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Interest in control box?

(Dag Elias Sørdal) #1


I have been reading on this forum for a while, but it’s the first time I am posting. Thank you for all the knowlegde and interesting post

The reason I am posting now is because I have made a control box and I am wondering if there is anybody out there who is interested in getting their hands on one of these bad boys :blush:

The price will be about 200-250 USD. If interest in this, I can post pictures and videos of the control box.

I want to get an estimate of how many is interested before I start ordering.


To editors: please delere if this post is not under the guidelines.

(TCIII) #2


Are the joysticks potentiometer style or Hall Effect?

A brand new two axes Hall Effect joystick runs around $173 USD and a three axes Hall Effect joystick runs around $233 USD.

Additionally a good quality 12 bit joystick converter like the BU0836X is 49.99GBP plus FedEx shipping charges!

So how are you able to build your controller for between $200 - $250 USD?

You might want to check out these controller threads:

Surface Controllers

Custom Topside Controller


(Etienne Demers) #3

They look like cheap joysticks you get from AliExpress. They are not Hall effect.

(TCIII) #4


If one is going to go to the trouble of making a custom topside controller, then they might as well use Hall Effect joysticks for improved accuracy and centering. I was able to get brand new surplus three axes Hall Effect joysticks from eBay for under $100 each and they work very well!

I used a three axes Hall Effect joystick for my custom controller that put forward/reverse, right lateral, left lateral, and right/left yaw on one joystick and a 10K 1% linear pot for vertical depth control.


(Dag Elias Sørdal) #5


thank you for the comment. as spotted by another forum reader the joysticks are pot meter based, not hall effect.

I was thinking of using hall effect but I don’t see the need for it. Keep it simple. If you spend 1000+ hours on the controller a year I would agree with you.

I dont see the need for high end joysticks whit that accuracy… do you really think you could spot the difference when flying the ROV? I think there needs to be an cheap option between xbox controllers and expensive custom controllers, and that is what i intended to offer

also, thank you for the links, a lot of good inputs there :slight_smile:

(Dag Elias Sørdal) #6


(TCIII) #7


How do you figure that a Hall Effect joystick is not simple? They run on 5 vdc and put out a 0 to 5 vdc signal with 2.5 vdc being neutral just like a potentiometer style joystick and use only three leads.

Potentiometer style joysticks tend to become noisy over time and rarely return to the same neutral point. Also, compared to the travel range of a potentiometer style joystick, a Hall Effect joystick can have further physical travel which spreads out the control range.


(undersearobotics.com) #8

I’ve been building custom Surface Control Units for almost 12 years, so I guess that means I have some experience in this area. :wink: Tom is right, Hall Effect is definitely the way to go. The bulk of the costs to build an SCU is labor so don’t skimp on the components.

(Matt) #10

Sorry about that post…
Hall Effect joysticks are definitely superior, no question. They are built better and are better to use.
If your on a budget you get what you can afford. Its looks like Soriop there has done a nice job of that setup.

(Etienne Demers) #11

I agree, no problem going with pots if you are on a budget. It won’t be as good but it will get you there.

I prefer spending the extra money.

(TCIII) #12


If one is willing to spend from $3k - $5k for a BR2 and accessories (I just finished building a BR2 Heavy Lift ROV with the Newton Gripper for a Marine Biologist) and then claims that since they are on a budget they have to use inexpensive potentiometer joysticks for a custom topside controller baffles me!

(Kevin) #13

@soriop Thanks for sharing your work! We like seeing how everyone is making their own control boxes.

The lower cost option joysticks are interesting because many of our customers do buy what they can afford, which is why we have two recommendations for controllers on our product page, the Logitech F310 (lower cost) and the Xbox One controller (better stick precision). I’ve seen plenty of people use both and I personally have used the F310 for a few years.

We’d be interested in seeing the difference on an actual BlueROV2 using both types of joysticks if anyone gets around to testing that one day.

(Rusty) #14

@soriop - This looks awesome! Nice work.

I’m not too familiar with the performance different between analog and hall-effect joysticks but there certainly seem to be a lot of opinions! I’d be interested to know how well the analog sticks re-center and if you’ve experienced any issues with them.


(Dag Elias Sørdal) #15

I mean cheaper, not simple… please read here and tell me what you think: http://www.ctielectronics.com/Potentiometer-Hall-Effect-Inductive-Joystick-Background.php

(Dag Elias Sørdal) #16

Agree! I would like to see a comparison :slight_smile:

I don’t see the problem when the xbox and Logitech are pot based…
How is the software set up? any “noise” reduction?

(Dag Elias Sørdal) #17

I have not tested it enough to have a statement. There are adjusting screws for centering and adjusting.

(TCIII) #18


Since Paul Unterweiser has been building topside controllers with Hall Effect joysticks for over 10 years, maybe he can chime in here as the reliability of the Hall Effect joysticks used in his topside controllers?


(undersearobotics.com) #19

To be fair, joysticks and gamepads, by and large, tend to be pretty darn reliable. I have some Logitech controllers that are probably 10+ years old and many hundreds of hours of use yet still work fine. My opinion is largely based on the feedback I get from pilots in the field who operate ROVs for a living. They demand top quality components so that’s what we use. The price difference in components really isn’t as large as some would think, it’s the time, skill and effort to drill, assemble and wire up a SCU that is the bulk of the cost. That’s why I encourage anyone who is building their own to buy the very best they can find.

(Chris D Lathan) #20

I’ve always felt that pulling a gamepad out in a commercial setting is the fastest way to look like an amateur. I’ve seen them offshore in several settings and it’s typically because the people responsible for setting it up aren’t as skilled, don’t care or don’t have the time/budget to do something better.

I’ve been using a FrSky Taranis to control my little guy. It shows up as a USB gamepad if you plug it in via USB. This is so RC folks can use simulators to train without crashing their expensive toys. I took it a step further and connected a Teensy to a receiver so now I have a wireless link too. Build quality and function are nicer (IMHO) than a gamepad though it isn’t as rugged. It also gives me loads of control over how the controller works. I can setup gains, expo, change channel allocations, etc. Downside is it is very much not splashproof.

In order to combat the bright sun without a high bright display, I pulled out the FPV goggles and have them connected via HDMI to the computer. It works great but I needed to control the mouse so I set up the controller to run the mouse cursor (using Teensy trickery).

I’ve been collecting parts and pieces to build a proper controller but I haven’t decided how I want to get telemetry to/from the computer. I’ve considered tearing down a Taranis and repackaging it into a waterproof enclosure but I’m not sure it’d be worth the effort. If I come up with anything interesting, I’ll chime in to let people know.

(Christian) #21

…stable controller means less use of battery.