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SolarSurfer Continuation Project

(Cas Theeuwes) #61

Thanks Kevin,
It’s great to hear you guys will soon have a proper solution for sonar depth finding.
See below current solution; it does work, but as I’m not thinking only do this ones, a device without moving parts and optical risks would be much better.

You might be interested in the low-drag thruster deflector I has made in China. It supposed to fit tight over outside diameter, but they made it a few mm to big. I think that’s not a problem, and I’m planning to fill the distance, and fixate, by hot glue gun. As outside-ring gets smaller at the backside, this should prevent the deflector from ability to be pulled-off to the front. But maybe I can find a better solution with small clips. I had to invest in tooling just to get some samples (luckily I have good contacts in the Shenzhen wire mesh industry), and have a reasonable MOQ.
I will update after start assembling it with the T200.

(Cas Theeuwes) #62

(Bolivar Barrios) #63

Hello, I have been following the forum for a long time but it is the first time I have written, since I saw the project I wanted to build my own boat controlled by satellite, I have enough knowledge of electronics but not much programming.

more than 5 months ago I build in a boat of 2 meters in length, 4 solar panels of 100w each, with a T200 thruster, 2 batteries lifepo4 12v 50AH, the rudder driven by a linear actuator (https://www.actuonix.com/L16-R-Miniature-Linear-Servo-For-RC-p/l16-r.htm ), and all controlled by pixhawk with the software ardupilot.

for telemetry I have used the rfd900 + modems although I have not reached distances greater than 1.5 miles (far from the 40km I expected).

all this has worked well, although there are still things to improve, but the most important thing is the satellite communication, I used the envirover software http://envirover.com/docs/spl.html and it worked, but I have had problems with communication, sometimes I lose connection with the boat for periods of more than 2 hours, and this does not feel good.

the envirover team has been very kind, and they have oriented me, I am waiting for a new version to try it, I hope I do not have the problems I said before.

Finally I have recently seen that the px4 device connects the rockblock module directly to the pixhwak.


I find it very interesting because it does not use the RPI3, I think that there are less chances of failure, although I see that the px4 dont have much information for boats or rovers.

Which option will be more secure? soon I upload photos of my project to receive recommendations.

(Andrew) #64

Hi Kevin

Sounds great you are working on a depth sounder solution! Are you able to share some of the thinking?

  • is it depth readings only available in Python or is it more of a sea floor image?
  • what sort of operational depth limits could it scan and how deep could it go?
  • how would it attach to BlueRov 2 ? Would it require a heavy configuration or payload skid or basic BlueRov2 setup?
  • what sort of price range?

(Kevin) #65

@deepsouth Nothing more to share right now until it is released other than “its coming.”

(Andrew) #66

Worth a try :grinning:

(Cas Theeuwes) #67

I have some progress on Solar USV “Mike”.
Hull and Deck parts are laminated. This is Epoxy/glass.

I keep an eye on “Project Mahi” https://projectmahi.com from a Belgian team, attempting to cross the Atlantic, around the same time I hope to launch for the Pacific.
Also the guys from angusadventures in Canada have oceanic solar USV plans for next year. 2019 looks promising.

(Kevin) #68

The hull is looking good!

(Ryan) #69

Cas it looks like you are making good progress. I’m also working on these goals and hope to launch next spring. So far I’ve been able to test on lake Champlain and fine tune the autopilot. Next big hurdle for me is satellite communication. Like Bolivar, I am hoping to use the envirover software for this.

A few build pics are available here: http://www.skyviewcustoms.com/champlain-explorer

Keep up the good work!


(Cas Theeuwes) #70

Hi Ryan,
Aha, so an other boat to track next spring…
As you know, the Microtransat Challenge has been won by Norwegians few months ago, yet by auto sailing. To cross the Atlantic on solar alone is the new race!
What happened to the aluminum welded boat? Difficult to make watertight?
I’ll use a Rockblock as well, but by use of Raspb.Pi and Python. A lot can be found for that combination, but I haven’t started with that yet.


(Ryan) #71

Hello Cas,

Yes we are now competing in the solar version of this race! Honestly, I would be thrilled just to make it across. So many things can prevent that from happening.

The aluminum version was designed before I had a firm understanding of boat building principles. I am learning as I go. The composite version, the version you see here, is much lighter in weight and is more streamlined. The COG/COB is improved which helps the stability of the boat.

I don’t have the programming skills to successfully build my own autopilot. That’s why I am trying to use the envirover solution. I will be interested to see what you come up with for the satellite link.

Good luck!


(Cas Theeuwes) #72

For navigation and communication, I’m using Pi3B with:

You don’t need special programming skills to use Python on a Pi. It’s really easy to learn.
For navigating an USV, you need no more than basic high school trigonometry. “Pygame” for Python is useful and easy to draw simulated sailing on screen.
I’m not an IT guy, and for me all the set-up Pi commands for this connected hardware give the most trouble, but there are plenty of people on the Internet to help with that.