for import by third party applications such as spreadsheets or databases. Data can be extracted in calibrated physical units or raw binary counts. SatCon can be operated interactively through a user friendly graphical interface, or in batch mode as a background process.

For minimum system requirements, installation instructions, and new features, please refer to the release notes in the SatCon User Manual.

Version 1.5.5 released April 28, 2011
File SatCon-1.5.5-b2-x86.exe for Windows 7/8/10

What are SIP files?

Files that are delivered with Sea-Bird Scientific and third party equipment to describe the sensors data output and calibration coefficients come in two types. Calibration files or *.cal files and telemetry definition format files or *.tdf files. In some cases, systems are created that network many sensors together and their combined data is provided in one serial output. The simplest example is a HOCR sensor that generates both light and dark frames. A more complex example is a HPROII profiling system that may contain as many as 5 sensors and 7 individual calibration and tdf files. These files must be used to both collect and process the data. This can become quite confusing to keep track of all these files so Sea-Bird Scientific developed SIP files. All CAL and TDF files required for a system are zipped using winzip and the extension changed from *.ZIP to *.SIP. The file name includes the system description (usually the network master serial number) and the creation date. This SIP file can then be used in place of individual files to collect and process data.

How do I avoid the effects of the ship's shadow when logging optical data with the Free-Falling Optical Profiler?

The free-falling profiler is designed to profile away from a small boat or large ship to avoid any potential shadow effects. The instrument is deployed by hand from the leeward side of the vessel and allowed to descend while the vessel drifts downwind. When the profiler is pulled back up to the surface, the fins cause the instrument to maintain its location and come straight up. Using this method, the optical profiles can be performed at a safe distance from the vessel.

Where do I find the Pressure Tare button in later versions of SatView?

In later SatView Versions, the Pressure Tare button is located under the ancillary view at the "package" level.  To open the ancillary view at the package level: Notice the white section of the SatView main window - this is where your loaded instruments appear. Within this white section, at the very top there is a suitcase icon, with the individual instruments treed out underneath. Right click to bring up a drop down menu, select "View List" and "Ancillary View" to open the package level ancillary window that contains the Pressure Tare button.

Profiling Hardware (Deck Unit and Cabling) (Optional)

The MDU-300 deck unit serves as both a nominal 48 Volt DC power source for the in-situ FIRe system and as an RS-422 to RS-232 level converter. The MDU-300 provides three connectors for data and power.


Float collar

The removeable flotation collar is easily mounted to the profiler for real time, near-surface measurments. Upwelling radiance and irradiance measurments can be collected as close as 5 cm from the sea surface.