New Product! Basic ESC R3

Hi everyone, we have a quick new product announcement for today! The Basic ESC has been updated to a new R3 version, and besides looking (and running!) cooler, there have been a few changes under the hood to add features and make it even more robust. This new version of the Basic ESC runs BLHeli_S firmware, a much more modern ESC firmware with smoother running and easy customization with the BlHeliSuite graphical interface.

More efficient design and components allow the Basic ESC to be packed into an even smaller package with less heat generation than previous designs. We evaluated a bunch of potential ESCs for and put them through a battery of tests to evaluate their reliability and robustness, which included:

  • Running a T200 continuously for hours at over 20V and 32A
  • Hammering a T200 back and forth between full reverse and full forward
  • Statistical testing of PWM signal response with a function generator
  • Multiple dives of real world testing in a BlueROV2

The new Basic ESC performed excellently, and we’re very excited to have it available now! The BlueROV2 is also now shipping with the Basic ESC R3 installed.

We will continue to sell the original Basic ESC R2, but we have set an “end of life” date for 6 months from now.

Stay tuned for more future product updates!

New Product! Subsea LED Indicator

Good day, friends! We have some new products to light up your day including the new Subsea LED Indicator and a few new Water Linked Underwater GPS products! If you’re in Florida, we’re at the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) show in Orlando this week and excited to meet a lot of a new people! Come visit us at Stand #2184!

Subsea LED Indicator

These small LED lights fit into a cable penetrator form factor for easy installation on our watertight enclosures and they come in white, red, green, and, of course, blue! A built-in resistor makes them ready to connect to any 3-20v power supply to act as an indicator light, status light, or on/off light.

We’ve used Indicator10 on our ROVs that use aluminum enclosures to provide a power on/off indicator as well as on cameras that we provided to the MATE ROV competition earlier this summer. The lights have an anodized aluminum body and fit into a 10mm hole. An injection molded diffuser lens provides a gentle glow and a wide viewing angle that is easily viewed in full sunshine.

The blue version of the Subsea LED Indicator.

We’ve had a lot of fun with this light already, including this underwater light display built into one of our 8″ Series enclosures with a 25-hole end-cap!

Water Linked Underwater GPS Products

We have some exciting news from our friends at Water Linked – a new locator for the Underwater GPS that is battery operated and works wirelessly! Announced in coordination with the DEMA show this week, this new locator module is perfect for scuba divers, untethered vehicles, and vehicles that don’t have spare wires for the original Analog Locator.

The new locator has a clock that stays synchronized with the surface unit for up to 6 hours at a time. It’s announced today, but won’t be shipping until March of next year.

Also new today from Water Linked is an Underwater GPS Developer Bundle, which includes all of the receivers, locator, and electronics included in the Underwater GPS system, but without a case or any wiring. This configuration is intended to be integrated directly into the topside electronics system of an ROV or other vehicle. Since this kit doesn’t include any new components, it’s available starting today.

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading!

New Product! Hand Operated Vacuum Pump

Hi everyone! Today we are pumped to add a handy tool to our product line: a Hand Operated Vacuum Pump!

This hand-operated vacuum pump allows you to test the seals on a watertight enclosure without getting it wet. The pump comes with everything you need to use it, including the Vacuum Plug. The vacuum plug inserts into the vent on the enclosure and the pump allows you to pump air out of the enclosure, creating a vacuum and simulating external pressure. If there’s a leak in the enclosure seals, air will leak back into the enclosure and the vacuum pressure on the gauge will be reduced. If it’s properly sealed, the vacuum pressure will remain the same. We also do this test after changing anything on the enclosure and at the beginning of the day before any dives.

Please see the product page for complete usage instructions.

The pump is available in a kit with the Vacuum Plug and hose and it will also be included with all new BlueROV2 orders!

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for more updates before the end of the year!

New Products! Water Linked Integration Kit and Random Fathom Tether Lengths

Hey friends! Today we are excited to announce an Integration Kit for the Water Linked Underwater GPS System. We’ve also added a fun item to our Dings and Dents selection.

Water Linked Underwater GPS / BlueROV2 Integration Kit

The Water Linked Underwater GPS / BlueROV2 Integration Kit provides the components needed to seamlessly integrate Water Linked Underwater GPS system with the BlueROV2.

