The SAA Field Power Unit (SAAFPU) is a portable unit designed to provide power to the ShapeArray (SAA). It also converts communications protocols to allow for communication via USB between the ShapeArray and a PC running SAARecorder software, or an Android device running SAADroid. It is designed for use when data is manually collected from a ShapeArray in the field or in the office.



Step 1 - Charge the SAAFPU


Measurand's SAAFPU contains a 12 V, 7 aH non-spillable battery. Once charged, this battery can operate a 40 m ShapeArray continuously for over 10 hours. Measurand recommends that you fully charge your SAAFPU prior to usage in the field. To charge the battery, connect the three prong power connector to a mains power source. The battery meter on the main panel of the SAAFPU can be used to check charge.


Figure 1: A model 4 SAAFPU - the three prong power connector is used for grounding and charging and the battery meter can be used to check the battery's charge



Step 2 - Connect the SAAFPU to the Ground


Measurand recommends connecting the SAAFPU to the ground before connecting the ShapeArray or the computer for taking readings in the field. This can be accomplished either by plugging in the three prong power connector to a mains power source or by connecting the grounding plug on the left side of the unit to a grounding rod.


Figure 2: The left side of an SAAFPU has a grounding plug and a 4-pin connector for connecting a ShapeArray



Step 3 - Connect the SAA to the SAAFPU


Power to the ShapeArray is controlled via SAARecorder or SAADroid. The following steps should be taken when using the SAAFPU with a ShapeArray. Connect the ShapeArray to the SAAFPU with the 4-pin circular connector (Amphenol connector), as shown in Figure 3 below, or the 5-pin terminal block (Phoenix connector), as shown in Figure 4 below.



Figure 3: An SAAFPU - (A) Amphenol connector interface diagram, (B) Phoenix connector interface, (C) Battery indicator, and (D) Auxiliary 12 V Battery connector



Note: Only one ShapeArray can be connected to the SAAFPU at one time. Two or more ShapeArrays cannot be connected to the SAAFPU at one time!


The wiring for a 5-pin terminal block (Phoenix connector) is shown in Figure 4 below.


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Figure 4: Wiring for a 5-pin terminal block (Phoenix connector)



Step 4 - Connect the SAAFPU to the PC Directly


Connect the serial to USB cable provided with the SAAFPU, Figure 5.A below, to the serial connector on the front facing plate of the SAAFPU, Figure 5.C below. Once this is done, plug the USB connector into a USB port on the PC. 

Note: The serial connection does not have any screws because it is meant to act as a quick release point in case the cable is snagged or the SAAFPU falls.



Figure 5: Connecting an SAAFPU to a PC - (A) serial-to-USB cable, (B) wireless adapter, and (C) front plate serial connection



Step 5 - Alternatively, Connect SAAFPU to PC Wirelessly  


The SAAFPU comes equipped with a set of wireless adapters. Connect the adapter that is equipped with a 9-pin connector (Figure 5.B above) to the serial connection on the front facing plate of the SAAFPU, Figure 5.C above. Connect the adapter that is equipped with a USB plug to a PC. Microsoft operating systems from Windows 8 and beyond will automatically detect and install drivers for the wireless adapter. Older operating systems may require you to download drivers using Windows Update. When it is ready to use, a solid blue light will remain lit on the adapter.

NOTE: If your computer has built-in Bluetooth, then the USB wireless adapter is not required to make a connection with the SAAFPU. The steps outlined below can be used with the computer's built-in Bluetooth. Do not plug in the USB wireless adapter if your computer has built-in Bluetooth.

Once the adapter is plugged in, click on your Start menu and select the Settings option.


Figure 6: The Settings option in the Start menu

In the Settings window, select the Bluetooth & other devices option. Enable the slider under Bluetooth and click the Add Bluetooth or device button.


Figure 7: The Bluetooth & other devices section of the Settings window


In the Add a device dialog, click the Bluetooth option. A listing of discovered Bluetooth devices will be displayed. The SAAFPU will be listed as FireFly-#### or SAAFPU-####, where #### is an alphanumeric identifier. Select the FireFly-#### or SAAFPU-#### option, enter the pin code 1234, and click the Connect button.


Figure 8: Add the FireFly-#### Bluetooth device and enter 1234 for the pin


The blue light in the USB adapter will blink until it successfully pairs with the 9-pin adapter plugged into the SAAFPU, at which point the blue light will remain solid on. Wait for the USB adapter to stop blinking and become solid. This indicates that the adapters have successfully paired. In the Bluetooth & other devices window, a device named FireFly-#### or SAAFPU-#### should appear under Other Devices with a status of paired.


Figure 9: FireFly-#### is listed as paired under Other devices when it is correctly configured


If the blue light continues to blink or a device named FireFly-#### or SAAFPU-#### does not appear under Other Devices with a status of Paired, make sure that the 9-pin adapter is properly connected to the serial port on the SAAFPU and that there is nothing between the computer and the SAAFPU interfering with the wireless connection.

NOTE: Bluetooth wireless is a short range wireless technology. Your computer should remain close to the SAAFPU for proper communication



Step 6 - Start SAARecorder


Open SAARecorder and click the Connect SAA button. 


Figure 6: The SAARecorder Startup window


In the Connect window, select the COM port you are using in the Serial Port(s) section. In the Connection to SAA section, select the SAA Field Power Unit option. If the SAAFPU is connected wirelessly to a PC, ensure the Wireless checkbox is checked. 



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Figure 7: The SAARecorder Connect window



To go to the data collection portion of SAARecorder, click the Start with found SAAs button. Otherwise, click the Next button and follow the steps listed below.


Step 7 - Optional, Click on the Search Tab


Click on the Search tab in the Connect window of SAARecorder. This causes SAARecorder to look for ShapeArrays on each of the previously selected serial ports or SAA232-5 channels as described in the above mentioned guides. It tests communications with each microprocessor of a ShapeArray.

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Figure 8: The Search tab in the SAARecorder Connect window


Each microprocessor has a unique serial number and is responsible for one item based on the model of ShapeArray connected: 
  • Models 1 and 2: An octet (group of 8 segments) 
  • Model 3 and later: A segment (every segment has a microprocessor) 

If the search is successful and the expected devices are found, click the Next button, as shown in Figure 1 above. If any issues occur please refer to the Software FAQs.


Step 8 - Optional, Click on the Devices Tab


Some devices are not automatically detected. The Devices tab is where they would be added manually. Devices that have been previously found in the Connection or Search tab should appear here automatically. Some devices, such as piezometers and older ShapeArrays, need to be added manually. To add a device manually, click the Add Device link in the SAA Serial Numbers table.

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Figure 9: The Devices tab in the SAARecorder Connect window


In the Enter Device Serial Number dialog, enter the Serial Number and COM Port and click the OK button. 

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Figure 10: The Enter Device Serial Number dialog


Repeat this step until all desired devices have been added. Once all the devices have been selected click the Next button.


Step 9 - Optional, Click on the Test Tab


The Test tab runs Basic and Voltage / Current tests on the devices before starting SAARecorder application. Each test can be performed by clicking their respective buttons. Both tests can be performed if desired. The SAARecorder interface for viewing and recording data can be started by clicking the Continue button or clicking the Save and Continue button.


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Figure 11: The Test tab in the SAARecorder Connect window



Step 10 - Disconnect From the PC


Close SAARecorder to power down the ShapeArray. If applicable, disconnect the SAAFPU USB cable from the PC. Disconnect the ShapeArray from the SAAFPU.



Step 11 - Optional, Troubleshoot Connection Issues


If there are issues connecting, please refer to the following FAQs