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SBE 39-IM Temperature (P) Recorder - DISCONTINUED

The SBE 39-IM was discontinued in May 2016. Order the SBE 39plus-IM in its place.
The list below includes (as applicable) the current product brochure, manual, and quick guide; software manual(s); and application notes.

For older SBE 39-IM product manuals, organized by instrument firmware version, click here.

Title Type Publication Date PDF File
SBE 39-IM Datasheet Product Datasheet Monday, August 17, 2015 39imBrochureAug15.pdf
SBE 39-IM Manual Product Manual Monday, February 9, 2015 39IM_011.pdf
SBE Data Processing Manual Software Manual Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Seassoft_DataProcessing_7.26.8.pdf
SBE 39-IM Quick Guide Product Quick Guide Tuesday, September 12, 2006 39IM_referencesheet_002.pdf
Field Service Bulletin 21: SBE 39-IM Mechanical Modification Field Service Bulletins Wednesday, October 13, 2010 FSB21.pdf
Field Service Bulletin 14: SBE 39 and 39-IM Leap Year Error Field Service Bulletins Friday, August 1, 2014 FSB14Aug14.pdf
AN27D: Minimizing Strain Gauge Pressure Sensor Errors Application Notes Wednesday, May 18, 2016 appnote27DMay16.pdf
AN42: ITS-90 Temperature Scale Application Notes Wednesday, May 18, 2016 appnote42May16.pdf
AN57: Connector Care and Cable Installation Application Notes Tuesday, May 13, 2014 appnote57Jan14.pdf
AN69: Conversion of Pressure to Depth Application Notes Monday, July 1, 2002 appnote69.pdf
AN71: Desiccant Use and Regeneration (drying) Application Notes Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Appnote71May16.pdf
AN73: Using Instruments with Pressure Sensors at Elevations Above Sea Level Application Notes Wednesday, April 12, 2017 appnote73Apr17.pdf
AN83: Deployment of Moored Instruments Application Notes Wednesday, April 12, 2017 appnote83Apr17.pdf
AN84: Using Instruments with Druck Pressure Sensors in Muddy or Biologically Productive Environments Application Notes Tuesday, January 14, 2014 appnote84Jan14.pdf
AN85: Handling of Ferrite Core on Instruments with Inductive Modem Telemetry Application Notes Thursday, May 19, 2016 appnote85May16.pdf
AN92: Real-Time Oceanography with Inductive Moorings and the Inductive Modem Module (IMM) Application Notes Monday, October 24, 2016 AppNote92Oct16.pdf
Deployment Endurance Calculator is an aid for quickly determining the maximum deployment length for a moored instrument, based on battery capacity. Deployment Endurance Calculator is part of our Seasoft V2 software suite.
Version 1.7.1 released July 26, 2017

Seaterm© is a terminal program for setup and data upload of a wide variety of older Sea-Bird instruments. Seaterm is part of our Seasoft V2 software suite.
Version 1.59 released October 10, 2007
Seaterm_Win32_V1_59.exe for Windows 7/8/10

SBE Data Processing© consists of modular, menu-driven routines for converting, editing, processing, and plotting of oceanographic data acquired with Sea-Bird profiling CTDs, thermosalinographs, and the SBE 16 and 37 families of moored CTDs. SBE Data Processing is part of our Seasoft V2 software suite.
Version 7.26.7 released July 26, 2017

Plot39© is used to plot ASCII data (.asc file) that has been uploaded from the SBE 39plus, 39, or 39-IM. Plot39 is part of our Seasoft V2 software suite.
Version 1.00c released August 29, 2011
Plot39_V1_00c.exe for Windows 7/8/10

What are the major steps involved in deploying a moored instrument?

Application Note 83: Deployment of Moored Instruments contains a checklist, which is intended as a guideline to assist you in developing a checklist specific to your operation and instrument setup.

What are the recommended practices for storing sensors at low temperatures, and deploying at low temperatures or in frazil or pancake ice?


Large numbers of Sea-Bird conductivity instruments have been used in Arctic and Antarctic programs.

