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 PinNortek SignalNexSens MCIL-8-MP Wire Color* NexSens MCIL-8/UW Plug PinX2 SignalX2/X2-CBMC Sensor Port Pin
1Power GNDOrange2GND7
2Power +Black512V4
3RS 232 TxRed3RS 232 Rx6
4RS 232 RxBrown1RS 232 Tx8
5RS 232 GNDYellow2GND7
6Power OutputWhite
7Analogue ch 2Blue
8Analogue ch 1Green

*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 MessageParameter (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)
$PNORWHm0 (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 detectsNumber of AST No detects
Number of bad detectsNumber 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 NumberDescription
100000.0Failure to communicate with sensor
100502.0Missing parameter in sensor response (empty field)
100504.0Bad sensor response format (not NMEA0183)
100506.0Bad checksum
100508.0Indicates missing NMEA0183 sentence ID
100510.0A Field is NOT a number (contains non-digit value)
100560.0A field is not parse able
100562.0Internal error (missing variable)
100564.0Internal error (missing variable in field structure)
100566.0Internal error (empty parameter data structure)
100568.0Internal error (bad communication baud)
100570.0Internal error (bad communication frame)
100572.0Internal error (bad field number)


Applicable Systems

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