New and Updated Products! Loctite Marine Epoxy & Cable Penetrators

Happy Thursday Everyone! We’re excited to announce the release of one new and one updated product.

Loctite Marine Epoxy

Electrical connections don’t like to be wet. On any project, you’ll probably have to use a “potting compound” to seal connections. We’re a big fan of Loctite Marine Epoxy for this – it’s inexpensive, it adheres to most surfaces well, and it even dries underwater! It’s also fairly high viscosity (thick like peanut butter), which helps to make clean connections by preventing leaking or running. We now have this epoxy available for shipping within the USA.

The epoxy is a two-part mixture consisting of an epoxy resin and a hardener. Once dry, it is sandable. We recommend it to seal our cable penetrators, to attach pieces of subsea buoyancy foam, and to seal connections on the M100 Motor.

Here the epoxy is being used to seal a cable penetrator:

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Watertight!

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Kickstarter Progress and Schedule Update!

We finally have a new update with current progress, current schedule, and a few other announcements.

First of all, we recently passed the one year anniversary of the T100 Thruster Kickstarter launch – what a year it’s been! We’ve grown from a few guys in a garage to shipping almost 1500 thrusters around the world. We are still behind on our Kickstarter shipments, unfortunately, but we’re catching up fast! We want to thank everyone for their patience and can’t wait to see what you’ve been doing with your thrusters!

Recent News

Just a few days ago we were recognized by Marine Technology Reporter Magazine as the “Start-Up of the Year” in their MTR100 review! We are very proud and honored to be included. Check out the write-up here.

“Start-Up of the Year” Article in MTR100.

In June we announced a few new products including Subsea Buoyancy Foam, Cable Penetrators, and spare thruster parts. We followed that up in July with the announcement of our new line of Watertight Enclosures! These high-quality enclosures are rated to a depth of 100m, come in two different diameters and custom lengths, and have modular end-caps. Please check them out if you’re interested.

New watertight enclosures, 4″-Series (left) and 2″-Series (right).

At the end of July we visited the AUVSI Robosub Competition in San Diego. We were a sponsor of the competition this year and many teams were using the T100 Thruster in their vehicles! Below are a few images and you can read more about it here!

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SSC Pacific TRANSDEC test facility (left) and our booth at Robosub (right).

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University of North Florida with their AUV (left), Carl Hayden High School’s AUV (center), and Arizona State with their AUV (right).

Current Progress

We’ve had a few hiccups that have slowed down our shipping estimates from June, but we have made a lot of progress. We have shipped all T200s (without BlueESC) and we’ve made solid progress on the T100s and T200s with BlueESCs. We’ve shipped some of the BlueROVs but we still have the majority of those remaining to be shipped.

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Schedule Update + T200s + BlueESC Firmware

It’s been too long since we sent an update! We’ve got a lot to share, both good and bad! There have been a few delays to the T200s and BlueESCs but we’ve got everything back on track and we have a clear path forward. Those of you who haven’t received your rewards have been incredibly patient and we really appreciate it!

New Team Members

First, of all, please welcome Elisa and Adam to our team! They’ve joined us at our new office in Torrance, California and they’re dedicated to making sure that our production goes smoothly from here on out. In the few weeks they’ve been working we’ve already had a big jump in production output.

T200 Thruster

Production-grade T200 Thruster!

Let’s start with the good news: we have production parts of every piece for the T200 Thruster and we have final performance information and charts! The bad news: we only have enough parts for 10 thrusters at the moment and that won’t be resolved for about 2.5 weeks. We’ve spent a lot of extra time with our plastic injection molder and our motor stator winder to get everything just right, but that’s pushed things back a bit.

As soon as we have those parts in hand we should be able to get all pending T200 orders filled within about 5-6 weeks. That means most T200s will be shipped between June 23rd and the end of July.

We’ve added a bunch of technical information on the T200 documentation page including detailed performance charts. The important parts are that the maximum thrust is a whopping 11.2 lbf at 16V and maximum power is around 350 W. Here’s the thrust vs. throttle input:

Here is another image of the T200 with all production parts.

T200 Thruster – Shipping soon.

BlueESCs and Software

We are caught up with production of plain T100s and new orders have a pretty short lead time. However, we’re still behind and catching up on T100s and T200s with BlueESCs. Now that we’ve got a few new people in the office we’ll be able to get these out faster. We’re currently expecting most T100s with BlueESCs to be shipped by the early July. T200s with BlueESCs will follow by the end of July

We do have a big update for the BlueESC: we have completed the I2C modification to the firmware so you can now update throttle via I2C and receive sensor data via I2C. You get the following data through I2C:

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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.

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Pressure Testing to 3000m Depth

Back in September, we were contacted by the Center for Marine Robotics at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). If you’re not familiar with them, they’re the best of the best when it comes to undersea robotics.

They generously offered to test a few of our thrusters in their test chambers, which are capable of simulating depths of over 11,000 meters, the depth of “Challenger Deep” in the Marianas Trench. We sent them a few thrusters from our second production batch – serial numbers 151, 152, and 153. They recently completed a static depth test. We compared performance and inspected the thrusters before and after the test to see if there were any effects from the pressure.

We’re proud to say that the thrusters did great and showed no signed of degradation or damage after being tested to a depth of 3000 meters – almost two miles underwater!

We want to share the test process and results with you.

