Charging Underwater

Hi everyone,

What can we do for charging ROV/AUV underwater?

Is there any used/experienced way to charge the ROV/AUV in the water?

Can I use open-ended subconn connectors underwater?

Best regards

Some years ago I used open-ended subconn connectors underwater for a 12V system that was wet-connected. We used dummy plugs in the power source connectors until the the connections were made by divers. The system had female connectors on the power supply; male connectors on the working devices. Our experience was that it… works… but: the connectors were definitely showing corrosion after being used for a couple of weeks (probably 10 or so disconnect/reconnect cycles). Because the power connectors were female, it was difficult to see the corrosion. For that reason, if you try this, I suggest using male connectors for the power side and females for the instrument side — at least then you can see the corrosion, if it is happening.

Hi @ugurdemirezen,

The only dedicated underwater charging system I’m aware of is in this project, which was able to wirelessly charge at up to 100W.

Beyond that I expect it’s most common to use either entirely topside power through a tether (there are several systems that do this), or a hybrid system that uses power from the topside to supplement the primary power provided by a battery. Note that topside power can still include some degree of autonomy, for example from a boat/buoy with solar panels.

I expect approaches with bare metal contacts in the water would likely suffer from issues with corrosion and/or marine growth.

Depending on the budget, a PowerPuck from Subsea USB might be a good solution for you. It offers 250w of power transfer and 100mbps Ethernet (approx. 80mbps effective).

This is an image of early test samples of the PowerPuck that I had available:

Data sheet:
DATASHEET User Info 250W Power Puck 0_95.pdf (614.6 KB)
BB8005_Product_Gbit Puck for 300m_Rev-02.pdf (295.6 KB)

Disclaimer: As part of developing my Aura concept for a resident underwater drone I have assisted in parts of the prototyping but have no commercial ties with the companies and persons behind the solution.

Fun fact: the PowerPucks will be used in parts of this year’s TAC challenge.