Acoustic Release – AR-60-E (Full Featured)

This acoustic release is used to release one or more lines underwater upon the receipt of an acoustic signal from the surface. It is commonly used for the release of a sacrificial weight permitting it along with an instrument package to float to the surface.

Click on the photos below for detailed descriptions.

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  1. Release upon receipt of an acoustic signal by the process of electrolytic erosion of a hoop of metal wire.
  2. Slant range 2,000 to 5,000 feet and up depending on water conditions. (note: sound travel is extremely variable in water depending on many factors).
  3. Operating depth is 0 to 1000 feet (305 meters).
  4. Topside interrogator is set to the four digit identification number of the unit underwater by pressing the increase or decrease key while viewing the unit identification number on an LCD display.
  5. Topside interrogator can be used to interrogate the battery state (high, med, low), make the release unit act like a pinger, or cause the release unit to become a transponder so that slant range can be displayed. Other commands induce a 10 second brief erosion for testing and another command causes 20 quick pings for testing.
  6. The release unit has an external LED that flashes once every 10 seconds to indicate that the unit is on and listening and that the micro computer is fully operational. The system can be checked out in air to give assurance that all is operational just before deployment.
  7. Battery life exceeding one year plus several releases are obtainable on one set of 12 lithium AA batteries (p/n L91 made by Energizer, typical price US$ 2.00 each).  Refer to the data sheets on the LKH-xxx release links for more information (see menu item ‘Release Links’)
  8. Underwater release receiver sensitivity equal to or better than -37 dB relative to one micro bar. Output power from topside unit greater than 82 dB relative to one microbar at one yard (10 watts acoustic). This is 1,000,000 times the theoretical minimum power needed for ideal water conditions at 1000 feet range (60 dB of margin).


This release is deployed underwater and contains the receiver plus a micro computer and batteries and holds a replaceable release link with a pull pin for replacement.  It turns on automatically when it is placed in the ocean by means of water contact to the two metal posts on each side of the transducer.  This release has a unique 4 digit identification number that has been assigned to it by the factory. This identification number is entered into the topside acoustic release interrogator (ARI-60) when a command is sent. When the release command is received the unit applies its full battery voltage to the link (pos) and the ‘coil’ (neg) for 15 minutes. This causes the small hoops of metal to erode away effecting the release. This release unit has a single green LED that flashes once per 10 seconds when the unit is on and listening. There is a checkout command that can be sent to cause the unit to switch on the erosion voltage for only 10 seconds which is useful for checkout.

(Note: This release works in ocean water and typical bay water. It will not work in fresh water since the electrolytic erosion will not occur at a fast enough rate).


The release links are made from two hoops of metal wire encapsulated in a replaceable holder. The erosion link operates by the fast electrolytic erosion of the exposed metal part of its hoops thereby freeing any lines passed through them. This occurs when a positive voltage is connected to it by the internal electronics. It is partially coated with epoxy paint to restrict the intended erosion to two points at the base of each hoop to speed the release and save on battery consumption. The erosion link is replaced after each release. An O-ring is used to keep salt water out of the link connection cavity.   See menu item ‘Release Links’ for more information on the various links available including load, wire size, and erosion time and more.


The interrogator is used to send the acoustic signal to the release unit. With it comes a transmitting transducer (TD-60) which is placed over the side of the boat and into the water. First the unit identification of the release unit to be released is set using increase/decrease keys and viewed on an LCD display. Second the specific action desired is selected. Third the command is transmitted. The signal takes about 15 seconds to send. When a release command is received by the underwater release unit, the release unit starts and maintains the erosion process for 15 minutes.  During this 15 minutes the release unit is busy and will not respond to any new commands.  The release unit can emit pings while it is releasing as set by the command that was sent. This reply ping signal confirms that the erosion is in process and could be used for tracking if a pinger tracking system is available. Another command causes the release unit to become a transponder so that range is displayed while the unit is releasing and rising to the surface.

Click here for Manual & Specifications (pdf format)

Click here for AR-60-E  Pricing