Home        Store        Docs        Blog

SolarSurfer Continuation Project


(Luis Gamez) #41

Hey @kevink,

take a look at this beauty:

this solar surfer is going to measure the depth of specific coordinates of the pacific ocean and after that they will install some subsea equipment and sensors to measure seismic reactions up to 3000 meters below the surface, this unique equipment is being installed after the strong earthquakes in the capital and southwest México.

we at AQUA Exploración are going to help this Singaporean-European-American-Mexican Team to take great footage while they are installing the equipment and advice if there is any problem down there.

some sensors will be at around 50-100 meters below with of course our BR2 and some up to 3000 meters below, in that escenario we will use a Work Class ROV to check it out. Everything on board the oceanograpich vessel “El Puma”.

Luis Gamez


(Kevin) #42

@luisgamez Thanks for sharing! Yeah we definitely can’t compete with the capabilities and ruggedness of a Wave Glider, but it is an interesting design to take notes from. Good luck with your expedition!


(Kevin) #43

@rdn11180 The Envirover satellite communications system is up and running with a RPi. https://github.com/envirover/SPLRadioRoom I have a USB cable plugged into the RPi to the Pixhawk and that works well. Because of that, I had to ditch my WiFi connection for the moment.


(Ryan) #44

@kevink This is great news. Thank you for sharing. I have been busy designing and testing drive components for the boat. I finally worked out the magnetic coupler and now have a working printed prototype. The actual hull has been designed with CG/COB for decent stability. It was a challenge getting this right while also trying to eliminate areas where snags from debris could occur. I’m trying to build it with .080 in. aluminum so I can keep my father involved in the build (he is a welder). We may move to composites in the future if the aluminum doesn’t work. I am now building a ground based rover that will use the rudder mechanism, drive system and autopilot for testing navigation.

For now I will be using ardurover and mission planner. It’s what I am most comfortable with for autonomous ops. Are you still using ardusub for your surface vehicle?



(Kevin) #45

That looks like an outstanding hull and component set-up to me. It looks to incorporate a lot of the lessons learned over the years.

I’ll be interested to see pretty much everything on this, especially the rudder. Keeping rotary joints watertight has always been a challenge.

Yes, I’m still using ArduSub at the moment. I prefer QGC over Mission Planner and I like the Manual Control over Mavlink. Rover looks to have been stuck in development all summer and is moving more towards UGVs with wheel encoders and such. I have a feeling we need a dedicated “ArduBoat” firmware due to the multitude of propulsion options for boats, different sensors, and dynamic positioning.


(Ryan) #46

I’m hoping this hull shape will help with entanglements. It’s probably not the final design but should get us started.

Currently the rudder shaft is supported by a couple of bearings and also a few shaft seals. Like you, I’m a bit worried these may leak. I originally planned on incorporating an axial magnetic coupling but my prototype was really weak. I’ve been super impressed by how strong the radial magnetic coupling is working for the motor drive. I may have to use this for the rudder. I’m still worried that the rudder would lose positioning. It could be a real problem if that happened. Mag coupling scheme below:

Have you been able to get auto missions working with Ardusub? I have a GPS in my ROV so I may have to try auto modes this weekend. I do agree that a dedicated ArduBoat is needed!


(Kevin) #47

Your mag coupling looks like it should do the job.

I’ve only managed to test auto missions on the bench, but when I change the mode to AUTO, the thrusters take off and it wants to try to navigate to the waypoint. Jacob has mentioned that there might be an issue with surface vehicles and waypoints: Way point following issues for surface vehicle I’m at a hard point because I want the manual control and sensors from ArduSub, but the dedicated 2D waypoint and control options (skid steer and conventional) from ArduRover.

Because the Simple-3 frame uses servo mixing in a default skid steer, you would need something like a reverse servo mixer to take the servo outputs and convert them back into a throttle and rudder control for your USV.


(Kevin) #48

@rdn11180 When you get your Iridium modem up and running and connected to your Pixhawk, be sure to try out the tracking feature: https://github.com/envirover/SPLGroundControl/wiki/SPLStream-and-SPLTracks-Web-Services


(Ryan) #49

@kevink I actually just ordered the rockblock MK2 yesterday during Sparkfun’s cyber Monday sale. Perfect timing! The Envirover interface looks really good. When I get all of the components in, I may need to pick your brain for setup help.

Yesterday I was able to manually drive my test rover around. In auto modes it seemed to reach the first waypoint and stop. I haven’t had a chance to dig into it further. It does sound like Randy Mackay is about to roll out the next stable release with a few fixes so i may wait until that time. I am using Rover3.2-rc2 and have noticed documentation/mission planner isn’t up to date with this.


(Kevin) #50

Sure thing! I’ll be here. I’m looking forward to seeing more DIY vehicles out prowling the ocean and the Microtransat looks neat. Unfortunately, nothing here in the Pacific and Hawaii has already been done.

Hmm, yeah Rover documentation is lagging quite a bit. I’m looking forward to seeing your experiments, it looks like you have an excellent platform.


(Ryan) #51

@kevink Have you guys tried both the Arduino 101 and Pi for the SPL RadioRoom sat solution? I am thinking the arduino may be a bit more efficient compared to the Pi. I wonder if the Pi could have more issues if rebooting was required during a low power cycle? Any thoughts?


(Kevin) #52

I tried both the Arduino 101 and the Pi solutions. I could never get the 101 version to work properly even though everything was connected correctly and was able to transmit. For some reason, my high latency Mavlink messages didn’t include the payload portion of the message. Maybe you’ll have better luck, but I gave up.

The Pi version is working fine for me. If power is a concern, you could always try the other Pi versions, like the Model 1 B+ or a Pi Zero W. I think those do better on power consumption than a Pi 3.


(Ryan) #53

Ok thanks for the input. I will give it a try with a Pi 3 first and see how it goes.


(Ryan) #54

My dad and I made some progress on our solar boat. I was able to cut all of the aluminum parts on my cnc in Kentucky and drive them up to Vermont for Christmas vacation. Fitting the parts in the car was a bit of a challenge but we made it work.

We spent a few days assembling the parts and tacking them together. My dad’s welding experience really helped with welding the thin aluminum. It’s nice to finally see the real boat after staring at the cad model for so long!


(Kevin) #55

Looking good!