Build your own OpenROV!


OpenROV is a community of people working together to create a more accessible, affordable, and awesome platform for underwater exploration.  By working together, we've created the OpenROV submarine - an open-source underwater robot that sends live video up to a computer on the surface and allows the user to control where it goes.

If you want to start building an OpenROV, you can:

  1. Buy an OpenROV Kit
  2. Build an OpenROV from scratch

OpenROV is open source (code and design files), so we provide all the files, build notes, and bill of materials you'll need to build one yourself.  If you want to go this route, you'll need to source your own parts.  You can find links to our design files, and Bill of Materials (parts list) below:

OpenROV is not only open source, we're also crowdsourced, which means we rely on feedback from our community to help us grow.  If you have ideas for how we can make the design better, places we should go with the ROV, or really anything that you think would benefit people interested in underwater exploration, please post on our forums page!  Also, if you have any questions, the forums are a great place to get answers.

OpenROV v2.6

Assembly of OpenROV v2.6 can be done over a weekend, and most sections take less then an hour.  Instructions for each part of building process can be found in the OpenROV Instruction Set.

Improvements and features are continually added by builders who have found better solutions. So check back often for the latest design updates. Remember, if you have questions, you can always visit the OpenROV builder's forum.

Building the OpenROV doesn't require being a robotics expert or having a degree in engineering, but it helps to have a little bit of experience with soldering, cutting, gluing, etc.  Generally, we'd describe the kit as being a high school-level building experience (but we're always amazed at how capable very young people are at figuring this kind of stuff out). Before committing to putting an OpenROV together, we recommend you look through the instruction set to get a feel for what building an OpenROV will be like.

Once you've built an OpenROV, there are a ton of places out there to explore and we LOVE hearing stories of underwater adventures done with technology developed here.  If you have a good idea for a place to explore, want to hear some suggestions for expeditions, or want to talk about an adventure you've already had, we'd recommend looking at the Adventures section of the forums.  If you still have the building bug after your ROV is ready to go, check out the Payloads section on the forums and see if you get any ideas for cool things to add to the ROV (suggestions also welcome!)

Our dream with OpenROV is to make it so that anyone can be an explorer.   There are endless adventures to be had and discoveries to be made beneath the waves, and we hope that by making technology to explore the deep available to everybody we can learn a little more about our incredible planet.

Have fun, learn a lot, and explore the unknown!


WOW !!! Great way to Teach with computers


i an hopeing to build an rov but see you use a begal board now. would it be possable to use arduino as i have all that kit already


Had anyone thought about porting to a Raspberry Pi?


As soon as I get the RaspberryPI I'll do it... seems to me a better fit than the beaglebone, also 50% cheaper.

Arduino is no go as the way the SW is done it needs a web server capable of running NodeJS and needs to be able to stream the video from the HD cam. All of these is not possible for an Ardunio.

I'll buy the shell only and then will try to make it work (maybe writing a different firmware) with arduino alone


Cool! That'd be awesome, Simone.

We had a really hard time getting ahold of one which is why we've been pushing ahead with the Beaglebone.


We're always looking for solutions to go "Cheaper and Deeper!"


yeah, difficult to get them :) mine is scheduled to arrive for mid-August (waited 3 months before being able to pre-order it).

But from what I've read around, even with RasberryPi you need a cape/shield since the GPIO doesn't have PWM and analog input.

The ardupilotmega from DIYDrones is also another options, but more expensive and not so general purpose. But it's superlight and small (even if probably underwater this is not that important as in the sky).


The circuit we're using for the BeagleBone Arduino Cape will (of course) be completely open hardware as well, so I wonder if someone savvy with PCB layout could make a version that would fit onto a Raspberry Pi. We're still catching up with the documentation, but here's where the current files can be taken from:

As for the Ardupilotmega, I think it will have the processing power, but it doesn't have the USB host and Ethernet capabilities that are really pretty principle to what we're doing. All the same, it's always nice to see if people can find alternate ways to do things.



Raspberry Pi seems to be in conflict with the intended "open source" ideology of this project. The bone does have hardware PWM and components useful for sensors and other forms of data acquisition. I hope the project stays focused on the open-source mandate...


Stephen, why do you say that Raspberry PI is not in line wth open source idealogy? Also the BB is not open hardware.
And to my understanding, both BB and R-PI have the same type of multi-purpose connectors, and for both you need a cape to be able to send PWM or to read sensors.


The Broadcom BCM2835 chip is not fully documented and from my understanding will not be. The exposed pins are, but the inner workings of the chip itself are not. The Bone on the other hand comes with the TI sitara AM3358/9 which comes with a 4600 page datasheet detailing all aspects of the chip including the mux of the pins exposed by the cape. Granted some of the peripherals information is not easily available. But, with an open source Linux kernel and a fully documented processor. It is far less constrained. I find the raspberry pi to be an excellent device, don't get me wrong. I however believe that within an "open" style development, the bone has far more potential.


The PI runs on Linux as well... anyway after a bit of thinking probably the PI looks more targeted to interactive usages (comes with audio and video connectors on board) while the bb looks more like a embedded developer platform. Too bad it costs 3 times the Pi :)


On the other hand, by using a Pi, the project would probably get more mediatic exposure :)


I would agree with almost everything you say, except the targeted usage. HDMI is not going to run very well over a 28 gauge twisted pair tether that is 60+feet long. The BB is a pretty good I/O platform. The Pi would be very well suited to the surface interface communicating with the Bone over that tether and outputting the media for consumption.


Exactly, I didn't mean HDMI to send the video of the ROV :) I meant it as media center, or interactive display: a product closer to the end-user than to the developer


The really cool thing is the recent announcement that Android is coming to the Pi. I've done a few projects using Android phones as the interface to a BB over sockets. Fast, reliable and relatively simple. Gonna have to get me one of these things. See if the girl friend will up my toy allowance!!


Me I'm still 8 weeks away from delivery of my Pi


OLinuXino could be an option to consider, its hardware & software are completely open-source; may be a good choice for DIYers, compared with Rpi & Bbone.


Looking at this project has stirred my inventiveness. I have quite a lot of ideas and thoughts on this project as I've been pondering it myself for a while.

I think we could draw a lot from the UAV projects such as.

This has a fair few good ideas in the ground control software such as an artificial horizon and simulated viewpoints etc.

Looking forward to getting some parts together and starting to tinker again.