OpenROV 2.8 Developer's Controller Kit


Hi All,
I just received the OpenROV 2.8 Developer’s Controller Kit and would like to know if anyone here on the Forum has had any experience with the Developer’s Controller Kit?
I have throughout reviewed the online OpenROV 2.8 Electronic Assembly documentation and working with the Kit looks to be pretty straight forward.
I am an experienced System Engineer with a good electronic/mechanical background, but I still would appreciate input from those who have had experience with this Kit to avoid any gotchas.



I used the Dev Kit to create my current ROV. Overall, your right, its pretty straight forward and not very hard to work with. If I had any hiccups with it, it was usually my error, trying something that the BBB could not handle or something I didn’t research before doing it and then researched after discovering it would not work. Oops…

Anyways, if you need any help, feel free to reach out.



Hi Carter,

Thanks for the response, much appreciated.

I have a Blue Robotics BlueROV1 Frame and I am debating whether to mount the controller in a WTC that is parallel to the ROV sides like a 6 thruster chassis I have built or turn the WTC perpendicular to the sides of the chassis like is done with the OpenROV chassis. I have requested a quote from Polulu as to the cost of laser cutting the Electronics Chassis, the Camera Frame, and the Topside Adapter Case if I decide to go with the OpenROV WTC configuration. Otherwise I will build my own Electronics Chassis to mount the Controller in a WTC that is parallel to the sides of chassis.




On my last ROV, I mounted the WTC parrael to the frame and seemed to work quite well. It took some testing to get the balance just right. How was your experience doing it with your previous ROV?

In my mind, some important factors could be a couple things, where your thrusters are located on the frame, how big your WTC will be, and what your ROV will be doing.

In the end, I guess it could go both ways. Both methods of mounting seem to work quite well, you see both done.

Hopefully my morning speak makes since, :sleeping: :blush:



Hi Carter,

My original ROV is a traditional design with 6 vectored thrusters 4 of which are horizontal and 2 of which are vertical mounted in a a rectangular frame made of HDPE. The 4 inch in diameter WTCs are mounted parallel to sides of the frame one on top of the other. The top WTC holds the navigation controller while the bottom WTC holds the LiPo batteries. The ROV required only 5 pounds of ballast to balance it fore and aft make it just slightly awash in the water.

Depending on the cost of the laser cutting I might build this ROV with the WTC parallel to the sides like the OpenROV just to be different.




To start off, your ROV looks great!

I might agree with your idea to build the next ROV like the OpenROV styled design. I guess switching up your design would allow you to compare the two different ideas and see what works the best in your environment. Keep me posted!

A side note, here the ROV a couple of friends and I built for MATE ROV Competitions. We decided to use the Dev Kit like you and turned out rather nice. We made just about everything ourselves which was a neat experience.

Here is the completed ROV in the water.

Pretty out of the water photo. Here is a link to more photos and videos if your interested.

Anyways, keep me posted with your build and what you decide to do, sounds interesting.



Hi Carter,

You and your friends built a very sweet looking ROV for the MATE competition.:slight_smile:
I assume that the thrusters you used are home brew as I have never seen that style of thruster.
Unfortunately your link to additional photos and videos appears to be broken.:disappointed:

My biggest concerning with using the OpenROV 2.8 controller is that the maximum constant thruster current allowed is about 20 amps and one Blue Robotics thruster can draw over 12 amps at full power. This means that I will have to limit the maximum power that can be applied to the thrusters by using the Cockpit Thrust Setting. I probably cannot go beyond a setting of 3. The only other option is to put in bigger ESCs and power them independently of the Controller board.

Though Blue Robotics has successfully replaced the OpenROV thrusters with T100 Thrusters and have had no problems with the Controller board.




Same here I am also working with OpenROV 2.8 Developer’s Controller Kit and it is pretty cool.
But not done much except comparing it with other BBB based PCBs
what I was working with (PRU Cape , Logibone , NooElec Ham it up SDR )

Rgds Gottfried


Hi Gottfried,

I am using the BBBMINI running ArduSub for the navigation controller in my vectored 6 thruster configuration ROV. I can also use a Pixhawk to run ArduSub.

The only drawback to using ArduSub is the requirement to have a topside GCS like QGroundControl so that you are at the mercy of the GCS developers. Therefore I like the idea of the BBB generating the OpenROV GUI so that all is required is a tablet/laptop with an appropriate web browser.