The integration kit basically adds a Fathom-X module inside the Water Linked system box so that only a single cable is needed to connect the Water Linked system to the rest of the ROV system. An 8 meter long cable is provided so that the box can be located away from the laptop and in an area with a good view of the sky for GPS signal. There are a few small cables included to wire up the Fathom-X inside the box and replace one of the external connectors.

The diagram below shows the connections that are made in the Water Linked box with the integration kit. All included cables are ready to use and installation is simple. There is no soldering or crimping required.

Miscellaneous Tether Lengths – Discounted

Over the past year, we’ve built lots of BlueROV2s and sent out lots of tether. As a result, we’ve got a bunch of random lengths of tether too short to sell on their own, and we are making them available to you at a super low cost! The fun part is each length will be a surprise – you won’t know how much you’re getting until you receive your order, but you’ll definitely get the minimum length of whichever option you choose. These are perfect for MATE teams, prototyping purposes, or for any reason you aren’t in need of more than 25m!

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for upcoming updates!

Customer Spotlight: Catalina Sea Ranch

Many of us can relate to losing something meaningful to the forces of the ocean. I still remember the seafoam green Nike shorts I lost on a kayaking adventure back in 2013. RIP. Sometimes the losses are purely sentimental, but many times, especially in a commercial setting, the losses can be extremely costly. Regardless of whether objects are lost, or placed at the bottom of the ocean intentionally, retrieval is no simple task.

Recovering such objects has long been a job left to divers, whose services carry a hefty price tag. Not only are divers expensive, but there are undeniable safety concerns with sending humans down to depths of the ocean. Divers are also considerably limited in the amount of time they can perform tasks at depth. Many of these issues are solved with the use of an ROV, and our friends at Catalina Sea Ranch (CSR) have been successfully using their BlueROV2 (equipped with custom tools) for a number of recovery missions.

Custom recovery tool.

The first and obvious challenge of retrieving an object is finding it. Without an ROV, it could take hours, days, even months to find what’s under the surface in an area. I recently had the chance to join CSR’s crew on a rescue mission and observe first-hand how the BlueROV2 can be used as a strategic asset for object recovery. The task of the day was the retrieval of a lead weight used in the company’s anchor installation system. Capitalizing on the prior week’s success with the BlueROV2 capturing three separate pieces of scientific monitoring technologies installed on the seafloor, a second revision of the custom capture device would ferry a lifting line to the lost weight on the bottom. At 1 ton and with no convenient attachment point for the retrieval mechanism, this mission was exactly the kind of challenge the Sea Ranch crew was familiar with.

Successful retrievals.

Check out the sensor retrieval footage below!


A BlueROV2 with the new Low-Light USB Camera was fitted with a PVC tube that served as a receiver for a holder for the spring-loaded carabiner, which would attach to the target.

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BlueROV2 Frame Updates

By: Jonathan N., Mechanical Engineer at Blue Robotics

Hello everyone! Today we’ve got a few BlueROV2 updates to announce. We’re always working to make our products better, especially the BlueROV2, and these small changes make a big difference in the feel of the ROV’s frame. Here are the changes.

Minor updates to the BlueROV2 frame.

We have rounded the edges everywhere on the frame. Not only does this look awesome, but it makes the ROV much more comfortable to carry by hand.

Rounded edges on ROV side panel.

We have changed the threaded inserts from press-in inserts to captured inserts. We made this change to make the frame stronger and more rigid. This makes it much more ruggedized and resistant to damage. There are more pictures on the BlueROV2 product page.

Captured insert on ROV bottom panel.

Last, there are now two sets of vectored thruster mounting holes; the original set at 45° and a new set at 30°. Mounting the thrusters at 30° instead of 45° increases the available forward thrust by 22% but reduces lateral thrust by 22%. This configuration is better for missions that require flying forward quickly or for a long time. We wanted this option to speed up the ROV when searching for shipwrecks or other targets. You rarely need to move laterally at full speed, so the loss of lateral thrust is barely noticeable. In any case, the original holes are still available to give you options!

IMG_5148

Mounting options for 45° angle to forward.

IMG_5148

Mounting options for 30° angle to forward.

The new frame is now available separately on our store for anyone who is interested. This frame kit comes with all of the HDPE panels, the anodized aluminum enclosure cradles, and all of the required hardware.

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New Stable Release of BlueROV2 Software

Newest QGroundControl release.

