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Ping360 Range Test and other adventures

I did a quick and very unscientific range test of the Ping360. It seemed like the max range was about 100-120’. I realize now that doing it at 3.5’ probably wouldn’t be as good as doing it deeper since there might be more surface interference.

I also saw some cool algae on the rocks:

All of these clips are from this dive I did at the main part of Potholes Reservoir in January. I’m not a huge fan of this dive site right now because the visibility is always bad and it goes to almost nothing past 40’. There’s also a lot of big rocks at the shoreline that keeps snagging the tether.
There was a problem when the ROV got stuck at 8:50. I wasn’t watching the video stream since I had to spool out more tether and then I started to play with the Ping Viewer. I saw the video just as it looked like I was about to hit the rock. I though that I was caught underneath a big rock overhang so I was trying to go reverse and down, but it looks like I was just landed on top of a rock and it freed itself as soon as I applied upwards thrust.
After that ‘close call’ I decided to end the deep exploration for the day. I went back up and immediately did the range test and then looked at the algae rocks for a few minutes.

I also took my hydrophone out to that exact spot a few weeks ago when it was windy to try to see if I could get any cool water sounds.


Theoretical maximum is 50m/165’, as per the technical details, but that depends on target size (a single ping would need to hit a 22x1.75m/73x5.75’ target to be fully reflected at that distance), and gets reduced by bubbles and other floaties in the water scattering and absorbing the sound, along with the composition of the water and the frequency of the sound.

Out of interest, were you testing on high gain, or did you leave it on normal? It’s also worth noting that while the receiver is tuned to 750kHz, lower frequencies attenuate less so you may be able to get a little more distance by reducing the transmission frequency a bit (I’m not sure what drops off faster between the receiver sensitivity and the water transmittance). It might be worth doing some testing to map out the maximum achievable distance across different water types and transmission frequencies - perhaps a project for the bluerobotics engineers, or an interested third party :slight_smile:

This is where more cameras, proximity sensors, and/or live 3D mapping come in handy. Shame all of those are a bit of a pain to set up/get connected, but so it goes. Can definitely recommend a rotatable camera on top if you’re regularly going into tight places and have the penetrators and ports to connect it - this comment may be helpful to sort out the software side if you’re interested :slight_smile:

I think you succeeded! My speakers were up a bit louder than I realised and I felt like my head was underwater :laughing:


Thanks for the information. I was High gain with a 90 degree scan. I didn’t touch the advanced settings. I believe it’s 750 KHz and 32 microseconds. I set the Ping Viewers settings about 1:00 in the video. I tried to leave the testing videos as unedited as I can so the viewer can see my whole testing process and determine if my results are valid or not. This ROV is my very first experience with sonar, so right now I only know the top level stuff of how it interacts with the environments. I actually did play with the advanced settings at the end of my first dive this weekend. I haven’t uploaded the video yet.

Blue Robotics basically makes no product demonstration videos outside of the initial product announcement videos, so I try to make some of these testing videos to help other people see how the products work in real life situations/environments and determine if it will work for them.

I found a big rock wall at Lake Chelan the last time I was there. That would probably be a great place to re-test it with different settings. I’m going back to that spot anyways because I want to do a reconnaissance of the depths and temperatures before I scuba dive it this summer.

Oh yeah, I saw you setting them at the time but forgot that you’d done so after I finished watching the video.

Is that something you’d like to see more of? It might be more effective for such videos to be provided by the community to show examples of how different things can be used (e.g. in a production system?), as opposed to an official video that might make people think it’s only possible to use a component in the way shown in the video, but maybe it’s worth BR trying to make a more extensive set of videos showing a few different ways things can be used? :slight_smile:

Sounds technically interesting, and more generally like a bunch of fun. Maybe I’ll have to get into scuba diving… :stuck_out_tongue:

So, what is your overall impression of the Ping360? Is it something i should consider buying?

When you had it on the 90* setting…was that the highest scan rate possible? The alien Battleship is going to be on top of you before you realize it.

I really like your videos. But as i’ve said before, you could really do with a boat. There are several Youtube videos where people have built their own pontoon boats from lumber and plastic 55gal drums. That would be affordable, and would allow you to get out further and not be crouching under a sun-hood on the rocky shoreline.

I’m a builder and an engineer by nature, so i’m always thinking of ways to improve things.

I really like having it, and I also love the fact that it’s a fraction of the price of almost every other imaging sonar I have seen. I can’t tell you if it would be useful for you because that depends on your budget and the environment you dive in.
It’s extremely useful and I partly rely on it at most of my dive sites here where the visibility is usually 5-8 feet. Most of the lakes around here have reasonably steep slopes to a mud plane. One of the very useful applications is that I can explore on the mud plane and see the bottom of the slope on the Ping360, so I know my distance from the slope and my angle to the slope. It’s usually pretty easy to go parallel with the shore.
A great example is when I went to Soda Lake. I couldn’t see anything, but I was able to do some “IFR flying” by using the Ping1D to keep me 2-3’ above the bottom and the Ping360 told me my distance and angle relative to the shoreline so I knew where I was.
Soda Lake, Washington “Zero Visibility Zero Problems” - Dive Log - Blue Robotics Community Forums

The downsides are that it was useless on my Lake Chelan dives because the dive site is just a straight steep slope down to 250’ with great visibility, so there isn’t any reason to use an imaging sonar at that environment. I think the usefulness decreases as the visibility goes past 50’ because it’s faster and easier to just pivot the ROV and look at everything around you.
Although, The Ping1D echsounder is always useful because it lets me know if I’m landing on something when going down a slope. It’s also nice to descend at full speed and then slow down when I get about 15’ above the bottom.

