So I just watched the video of the Dev Call on YouTube (for the link see the Dev Call wiki link below). Thanks for posting it there, and thanks Peter for starting to organize the notes on all this stuff. There was a lot of interesting discussion, and it was a bit frustrating to not be able to comment since I wasn't there in real-time. Here are my comments after watching the call:
From comments on the call it appears that there are still issues with programming the Arduino through the tether/BB, and this is a bit troubling to me. Pulling the Arduino chip every time you want to make a change in the code will get old really fast, and will discourage those of us who are not software types from tinkering and contributing. The ability to remotely update the Arduino chip seems (to me) to be a fundamental architectural issue that really needs ironing out.
2.) Thanks Peter for making the link over to the Under Development Page, and for starting to clean that up. So it turns out I didn't even know that the GitHub page existed for electronics, thus my comments on another forum post that I didn't know how to capture proposed changes to the BB Cape. I had been looking on the OpenROV home page menus under "Build One" and it turns out there are links to GitHub there for software and mechanical hardware but not electronics. I don't necessarily know how to structure that "Build One" menu, but I do know that it tripped me up.
I'll get myself a GitHub account and start posting stuff on the openrov-electronics site. Do I need anything more than a GitHub account to do so?
3.) If the project is heading towards standardizing on HomePlug tethers, I can help with the documentation process. Let's talk on Saturday about how to move forwards with this.
4.) The discussion on motor pulsing phenomena was an interesting one. The idea of a settable gain control for the motors was a good one. The Seabotix ROV software that I have used has this feature, where you can preset a maximum throttle in percent of full power. That way, you can do fine work in calm conditions without overpowering the ROV, and for training purposes you can start with a very low power available.
This being said, however, I was surprised that more time wasn't spent on discussing how to find the root cause of the motor pulsing phenomena. Perhaps this is something to discuss a bit at the build day, figuring out how to cleave the problem and figure out whether its a software issue or an ESC issue or what.
5.) I was happy to hear that somebody (outside of OpenROV) is working on interfacing a Logitech C920 webcam to the BeagleBone. Here's a website I found that looks promising. Hardware-based H.264 video compression is definitely the way of the future, and if we can get the C920 to fit in the electronics tube, I think a lot of people would want to run with that solution. If I don't get wrapped up in battery pack redesign over the next couple of months, I think I'm going to tear down a C920 to see if I can get it to fit in the ROV.