Thursday, April 21, 2016

Double Tap!

We've reprogrammed the esc's on the ROV endlessly, and calibrated them endlessly, in our attempts to get it to fly correctly.  While upgrading the software and firmware last night, we noticed something that is going to make flying it a lot easier.  Often we've found that using the steering keys to send inputs to the esc's produces unpredictable results - sometimes the propeller will spin correctly, sometimes not at all, and sometimes will cut out unexpectedly.  Last night we discovered that double-tapping the keys was effective 100% of the time, even after reboots and power loss.

So, it still flies like an underwater brick.  But at least we can control our underwater brick predictably now.  I'm calling this a victory.

Our next dive is coming up soon -  heading to Barton Creek to find and video underwater wildlife in early May.  We'll have some upgrades to roll out by then including a new cinching strap to keep the main tube sealed, and a 4000 lumen torch to increase our low-light capture with the GoPro.  Exciting times for AustinROV.

We also upgraded the OpenROV software image which greatly improved the compass stability.  Our IMU still thinks it is upside down though...

--DannyE can't comment without a G+ :(

Saturday, April 16, 2016

When you fail so much it feels normal

We flew the ROV at the boat ramp at the iconic Loop 360 Bridge.  This picture was before the rain.

During setup we discovered problems with the laptop.  There would be no screencast recording for this dive.  We're off to a rough start already.

Richard is installing our freshly charged and brand new batteries.  They worked great!  Runtime is a little over an hour per set of six batteries. (11,000mAh 3s LiPO)

We saw a fish! 

Lots of fish, actually.

The gopro once again didn't capture much, this time it was due to the low light conditions and murky water in Lake Austin.  We need either a much better low-light camera or a much larger light source with the gopro. 

This also happened.

Other highlights:

  • vertical propeller slipping on the shaft stranded us at the bottom
  • fishing line tied up the starboard propeller
  • main tube flooded after desiccant swap (dirty o-rings?)
  • reached maximum depth of 4.7 meters 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lou Neff Point - Best dive yet!

Two weeks ago we had our best dive to date! We took the ROV out to Lou Neff point to see what type of wildlife we could capture on the cameras. I'm happy to say the dive was almost a complete success!
We did't bring the correct seal, so this is Danny's attempt to fit a smaller one on the port battery tube.
Danny & Jim doing pre-dive checks.
It's hard to complain with that view!
Jim searching for wildlife.
We captured a turtle! SUCCESS!!
Danny's expression explains how we all felt about this dive!

Do you remember, from above, I said this dive was almost a complete success? With so many components on this ROV, we were bound to have some type of an issue. Sure enough, after 45 minutes of exploring Lou Neff point, and right in the middle of my piloting session, the ROV died. Once we reel it back in we notice that one of the batteries has completed died (I mean D.E.A.D.). It has been quite awhile since we bought new batteries, so losing one is not that hard to imagine.

Next steps:

  • Buy new batteries
  • Find the battery tube seal
  • Continue this dive's success!

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