Friends, hello! A couple of weeks ago we attended (for the 4th year in a row!) the MATE International ROV Competition and we are excited as ever for the future of marine robotics. Before we dive into a recap, let’s take a look at some throwbacks from previous competitions!
A brief history of BR and MATE
In 2016 the event was held at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas – a pretty epic location for our first time! The 2016 competition highlighted how technologies developed for use in the harsh ocean environment can also be used in outer space – and vice versa.
Rusty with Marty Klein, the father of side scan sonar 😝 (left) and a competition vehicle (right).
Our customers are are some of the most innovative creatures out there – they are studying marine life, exploring shipwrecks, surveying coral reefs, and advancing human knowledge of the ocean. The products in this update will be familiar but they are new to our store – they’ve been added to help make our customers lives a little easier, so we may continue to push the boundaries of ocean exploration together!
Updated Water Linked Underwater GPS / BlueROV2 Integration Kit R2
This kit provides a few additional cables for the Water Linked Underwater GPS system to allow it to seamlessly integrate with the BlueROV2 system – the R2 version is better integrated with FXTI and uses Binder 770 connectors.
The Battery Cell Checker plugs into the battery balance plug and tells you cell voltages, overall pack voltage, and overall state-of-charge. It’s a great field tool to check your batteries and make sure they are ready for each dive! We keep one with us during every dive.
Hi friends, happy Tuesday! We are (finally) ready to release a product that many of you have been patiently awaiting… introducing the Ping Sonar Altimeter and Echosounder (plus other fun things)!
Check out the new product video below!
Ping Sonar Altimeter and Echosounder
The Ping sonar is a multipurpose single-beam echosounder. It can be used as an altimeter for ROVs and AUVs, for bathymetry work aboard a USV, as an obstacle avoidance sonar, and more. The Ping combines a compact form factor and 300 meter depth rating with an open source user interface and development libraries to create a powerful new tool for marine robotics!
The Ping has anodized aluminum case with the sonar transducer on one side. The other side has tapped mounting holes and the Ping comes with a mounting bracket that makes it easy to install on the BlueROV2 and in other applications. It comes with a one meter cable with a pre-installed cable penetrator and is rated to an operating depth of 300m.
The Ping has a bottom-finding algorithm that locks onto the strongest response and returns the distance and measurement confidence. The Ping works great as an altimeter on the BlueROV2 but can be used in all sorts of applications from tidal monitoring to obstacle avoidance to autonomous terrain following.
Happy 2019, everyone! New year, lotssss of new products – we can’t weight to share what’s in store 😉 We’re starting off the year with a couple of updated ROV components: Stainless Steel Ballast Weight and Moisture Indicating Silica Gel Desiccant Bags.
Stainless Steel Ballast Weight
The new Stainless Steel Ballast Weight is a drop in replacement for original lead weight. Stainless steel is less toxic to the environment and to humans!
We’ve repackaged the silica gel so they come in prepackaged in 6 individual bags. Any humidity inside your Watertight Enclosure will cause condensation to collect when placed in the water, and this desiccant will eliminate humidity inside the enclosure so that you can clearly see out of it.
Hello friends! Today we’ve got some new products to release – an 18-hole 4″ Series End Cap and BlueROV2 Machined Buoyancy Foam!
18-hole 4″ Series End Cap
Unlike most of our other end caps, which have 10 mm through-holes for each penetrator, this one has a mixture of threaded and through-holes to allow more penetrations to be packed in. The outer eleven holes are threaded with standard M10 threads. The inner seven holes are through-holes just like our other end caps. All of the holes are compatible with all of our M10 penetrators.
Because more end cap holes means more room for all the things, and thus more weight, we have the new BlueROV2 Machined Buoyancy Foam today as well! This foam is machined specifically to add an additional 500 grams of total buoyancy on the BlueROV2. The shape fits perfectly into the BlueROV2 fairing and adds more stability and payload capacity! This is an add-on only and the BlueROV2 still comes with the standard rectangular blocks of foam.
The most obvious update to the Lumen is the body and lens. The new design features aluminum screws to prevent galvanic corrosion, a thicker cable jacket less susceptible to nicks or holes, and a built in mount for convenient and secure attachment. The body is a little bit larger in diameter as well.
Wider Brightness Range and Better Low-Light Output
The first revision of the Lumen was configured to emit light ranging from about half brightness to full brightness. We’ve learned a lot since the release of the original Lumen, especially the fact that more light does not necessarily imply better lighting. The new lights have an exponential brightness curve and are capable of reaching a much lower brightness level to provide a wider dynamic range.
The image below shows a comparison between the old and new brightness ranges in illuminating a mooring at 60m water depth on a cloudy day.
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!
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!
That’s all for today! Stay tuned for upcoming updates!