Special accommodation to keep temperature, conductivity, oxygen, and optical sensors at or above 0 C is advised. Often, the CTD is brought inside protective doors between casts to achieve this.

Conductivity Cell

When freezing is possible, we recommend that the conductivity sensor be stored dry. Remove larger droplets of water by blowing through the cell. Do not use compressed air, which typically contains oil vapor. Attach a length of Tygon tubing to each end of the conductivity cell to close the cell ends. See Application Note 2D: Instructions for Care and Cleaning of Conductivity Cells for details.

There are several considerations to weigh when contemplating deployments at low temperatures in general, and in frazil or pancake ice:

  • Ensure that the instrument is at or above water temperature before it is deployed. If the cell gets colder than 0 to -2 ºC while on deck, when it enters the water a layer of ice forms inside the cell as the cell warms to ocean temperature. If ice forms inside the conductivity cell, measurements will be low of correct until the ice layer melts and disappears. Thin layers of ice will not hurt the conductivity cell, but repeated ice formation on the electrodes will degrade the conductivity calibration (at levels of 0.001 to 0.020 psu) and thicker layers of ice can lead to glass fracture and permanent damage of the cell.
  • For accurate measurements, keep ice out of the sensing region of the conductivity cell. The conductivity measurement involves determining the electrical resistance of the water inside the sensor. Ice is essentially a non-conductor. To the extent that ice displaces the water, the conductivity will register (very) misleadingly low. Some type of screening is necessary to keep ice out of the cell. This is relatively easy to arrange for the Sea-Bird conductivity cell, which is an electrode-type cell, because its sensing region is totally inside a long tube; plastic mesh could be positioned at each end and would have zero effect on accuracy and stability.

The above considerations apply to all known conductivity sensor types, whether electrode or inductive types. 

If deploying at low temperatures but no surface frazil or pancake ice is present, rinse the conductivity cell in one of the following salty solutions (salty water depresses the freezing point) to prevent freezing during deployment. But this does not mean you can store the cell in one of these solutions outside . . . it will freeze.

  • Solution of 1% Triton in sterile seawater (use 0.5-micron filtered seawater or boiled seawater),   or
  • Brine solution (distilled seawater or homemade salt solution that is higher than 35 psu in salinity).

Note that there is still a risk of forming ice inside the conductivity cell if deploying through frazil or pancake ice on the surface, if the freezing point of the salt water is the same as the water temperature. Therefore, we recommend that you deploy the conductivity cell in a dry state for these deployments.

Commercially available alcohol or glycol antifreezes contain trace amounts of oils that will coat the conductivity cell and the electrodes, causing a calibration shift, and consequently result in errors in the data. Do not use alcohol or glycol in the conductivity cell.

Temperature Sensor

In general, neither the accuracy of the temperature measurement nor the survival of the temperature sensor will be affected by ice.

Oxygen Sensor

For the SBE 43 and SBE 63 Dissolved Oxygen sensor, avoid prolonged exposure to freezing temperature, including during shipment. Do not store with water (fresh or seawater), Triton solution, alcohol, or glycol in the plenum. The best precaution is to keep the sensor indoors or in some shelter out of the cold weather.

Can I use a pressure sensor above its rated pressure?

Digiquartz pressure sensors are used in the SBE 9plus, 53, and 54. The SBE 16plus V2, 16plus-IM V2, 19plus V2, and 26plus can be equipped with either a Druck pressure sensor or a Digiquartz pressure sensor. All other instruments that include pressure use a Druck pressure sensor.

  • The overpressure rating for a Digiquartz (as stated by Paroscientific) is 1.2 * full scale. The sensor will provide data values above 100% of rated full scale; however, Sea-Bird does not calibrate beyond the rated full scale.
  • The overpressure rating for a Druck (as stated by Druck) is 1.5 * full scale. The sensor will provide data values above 100% of rated full scale; however, Sea-Bird does not calibrate beyond the rated full scale.

