Ping360 Installation Guide for the BlueROV2

By Kevin

Introduction

The Ping360 sonar is a mechanical scanning sonar. When mounted on a BlueROV2 and using the Ping-Viewer software application, a Ping360 can be used for navigation in low-visibility water conditions, inspection, obstacle avoidance, target location and tracking. You can see echoes from objects like ropes, walls, dock pilings, rocks, shipwrecks, boats, and any other structures or objects that reflect sound waves. With that, you have reference points to navigate from, regardless of water visibility, and you can locate important features in the water quickly.

Parts and Tools

You Will Need

You will also need:

  • 1 x #1 Phillips head screwdriver (BlueROV2 kit)
  • 1 x Sharpie or other type of marking pen (not included)
  • 1 x 5.50mm (or 7/32”) drill bit (not included)
  • 1 x Battery Powered Hand Drill (not included)
  • 1 x Bottle of Threadlocker (not included)

Removing a Blank Penetrator

To remove a blank penetrator from your BlueROV2, you will need the following tools:

  • 1 x 2.5 mm hex driver
  • 1 x #1 Phillips head screwdriver
  • 1 x Penetrator wrench

1. To ensure your ROV is completely powered off, please remove the battery completely from the 3” enclosure and place to the side.

ping-remove battery

2. Remove the fairings and buoyancy blocks by removing the self-tapping screws that hold the fairings to the frame.

ping-remove fairings

3. Remove the 4” electronics enclosure from the ROV by removing the M3x16 screws that mount the enclosure to the ROV cradle.

ping-clip-installation

4. Remove the Vent Plug from the Vent Penetrator Bolt on the electronics enclosure. Remove the 4″ tube and forward dome assembly from the rear end cap.

ping-tutorial-remove-vent

5. Remove the blank penetrator as pictured from the 4” End Cap with the penetrator wrench that came with the BlueROV2 kit.

ping-end-cap-remove

Install Ping360 Penetrator

To install Ping360 into the end cap, you will need the following parts and tools:

  • 1 x Ping360 Scanning Sonar
  • 1 x Penetrator Nut (Red)
  • 1 x Penetrator O-ring
  • 1 x Silicone Grease – 10g Tube
  • 1 x Isopropyl Alcohol Wipe
  • 1 x Penetrator wrench

1. Wipe the exterior surface of the electronics enclosure endcap clean with isopropyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol wipes, and make sure it is free of any particles in the areas where the penetrator O-ring will sit.

2. Remove the O-ring from the bag and apply silicone grease to it.

ping-grease-o-ring

3. Install the O-ring onto the Ping360 cable penetrator.

4. Install the Ping360 cable penetrator into the end cap in the hole you previously removed the blank penetrator from. Tighten to finger tight, then use the wrench to tighten it an additional ~1/16 of a turn. If you can’t loosen it with your fingers, it is tight enough.

end-cap-ping360
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Wiring Connections (USB)

USB is the default and recommended connection method for the BlueROV2. Please see the Changing Communications Protocol on the Ping360 for additional information on changing configurations if a another protocol type is required.

To install the Ping360 wires into your BlueROV2 via USB, you will need the following components:

  • 1 x JST-GH to JST-GH inline connection board
  • 1 x JST-GH to USB cable

1. Connect the power wires (red and black wires) into open screw terminals on the respective positive and negative terminal blocks.

Ensure the power wires are correctly installed (positive and negative) before the device is powered on. Ping360 does not have any reverse polarity protection and the Processor Board will be damaged if powered incorrectly.
gripper-tutorial-power-connection

2. Plug the JST-GH to JST-GH inline connection board into JST-GH connector coming from the Ping360.

3. Plug the JST-GH to USB cable into the other end of the JST-GH to JST-GH inline connection board.

4. Plug the JST-GH to USB cable (USB side) into one of the open USB ports on the Raspberry Pi.

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Reassemble BlueROV2 Electronics Enclosure

To reassemble your BlueROV2 Electronics Enclosure, you will need the following parts and tools:

  • 4 x M3x16 screws that were placed off to the side during disassembly
  • 1 x Silicone Grease – 10g Tube
  • 1 x 2.5 mm hex driver

Reinstall 4” Watertight Enclosure onto ROV with the following steps:

1. Apply silicone grease to the two radial O-rings on the O-Ring Flange (4” Series) that is attached to the Electronics Tray then install the Watertight Enclosure (4” Series) with installed Dome End Cap to the O-Ring Flange (4” Series).

