Building the world’s second consumer deep sea drop cam

Nice work, @Paucam! This is a really awesome video and overview of your adventure! Thanks for sharing here.

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This is sweet, @Paucam! It’s been super fun to watch your project take life and we can’t wait for future updates :sunglasses:

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Very cool project! I’m still hoping to put together a drop cam of my own, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for the GitHub.

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Thank you! We will let you know when it is posted!

Hi Ivan, yes, we conducted our tests with the drop cam tied to a line, and also have galvanic time releases as a backup plan!

Dear @rjehangir and all, after three years since my last post here (I was pursuing other projects), I am happy to announce that I published the assembly guide and software to build the dropcam (called blue_eye) on GitHub. With this, anyone can contribute to the global movement of citizen science and ocean exploration. And the burnwire took a lot of work but now works fine!

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Hi @Paucam,

It’s great to see an update on this project - thanks for sharing, and great work on all your development and testing so far! :smiley:

Some comments, questions, and suggestions for potential future improvements:

  • With our new Locking Enclosures (which you mention in the assembly guide) and WetLink Penetrators (which don’t seem to be mentioned), it could indeed achieve depths up to 500m :smiley:
    • potted penetrators may not consistently maintain a seal all the way to 500m - it depends a fair amount on the potting conditions
    • note that it may be worth epoxy-coating (potting) the exposed end of the cable jacket (and/or use cable with a water-blocking filler) and the ends of the wires, to avoid the high pressure water pushing in past the insulation
      • using a water-blocked connector could also resolve this issue, although is more expensive to do
    • to get beyond 500m would require a thicker and/or smaller dome (perhaps the electronics could fit into a 3" enclosure?), as well as new lights (at some point we’ll be releasing a new iteration of our Lumens, which should be able to go deeper)
  • It’s really cool to have a reference for a tested burnwire setup! :smiley:
    • I noticed that the guide example mentions it should burn for ~1 minute (section 4.16), but the code seems to tell it to burn for ~10 minutes - are these both just examples that depend on the wire being used, or were they supposed to both be the same?
      • if an external pressure sensor or an accelerometer were integrated, it may be possible to “burn” until a consistent lifting starts occurring, with the timeout used as a backup to avoid excessively running down the battery if it doesn’t seem to be working properly
    • I’m not sure how much current the burnwire setup uses when switched on
      • if it’s significant, it may be worth providing a close or even direct connection to the battery terminals, to avoid burning out the breadboard traces
    • for additional robustness, it may be worth covering the anode in moldable sealant, as electrical tape alone could still fail to keep the water out and end up corroding things
  • The “blue_eye” name is apt and interesting, but may be a bit confusing because there’s an ROV company called Blueye, so it could incidentally seem like this project is affiliated with them
  • The photos and wiring layout diagrams in the assembly guide should be useful for replicating your setup :slight_smile:
    • it may also be worth creating an actual schematic, to better share the logical intent behind the circuit connections, and help people to understand which connections are being made and why
      • there are free softwares that can make electrical schematics - Kicad is one for electronics design, and there are also a variety of online options, including just general diagram creation software that includes electrical symbols
  • The usage guide refers to our Switch as an “electronic switch”, but I would personally consider it (and the reed switch) to be electrical switches (because they are not electronically actuated), while your relay would be an example of an electronic switch :slight_smile:
  • Given the two Lumen lights are sharing the same signal, it may be worth daisy-chaining them (or just getting a pre-connected set), to save a penetrator spot in the enclosure
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Dear Eliot, thank you so much for your feedback, it is terrific and you touch on several details that are critical for the device and also details to improve/correct the assembly guide. Will work on all them.

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