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Tinsley Instrument Submarine Cable Tester

Submarine Cable Test Equipment

Portable Short-Haul Submarine Cable Test Set Model 5910

Portable Short-Haul Submarine Cable Test Set Model 5910The Tinsley 5910 is a portable Short Haul Submarine Cable Test Set that brings the latest technology to the tried and tested DC methods of cable fault location.

Common test procedures which are associated with the location of cable fault such as “open circuits” and “shunt faults” are pre-programmed into the instrument. This allows the procedure to be carried out automatically therefore eliminating operator errors and reducing the uncertainty of fault position prediction.

The instrument may be set for a range of voltages and currents making it suitable for use with most un-repeatered submarine communication cable systems.

The RS232 interface is designed for full duplex communication with the instrument. All functions may be controlled via a computer and obtained data may be stored for future analysis. This interface may also be used to enable two 5910’s to communicate with each other via a computer when carrying out double ended tests such as “no loss of current”.

A basic electroding generator function is included which can assist the cable repair vessel in locating the cable on the sea bed prior to retrieval and repair.


See the table below for a run-down of this product’s specifications.

Ohmmeter – Conductor resistance measurement
Resistance Range
Accuracy (within compliance of 1V to 140V)
0.2Ω to 100.00Ω
±0.2 Ω
100.00Ω to 1000.00Ω
±0.2W up to 200Ω
±0.1% above 200Ω
1kΩ to 10kΩ
±0.1% at 1kΩ
reducing to
±0.2% at 10kΩ
10kΩ to 100kΩ
10 Ω
±0.2% at 10kΩ
reducing to
±2% at 100kΩ


Current Control




0.5 to 10.0mA
10.1mA to 100mA
Positive “+” or negative “-” selectable by thumbwheel switch

MegOhmmeter – Insulation resistance measurement

Voltage settings +50V, 100V, 250V, 500V, or 1000V
Polarity selectable positive “+” or negative “-”

Applicable Voltage
105Ω to 109Ω
50V, 100V
±1dB (105 to 108 Ω ) using Standard Resistors
106Ω to 1010 Ω
±1dB (106 to 109 Ω ) using Standard Resistors
107Ω to 1011Ω
500V, 1000V
±1dB (107 to 1010 Ω ) using Standard Resistors


Direct reading capacitance measurements between 0.05µF and 2000µF.

Accuracy (using standard caps)
Measurement Cycle
0.05 to 2µF
2 secs @ 1µF
2 to 20µF
2 secs @ 10µF
20 to 200µF
20 secs @ 100µF
200 to 2000µF
200 secs @ 1000µF

Electroding Generator (GEN)

Output polarity either positive to LINE or negative to LINE

Constant current – compliance 0.1 to 50V
25Hz or 16.7Hz
50mA + 50mA sin wt
(i.e. minimum 0mA, maximum 100mA, synthesised, sinusoidal current


Beach Probe and Battery Powered Portable Electroding Detector Models 5917 and 5918

Beach Probe and Battery Powered Portable Electroding Detector Models 5917 and 5918The 5917/5918 Electroding Probe and Detector system is a high gain low frequency selective Receiver/Amplifier to detect the electromagnetic field from a submarine cable energised by the Tinsley 5915 Electroding generator or similar.

The 5917 Beach Probe and 5917D Divers Probe are inductive probes suitable for receiving 15 to 30Hz signals emanating from a suitably energised submarine cable.

The 5918 detector amplifies, filters, and indicates the signal received at the selected frequency. At the highest gain setting a 10µV RMS input signal at the correct frequency will give a full scale reading on the analogue front panel meter.

The 5918 electroding detector is completely self-contained in a portable carry case with shoulder strap. Integral rechargeable batteries are included and a separate mains power module is supplied to recharge them.

In use the 5918 detector is connected to the receiving probe, either a Tinsley type 5917 Beach probe or 5917D Divers Probe. The exact operating frequency is selected on the thumbwheel switches and the gain switch is adjusted to obtain a useful indication of the signal. A frequency of either 16.7Hz or 25Hz is recommended when using the 5917 Probes.

An audible output signal is available which can be heard by using the plug in headphones supplied. The larger the signal received the higher the frequency heard. A volume control is provided for adjustment of loudness.

Principle of Operation

The 5917/5918 Probe and Detector System is used either on land, or on the beach. The 5917D Divers Probe can also be used in up to 50 metre water to locate submarine cables. A tone in the range of 16 Hz to 25 Hz is transmitted down the submarine cable by an Electroding Generator such as the Tinsley. This signal is picked up by a Tinsley 5917 or 5917D Probe connected to the 5918 Detector. The 5818 Detector and 5917 Beach receiving probe would normally be held by a person walking along the beach, however, as they are portable, the detector may be operated from any small boat or launch to search over shallow water. The 5917D would normally be held by a diver and would be connected to the 5918 in a boat/ship via an umbilical cable. It is suitable for use in depth up to 50 Metres. The received signal is processed and passed to the analogue front panel meter and headphones audio output.

Normally, the Electroding Generator, Tinsley type 5915, is located in the submarine cable Terminal Station nearest to the search area. When the Electroding Detector System is in the vicinity of the cable, the 5915 Electroding Generator is powered thus applying the low frequency signal to the cable under test. At these frequencies, the field of the signal extends into the land and water surrounding the cable for a considerable distance.

The person holding the 5917 probe would normally walk/swim a course to cross the cable on the landward side of any expected cable fault position with the probe in its horizontal position at right angles to the cable.

