Sunday, November 16, 2014

Some footage for your enjoyment

This past Friday, Danny E and I went to Spring Lake to scout out a potential test dive in a real world environment.  Unfortunately, the vegetation level and shallowness of the lake doesn't look great for using the ROV there, but we still managed to have a productive day.  We pieced together a bunch of the photos from our past build and test dive meetups, set it to music, and put it on Youtube.  We have  more footage than this and are working on a higher quality production, but I wanted to put a little teaser out there for some of what we have.  Check it out below and thanks for reading!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Again not so much

We tested the ROV again. It did not go well.

OpenROV, so pretty but still broken

At one point our motors wouldn't start at all. For no good reason. The ROV was running fine and a power cycle via the tether would not fix it. We had to pull batteries out of at least one tube, wait and re-power the ROV to get the motors back. Maybe one of the tether-driven 12v switches got stuck off?

AustinROV team troubleshooting

A recurring problem was that the ROV would shut down after some driving in the water. A power cycle via the tether would not bring it back and we had to pull batteries out of the tubes before we could get it to turn on again. We think this is due to the overcurrent protection built into the TrustFire batteries. The limit is 7.5 amps per tube and the ROV motors are rated for 9.5 amps each. This is why the OpenROV folks moved to a different battery type.

ROV reading No Diving sign

The ROV camera gave up near the end of our testing. We're still not sure what is up with that. No combination of battery pulling, rebooting or dashboard restarting would bring it back.

ROV looking ready to dive but no joy today

Thank you David H and Beth for the hospitality. Our tests didn't go very well but our tummies were sure happy!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Looks like we made it

Love's so strange

We fixed everything! Or, almost. Not quite everything on our checklist is complete but all of the "show stopping" bugs have been ironed out.

Full throttle reverse

downloading OpenROV software
Our main focus was the motors stopping mid-reverse at full power after only 2 seconds.

This was resolved by upgrading the OpenROV BeagleBone software to 2.5.1-rc3. The bug linked below describes the issue we've been fighting for way too long now. 

Re-programming and re-calibrating

checking ESC programming
After flashing new software to the device, we noticed that two of the ESCs were acting erratic. With our new programming card, we were able to very quickly identify and correct the lost programming settings on the ESCs. Programming these Hobbywing ESCs by hand used to be a huge pain, waiting for the beeps of the menu repeating over and over again.

Now we can fix each ESC visually.

Re-calibration was also necessary because some motors didn't spin at the same speeds. We don't fully understand this one yet and are hopeful that it isn't necessary with each re-programming as it is a bit tedious.

So, if next time we power up the ROV and it doesn't work right, we'll try re-calibrating after a re-program of the ESCs. 

Dive, dive, dive!

A test dive is in order. And then, maybe a real one. WOOHOOO!