Recommended control hardware (computer, controller)


I assume most of the users ROV DIYers to date have used or built on the computing platforms and controllers (if any) that they had and were using. With more off the shelf completed ROVs being sold, in particular the Trident, it would be desirable to have a recommended list of specs for the computing and control hardware. Just so this part of the application does not in anyway impact the “experience”.
I am doing this for myself as well potentially for others, as I do have a Trident on order, have not used a game console for decades, and need to purchase a new laptop anyway.

For the computer

Considerations:I assume WIFI, Bluetooth [WIFI to ROV (buoy), and Bluetooth (for controller)], lots of disk and enough power to record and playback video would be basic/good to have…


Considerations; Controllers can be personal, -some users are as skilled or better with a keyboard than a newbee with a controller.
The ROV control is REAL rather than simulated flight or avatar game character or weapon. So one might expect some controller characteristics adding to or taking away from the experience. E.g. can there be any feedback from ROV control and would that be worth having in the controller. The control of the ROV is like slow motion rather than typical games/simulations, are there better controllers out there for accuracy rather than fast shoot-em up?

I had asked the forum some time back about joysticks vs regular game consoles, conclusion was basically whatever you are more comfortable with and is more practical is “the best”. In the field a wireless game console is likely to be more practical than a “clunky joystick”.

I’d rather buy once than twice and not have to upgrade or add on to get what I want.


We have always strived to never limit the user on what they want to use to control the vehicle. We have not released the official “minimum specs” for Trident as we are still working to optimize the software to open up more devices.

As of now our requirements are being able to run Google Chrome/Chromium and having wifi in order to be able to connect to the radio buoy.

I was just flying a prototype Trident from a Samsung Note 4 wirelessly and it handled the full resolution video and control with no issues.

My typical setup (for the 2-series ROV) when I am out in the field is a MacBook Pro 13" and a bluetooth Playstation 4 controller. I have also flown with a Thinkpad T430 and various other Windows computers without issues. I have flown with an older Chromebook and it does struggle a little with the current ROV software and hardware (but this software and hardware is less optimized than Trident).

The biggest things to think about are how you are planning to operate the vehicle and what kind of controller and like (this is personal preference to a large degree). If you are operating where there is bright sun then you will want a brighter display. If you are doing detailed work like inspections a larger screen (laptop vs. phone) might be better. From the control perspective I personally like a physical controller vs. a touch screen, but being able to have your entire control system in your pocket is pretty amazing. Storage is another important aspect to think about. If you are recording at full resolution you are looking at roughly 4 GB per hour of storage needed. The last thing to think about is battery life of the device. Running the software and recording video does use a lot of computational power (as well as running wifi and bluetooth) and this means you are using a lot of your battery life.

I would love to hear other people’s comments and please let me know if you have additional questions.


Thanks Brian,
I’ve been picking up bits of hardware (game controller and new laptop (F710
and Thinkpad T450) ) over the last few weeks, testing it out with
simulators awaiting my Trident. I pretty sure I’ve got a pretty good setup
based on what you outlined.

All I’ve got to do now is be patient and wait till I get my ROV. Haven’t
been so excited since, I bought my boat 16 years ago.

Thanks again for the info.


Is there any possibility to save the video in the trident. So it can be uploaded later? Or is it only the realtime videofeed, that has to de recorded by the unit I am using to control it.
Would be nice to use a pone in a VR unit, with som kind of wireless controller. And then be able to upload the video later, with the best possibel resoulution and frame rate.


The video is recorded on the topside control unit (not on the vehicle). This allows for easier sharing and uploading after your dives.

We are working towards alternative control units (like VR) in the future. The video is recorded at the best resolution and frame rate.


I am also interested in the best controllers and topside interface with Trident.

I have in mind a game console type primary controller like the Dualshock 4 ( and a superbright tablet type PC to manage the data (in this case I have no idea except to guess a Galaxy Tab S2 or S3) connected to a massive external battery pack. I love my Surface Pro 4 but I am thinking a tablet PC is going to be a bit cheaper (and less hastle) to replace if it ever gets wet or goes for a swim.

The idea of a VR headset is still niggling away in the back of my mind. Does anyone have any experience with these types of devices for control of drones or ROV’s?


I’ve just seen the ready to use controller for trident released by Openrov. The idea of using my good old PlayStation Vita as controller popped up as they look similar but not sure if that’s possible. Any thought ?
Thank you.


The new app runs on Android, which the PS Vita does not use so you are out
of luck Francois. You can use an Android tablet or the dedicated
controller as they suggest.


OK, thanks Ken, I’ll use my tablet in a first time then


My new Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is working well as a controller.

I could not get the 8" version so I have ended up with the larger 9.7" version which is a bit harder to hold at times but it is otherwise perfect for the job.


I read somewhere in the forum that the video is stored in 1080p in the vehicle but sent topside in 720p. The 1080p video will be accessible after dive but that feature isn’t yet implemented… Is that wrong?


I have read the same.


Does anyone have experience with using a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016) tablet as controller for Trident? To my mind the display with its about 520 cd/mm^2 is quite bright for the price and should be suitable to be used outside. I am just a bit worried the hardware might not be up to the task.
In one of the updates I read that the Samsung Tab S2 8" is considered to be in the middle range as far as tablets suitable for Trident go. Any input would be much appreciated.



Ciao Olaf, tested today the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2018) as controller for Trident. Tomorrow I should receive an IPEGA 9023 tablet game pad and I’ll let you now the feedback using together to control the Trident. ciao


I have a Tab1 2016 : in bright sun near water you don’t see anything.


To be more precise : once you have real sun, without goggels (no link with dji), or another protection against sun, you see nothing.
I recommend the pad sold by Openrov and goggels (my choice is Cinemizer) and you are ok for all situations.


I would agree with marcolinger. Goggles and OpenROV controller is the best setup.
I’m unable to afford the controller at the moment so I’m trying to get a Raspberry Pi to work… No problem with controlling the Trident through the Pi but I haven’t gotten the videofeed to work yet. Will do some more digging this weekend I hope.


Hello Paolo,

thank you for the reply! I’m looking forward to your feedback on the performance of the tablet game pad together with the Galaxy Tab A. I am planning to use such a game pad as well.

@ Marcolinger and andreas_lindberg:

Thank you for your feedback on the display in sunlight. I guess you are right about FPV-Googles being the way to go for best viewing results. I got an old set of FatShark googles for FPV flying laying around, perhaps I can use them…


Hello Olaf,
the Ipega 9023 works well with Tab A without any particular set up. I’m sure there is the possibility even to map in a different way the controls on the Ipega but at moment I’m fine with the standard configuration.
Tomorrow I will fly again the Trident in the harbour ad I will take a picture of my controller for you (Tab A + Ipega 9023)…so you will see how it looks like.



Goggles are a really a necessary investment if you want to dive while sun is shining. I think that quality off the goggles is not the most important as you can film the complete diving sequence and afterwards on your computer screen you select what you want to keep from the expedition.
If you do not want to make an important investment, look on ebay and amazon and you will certainly find the brand you want. Only important point is that it has a HDMI entry.