Note: If you use the instrument above the rated range, you do so at your own risk; the product will not be covered under warranty.

What are the typical data processing steps recommended for each instrument?

Section 3: Typical Data Processing Sequences in the SBE Data Processing manual provides typical data processing sequences for our profiling CTDs, many moored CTDs, and thermosalinographs. Typical values for aligning, filtering, etc. are provided in the sections detailing each module of the software. This information is also documented in the software's Help file. To download the software and/or manual, go to SBE Data Processing.

How should I pick the pressure sensor range for my CTD? Would the highest range give me the most flexibility in using the CTD?

While the highest range does give you the most flexibility in using the CTD, it is at the expense of accuracy and resolution. It is advantageous to use the lowest range pressure sensor compatible with your intended maximum operating depth, because accuracy and resolution are proportional to the pressure sensor's full scale range. For example, the SBE 9plus pressure sensor has initial accuracy of 0.015% of full scale, and resolution of 0.001% of full scale. Comparing a 2000 psia (1400 meter) and 6000 psia (4200 meter) pressure sensor:

  • 1400 meter pressure sensor ‑ initial accuracy is 0.21 meters and resolution is 0.014 meters
  • 4200 meter pressure sensor ‑ initial accuracy is 0.63 meters and resolution is 0.042 meters

How often do I need to have my instrument and/or auxiliary sensors recalibrated? Can I recalibrate them myself?

General recommendations:

  • Profiling CTD — recalibrate once/year, but possibly less often if used only occasionally. We recommend that you return the CTD to Sea-Bird for recalibration. (In principle, it is possible for calibration to be performed elsewhere, if the calibration facility has the appropriate equipment andtraining. However, the necessary equipment is quite expensive to buy and maintain.) In between laboratory calibrations, take field salinity samples to document conductivity cell drift.
  • Moored CTD — recalibrate at least once/year, but possibly more often depending on the degree of bio-fouling in the water.
  • Thermosalinograph — recalibrate at least once/year, but possibly more often depending on the degree of bio-fouling in the water.
  • DO sensor —
    — SBE 43 — recalibrate once/year, but possibly less often if used only occasionally and stored correctly (see Application Note 64), and also depending on the amount of fouling and your ability to do some simple validations (see Application Note 64-2)
    — SBE 63 — recalibrate once/year, but possibly less often if used only occasionally and stored correctly and also depending on the amount of fouling and your ability to do some simple validations (see SBE 63 manual)
  • pH sensor —
    — SBE 18 pH sensor or SBE 27 pH/ORP sensor — recalibrate at the start of every cruise, and then at least once/month, depending on use and storage
    — Satlantic SeaFET pH sensor — recalibrate at least once/year. See FAQ tab on Satlantic's SeaFET page for details (How often does the SeaFET need to be calibrated?).
  • Transmissometer — usually do not require recalibration for several years. Recalibration at the manufacturer’s factory is the most practical method.

Profiling CTDs:

We often have requests from customers to have some way to know if the CTD is out of calibration. The general character of sensor drift in Sea-Bird conductivity, temperature, and pressure measurements is well known and predictable. However, it is very difficult to know precisely how far a CTD calibration has drifted over time unless you have access to a very sophisticated calibration lab. In our experience, an annual calibration schedule will usually maintain the CTD accuracy to within 0.01 psu in Salinity.

Conductivity drifts as a change in slope as a result of accumulated fouling that coats the inside of the conductivity cell, reducing the area of the cell and causing an under-reporting of conductivity. Fouling consists of both biological growth and accumulated oils and inorganic material (sediment). Approximately 95% of fouling occurs as the cell passes through oil and other contaminants floating on the sea surface. Most conductivity fouling is episodic, as opposed to gradual and steady drift. Most fouling events are small and mostly transitory, but they have a cumulative affect over time. A severe fouling event, such as deployment through an oil spill, could have a dramatic but only partially recoverable effect, causing an immediate jump shift toward lower salinity. As fouling becomes more severe, the fit becomes increasingly non-linear and offsets and slopes no longer produce adequate correction, and return to Sea-Bird for factory calibration is required. Frequently checking conductivity drift is likely to be the most productive data assurance measure you can take. Comparing conductivity from profile to profile (as a routine check) will allow you to detect sudden changes that may indicate a fouling event and the need for cleaning and/or re-calibration.