I don’t think I can change the scan rate. That was automatically set based on the range setting and the scan degrees setting. I can choose the angular resolution, if that is what you are asking. It was set to 1 degree. I can increase it for a coarser scan if I need a wide scan and also a very fast
refresh rate.

I definitely agree with you about the boat. One of my primary mission when I bough the ROV was long drift dives in the Columbia River. My access to Lake Chelan is also extremely limited because it looks like most of the lake is only accessible by boat.
I have to get an inflatable boat because my only vehicle is my old Camry and I only have 1 parking space at my apartment. Any boat I get has to be able to fit inside my Camry and also be able to be set up and used all by myself. I’m still primarily considering that Saturn SD330W because it’s big enough that it should be reasonably stable in the water, it looks like I can handle it myself, and it will most likely fit in my car no problem. I would build a mount for the front bench that holds my laptop drybox and the tether spool.

You’re correct that you can’t change it from ping viewer. As per this comment from @patrickelectric you can get about 2x the speed if you change your ping360 to use ethernet instead of RS485/serial (more details later in that thread). The speed is also expected to increase in a future firmware update according to the technical details, which Patrick confirmed in the same thread. I’m not sure if that speed increase is purely due to the introduction of messages 2602 (auto-transmit) and 2301 (auto_device_data) which will allow sending one command and then receiving several back-to-back data messages, or if there’s something else in the new firmware that will reduce time spent in other parts of the scanning process.

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Looks like that Saturn inflatable is down to $1000.

@Oddmar I bit the bullet and bought it since it’s exactly what I’m looking for and I haven’t seen any comparable alternatives. I don’t have very much experience with boats and I didn’t see any local stores on google maps that might sell inflatable boats to compare them in person. I got the impression that the local stores just sell fiberglass and aluminum boats. It was $1,148.00 delivered to me, but I think it will be worth the investment if it lasts a good 10 years at least. I’m fine paying a premium for a nice boat that fits in my car and is also manageable by myself.

I just got it unboxed and inflated but I’m impressed with it so far, and I was very impressed with the fact that I can lift the main tubes bag by myself and it will fit in my car no problem. I still need to get an outboard motor and a couple other things, but my exploration future is looking a lot brighter. I’m 6’3" and I can lay inside of it and still have about a foot of extra room above my head, so I think it will be very comfortable to spend time in because it has plenty of room.

I didn’t inflate the keel in these pictures.


Sweet! Nice boat for something you can fit into a car.

You’ll want to glue indoor/outdoor carpeting to the top of those aluminum seats, if you don’t want to burn your skin every time you move around in the hot sun.

Are the top ‘rails’ on the tubes aluminum angle?

If you don’t mind, i’m gonna grab one of these pics to draw my ideas on and repost here?


Yes. I’m very surprised how little information there is about the products actually being used. Look at the Ping360 for example. It’s a powerful tool with many potential uses, but the product page just has 3 screenshots and the very brief product launch video that briefly covers 1 specific use of the product.

If you would like to spend a few minutes doing a demonstration, Try to imaging that you are a potential buyer who does search and recovery in very murky water. Use the standard research tools like Google or Youtube and try to see if there is enough information online to determine if the Ping360 will work for your specific mission requirements and environment.

I spent a few seconds doing a quick search to make sure that my point is valid, and it seems like I’m the only real source of Ping360 “real world” and demonstration videos. Bonus points if you don’t use any of my videos in your search.
I think a possible solution would be for the distributors to get access to the new products a little early, in exchange for making a video a few minutes long demonstrating the range of capabilities of that new product. Maybe Blue Robotics could even make it a friendly competition and the company that makes the best video could get a little prize.


Thanks for that tip. I didn’t think about them getting hot. I’m sure I can rig up a pump and heatsink to get them watercooled if I have to. I might have to do it anyways just for bragging rights. Look at all of those peasants driving $100,000+ boats that don’t even have watercooled seats. I’'m also thinking about covering them with dense foam with Velcro straps to absorb some of the shock from bouncing in the waves.

Those rails that the grab rope is threaded through is just a strip of the PVC folded in half. You are welcome to use the pictures. I have a few idea of my own, but my first step is to get it in the water and get a baseline of “stock” performance and convenience. I have a head strap for my GoPro somewhere around here, so I can get some good POV videos to demonstrate its capabilities in the future.

Fair enough. I’ve brought this up already internally, but will pass on your confirmation :slight_smile:

Seems like a decent process idea. I’ll see if I can sort out a general overview of all our products and outline where we need to provide more information about how things can be used and whatnot. I don’t yet have my BR equipment so can’t start making such resources/guides straight away, but I can find out what needs making and see how much time I’m able to dedicate to that within my role.

Great idea! I’ll pass it on to the team, thanks :slight_smile:

Videos on Youtube where someone is wearing the cam on thier head are some of the jerkiest, nausea-inducing videos i’ve seen. A selfie stick held/mounted at a 45* angle dampens the bouncing and stabilizes the cam very well.

I watched a Youtube video where a guy used this camera…

to record video of him driving his 60’s muscle car. It was a phenomenal demonstration of how tech has progressed.

edit: Ok, he used an older 2018 version, the Insta one x. I looked on eBay and used ones are available for as little as $150. Alot better $ outlay than the new version ($430), and the same exact resolution, according to a review on them i watched. Old one has a smaller battery but i’d just hack it or plug it in.

Cooled seats? Why go halfway? Find a used tent with a floor the size of your new boat, cut out the floor and put sticky velcro around the edge so you can attach it easily. Then use the lake water instead of a heat exchanger with Tech Ingredient’s thermoelectric refrigerator design, modified slightly, to have an air-conditioned cabin. BUILD YOUR OWN REFRIGERATOR! - SOLID STATE TEC - YouTube That is how i plan on having air-conditioning in the back of my topper-covered bed on my 1984 Toyota 4x4.