OpenROV

Goal: To build and be able to use an OpenROV v2.6.

Background: ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) are easily obtainable today with one exception: they can cost thousands of dollars. I wanted to explore the depths and floors of lakes and other bodies of water, but without the expensive price tag. So I saved up for a much cheaper OpenROV kit and have now set out to build it.

Build Process:

This is what the OpenROV should look like when I finish building it.

I began this project in January of 2014, but didn’t begin building until late April of 2015. Here is what I’ve done since restarting the building process in late April.

This was my original work station. In this photo, I am working on one of the end caps for the electronics holder. This was where my project re-began in April.

This was part of a syringe which I cut down. The small section of the syringe which I cut out will go into the center of the end cap and will be used to empty the electronics holder in the event of a flood. All I will need to do is pull the suction cup out of the syringe and the water will drain out.
After completing the end caps, I began work on the electronics. This is the control board of the OpenROV. In the left of the picture, you can see one of three ESC’s for the motors. I stripped the end of the wires, tinned them, and will later attach them to the control board.

Here is the electronic construction completed and in the holder. After soldering the three ESC’s to the control board, I attached another board, and then plugged in the camera to it. I then built the camera mount, soldered LED’s onto it, and then mounted the camera on. The picture above is the result. You can see on the right side of the electronics holder is one of the end caps on. I didn’t attach the other end cap on because I built it incorrectly which prevented me from putting on the rubber O-ring. I then ordered a replacement where the OpenROV team didn’t send me all of the needed parts to re-build a new end cap. So I am going to modify it and try to make sure the incorrectly-made end cap will not leak water.

Since I had already constructed the chassis, the battery tubes, and the wires for the motors, I just put it roughly onto the main frame of the OpenROV to see how it looked. On the bottom left side of the OpenROV are the wires from the motors and batteries all bundled up. The 100m tether is on the left side still bundled up.

You may not be able to notice, but here I attached two metal bars keeping the OpenROV into shape. Prior to this, I was using tape to hold the OpenROV’s frame together.

Here, I put the wires through the correct end cap and potted it. These wires will later be soldered onto the electronics part which is sitting on the right side of the OpenROV outside of its holder.

I then potted the propellers onto the motors. I did this by first putting a small section of shrink tubing onto the motor, and then applying the adhesive on the propeller and attaching it. I let these dry overnight before putting them onto the OpenROV.

Here are the propellers now attached onto the OpenROV.

This is my workstation now. The OpenROV on the right, with the electronics and the tether in the middle. It’s pretty much all ready to be powered up now, but I need to wait for the rechargeable batteries to arrive.

I then did some finishing touches including attaching this white piece to the top of the OpenROV.

This is what the tether from the OpenROV will connect to above the water. Then this board will connect to my computer.

Testing the electronics on the OpenROV. So far everything looks great. The only thing that needs to be done now is program and calibrate the ESC’s for the motors.