The Detector is set (by thumbwheel switch) to the frequency being transmitted by the Electroding Generator. A frequency of either 16.7Hz or 25 Hz is recommended. As the detector crosses the cable, the field from the signal current in the cable induces a voltage into the probe. This signal is then processed by the Electroding Detector and a deflection on the meter is registered. This may be heard by the operator as a high pitch frequency from the headphones.

For identification purposes, the Electroding Generator may be keyed on and off periodically. Once the cable signal has been identified and confirmed, the person then follows the cable on a zigzag course to plot the position of the cable, or until the signal disappears. When this happens, a fault or break has been located.

Further tests may be made for a more precise fix of the cable position by using the probe in a vertical orientation. In this case a null is registered when the probe passes exactly above the cable.

5918 Detector Specifications

See the table below for a run-down of this product’s specifications.

4Hz to 40Hz in increments of 0.1Hz thumbwheel selection. Built-in test oscillator. However when using the 5917 probe use either 16.7Hz or 25Hz
Detector Bandwidth 
Sensitivity- max 
 10uV RMS for full-scale deflection on range 7
7 Way DIN Socket for external probe
Built-in rechargeable batteries having life of over 5 hours of continuous use. 12V 1.2 AH Lead Acid
Mains powered, single phase, 90 to 260V AC 50/60Hz
Analogue meter with battery and signal test
Range of location/depth 
Typically 10 metres. However, using 5917 probes this is limited by external factors:- e.g. Signal to noise ratio and attenuation along cable i.e. the distance at which the detector is operating away from the generator
Portable self-contained unit in a carrying case 250 x 250 x 150mm
Approximately 5kg


5917 Beach Probe Specification

See the table below for a run-down of this product’s specifications.

Suitable for detecting the electromagnetic field from a submarine cable carrying 20mA current at a distance of 10 metres from the cable
Frequency Range 
Suitable for 15 to 30 Hz (16.7 or 25Hz recommended)
ON/OFF Switch 
In handle to conserve battery power on 5918
110 cm long handle 40cm long probe


5917D Divers Probe Specifications

5917D consists of:

1 off 5932 Detector
1 off 5931C1/50m Underwater Cable 50 metre length
1 off 5917D-301 Tuning Box for 16.7/25Hz
1 off 5917D-302 Leads from tuning box to 5918

Suitable for detecting the electromagnetic field from a submarine cable carrying 100mA current at a distance of 10 metres from the cable
Frequency Range 
Suitable for 15 to 30 Hz (16.7 or 25Hz recommended)
ON/OFF Switch 
Mounted on 5917D-301 Tuning Box Assembly
5932 Probe 380 x 150 x 35mm
5931C/50m Cable – 50 m length
5917D-301 – 145 x 120 x 90mm
5917D-302 curly cable 0.9m coiled 2.2m stretched
5932 2kgm in air
5931C/50m 7kg
5917D-301 0.55kg
5917D-302 0.20kg

Submarine Cable Survey & Tracking System Model 5930 Mk II


  • Accurate Cable Burial Depth Measurement
  • Computer Interface with Touch-screen control
  • Integral Test Function
  •  Surface and Divers Audio Output of Signal Strength
  • Dedicated GPS Data Input
  • Wide Frequency Range
  • Spectrum Analyser Function
  • Oscilloscope Function
  • Rated to 50 metres water depth
  • Two Probe Inputs



The Tinsley Submarine Cable Survey System is designed for use by divers working in areas where it may not be practical to use an R.O.V.. With a low frequency electroding tone applied to the cable, the system can be used to locate cables buried beneath the seabed and to establish their burial depth.

Submarine Cable Survey System Model 5930

The system consists of a hand held Sensing Unit (type 5931) that is designed to be easily manoeuvred whilst under water. An audio output to the diver allows the Sensing Unit to be positioned at a point with the highest signal level. This corresponds to a point directly over the cable being surveyed. Once the cable is precisely located the Sensing Unit is placed on the seabed at that point and a measurement of Burial Depth made.

The Sensing Unit is connected to the shipboard Display Unit (Type 5930) via an umbilical cable. The Display Unit uses microprocessor technology to compute the data received from the sensor and to display the information as the burial depth of the cable.

Many special functions are incorporated within the Display Unit. It features a Spectrum Analyser that is used to identify any areas of the frequency range for the Survey System that exhibit a particularly high level of electromagnetic interference. The use of this frequency can then be avoided whilst cable surveying in that particular geographical location.

Digital filtering of the input signal is used to ensure the instrument displays clear and unambiguous results. Electronic tuning enables the system to precisely detect the frequency of the tone applied to the cable.

The Single Sensor probe Model 5932 is used for fast location of cables. It does not give burial depth measurement.

Any standard Electroding Generator operating within the frequency range 16 to 100Hz may be used with the system. Typically the Tinsley Model 5915 or the electroding function of the Tinsley Model 5910 Submarine Cable Test Set could be used to energise the cable.

Ordering Information

Dual input Surface Display Unit
Triple Sensor Frame for Cable Detection and Burial Depth Measurement
Bone Conductor Earphone with 2 metre Lead
50 metre Underwater Umbilical Cable
100 metre Underwater Umbilical Cable
5 metre Deck Cable
10 metre Deck Cable
Single Sensor for Cable Detection


Triple Sensing Unit Model 5931  Triple Sensing Unit Model 5931

Gives cable location and burial depth.  Single Sensor Unit Model 5932 Single Sensor Unit Model 5932

For cable location only.

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