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Calculating the Z in X, Y, Z: Jim Herrin Continues the Hazen Tide Gauge Tradition

Report from Jim Herrin:
Our entry into the dredging industry came in 1983 when a retired dredger walked in the door with a half-finished design and asked if we could help him. Frank Hazen’s name would eventually be attached to a radio tide monitoring system that became the standard in the dredging industry.
Frank Hazen was a career dredgeman who knew how important accurate tide corrections were and how difficult they were to obtain in the harsh dredging environment, through fog, dark, cold, mud and wind. He knew nothing about designing, purchasing inventory, building, testing and maintaining electronic equipment. We formed a partnership that would last for twenty years.

After Frank’s death, Herrin Design continued to service the Hazen tide gauges. It is common today in 2006 to have 20-year-old Hazen Model 5000 tide gauges show up on our repair shelves. Usually with a little spit and polish they continue to do the job they were designed to do. But 20 years is an exceptionally long life for electronic equipment, even very good electronic equipment. Parts become obsolete; advances in technology provide easier, cheaper, more reliable ways to do things. In 2004, using our experience with Hazen and the latest technology, we developed the Herrin Model 3011 Tide Gauge to replace the aging Model 5000. Because there are so many Hazen tide gauges still in existence, we made the Model 3011 fully compatible with the Model 5000. If a customer loses a Model 5000 transmitter our Model 3011 transmitter will work with his Model 5000 receiver. Likewise, our receivers will work with the Model 5000 transmitter.

In addition to maintaining the rugged dependability of the Model 5000, the Herrin tide gauge is much more versatile and easy to use. Anyone who has ever installed a model 5000 will appreciate the digital display of the Model 3011 transmitter. This display eliminates the need for a receiver during installation. In addition to showing the tide readings, the display allows you to check the battery voltage, change the ID code, change the depth at which you place the tide sensor, switch between meter and feet units and change transmission time intervals.

The sensor circuit is the most delicate part of the transmitter system. If the sensor is damaged and needs to be replaced, the Model 3011 allows this to be done in the field, eliminating the need to return the system to the factory for calibration. We also improved battery performance. The combination of a radio link that operates on a lower voltage and a technique that causes the transmitter to spend most of its time in a low energy stand-by mode, battery life in the Model 3011 is much improved over the Model 5000.

The Model 3011 transmitter is one half of a radio linked tide-monitoring system but it is also a stand-alone data logger. That is, it collects and stores tide data that can be downloaded to a computer without the need for a receiver.

The Model 3011 receiver’s small size and mounting bracket make it easy to install in cramped spaces. It operates on either AC or DC voltages. The Model 3011 receiver has replaced the computer interface technique of the Model 5000 with a standard RS232C protocol that is compatible with most modern equipment. The receiver monitors the battery voltage of the remote transmitter, and will warn the operator when the battery needs to be re-charged. If the ID code of the transmitter is unknown, setting the receiver to code “0” will cause it to receive and lock on to the first transmission it receives.

Frank Hazen’s knowledge of the dredging industry, its people and its needs and Herrin Design’s expertise resulted in a product that would last for 20 years. The Model 3011 continues this tradition.

Herrin Design and Manufacturing Company has designed and built electronic communications and control systems since 1974. We are involved in a wide variety of industries. We design and/or build private label equipment for photo processors, clean water processes, vibration detection, roadside spraying and road sanding equipment, explosive detonation controls, and others.

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