Hello everyone! Today we’re proud to announce an updated release of the BlueROV2’s core software, which includes ArduSub, Companion, QGroundControl. This is our second big software update, and this time it can be performed without opening the electronics enclosure!

Notable changes in this update are:

  • Ability to display camera tilt angle, lights level, tether turns and more in QGC
  • GPS input support in Companion, including support for the Water Linked Underwater GPS Developer Kit
  • Fewer default pre-arm checks
  • Acceptable compass calibration threshold has been relaxed
  • Pilot input failsafe timeout increased from 1 second to 3 seconds (‘Lost manual control’ message)
  • Gyro calibration is disabled at boot by default
  • Support for the Bar100 pressure sensor
  • Companion login is changed to:
    • user: pi
    • password: companion
  • Allow selecting a custom image to display in the QGC ui in place of the ‘ArduSub’ logo
  • Many other various bugfixes, feature additions, and improvements, reference the release notes below for a comprehensive list of changes

We’ve done a lot of work to get this point and special credit goes to Jacob and Daniel, our primary Blue Robotics software developers. We strongly encourage all BlueROV2 users to upgrade to this newest software update. Please visit the full forum topic for update instructions.

New Products! Low-Light HD USB Camera and Bar100 Depth/Pressure Sensor

Hello, friends! It’s a lovely day to #godeep, and today we’re stoked to bring a couple of capable products into the picture.

Check out the New Product Video on Youtube:

Let’s bring our focus to the new Low-Light HD USB Camera. This camera is ideally suited to use underwater with excellent low-light performance, good color handling, and onboard video compression. A specially-chosen wide-angle, low distortion lens provides excellent picture quality on the ROV. With a 3D printed camera mount, it is a drop in replacement for the Raspberry Pi Camera on the BlueROV2.

Next up we have the Bar100 Depth/Pressure Sensor. It’s built around the Keller LD Series pressure/temperature sensor, which communicates via I2C communication, just like the Bar30 Pressure/Depth Sensor. It can measure up to 100 bar – that’s over 1000 meters water depth! It has a pressure resolution of 3 mbar, providing a depth measurement resolution of 3 cm in the water column.

The Bar100 is compatible with our Watertight Enclosure Series and we have new Arduino and Python libraries to interface with it. The sensor is already supported in ArduSub for use on the BlueROV2 and other ArduSub vehicles!

That’s it for today!

New Products! 6″ Series and 8″ Series Aluminum End Caps and 2″ Series Tube

Hole-y moley! We are pleased to announce the latest addition to the Watertight Enclosure Series: 6″ Series and 8″ Series Aluminum End Caps with more holes! We’re also excited to announce a new 2″ Series Aluminum Tube with the greatest depth rating we’ve ever offered on an enclosure.

The 6″ Series now has a 15-hole end cap option, and the 8″ Series now has 15-hole and 25-hole options. These are perfect for projects where you need a lot of cable connections for a lot of sensors or other equipment. If you don’t need all of the holes, you can use blank penetrators to fill them in. We think these new end cap options are pretty cap-tivating 😉

Next up is a 5.9″, 150 mm Aluminum Tube for the 2″ Enclosure Series. The tubes were successfully tested in the #Crushinator to 1000 m, which is the currently rated depth. However, they’re designed to handle quite a bit more (potentially up to 2900m depth) but we don’t have an easy way to test that. These new tubes are available as an option for the 2″ Watertight Enclosure Series now!

That’s it for today!

New Products! BlueROV2 Electronics Enclosure and Fairing

They say it’s your birthday?! Well it’s the BlueROV2’s birthday, too, yeah! Today we are celebrating the BlueROV2’s first cycle around the sun with the release of two of its components: the Electronics Enclosure and the Fairing.

The Beatles with their two favorite underwater vehicles (probably).

BlueROV2 Enclosure

Are you building an ROV with a custom frame but wish you had all the brains of the BlueROV2? That is now possible! The BlueROV2 Enclosure comes with all of the electronics included in the Advanced Electronics Kit, as well as 6 pre-wired BlueROV2 Basic 30A ESCs.

BlueROV2 Fairing

If you’re looking to protect your buoyancy foam in the same fashion as the BlueROV2, we’ve got you covered! These fairings are made of polycarbonate and come with 4 screws to attach to your vehicle.

That’s it for today everyone! Be sure to check our social media for special news! 😉