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Second camera (BlueROV2)

(Mick) #1

A second camera would be great. (e.g. an extra, short-focussed downward-looking camera.)
Two possible ideas:

  1. Housed within a clear forward-facing dome on the existing battery hull.
    . Raspi camera cables can easily accomodate this ~60cm distance.
    . There are spare hull penetrators /spaces on both battery and electronics hull enclosures.
    . The second camera can have multiple purposes:
    a). for close-up view of objects or interest (different focus camera than the primary); and/or,
    b). for say viewing the bottom for navigating /tracking, and/or,
    c). for distance determination of objects (stereoscopic view).

  2. (Wide-angle) Camera positioned above and behind the ROV to offer a full view of the ROV; like driving a racing car 3rd-person /oblique-birds-eye view.
    . on a rigid plastic mount at say 45deg up/behind ROV.

(Todd Sparkes) #2

Mick, The best use I have found for a second camera which I have on my system is the BR low light camera for an extra view. Not only does it provide a different view it is excellent when lighting conditions are not the best. Also the camera runs off the battery without software so if your system dies for any reason you still have a video feed to see what is happening should you have entanglements during recovery.

(Thorleif) #3

As a former ROV Pilot i really miss an tether control camera. A small camera + light backwards to help me control the tether and see where it is. External camera+light module with connector would be perfect to just mount :stuck_out_tongue:

(Mick) #4

Hi Todd, Thorleif,

Thanks for the replies; and yes that seems like a great idea; different light sensitivity/angle and/or focal lengths on the second camera - some combination making it easier to manoeuvre the ROV or see a different angle; such as Thorleif’s suggestion for tether management is a great one too. (perhaps ideally eventually we’ll have maybe 4 cameras or so!)

Having yours connected directly to the battery is an excellent idea too! - so you get live feed off of this (to QGC)?

I would be very interested to know your set-up if you’re keen to share pic or description of it!

(Jacob) #5

On the software side of things, support for multiple digital cameras is in the works. Multiple analog cameras with an RC video switch is currently an option; there is a button for toggling video source using this method. Todd is using an analog camera connected to the battery. The general way to use an analog camera is with a separate analog monitor, it is possible to get video from an analog camera into QGC with a UVC adapter, but I haven’t tried this.

(Mark Langille) #6

We setup a Fathom-S along with the Fathom-X to run a secondary low light camera.

(Todd Sparkes) #7

Mick, I am using the low light camera. It is powered off the batteries through a 12 Vdc regulator board (with digital display) which cost about $11. The video off the camera is running straight up a wire pair on the tether. I have video baluns but once I seen the quality of the video I didn’t use them. Anyway I breakout the video from the topside watertight box via an RCA jack and plug it into a normal video monitor. It doesn’t go through QGC or any software. It is a composite signal.

(Mick) #8

Hi Guys, thanks for all the replies. I’ll probably run with one of these ideas; adding an analogue camera looks like the easiest for now.

(Etienne Demers) #9

Hello guys,

I just thought I would throw in my 2 cents.

The whole system is in a network. The Fathom-X board is only there to extend the reach of the network.

This means that you can insert a router between the Fathom-X and the Pi and connect whatever you want to the network.

The only thing you need to be careful is bandwidth.

They say you should get about 70mbps.

If you split this in half for a safety margin minus about 10 for the BR2 you still have 25mbps bandwidth to play with.

We have an IP camera connected in this manner and its using 2Mbps. So we could potentially connect 12…

We found that our IP camera produced much better video. The only issue here is latency. About 0.5 second to 1 second. So, not good enough for flying but good enough for recording survey.

Alternatively, there is another USB port on the Pi which can host another camera. We haven’t looked into this yet but we would like to put a BR USB camera in a GoPro Housing for tether monitoring. I imagine that you could also put a USB hub to increase this connectivity.

There is no rules that prevent you from adding another Pi in another 4 inch enclosure and configuring it as a camera server…

Note that there are 4 pairs in the tether so potentially you could put 4 Fathom-X boards…

I think that the combination of both methods is probably the ideal way to go. Although Todd’s idea is great, I find it comes at the cost of sacrificing a valuable pair. (Note that we are planning for a different tether that would give us only 2 pairs.) In the end it all depends what you need to put on the ROV.

Here is the link to the camera and ethernet switch we used:



If you take the switch out of its box it is very small. We are also planning in removing the ethernet connectors and soldering cables directly on the board instead. This fits in the 4inch enclosure.

Soon we will be trying a UHD camera.


(Heinz) #10

I was successful in installing a second camera using a fathom S and an AV to USB adapter on topside. The image was NTSC and was as good as you’d get from a video Ray. I have pondered about re-installing it as a rear facing camera since I didn’t like the resolution.
So it is very easy to do and install.
I’m so spoiled with the high resolution quality from our cameras that I went back to the raspberri pi2 camera and modified it to my liking