The Test

The images below show the test chamber. It’s capable of simulating pressures at 11,000 meter depths where the pressure is more than 1000 times what it is at the surface. The thrusters were put into a mesh bag inside the chamber and then a heavy lid was lowered into place and secured by a screw-on top, seen on the right.

Test chamber. (Image credit: Kevin Ulmer)

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New Product! 3D Printed & Open-Source Propeller for the M100

We have a new product available today. It’s a propeller specially designed for the M100 Motor. There are lots of applications where you don’t want or need a full blown thruster, like on small ROVs or surface vessels. Together with our OpenROV Mounting Hardware, this propeller could be used for the forward thrusters on the OpenROV.

The propeller has a 68mm diameter and generates about 3.2 lb of forward thrust and 2.6 lb of reverse thrust. There are clockwise and counter-clockwise rotating versions. Thanks to the magic of 3D printing, we can build these in small batches without the need for expensive injection molded tooling. We are selling the propellers here for your convenience, but many of you have your own 3D printers and can print the propellers yourself. We are making the 3D files for the propeller open-source and licensed under CC-NC-SA 4.0.

The 3D files are available here for free (and also on GrabCAD).

Here is a chart of the propeller’s performance on the M100 Motor. Note that our propellers are printed using the SLS method, but you might get slightly different results with other types of 3D printers.

M100 Motor w/ 3D Printed Propeller: Thruster vs. PWM Input to ESC

New Products! Servos, parts, and some basics

This post is the first of (hopefully) many “New Product” posts here at Blue Robotics. In addition to thrusters, there are a whole lot of other things you’ll need to get your underwater creation in the water. Today we’re introducing a few new products to help out with that.

Waterproof Servos from Hitec

These three servos are just like ordinary servos but waterproof for use on underwater robotic arms, actuators, pan/tilt systems, and just about anything else. With an IP67 rating, they are officially waterproof down to about 1 meter. We’ve heard reports of people using them deeper than that, but nothing official.

The HS-646WP is a standard size, analog servo. Analog (versus digital) servos work great for most applications. This servo is strong with 133 oz/in of torque at 6.0V. Although this servo is “standard” size, it is slightly larger than Hitec’s other standard sized servos. HS-5646WP is a digital version of the same servo – meaning that it has a microcontroller inside to control the servo position giving it more precision, strength, and the ability to be reprogrammed. Last is the HS-5086WP, a micro-sized digital servo. It’s quite a bit smaller than the standard-sized servos for smaller applications. All of the servos come with standard 3-pin connectors, several servo arms, and mounting hardware.

Spare Thruster Parts

We also have a few spare parts in our store now including spare propeller sets and spare thruster cable, sold by the meter.

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BlueESC Production Run Ordered!

We’re happy to report that we have ordered the first production run of assembled PCBs for the BlueESC. We’ve been testing our production prototypes and we’re really happy with the results! The waterproof and water-cooling aspects of the ESC are truly unique and advantageous.

Here’s an image of the production prototype, completely waterproofed and protected in its aluminum enclosure.

The BlueESC production prototype. The ESC is protected in thermally conductive potting compound.

This update won’t be long because we made a short video to show the BlueESC prototype in action! The BlueESC is living up to all of the specifications that we promised and more. Besides being waterproof and water-cooled, it has temperature, voltage, rpm, and current sensors onboard. In terms of performance, it can handle up to 20V and 25 amps in air. In water, it stays ice cold, even at 25 amps. We haven’t had a chance to test the limits in water yet, but we can guarantee that it will be much higher than that required for the T100 or T200 thrusters.

Check out the video:

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Standard OpenROV Compatible Kits Shipped!

It’s been a while since we sent out an update, but we’ve gotten a lot done! We’ve shipped almost 450 T100 Thrusters so far and we’ve shipped out all standard OpenROV Compatible Kits! We haven’t revealed a whole lot about the OpenROV Kit, so most of this update will describe that. Upcoming in the next week or two, we will have reports on the BlueESC and T200 Thruster as well as some very exciting depth testing results.

OpenROV Compatible Kit

Here’s what comes with each kit:

  • 2 x T100 Thrusters (standard)
  • 1 x M100 Motor (vertical thruster)
  • 1 x M100 Propeller
  • 1 x OpenROV Mounting Hardware Kit

You already know what the T100 Thrusters look like. Here’s what the M100, propeller, and mounting hardware kit look like:

The propeller is 3D printed in polished black plastic and designed to fit the OpenROV vertical thruster position. It uses a similar blade profile and shape as the T100 Propeller. It’s designed for efficient thrust in both directions, which is particularly important on the OpenROV.

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Many more thrusters shipped + status update!

Hello everyone!

We hope that you are having a wonderful holiday season! We wanted to give you a status update on the project and let you know what’s coming in 2015!

Thruster Shipping

We have made significant progress on orders of T100 Thrusters. We sent out a big shipment last week as well as two weeks before. To date, we’ve shipped 285 thrusters and fulfilled orders for 106 Kickstarter backers! Despite that, we’ve fallen a little behind our original schedule. We’re planning to pick up the pace in 2015, especially as we launch the BlueESC and T200.

Just so you know, when your order is shipped, we’ll send you a message via Kickstarter.

Packages of T100 Thrusters sent last week.

OpenROV Compatible Kits

The OpenROV Compatible Kits will be shipping in mid-January. We we’re hoping to get them out the door in December, but we chose to spend a little more time optimizing the propeller design for the vertical thruster. The propeller is custom designed and 3d printed for the M100 Motor and the OpenROV kit.

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