2. Mount the Electronics Enclosure to the frame using the M3x16 screws so that the dome is on the same side as the front center panels (the center panels without the 3 large holes). Install the M3x16 screws through the clips and into the Enclosure Cradle (4” Series). It is easier to install these screws if the clips are not fully tightened until all screws are through the clips and threading into the Enclosure Cradle (4” Series). This allows to clips to rotate so you can find the threaded hole in the Enclosure Cradle (4” Series) easily.

ping-clip-installation

Mounting the Ping360 to the BlueROV2 Frame (Standard)

To mount the Ping360 to the BlueROV2 frame, you will need the following parts and tools:

  • 1 x Ping360 Mounting Bracket
  • 4 x M3 x 5 button head cap screws
  • 2 x M5 x 12 button head cap screws
  • 1 x Marking pen
  • 1 x 5.50mm (or 7/32″) drill bit (not included)
  • 1 x Battery Powered Hand Drill (not included)
  • 1 x 2 mm hex driver
  • 1 x 3 mm hex driver
  • 1 x Bottle of Threadlocker

1. Pick which side you wish to install the Ping360 on your BlueROV2, port or starboard. For this guide, starboard was chosen.

2. Thread an M5 x 12 screw into the aft-most hole of the mounting bracket. Insert the assembly into the forward-most M5 hole on the BlueROV2 frame. Adjust the bracket so it is level and straight and mark the forward hole location with a Sharpie or marking pen.

IMG_20190619_121819

3. Remove the bracket assembly and remove the M5 x 12 screw.

4. With a battery powered hand drill and 5.50mm (or 7/32″) drill bit, drill a straight hole in the marked position.

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5. Secure the bracket to the base of the Ping360 using the M3 x 5 mm screws.

Be mindful of the direction of the sonar: The white arrow indicates the forward direction and the blue penetrator is the aft direction.
IMG_20190619_123113

6. Secure the bracket to the BlueROV2 frame with the M5 x 12 screws.

IMG_20190619_123250

Mounting the Ping360 to the BlueROV2 Frame (Heavy)

To mount the Ping360 to the BlueROV2 frame, you will need the following parts and tools:

  • 1 x Ping360 Mounting Bracket
  • 4 x M3x5 button head cap screws
  • 2 x M5x12 button head cap screws
  • 1 x 5.50mm (or 7/32″) drill bit (not included)
  • 1 x Battery Powered Hand Drill (not included)
  • 1 x 2 mm hex driver
  • 1 x 3 mm hex driver
  • 1 x Bottle of Threadlocker

1. Pick which side you wish to install the Ping360 on your BlueROV2, port or starboard. For this guide, starboard was chosen.

2. With a battery powered hand drill and 5.50mm (or 7/32″) drill bit, drill out the M4 holes in the middle of the frame. This will make it easier to install the mount.

3. Secure the bracket to the base of the Ping360 using the M3 x 5 mm screws.

Be mindful of the direction of the sonar: The white arrow indicates the forward direction and the blue penetrator is the aft direction.
IMG_20190619_123113

4. Secure the bracket to the BlueROV2 frame with the M5 x 12 screws.

IMG_20190618_151956

Cable Management

To clean up the external Ping cable, you will need several zip ties and your scissors/wire cutters.

The primary goal of cable management is to prevent the wires from getting cut by the propellers. Make sure to check that no wires can reach the propellers after you have finished routing the Ping360 cable.

IMG_20190619_124924
IMG_20190619_124943
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Reinstall Buoyancy Blocks and Fairings

To install the new buoyancy blocks and fairings, you will need the following parts and tools:

  • 16 x Fairing screws that were placed off to the side during disassembly
  • 4 x Fairings with buoyancy installed that were placed off to the side during disassembly
  • 1 x #1 Phillips head screwdriver

1. Reinstall Original Fairing Blocks onto ROV by installing the screws through the center panels and into the fairings.

ping-remove fairings
IMG_20190619_130749

Adjusting Ballast on the Frame

To adjust the amount or position of ballast on the frame you need the following parts and tools:

  • 7 x 200g Ballast weights (from original BlueROV2 Kit)
  • 7 x 8-16 Thread, 5/8” Long, Thread-Forming Screws
  • 1 x #2 Phillips head screwdriver

To get the longest battery life and the best driving experience, it is important to have the ROV close to balanced from front to back in water and close to neutrally buoyant. Ping360 is 175g negatively buoyant in water, so depending on placement, the ROV will need to be re-trimmed based on your operating conditions. Trimming the ballast may involve a bit of trial and error.

Software Update

Ping360 requires ArduSub Companion image version 0.0.18 and the most recent stable release of Ping-Viewer. If your Companion image is out of date, please follow the BlueROV2 Software Update procedures.

Use With Ping-Viewer Software

The most recent stable release of Ping-Viewer is required.

Main Ping-Viewer Interface Window

Main Ping-Viewer Interface Window

Troubleshooting

Ping-Viewer does not connect to the onboard Ping360

1. Recheck the Ping360 wiring harness going to the Raspberry Pi.

2. Check which version of ArduSub Companion is installed on your BlueROV2. The version number should either be displayed in the main Header Bar or the Companion Software Status section. Ping360 will need version 0.0.18 or higher to run on a BlueROV2.

3. Check to make sure you have the most recent release of Ping-Viewer.

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.