A lot of my use for the ROV will involve invasive species, so I need a way to be able to sterilize the unit…preferably in the field. I’m guessing others are doing this? Has anyone found a safe way to do it without damaging the ROV itself?
Great question! Luckily, some of our community members have started to make significant progress in understanding and solving this problem. Here is a link to a representative paper about the subject: link
Hope that helps!
A useful paper. I’d add a couple of questions.
- Are the o-ring lubricants used in the Open-ROV affected by bleach, or would (approx) 10 volume hydrogen peroxide be a viable alternative disinfectant.
- The paper points out that a freshwater soak for 24 hours is lethal to many marine organisms. Would anyone care to comment on a suitable soak that would be relevant for transfers between two freshwater environments such as 2x sea salinity with cooking salt?
- If you’re doing a freshwater (or salt water) soak prior to an environment move, wouldn’t you be cleaning, degreasing and re-lubing the o-rings as part of regular servicing? In which case, the question of bleach (or H2O2) doing nasty things to the lubricant becomes somewhat moot.
How significant an issue is this? Well, in my “home territory” of caving, we’ve got a continuing problem of loss of many bat colonies (and possibly populations) to “White Nose Syndrome,” which may well be sometimes transported on cavers clothing and equipment. So developing “beat practice” early in the development of an occupation is, well … best practice.
Not sure about the soaks…But I do know a thing or two about O-rings. I would remove the O-rings as part of a sterilization process and clean them independently. They are made from nitrile which is very resistant to many chemicals. Use alcohol to dissolve the o-ring lube which can attract dust and sand and other particles that cause leaks. Clean the channel carefully (but not with alcohol as it can cause crazing with the o-rings check here for alternatives http://www.sdplastics.com/acryliteliterature/1554BChemResistanceChart.pdf). Re-lube and re-place each time for safest bet.