Coming in August: Multipurpose single-beam echosounder


The S500 is a single beam echosounder designed for small ROVs, AUVs, and ASVs. The transducer and control electronics are unbundled to minimize external mechanical profile and maximize flexibility. The transducer (45.7 mm diameter x 33  mm) is rated to 300m depth, and the electronics module is housed inside the vehicle’s pressure enclosure. A narrow beam width about 5 degrees focuses the acoustic energy providing 100m range and good angular definition. CHIRP technology also maximizes range and provides excellent range resolution.

Sounder PCB to be housed in vehicle pressure vessel. 2.7″ x 1.5″ (68.5mm x 37mm)

Product Description

The S500 sonar is a multipurpose single-beam echosounder. It can be used as an altimeter for ROVs and AUVs, for bathymetry work aboard a USV, as an obstacle avoidance sonar, and other underwater distance measurement applications.

The S500 implements CHIRP modulation, which sends a varying frequency ultrasonic pulse. The advantages of CHIRP include better signal to noise ratio, and much higher range resolution than non-CHIRP devices.

The S500 can report a simple distance measurement, or It can also provide the full signal profile for display as a “waterfall” plot like the display of a fishfinder. For that purpose, S500 is compatible with the Blue Robotics Ping Viewer. Raw signal strength data profiles can also be provided for advanced analysis in technical applications.

The S500 uses a high frequency 500 kHz transducer giving about 5 degrees beam width for ROV and AUV altimeter and bathymetry applications. It has a measurement range of over 100 meters. A bottom-tracking algorithm runs on the device to determine the distance to the seafloor.

Three communication interfaces include Ethernet (100Mb/sec), USB (12Mb/sec), and  3.3-5.0V serial (115kbaud).

S500 transducer. Depth rated to 300m. 1.8″ dia x 1.3″ (45.7mm x 33mm)

For those who wish to integrate the S500 to other systems, it communicates with a binary message format. You can find the S500 API documentation here.

Here is what’s in the box:

  • 1 x S500 Sounder Control Board
  • 1 x S550 transducer with one meter cable (1 shield + 2 signal wires)
  • 2 wire power cable with installed JST-GH connector (1 meter)
  • 6 wire serial/sync interface cable with installed JST-GH connector (1 meter)
  • Link and QR code to on line documentation
Control Electronics
Power Supply10-30 Volts, 2.5 Watts idle, 5 Watts max at max ping rate of 10 pings/sec
Dimensions69 x 38 mm. 4 mm below bottom mounting surface, 18 mm above bottom mounting surface. 4 mounting holes spaced at 33mm x 52.8mm (1.3″ x 2.08″)
InterfacesEthernet (RJ45 connector), USB (uUSB connector), 3.3-5.0V Serial (6 pin JST-GH)
External Sync3.3-5.0V digital Sync Input is available to optionally trigger pings timed to avoid interference with other acoustic devices. Sync Out (3.3V) is also available to signal the start and end of each ping emitted by the S500.
Communications ProtocolS500 API documentation here
Minimum Range Resolution3 mm up to 17 meter range
9 mm up to 50 meter range
24 mm over 50 meter range
reduced resolution optional to reduce waterfall data rate
Acoustic Frequency500 kHz
Beam Width (2-way, conical)about 5 degrees.
ModulationCHIRP with 20 kHZ bandwidth
monotone ping also supported
Minimum Range0.3 meters
Maximum Range100+ meters 
Depth Rating300 meters