RD Instruments Workhorse data files

RDI ADCP format (.nnn)

Only the binary file format is supported.

Filenames must be in the 8.3 MSDOS format (that is, 8 character file name followed by a 3 character extension). All characters are typically digits. Files must be saved with the extension .nnn (where n is a single digit). The names should respect Echoview's file Ordering requirements.

Eight raw variables are read from RD ADCP files. They are:

  • 4 echo intensity measures (dB) - 1 from each of four transducers

  • 3 current velocity (millimeters per second) components - orthogonal, earth referenced

  • 1 current velocity (millimeters per second) error term

The four echo intensities are calculated using the echo intensity scale factor supplied by RD Instruments. "The echo intensity scale factor is about 0.45 dB per Workhorse count. The Workhorse does not directly check for the validity of echo intensity data" - from the Workhorse Output Data Format booklet, © 1996 RD Instruments.

All eight variables can be viewed as echograms with depth in the vertical dimension and time/ping in the horizontal.


  • The echo intensity measures are displayed on echograms of type Sv. They are not true Sv values and integration and analysis may produce meaningless results.
  • Workhourse files can be verified by Echocheck.

See also

Calibration settings for RD Instruments workhorse data
Raw Variables derived from RD Instruments Workhorse data files