Marine robotics is truly an interdisciplinary subject – it lies at the intersection of biology, physics, engineering, and chemistry. Educators are always looking for innovative ways to illustrate concepts to their students, and for the topic of marine robotics, a remotely operated vehicle is the perfect tool for the job. We are honored to share that the BlueROV2 was named the best educational ROV by International Ocean Systems!
Captain Marc Deglinnocenti ranked the top ROVs based on five factors: ease of use, cost, ease of maintenance, expandability, and depth rating. The BlueROV2 rated high across the board. Read the full article here!
We’ve got one more new product to squeeze in for 2017! The new Fathom Slim Tether is a high performance tether cable designed specifically for ROVs and other subsea applications and optimized for light weight, high strength, and transportability. It is neutrally buoyant, has 300 lb breaking strength, and is embedded with water-blocking fibers to seal any leaks. The tether has a diameter of 4.0mm and is much slimmer than the vast majority of ROV tethers.
The tether carries one unshielded twisted pair (UTP) of 26AWG wire. The core of the cable contains Kevlar strands for strength and filler fibers for space filling. Both fibers are impregnated with waterblocking compound to block any leaks caused by nicks or rips in the cable. The high-visibility yellow polyurethane foam jacket resists abrasion and provides neutral buoyancy.
The BlueROV2 with a 100m Fathom Slim Tether.
This tether really shines when it comes to it’s size. It’s slim profile makes it ultra low-drag, making it ideal for deep dives, high current dives, and long distance dives where the drag from the tether is really noticeable. The size also makes it incredibly portable and easy to handle. A hundred meter tether weighs just 3 lb (1.4 kg) and can be managed by hand very easily.
Since the tether only has two wires, is can only be used for the primary communication of the BlueROV2. There are no spare twisted pairs when using this cable, which means that it is not compatible with the Water Linked Analog Locator and is not ideal for applications where you need extra tether pairs.
We’re excited to announce a new version of the Companion computer software is now available! This update adds a number of new features including a great new camera configuration page to adapt the camera settings to the underwater lighting conditions.
The update includes:
Display CPU and RAM usage statistics on the System page
Auto-detect and auto-connect to Water Linked Underwater GPS system
Add option to change the static ip address of the ROV on the Network page
Add support for Internet Explorer
Camera configuration page: easily configure camera and video stream settings
Lighting conditions underwater are quite different than above water. The light that penetrates the surface is absorbed at different rates depending on the color. Here’s a neat plot from NOAA Ocean Explorer showing how far different colors penetrate the water. As you can see, blue and green tend to go the furthest whereas red is absorbed almost immediately.
Credit: NOAA OceanExplorer
That changes the way that things look underwater. As you descend underwater, red will disappear from the image first, changing the overall color of the image. To truly correct that, you need to add the light back into the scene by illuminating it with lights.
The new camera page lets you adjust the color and lighting settings to cope with the color changes and make the camera view look more natural. With the ability to save different profiles, you can make a profile for shallow water, deep water, low visibility, good visibility, etc.
Please check out the forum post here that details the update process and the changes. If you have any feedback or results, feel free to share.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Mounting options for 45° angle to forward.
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.
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
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.