S500 behavior in unattended mode?

I plan to use sounderS500 on a boogie board for lake mapping.
I already have a BR ping sonar on a ROV but when you don’t use ping viewer interface while flying, the sonar can get out of tune because of gain issues. In my configuration, I also loose the waterfall data and at the end of the day, I only have the depth to work with.

How does the S500 will behave with respect to gain adjustment in unnatended mode?
Is there a way to save the waterfall data for post processing?

In my configuration, the Sounder can be connected directly on a pixhawk (serial like my actual ROV ping sonar) or to a microcontroller if it better this way. I am thinking at storing the waterfall data on a sd card through the microntroller. Or maybe the waterfall is stored on the sounder itself?


Hello Charles,

Thank you for your interest on the S500 – Let me discuss with the team and we will get back to you.

How are you interfacing with the sonar and recording data?

To set the desired settings programmatically, use the set_ping_params message. This is how you set automatic gain, and request to receive the full profile (waterfall).

If you have a constant network connection to your boogie board, you can use SonarView to configure the sonar and record the data.

The Sounder does not have any internal storage for sonar data.

I wouldn’t recommend connecting the Sounder to the Pixhawk directly. Instead, connect it to a Raspberry Pi (or other single board computer).

My goal is to have a simple set and forget solution.
I need to see depth data in realtime (I will have a Sik radio connected to the top computer for basic communication).
Meanwhile, I need to record the waterfall data somewhere for postprocessing (if required).
I don’t really want to use Sonarviewer. My boogie board will by autonomous and will follow line with a GPS. I plan to communicate with it only to load the mission plan and for basic time to time monitoring (ex: battery, global state, GPS and depth). It may be out of reach at some point.
I was thinking to connect the sonar to a esp32 serial port. This way the esp can send the appropriate command to the sonar at bootup and record the full dataset (waterfall + depth) on a SDcard.
Meanwhile, I can set the ESP to echoe the depth data on a second serial port to the pixhawk. I can probably code a suitable protocole to mimic the BR ping sonar data string and get them recognized by the pixhawk to make them available in QGC.
Even easier would be to split the output port of the S500 with one wire to the ESP for waterfall recording and 1 wire to the pixhawk for depth data. But probably the pixhawk will not know what to do with the full data set that the S500 will be outputting?

Why is that? Ardupilot do not have the communication protocol builtin? It do work with the BR ping sonar.

My main question is still unanswered.

And I can add, can it be use without active control by the user? In a set and forget fashion (exceept sending a boot config).

thank you

Regarding S500 gain, I recommend auto gain mode is for all but specific applications where a particular gain is needed for some reason. So auto gain mode should be exactly what you want.

Nick may have more to add, but if you are running BlueOS on your vehicle, I think it would be straightforward to start up with SonarView, getting all the settings the way you want them (presumably auto gain and auto range), make sure you are happy with what you are seeing, start logging and then disconnect SonarView and let your vehicle go off into the sunset. Logging will continue (via SonarLink) on the RPi.

That said, you will be needing our latest beta SonarView BlueOS version (coming very soon).