Updates on BlueESC, T200, and BlueROV!

We have a few exciting updates about the BlueESC, T200, and BlueROV, all of which will ship soon (finally!). We appreciate your patience as we learn and grow and make our products the best they can be.

News

You may have already read the article on our website, but we have some exciting testing news about the T100 and T200 Thrusters! The folks over at Woods Holes Oceanographic Institution recently performed a static pressure test of the T100 Thrusters. We’re proud to report that they survived at 3000m depth (4500 psi) with no damage or changes in performance! Check out the full article and pictures here.

We also have a number of new products in our store in the past month or so. We are now carrying Hitec’s waterproof servos, extra T100 propellers, extra thruster cable, M100 propellers, and t-shirts!

Last, we are moving! It’s finally time to upgrade from our tiny space to something that we can grow into. We’ll be moving ten minutes south into Torrance, California. Once we get moved in, we’ll share pictures!

BlueESC

The BlueESC is now in early production and we will ship around 50-100 units in April. Below is a picture of the first six that we built.

We’re very happy with their performance! The only issue we have right now is that our software to handle the I2C communication and data feedback is not ready for release yet. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to upgrade the firmware yourself! For ESCs shipping this month, we will be contacting people to ask if they would like to receive the ESCs as soon as possible and upgrade to the I2C firmware once it’s available. To upgrade, you need an Arduino board to act as a programmer.

T200 Thruster

The T200 Thruster is nearing production as well. We are ordering the final few pieces, including the propellers, which we spent quite a bit of time optimizing.

There’s a few important changes to the T200 to note:

  • It works great at 12V, but to get full thrust requires 16V (4s lipo). At 12V it still has over 8 lb of thrust, which is still 50% more than the T100!
  • The total length of the T200 is 4.45″ (113mm) without the BlueESC and 5.16″ (131mm) with the BlueESC. The other dimensions are the same as the T100. The extra length is all in the front of the thruster. We’ll have a CAD model available soon.

We are currently expecting to ship the first T200 Thrusters in early May and we’ll be building them as fast as we can to fill all orders as soon as possible.

BlueROV

All of our BlueROV backers deserve a big update. We’ve been working hard on the BlueROV, especially in the last few months. The current BlueROV is a little bigger and a lot better than what we showed during the Kickstarter.

Here’s one of the recent prototypes (although there are a few more changes in the production version).

Here’s another picture showing the final version of the frame that will be shipping to our backer (upgrades with more aluminum in the frame and a glue-less design).

We’ve made a LOT of major upgrades and improvements. Here’s a list of features and parts:

Frame:

  • Thick laser-cut acrylic side panels with extra holes for future expansion and features.
  • 100% glue-less frame design using 20mm aluminum T-slot tubing and custom aluminum stand-offs. Everything can be taken apart and reassembled in about 15 minutes.
  • Tough and machinable Delrin parts for durability and easy modification.
  • Watertight enclosure is secured with two fabric straps for quick removal and allows the enclosure to be moved fore and aft for balancing.
  • Lots of room for expansion and additions. Extra holes allow you to add buoyancy foam or ballast weight easily to balance the ROV.

Watertight Enclosure:

  • Cast acrylic watertight enclosure with lots of space – 12″ long and 4″ inner diameter.
  • Custom CNC aluminum o-ring flanges provide precision seals and modular end-cap options.
  • End-caps are laser-cut cast acrylic for optical clarity and strength.
  • A custom CNC aluminum sealable vent allows the end-caps to be installed without rods or screws. It is easy to open and easy to close.
  • Custom cable penetrators are designed for the thruster cables and make it easy to pass the thruster cables through the end-cap with a watertight seal.
  • Laser-cut Delrin electronics and battery shelf inside with mounting holes for APM autopilot, Raspberry Pi V1 or V2, camera, speed controllers, and battery strap.

Performance:

  • Designed for 150m+ depths. Our test results will be reported when complete.
  • ~1-1.5 lb (0.45-0.70 kg) of buoyancy without ballast so extra equipment, sensors, and actuators can be added
  • Slightly statically stable meaning that the ROV will sit level in the water automatically, however, not so stable as to make 6-DOF control difficult.

Our bare-bones software for camera streaming and control using an APM autopilot, Raspberry Pi computer, and Xbox controller will be released soon. We will continue to expand on the software and would love your input and contribution!

We expect BlueROV kits with Basic ESCs and T100 Thrusters to ship in April. Kits with BlueESCs and/or T200 Thrusters will 1-2 months later in May to early June.

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