Temperature generally drifts slowly, at a steady rate and predictably as a simple offset at the rate of about 1-2 millidegrees per year. This is approximately equal to 1-2 parts per million in Salinity error (very small).

Pressure sensor drift is also an offset, and annual comparisons to an accurate barometer to determine offset will generally keep the sensor within specification for several years, particularly as the sensors age over time.

Do I need to remove batteries before shipping my instrument for a deployment or to Sea-Bird?

Alkaline batteries can be shipped installed in the instrument. See Shipping Batteries for information on shipping instruments with Lithium or Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries.

Do I need to clean the exterior of my instrument before shipping it to Sea-Bird for calibration?

Remove as much biological material and/or anti-foul coatings as possible before shipping. Sea-Bird cannot place an instrument with a large amount of biological material or anti-foul coating on the housing in our calibration bath; if we need to clean the exterior before calibration, we will charge you for this service.

  • To remove barnacles, plug the ends of the conductivity cell to prevent the cleaning solution from getting into the cell. Then soak the entire instrument in white vinegar for a few minutes. After scraping off the barnacles and marine growth, rinse the instrument well with fresh water.
  • To remove anti-foul paint, use a Heavy Duty Scotch-Brite pad ( or similar scrubbing device.

Many cables, mount kits, and spare parts can be ordered online.


  • 801579 To computer COM port (from 39-IM internal RS-232 connector for fast data upload), 1.8 m, DN 33041
  • 171887 To computer COM port (from Surface Inductive Modem), 3 m
    (replaces 801373, DN 32431)
  • 801583 To computer COM port (from Inductive Modem Module), 0.25 m, DN 33049

Mount Kits

To Mooring cable (document 67161 for all sizes)

  • 50382  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 1/4-inch diameter 
  • 50383  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 5/16-inch or 8 mm-diameters
  • 50384  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 3/8-inch diameter
  • 50385  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 1/2-inch diameter
  • 50386  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 5/8-inch or 16-mm diameter
  • 50387  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 6-mm diameter
  • 50388  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 10-mm diameter
  • 50389  SBE 39-IM Cable Clamp and Guide Kit, 12-mm diameter

Clamp Size Note: Mooring wire is typically specified by wire size, not by outer diameter (O.D.) of the mooring wire jacket. Verify the wire jacket O.D. before selecting the clamp size. The clamp size must be less than or equal to the wire jacket O.D. but larger than the wire diameter. For example, Mooring System Inc.’s specifications for 3x19 wire rope (in 2016) are as follows:

Wire Diameter Jacket Diameter Recommended Sea-Bird Clamp
3/16 inch (5.0 mm) 0.255 inch (6.5 mm) 1/4 inch
1/4 inch (6.5 mm) 0.330 inch (8.4 mm) 5/16 inch
5/16 inch (8.0 mm) 0.392 inch (9.9 mm) 3/8 inch
3/8 inch (9.5 mm) 0.453 inch (11.5 mm) 10 mm (0.394 inch)
7/16 inch (11.1 mm) 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) 1/2 inch


Spare Parts

  • 22095 SBE 39-IM lithium battery, 3.6V AA (R6), Saft LS 14500 (39-IM uses 2) - Click here to buy Saft LS 14500 from Amazon.
  • 60043 Spares kit for 39-IM with serial numbers 3089 through 3100 (document 67163)
  • 60044 Spares kit for 39-IM with serial numbers greater than 3100 (document 67167)
  • 233186 High-head pressure port plug for muddy/biologically productive environments (Application Note 84)
  • 31633 Storm shipping case (iM2600) — holds up to 4 SBE 39-IMs (does not hold SBE 39-IMs with net fenders)

(Click here to see an example of where to find the serial number on your instrument.)