I am ordering a CTD and want to use auxiliary sensors. Should I order them from Sea-Bird also, or deal directly with the sensors’ manufacturers?
This depends on your own expertise and resources. We have extensive experience in integrating and supporting a wide range of auxiliary sensors, but not everything under the sun. We have a large list of commonly used sensors that we routinely offer for sale (see Third Party Sensor Configuration).
When you purchase any of these auxiliary sensors from Sea-Bird, we are able to apply this experience to integrating the sensors with the CTD. The integration includes installing the sensors (with appropriate mounting kits and cables) in a manner that puts each sensor in the best possible orientation for optimum performance. It also includes configuring the CTD system and software to accept the sensors’ inputs and properly display the data, and testing the entire system, typically in a chilled saltwater bath overnight, to confirm proper operation. Having done the integration, we also support the entire system in terms of follow-on service and end-user support with operational and data analysis questions *. There is significant added value in our integration service, and there is some extra cost for this, compared to doing it yourself. However, we do not base our business on selling services, and the prices charged for Third Party sensors carry minimal mark-ups that vary depending on the pricing we are offered by the manufacturers. In some cases we can sell at the manufacturer’s list price, and in others we have to add margin.
1. As described in our Warranty, auxiliary sensors manufactured by other companies are warranted only to the limit of the warranties provided by their original manufacturers (typically 1 year).
2. Read below for information on repairing / recalibrating auxiliary sensors manufactured by other companies:
Sea-Bird does not repair or recalibrate other manufacturers’ instruments that have been integrated with Sea-Bird equipment. If an auxiliary sensor needs to be repaired or recalibrated, we recommend that you send it directly to the manufacturer. If you send it to Sea-Bird, we will have to send it to the manufacturer, resulting in additional shipping (and possibly customs) expenses for you.
Note: Apparent malfunctioning of an auxiliary sensor can be caused by many things, including incorrect configuration (.con or .xmlcon) file, incorrect instrument setup, incorrect or leaky cables, poor mounting scheme, etc.
If you are not certain that the auxiliary sensor needs to be repaired, Sea-Bird can help you troubleshoot the system by phone or e-mail at no charge.
Alternatively, if you ship us the entire system, we can troubleshoot at the factory for our standard charges (see the FAQ above this for troubleshooting description). If we determine that the auxiliary sensor does need to be repaired, we will coordinate with you on shipment of the sensor to the manufacturer.