BlueROV2 Buyer’s Guide by Application

By Kevin, Elisa, and kristel

Introduction

Blue Robotics has seen many different use cases and applications for the BlueROV2. Some of these have been documented in our forums, social media, on our YouTube channel, or word of mouth.

Because the BlueROV2 is so open and flexible with many options, we wanted to create a reference for new users who are working in a specific industry, but don’t really know what they need.

We start this guide with our Base Recommendations, which outlines a base configuration that should be considered for all applications. After that are different sections based on some of the industries and common work we have observed our users operating in.

The lists are by no means comprehensive and if your situation requires something else than what is listed, we have a BlueROV2 Buyer’s Guide by Option, which goes through every option that can be installed on a BlueROV2.

Base Recommendations

The above products list the basic configuration recommended by Blue Robotics for new users.

At a minimum, a 4S type battery that can fit inside the 3″ inner diameter of the battery enclosure and a corresponding charger are required. The 14.8V, 18Ah battery that Blue Robotics sells is not the only option, just the one we manufacture and it maximizes the available battery space. Due to aircraft restrictions, we are limited in where we can ship our battery, but check our distributors!

The Fathom Spool is recommended for tether lengths over 25m. The Spool keeps things neat and organized instead of having to use a tether “banana” or some other coiling method.

The Spares Kit is a great recommendation for having spare components and consumables (such as o-rings, grease, and zipties) in your toolbox.

Visual Inspection

Recommended accessories in addition to the Base Recommendations:

If the mission requires visual observation, the BlueROV2 is ready in its basic configuration! With a 1080p low light camera and multiple 1500 lumen lights, the BlueROV2 does well at diving into dark spaces and providing not only a live camera feed, but a recorded video file with a data overlay. A GoPro (and corresponding mount) is recommended for those situations where a better video image or resolution is required to make out details.

Unit with scientific instrument

Inspection work is typically broken down into two categories: Fixed Infrastructure and Vessel Inspections. With infrastructure, the BlueROV2 has been used to inspect water tanks, locks, dams, reservoirs and bridges. For vessels, commonly inspected areas are hulls, propellers, intakes and outlets for marine growth, examining the anti-fouling paint for damage.

Exploration

Recommended accessories in addition to the Base Recommendations:

The BlueROV2 is a great tool for all the underwater explorers out there! Whether you are looking for lost shipwrecks, aircraft, or just exploring what is under your boat or dock, there are enough accessories to locate your targets and record their location.

If visibility is poor and the target is not found optically, then a Ping360 Scanning Imaging Sonar is a useful tool for locating it acoustically. We have written a guide on how to interpret acoustic images: Understanding and Using Scanning Sonars. Even with an underwater positioning system, a scanning sonar aids in directing the ROV to the last few meters of the target.

Using the Ping360 to locate targets.

Using the Ping360 to locate targets.

The Heavy Configuration Retrofit kit is a great addition if installing a scanning sonar as the kit adds two additional thrusters for stabilizing the BlueROV2 in the pitch and roll directions. This turns the BlueROV2 into an extremely steady platform for imaging or adjusting pitch and roll angles, often needed to get better acoustic images.

The 18-Hole end cap adds additional penetrator holes for all the accessories. The machined buoyancy foam blocks add additional buoyancy to compensate for the heavier end cap and additional penetrators.

Aquaculture

Recommended accessories in addition to the Base Recommendations:

The BlueROV2 is rapidly becoming the ROV of choice by many aquaculture farmers. In its base configuration, the vehicle is an excellent platform from which to preform net and mooring inspections that would otherwise have to be preformed by divers.

aquaculture-rovs-in-action

The Outland Technology Power Supply (OTPS) gives the option to work all day by removing the battery enclosure and replacing it with a high voltage power over tether solution. Although more expensive, due to the components and safety features involved, unlimited run times are possible with either a 100-240VAC wall outlet or generator.

Search and Recovery

Recommended accessories in addition to the Base Recommendations:

Search and Recovery (SAR) missions are by far one of the most complex activity professional teams can undertake where time is always of the essence to recover the victim.

If space permits, a wide area search is usually conducted using either a towed or hull-mounted side scan sonar.

For situations where the visibility is poor or the search is happening in a confined area (under ice, shallow or un-navigable water, etc) then the use of sonar onboard the ROV may prove crucial. The Ping360 Scanning Imaging Sonar may be used to acoustically image the environment for targets in a short to medium range (0-20m) area. The Ping Altimeter and Echosounder is useful when obtaining a range to the bottom is necessary.

Greenville County Sheriff’s Office deploying the <em>BlueROV2</em>.

Greenville County Sheriff’s Office deploying the BlueROV2.

The Heavy Configuration Retrofit kit is an important addition if installing a gripper or sonar as the kit adds two additional thrusters for allowing the vehicle to orient itself and hold in any combination of pitch and roll angles. This allows the BlueROV2 to pitch or roll in any direction to grab objects that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

The 18-Hole end cap adds additional penetrator holes for all the accessories. The machined buoyancy foam blocks add additional buoyancy to compensate for the heavier end cap and additional penetrators.

Research

Recommended accessories in addition to the Base Recommendations:

With the sheer amount of different research topics that can be done in and underwater, this application area is by far the most open ended for recommendations. Those users involved in scientific research should definitely check out the BlueROV2 Buyer’s Guide by Option and the rest of the Blue Robotics online store to determine what is best for the project.

The Celsius Temperature Sensor is a good addition for those users who need a more accurate temperature reading than what the standard Bar30 sensor provides.

The Payload Skid is a useful addition if attached equipment is too large or heavy to be installed in a convenient location on a stock BlueROV2. It has mounting locations for multiple 3″ or 4″ watertight enclosures.

The 18-Hole end cap adds additional penetrator holes for other accessories and homebuilt sensors. The machined buoyancy foam blocks add additional buoyancy to compensate for the heavier end cap and additional penetrators.

antonella

Further Resources and Inspiration

Other Components in the Blue Robotics Online Store

The options listed above only explain the components that were either designed for or integrate easily with the BlueROV2. The Blue Robotics Online Store has over 200 other components for helping to build what you want. Some components can be easily added, others will need modifications.

Blue Robotics Forums

The Blue Robotics Forums are a great resource to see how others in the undersea community have approached specific problems. The Builds and Mods category is a good area to look in for additional inspiration.

Modifications and Accessories from Distributors

Need an accessory or modification for your BlueROV2 that you know exists but we don’t offer? Check out our worldwide Distributors List, many of whom offer services to modify your BlueROV2 for your requirements or have access to 3rd party accessories.










Authors

Kevin

Kevin is the Applications Engineer at Blue Robotics. He has a love for marine robotics and explorations and was one of Blue Robotics' first Kickstarter backers in 2014! Since then he's joined our team and helps fellow explorers around the world use Blue Robotics products to accomplish their missions.


Elisa


kristel