Low cost BlueSub1 project

This is my third ROV project posted on BR forums in the past 6 years. My first two used the BR WTE and T100 motors and ESC’s, as well as other miscellaneous parts. Rusty gave me a great deal of help back then. They served me well in saltwater depths to 130 feet. You can view my videos on my YouTube channel Richard Fast.
I recently moved from Florida to Missouri, so this ROV has very modest goals of fresh water use only, no current to deal with, and a 50 feet depth limit. My goals are to keep costs at a minimum and use hardware and programming I understand and can troubleshoot myself without bothering Elliot too much :wink: I just don’t like “plug and play”.
Here are some pictures of the electrical/electronics that go in the WTE, the topside control panel and monitor, and the tether and tether reel. The control panel has Up/Down, Fwd/Back, and Turn controls. The readouts are Voltage, heading, and depth. The WTE is still in process using innovative, low-cost ideas at a cost of less than $100. Hopefully, total project cost will be less than $500.
Any questions, please ask.

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Hi @model14,

Thanks for sharing your project progress, and some of the context behind and around it :slight_smile:

I imagine that will be quite challenging to hit if including 3+ thrusters, a tether, and a video screen, but interested to see where this goes, and how it progresses :slight_smile:

By the way, I’ve added a link to your post about low cost WTE design ideas in case others are interested to read it and/or contribute to the discussion :slight_smile:

A post was merged into an existing topic: Innovative ideas to control costs

Making progress. Photos show final setup on the endcap and strongback. Thruster shrouds are being built. You can see the thruster detail which includes modified SeaFlow bilge pumps, shaft adapter and 3" propeller. The SeaFlow pumps are very rugged, have been around a long time, and are made in the USA.

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All 4 propeller shrouds in place. Seems like overkill.

Nice work!

Perhaps worth noting that the prop shrouds on thruster like the T200 and T500 are there to protect the thruster but also have been intentionally designed for hydrodynamic flow. The aim is to maximise the water moving the the thrust direction, while minimising drag, together with thruster placement and orientation to avoid excessively affecting the flow of other nearby thrusters.

You may enjoy checking out some of the other posts with the vehicle-design tag. This one includes an intuition-based understanding of how thrusters work, including in cohesion :slight_smile:

With a $500 limit I cannot concern myself too much with prop shroud design for efficiency, only for protecting the tether. What I used is off-the-shelf Lowes for $3 a piece.

I see you are using a fairly primitive control interface. Have you heard of Direct Servo Control? It was a 2-wire serial connection between an RC transmitter and receiver to test servos without transmitting RF, for testing at a field while other members are flying on older, limited-channel radios.
With a couple of old RC transmitters bought off eBay, you could have a cheap multi-channel control system. Direct Servo Control (DSC) with RC Tx/Rx - Homebuilt Rov Forum

I don’t agree that the control interface is primitive. What it is, is a simple straight forward method of control that I fully understand and can troubleshoot and fix if something goes wrong. The Arduino processor in the WTE does an analog read through the tether on the voltage from each potentiometer in the control box and outputs a proportional PWM signal to the motor controllers. I agree I am using one more wire in the tether, but that is not a problem for now. Maybe I don’t understand what you are recommending.

First test outside the bathtub test today. Couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Tether needs some more buoyancy. I didn’t achieve the $500 goal, so $600 will have to do. The WTE was only $70, and that includes the $40 BR dome. If you are interested in any details or parts breakdown, let me know.

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Portable battery charger. The nice thing about freshwater use is being able to charge on site through a end cap connector. No need to disassemble anything. Just plug it in.