Need Advice - 200m ROV for Camera Platform


Hi guys, my first post here. I’ve been tasked with building an ROV to act as a camera platform for documenting reefs at 200m. I’ve never built an ROV before but have built all sorts of things. I’m confident I could build an ROV that would survive the depth. I could build one with switches to control props but I’d hate to build it then find out I need to be able to control the speed of the motors. I’m only starting to research this now but I’m assuming I’ll end up with a microcontroller and remote control joined via CAT 5 or something similar.

Am I way out of my depth here (excuse the pun) or do you think a newbie could achieve this. As of right now I know nothing about microcontrollers or writing code for these.

Any tips, advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated or if you’ve built something similar I wouldn’t mind a few design tips.


Hi David,

Welcome! No, I don’t think you are out of your league here at all, but just know a lot of what you want is currently in research and development mode here in this community. If time is not on your side, you may want to consider renting a vehicle for your project.

With that being said, my recommendation is to take the OpenROV electronics and software and create your own vehicle hardware based on your requirements.

A few examples are @Jim_N 's converted ROV

There’s also a lot of good information in the Work Class OpenROV topic I started: Work Class OpenROV

@Walt_Holm also has a deep diving ROV, but I don’t think there are any pictures here.

There was also a deep E-tube made up: Deep version / version profunda

If you don’t mind, I have some questions. Why do you need to go to 200m (656ft)? There isn’t much light that deep and are going to have to bring the lighting with you. What is your surface support (boat) like? How are you going to stay in one spot in 200m of water?


I’ve a friend that’s a marine biologist and she want’s to document deep water coral reefs. She said 200m. I’ve done some diving and she’s an ex Navy diver so I think between us we have enough knowledge regarding cameras and lights. Surface boat will most likely be a rented pleasure boat (RIB I’m assuming). I have a boat so testing won’t be a problem.
I’m hoping keeping the boat steady in 200m won’t be too difficult. Sea anchor and using the engine to hold position on a GPS. I’m assuming I could get away with blowing around a bit and allow for some inaccuracy in the GPS if the tether is long enough.
Thanks for the detailed reply. I know I’m going to come across loads of problems that I havn’t thought about so any help will be appreciated.