TCU-210 Argos system for Whales and Large Fish

The information below on discontinued products is provided for individuals who are still using these older systems. Product descriptions may be time sensitive or even outdated. Please contact Telonics if you have questions.

The TCU-210 Argos PTT system is designed for studies of whales and large fish. The TCU-210 system is housed in a high impact polycarbonate housing designed to withstand pressures greater than 1000 meters.
A stout 1.5 inch section of polycarbonate material is provided at the bottom end of the unit for installation of user provided attachment hardware. The user must also interface and test this unit with their delivery system.

Key Features

  • Powerful data collection and data transfer using the Argos system allow the units to acquire, queue, and transmit locations, temperatures and dive information.
  • All products can be programmed by Telonics Product Programmer (TPP) which uses a GUI interface. TPP makes it possible for users to program their own systems and simulate performance of the system prior to deployment.
    • On-board sensors can be activated or deactivated in the field. Data collection regimes and schedules can be altered as required. Sensor data can be enhanced or deleted from Argos uplink transmissions.
    • Transmission schedules can be modified.
    • Argos ID codes can be changed.
    • Argos uplink transmission power levels can be modified to extend operational life or increase the probability of signal reception at the satellite.
    • Argos uplink frequencies can be changed to frequencies in low noise channels to increase the chances of a successful uplink.
  • Data Decoding - Data are processed using the Telonics Data Converter (TDC), which provides complete data decoding of Argos DS files and supports complete memory downloading. TDC provides a comma separated value (csv) output file with time stamps for all data collected. TDC can also be run in the "batch mode" for hands off operation.
  • TDC allows you to plot Argos locations with Google Earth.
  • Real-time clock calendar (RTC) controls all timing functions.
  • A micro-power saltwater sensor (SWS) saves additional power and further extends the operational life of the unit.
    The SWS is critical to successful performance of an Argos marine unit. Because radio frequencies are severely attenuated in salt water, any uplink transmissions while underwater are essentially wasted. The SWS functions to suppress transmissions while the unit is submerged thereby saving power. The SWS synchronizes uplink transmissions to resume at the precise time when a marine animal actually breaks the sea surface following a dive. By transmitting immediately upon resurfacing, the unit has the best chance of successfully getting uplink transmissions to available orbiting NOAA satellites. Further, the SWS can be used to determine a haul-out condition and shut down Argos transmissions during extended shore time to save additional energy.
  • Shutdown with a magnet allows users to turn each of these configurations "on" or "off". When turned "off", TCU-210 units consume less than 12 µA. Given these low current levels, users can store their units for extended periods with minimal impact on operational life.


Model Dimensions L x Dia Unit Weight (g) Onboard Memory for Data Logging Low Power (mW) Number of Transmissions Low power Low Power Temp (°C) High Power (mW) Number of Transmissions High power High Power Temp (°C)
TCU-210 7.5" long x 1.0" diameter 150 (approx.) Yes 500 (Typ) 63360 -14 to +70 630 (Typ) 48960 -14 to +70

The number of transmissions is based on a continuous series of transmissions of a 4-byte Argos message at a 60-second repetition rate at 25°C.

Specifications: Electronic and Packaging

TCU-210 Specifications (Uses the ST-21 Argos Certified Transmitter)

Timing AccuracyTiming is synchronized to GPS time when available. If the GPS time is not then internal timing accuracy is:
6 min/year at 25° C
30 min/yr -20 to +40° C
47 min/yr -40 to +70° C
Available SensorsMortality Sensor (parameters are user programmable)
Argos Operating FrequencyARGOS Frequencies
401.6300MHz to 401.6800MHz in 1 kHz Steps
Brazilian SCD-1, Channels C1 to C9
401.6180MHz to 401.6220MHz in 500Hz Steps
Argos Frequency Stability± 0.5 ppm maximum from -30° to +70° C
± 2.0 ppm maximum from -40° to -30° C
Argos Initial Frequency Error± 0.5 ppm maximum at +23°C, ± 2° C
Argos Aging± 2.0 ppm maximum after 1 year
Argos RF Power OutStandard Power Version:
500mW (+26dBm) or 630mW (+27dBm) nominal into 50 Ω
(User selectable using TPP programming software)
Note 1: At +70°C, transmit current will increase by approximately 10% from the +25° C measurement. Conversely, at -40° C it will decrease by approximately 10% from the +25° C measurement.
Note 2: Transmit current and RF power out are sensitive to VSWR. Both can be degraded significantly if the antenna or antenna coax are of poor quality or not correctly tuned and matched to the ARGOS/Brazilian frequency band 50 ohm RF output impedance.
Argos Spurs and Harmonics<-40dBc minimum, -60dBc typical (Coherent Spurious)
<-50dBc minimum, -60dBc typical (Non-coherent spurious)
Packing/Housing SpecificationsUnit is cast solid with salt water switch contacts and Argos antenna exiting from the same end. Housing is fabricated of rugged high impact plastic material which can be incorporated into the user attachment and housing. Housing dimensions: 7.5" X 1.0"

Related Products

Related Links to Information on Other Websites

Lithium Battery Shipping Regulations

Telonics Inc. ships all systems containing lithium batteries in accordance with the US Department of Transportation rules for hazardous materials set forth in 49CFR and the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Shipping dangerous goods can be complicated and confusing, consult a dangerous goods specialist if needed. The general requirements for shipping lithium batteries according to 49CFR are located in Part 173, Subpart 173.185 in the link below.

Service Commitment

Since 1970, Telonics has built a reputation based on product quality, product support, service, and customer satisfaction. Telonics strives to produce the highest quality products, and to support those products accordingly.

Because of extreme conditions and the unpredictable nature associated with most telemetry applications, problems occasionally arise. Most problems can be resolved quickly. In all cases, we hope to be able to work in partnership with users to resolve problems to the user's satisfaction and to uphold our demonstrated commitment to excellence. If problems should arise, all products must be returned to our factory for failure analysis.

Warranty: Argos Systems

Telonics warrants its Argos products to be free from defects in material and workmanship for a period of one year from the date acquired. Telonics does not warrant batteries.

If a defect occurs, return the equipment to us within the proper time frame at the following address: TELONICS, 932 E. IMPALA AVENUE, MESA AZ USA 85204-6699. The customer shall arrange for and pay all shipping, insurance and related charges incurred in the shipment to and from Telonics under this warranty. Damage to any equipment resulting from misuse, accidents, unauthorized service, extreme conditions, or other causes, is excluded from this warranty. Telonics does not assume responsibility for loss or damage to equipment during shipment. Telonics does not assume responsibility for delays resulting from shipment on commercial or private carriers. We insure all equipment shipped from our facility and suggest that shipments to Telonics also be insured.

Upon the timely return to our facility, if defective, the product will be replaced or repaired at our discretion at no cost to the customer. This remedy is the exclusive remedy. This product is supplied without any further warranties or conditions, expressed or implied, including warranties of merchantability, quality or fitness for particular reason or those arising by laws, statutes or trade usage or course of dealing.

The entire risk, as to the results and performance of the product, is assumed by the customer. Neither Telonics, nor its suppliers, shall have any liability to the customer or any other person or entity for any indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damage whatsoever, regardless whether Telonics has been told of the possibility of such damages or that such damages might be foreseeable. Telonics has no responsibility or liability for the claims of any third party. The maximum aggregate to the customer, of Telonics and its suppliers, shall not exceed the amount paid by the customer for the product.