Thanks for your clarification.Myself I am sure will stick with BBB from Element 14.
But I want to do some benchmark comparison with BananaPro A20 PCB while selecting my camera and battery-specs.Just checking which Li-NMC batteries are available in UK

Rgds Gottfried



To start off, sorry about the bad link. I think this one should work. :slight_smile:

The thrusters we used on our ROV are sort of home made. They are standard brushless outrunner motors but we used PVC pipes and fittings and made our own little casing for part of the motor. The mounts for the motor were milled. Then on the end we have kort nozzle for added protection and better efficiency.

As for your current issue, I had an issue with this. I think with the combo of larger 3 blade propellers, and 4 motors caused us to have issues. Putting it on power level 5 would cause the board to brownout and restart which sometimes cause us to lose our camera feed. This would result in having to restart the whole OpenROV board to get the camera back.

If your going to be using battery power for your ROV, maybe have a separate battery bank of some sort just for the ESCs, if your going power over tether route, you might be able to power the ESCs right from the tether. An easy way to do this might be using some like a Bus Bar to distribute power to different areas of the ROV using one source. Just a thought…

Have a great and safe 4th of July!



Hi Carter,

Thanks for the fixed links, much appreciated.

A well constructed ROV. Looks good.



@OpenROV Support,

Why aren’t the M3x25 Standoff and the (2) M3x8 Nylon Screw to support the BBB included in the OpenROV 2.8 Developer’s Controller Kit?



We apologize for that. We overlooked that when we were packaging these together. We have fixed this for future purchases.

Good luck with your build! I can’t wait to see pictures.


Hi Brian,

Thanks for the quick response, much appreciated.

No problem. I was glad that I could identify an issue that you will be able to correct in future 2.8 Developer’s Controller Kit deliveries.

It is going to take a while to get my build done as it involves a fair amount of customizing existing hardware, but I will definitely provide pictures when I am done.



Hi Brian,
I received four large main tube end cap O rings, but the 2.8 build instruction appear to only show one main tube O ring per end cap. Are the other two main tube end cap O rings spares?


Yes those are spare o-rings. O-rings need replacement from time to time, especially if they get dirty, and we like to include a spare set with all of our products for this reason.


Thanks for the info, much appreciated.



My name is Rick. I realize that your post is a few months old, and that you have moved forward with your project. I don’t have any experience to offer or any suggestions. Only questions, because I am wanting to learn.

First of which is concerning ESCs. Would the Openrov board handle 30A ESCs if they were soldered in as a replacement for the existing ESCs? Like only plugging in the 30A ESCs at the servo connectors.

Second, would it be a problem to only control the 30A ESCs from the Openrov board, and not utilize the onboard ESCs?

Third question. what is your opinion concerning the orientation of the WTC? Weather it be sideways as in the OpenRov craft, or longitudinally as with Blue Robotics with a domed endcap?
I kind of like the Blue Robotics WTC because of their cable penetrator system, although it does cost more.

Also, do you know much about the RaspberryPi board? Will it attach to the 2.8 board? I am curious what would be the better way to go in the future with cameras and video.

Thank you



The OpenROV 2.8 Controller Board has two battery inputs that are limited to 10 amps continuous/16 amps peak each so the board can only supply less than 20 amps continuous (20 amps - the Arduino/BBB/accessories) to the ESCs. Therefore attempting to install 30 amp ESC, if they will physically fit, will not gain you anything in the way of performance unless you plan to power them independently of the Controller Board

Yes, you can unplug the servo inputs to the onboard ESCs and use the 30 amp ESCs as long as you have a common ground between the Controller Board and the power supply for the 30 amp ESCs.

I am using a BR 4 in diameter WTC to house the two 9.6 vdc 4500 mah batteries and I agree with you that the cable penetrators are a very slick way to get cables through watertight bulkheads. However, I have had no problem building the OpenROV WTC End Caps and maintaining a 560 mm Hg vacuum for over two hours.
I presently also have a custom built BR 6 Thruster ROV that uses two 4 in diameter WTCs of which one houses the navigation controller and the other houses the LiPo batteries. This ROV uses an Eye Of Mine GoPro waterproof housing, attached to the front of the ROV chassis, that has a SD output from the GoPro that goes though a cable penetrator and is sent up the tether using a BR Fathom-S serial interface.

If you search this Forum I believe that there have been some discussion threads devoted to using the RPi board in place of the BBB.

You can see my Hybrid BR/OpenROV ROV build log here.

I have purchased an OpenROV Pro Camera-HD Upgrade and plan to be able to swap between the Standard HD camera and the Pro Camera-HD Upgrade camera by using two different Controller Board Assemblies.