HURL Case Study

BIRNS Saves Customer’s Dive Season, Provides Custom Outboard 40-Conductor Metal Shell Man-Rated Cable Assembly In One Week

In 1980, The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) was established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Hawaii with the mission to study deep water marine processes in the Pacific Ocean.  It serves the oceanographic community through peer reviewed research programs focusing on subjects such as ecosystems and fisheries, submarine volcanic processes, coral reefs, maritime history, climate change and assessment of environmental damage.

HURL maintains two manned submersibles, Pisces IV and the Pisces V, and the organization’s primary objective is to provide scientists with access to these subs in order to collect samples and data for their projects. BIRNS has been partnering with HURL since 1986, supplying its subs with penetrators, connectors, molded cables and cable assemblies.  In fact, BIRNS’ oil filled cable assemblies and oil filled connectors are the only ones approved by ABS for use on HURL submarines.


Failed NON-BIRNS 40-Conductor Connector

In the middle of the 2000 dive season, when HURL was still operating with only one Pisces sub, the hydraulic system on the craft failed due to water intrusion in an original, non-BIRNS (circa 1972) connector from another manufacturer.  It shorted out the main cable supplying the system with electrical power to operate functions – resulting in aborting a dive. HURL suddenly needed a replacement outboard 40-conductor metal shell man-rated cable assembly in just one week’s time.


The BIRNS team worked 24 hours a day for the next 7 days, and designed, built, tested and delivered the extremely complex custom cable assembly on time.  No one else in the industry would have had the capability to fulfill such a sophisticated request to them within the incredibly tight deadline.  A grateful HURL was able to complete its dive season without further interruption.


BIRNS’ agility and quick response time saved HURL from having to cancel the rest of the dive season, which would have jeopardized many significant science projects that had taken years of preparation and effort.

There are a lot of cable and connector providers, but the professional attention we get at BIRNS is unequaled,” says Colin Wollerman, Submersible Support Tech at HURL, “I can call up and say ‘I need a new negative 120 volt battery cable for the Pisces IV’ and have a quote that day, often within the hour.  Next thing you know the Fed-Ex truck is dropping off the cable. The phone rings and it is BIRNS making sure it arrived and looks good. I wish we could get this kind of service from all the vendors we deal with.”

Happy HURL Electrical Technician with BIRNS Cable Assembly


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