Nortek AWAC Current Profiler X2 Integration Guide

The following article provides information on the proper settings required for communication between a Nortek AWAC Current Profiler and an X2 data logger. Advanced information describes the NMEA messages and parameters recorded from the sensor by the X2 and includes troubleshooting procedures for common error codes.


Figure 1: Nortek AWAC Current Profiler – 1 MHz
(Image courtesy of Nortek)



Nortek AWAC Current Profiler Setting Requirements

Enable the following settings on the Nortek AWAC Current Profiler before connecting to the X2:

  1. Communication
    1. Serial output must be enabled and output format must be set to NMEA.
      • Protocol: RS-232
      • Baud: 9600
      • 8 data bit
      • 1 stop bit
      • No parity
      • No handshaking
  2. Log Interval
    1. Recommended 30 minute log interval for both wave and velocity.
      • Since wave and velocity measurements cannot be overlapped and a typical wave measurement cycle takes ~20 minutes.
    2. Wave and velocity log interval must be the same.
    3. Total wave and velocity measurement time must be less than the set log interval.
  3. Internal Clock Setting
    1. The internal clock on the AWAC and X2 must be synced prior to deployment.
      • X2 time is kept in UTC.
      • AWAC time may be set to local time.
  4. Number of Cells
    1. Max = 40 cells
    2. Number of cells on the current profiler must be adjusted so that the total number of parameters from the AWAC, in addition to other sensors, does not exceed the 200 parameter limit on the X2 data logger.
      • There are (3) velocity parameters per cell (Vel1, Vel2 & Vel 3).



Nortek AWAC Wiring Information

Figure 2: MCIL-8-MP sensor port on X2-CBMC/ MCIL-8 cable (male view)

Figure 3: X2 UW Sensor Port.


Nortek AWAC MCIL-8 Sensor Pin Nortek Signal NexSens MCIL-8-MP Wire Color*  NexSens MCIL-8/UW Plug Pin X2 Signal X2/X2-CBMC Sensor Port Pin
1 Power GND Orange 2 GND 7
2 Power + Black 5 12V 4
3 RS 232 Tx Red 3 RS 232 Rx 6
4 RS 232 Rx Brown 1 RS 232 Tx 8
5 RS 232 GND Yellow 2 GND 7
6 Power Output White
7 Analogue ch 2 Blue
8 Analogue ch 1 Green
Screen GND Bare 2 GND 7

*Wire colors only apply to NexSens MCIL/UW plug cables


NMEA Messages

Only the following NMEA messages and parameters outlined in the table are processed by the X2.

NMEA Message Parameter (Unit)* Description
Time (hhmmss)
Error Code (hex)
Status (hex)
Battery (V)
Sound Speed (m/s)
Heading (deg)
Pitch (deg)
Roll (deg)
Pressure (dbar)
Temperature (C)
$PNORC** Vel1 (m/s)
Vel2 (m/s)
Vel3 (m/s)
$PNORW Hm0 (m) Spectral significant wave height [mm]
H3 (m) AST significant wave height (mean of largest 1/3)
H10 (m) AST wave height(mean of largest 1/10) [mm]
Hmax (m) AST max wave height in wave ensemble [mm]
Tm02 (s) Mean period spectrum based [0.01 sec]
Tp (s) Peak period [0.01 sec]
Tz (s) AST mean zero-crossing period [0.01 sec]
DirTp (deg) Direction at Tp [0.01 deg]
SprTp (deg) Spreading at Tp [0.01 deg]
Main direction (deg) Mean wave direction [0.01 deg]
Unidirectivity (idx) Unidirectivity index [1/65535]
Mean pressure (dbar) Mean pressure during burst [0.001 dbar]
Number of no detects Number of AST No detects
Number of bad detects Number of AST Bad detects
Near surface current speed (m/s)
Near surface current direction (deg)
Error code (hex)

*31 total base parameters (1 cell).
**Three velocity parameters are included for each cell enabled on the AWAC.



Error Codes from X2

Error Code Number Description
100000.0 Failure to communicate with sensor
100502.0 Missing parameter in sensor response (empty field)
100504.0 Bad sensor response format (not NMEA0183)
100506.0 Bad checksum
100508.0 Indicates missing NMEA0183 sentence ID
100510.0 A Field is NOT a number (contains non-digit value)
100560.0 A field is not parse able
100562.0 Internal error (missing variable)
100564.0 Internal error (missing variable in field structure)
100566.0 Internal error (empty parameter data structure)
100568.0 Internal error (bad communication baud)
100570.0 Internal error (bad communication frame)
100572.0 Internal error (bad field number)


Applicable Systems

Water current measurements from Nortek ADCPs are useful in coastal and ocean-based environmental monitoring applications.