Future-Proof ADCP Technology from Nortek

(Image credit: Nortek)

Nortek has announced the launch of the upgraded Aquadopp and AWAC range of ADCPs. The latest versions of these instruments build on already existing capabilities loved by users for decades, and offer sleek user-friendly design, enhanced performance and future-proof internal components.

Aquadopps and AWACs are deployed in both operational and research applications. With a long history spanning more than 20 years, these ADCPs have a proven track record for reliability and longevity. Now, recent technology improvements have enabled these renowned instruments to meet the next generation of user needs. Nortek has utilized modern electronics and processing techniques to prolong deployments, maximize data collection, and simplify instrument maintenance.

2 Nortek Aquadopp head

The Aquadopp ADCP, first launched in 1998, has now been updated to meet the needs of the next generation of ocean research. (Image credit: Nortek)

Key changes to design and performance for Aquadopps and AWACs

Aquadopp changes include:


  • Sleek, new instrument design makes it easier to replace batteries without requiring any additional tools or screws.
  • Shallow-water versions of all Aquadopps are now rated to 500 m.
  • Innovative battery cradle design simplifies recharging of batteries.
  • Blinking LED confirms instrument is functioning correctly before deploying.
  • Modern, smaller electronics create more room for batteries in the instrument housing, enabling longer deployments.


  • Increased resistance to external electrical noise, improving signal-to-noise ratio for online applications.
  • Improved single-ping precision through adjustable velocity range to better match your deployment conditions.
  • New hibernation mode saves battery power through enabling true average intervals (e.g., a 10-minute average interval, with continuous pinging every second).
  • Modern configuration software with a user-friendly graphical interface for instrument configuration.
  • Improved QA/QC when measuring, simplifying post-processing and ensuring data quality.

3 Nortek AWAC adcp

The simplified design of the latest version of the AWAC is made for increased robustness and easy handling during deployments. (Image credit: Nortek)

AWAC changes include:


  • Simplified design with optimized space, increased robustness and easy handling.
  • Blinking LED confirms instrument is functioning correctly before deploying.
  • Ethernet connectivity for faster data download in the field or in the lab.


  • Improved single-ping precision through adjustable velocity range and increased precision in wave estimates.
  • Concurrent measurement of waves and currents without compromising the sampling regime.
  • Improved QA/QC when measuring in average mode, simplifying post-processing and ensuring data quality.
  • Modern configuration software with a user-friendly graphical interface for instrument configuration.

Data quality control and filtering from your instrument

The Aquadopp and AWAC instruments offer the added benefit of built-in data quality control filters. These filters are optionally applied to your data, not by a post-processing software, but by the instrument. Data are screened for quality controls and “masked” if they don’t meet the required quality criteria.

4 Nortek Aquadopp deployment

The Aquafin is designed for connecting an Aquadopp current meter to a mooring line. It shackles into the mooring line and allows the Aquadopp to swivel freely so that its beams always look into undisturbed flow. (Image credit: Nortek)

It is the user’s choice whether to use these filters to remove certain cells from their data. Information on which mask(s) were applied to the data is always available.

These quality control measures not only simplify the post-processing process but can also provide insights into natural phenomena during a deployment.

5 AWAC 1MHz Amplitude withoutQC6 AWAC 1MHz Amplitude withQC

These images show amplitude data from an AWAC 1MHz without (top) and with (bottom) quality control filters applied. In this case, most of the “masked” or removed cells shown in black were removed due to sidelobe interference. (Image credit: Nortek)

Ensuring a smooth transition for existing Aquadopp and AWAC users

Aquadopps and AWACs have been part of Nortek’s core product range for decades. Aquadopps were launched in 1998 and AWACs in 2001. These ADCPs have since been an essential part of an ocean researcher’s toolkit, providing valuable current data for ports and harbors, offshore energy operations, scientific research and more. These recent upgrades offer future-proof improvements while retaining the instruments’ original capabilities, ensuring a smooth transition for existing users.

Quality and reliability for the next generation of ocean research users

The data parameters of these upgraded instruments will remain consistent with previous versions, and new data formats are available to provide additional quality control information. Aquadopp current meters will still measure single-point current data with the option for PUV waves, and Aquadopp Profilers will still collect current profiles, also with the option for PUV waves. AWACs will remain a flexible current and wave measurement tool, ideally suited for real-time oceanographic data acquisition.

The Nortek team has extensively tested these updates and is excited to make the new capabilities available for the instruments that you are already familiar with. These design and performance improvements will secure the Aquadopps’ and AWACs’ position as robust, reliable and high-performance instruments for years to come.

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