Trident News - Discontinued Production

Greetings fellow enthusiasts!,

As many of you should have received, SoFar has discontinued the Trident. However, Mission Robotics, has created an open source ROV OS to substitute the current Trident functionality.

I’ve copied the letter here so that you may all have it in case you did not receive it in email. As for the hardware…don’t know what’s happening there. SoFar is selling off stock, as indicated in the message. But look like Mission Robotics and Blue Robotics are our contacts in the U.S.

It was a heck of a ride that started in 2012, let’s see what’s the next decade brings…

— Begin Email —
Hello,

We wanted to let you know that Sofar Ocean has decided to discontinue production and sale of the Trident Underwater Drone. This letter will cover what this means for you as a Trident owner in terms of support, an open source direction for the product, and what you can expect from Sofar going forward.

First, while we are discontinuing production, we are still offering technical and product support through June 31, 2021. We will make additional spare parts (like motors) available during that time, while our stock and supplies last. We are also deeply discounting all accessories for our customers and will have a limited number of discounted Tridents remaining for purchase until December 31, 2020.

The good news is that Mission Robotics (a team of former OpenROV engineers) has created an open source ROV OS that will substitute the current Trident functionality, but also create a platform for further extension in the future. If you would like more information on the Mission Robotics software upgrades, you can learn more about that here: https://missionrobotics.us/trident/
The initial goal for Trident was to democratize access to ocean exploration tools. As many of you have seen, the market for accessible ROV options exploded with competition after the Trident was announced. We are proud that the product inspired so much innovation in the industry and look forward to seeing where Mission Robotics and the community development process take it from here.

Sofar is dedicated to the mission of connecting the world’s oceans to provide insights to science, society, and industry for a more sustainable planet. We will continue to invest in and develop the Spotter and Smart Mooring sensor platforms, as well as growing our planetary network of buoys.

Thanks,

Sofar Ocean Team

---- End Email

I am very disappointed with this decision by Sofar. From my point of view Sofar is basically turning its back on the community that supported them during the Open ROV and Trident Kickstarter times. My Trident from the Kickstarter campaign is now 2 years old and although it has been working very well so far, I have always relied on the option to get proper support, spare parts or even having it repaired if something brakes down. I paid a substantial amount of money in advance, waited almost two years to have it delivered and in the foreseeable future, if I am unlucky, the Trident might become useless because I can’t get spare parts or have it repaired. Having read those news, the promise of “we have not forgotten about you guys” from one of the last news updates by Sofar feels like mockery.

3 Likes

Hi Oger,

I completely understand you, and I am sure the majority of folks here feel the same. I too am disappointed by this news and have 2 Tridents that I’ve already had to perform repairs on. On the bright side, Mission Robotics is top notch. I am not sure if they will be offering support after SoFar stops support next year, but the tech knowledge on marine robotics and the Trident, plus other areas that those cats posses is, in my opinion, top tier. I remember when OpenROV started, it was community based, open, and really had some great new things to offer, and they succeeded in that. I’ve noticed the community diminish over the last few years, and that was worrying in regards to the continued effort. But that’s a discussion for another thread.

Anyway, there are other ROVs coming out on the market in the 1-4k range. Honestly, other than BlueROV, I think they are all crap, lol. I have zero faith in the ones coming out of China and would argue against buying them unless someone can post a real detailed analysis of them, and that analysis shows that they are worth the money. They seem cheaply made, promise more than they should and they seem lazy, they don’t bother translating their websites properly nor use their own footage of their products. I may end up dishing up the cash to do this, it would be worth the engineering knowledge.

Well, here’s to the next thing,

Jim

Hello Jim, yes, after Trident finally got released and the promised updates for wifi payloads or software updates for semi autonomous diving never showing up, it became more and more silent. Maybe new software by Mission Robotics will give new impulses for people in the community.

As far as other ROVs are concerned, I am quite happy with my Trident, I would only go for a new one, if I have to. I agree with Chinese ROVs being at least suspicious. I saw a mixture between a Thunder Tiger Neptune SR1 RC sub marine and an OPEN ROV 2.8 at a hobby fair in Leipzig a few years back at a Chinese booth. They actually had a rubber ducky as a float for the antenna with 2,4 GHz FPV gear :smiley:

Well I hope this Forum stays up ! Not only for the Q&A but posts on field use and projects since the demise of OpenExplorer, obviously some cross over in content with BR but not always.

1 Like

Same here. I think they are the same forum platform so combining them would make sense. Just have a bluerov section and a trident section.

Jim

I will say that the team at OpenROV were GREAT at supporting the early products and kits. Things seemed to change when Trident came along and this is just another change…

2 Likes

The battery in the Trident is presumably a constraint on Trident longevity. As it stands now, an owner is obliged to rely on SOFAR for its replacement. Hopefully SOFAR can share some of the details to give the community at least a good shot at addressing anticipated maintenance challenges in the absence of company support.

Yeah, this is one of my main concerns with longtime use of my trident. I don’t look forward to trying to replace the battery…

As an individual who owns a Trident, and cannot afford to purchase a different ROV (equivalent priced ones don’t seem to offer any reliable support, and others are much more expensive), I am very concerned that going forward there won’t be any available support/repairs, as it effectively means my access to an ROV for exploring and conservation in my local area is limited to how long my Trident lasts before it develops a fault of some kind.

This is very sad, having been so excited at the opportunities for exploration this device provided, this may for me effectively come to an end. :frowning:

I am more than happy to pay for repairs as and when needed - are there any companies out there who could provide such a service so I can see a future for my Trident?

1 Like

Hi Tim,

All I know is that SoFar will continue support for 1 yr. Mission Robotics may be able to help. They are working on ROS2 software to place the current software. There is/will be support for that, but not sure about the hardware after next year.

Don’t lose hope, there’s a good many people who want this to continue. If anything, someone else will come up with a new one.

Jim

2 Likes

I’m hoping to get my new motors as promised so I can continue to teach our underserved kids about the exploration of using ROVs, Trident has been one hell of product for our students here in NYC but we still need the motors to continue our STEAM drive on

Hi Tony,

For a start, check @r_wolf’s recent post. You can pull the brass covering out. You’ll rip it apart doing so, but what happens is that over time water gets between the magnets and the brass and corrosion builds and the brass locks tight against the wire winding. To continue to use the motors, you need to remove the brass cover and remove the corrosion on the magnets. Then coat the magnets and coil in wd-40 or dielectric grease, etc and reassemble.

TO continue to use the Trident, you’ll need to be able to maintain it on your own unless Mission Robotics or someone else will help with the hardware. I certainly will be using my Tridents until I either lose them in a wreck and can’t recover them, or they completely fall apart and are in pieces, irreparable, lol. Perhaps it’s time to start a maintenance vid series…

I’ll post a vid in the next day or so about it.

Thanks

Jim

1 Like

Hi everyone,

Yes this sounds a bit like bad news but Trident remains an amazing ROV.

With some help from Mission Robotics and the rest of the community, I am expecting to operate mine for many years to come and I will be helping others to do the same. I am excited to think that Mission Robotics might soon be able to expand the capabilities of Trident. I am sure we will be able to source the spare parts that we need and then develop ways to overcome any other issues that may arise. This is the start of a new adventure…

I have also just posted a bit of information about how I service the motors on my own Tridents (to help prevent the need for more serious repairs like the removal of the magnet coverings as already mentioned). I can complete this preventative maintenance in a couple of minutes and it helps me keep the motors in top working order. Please note that this method works for me and it appears to be very effective however it is not endorsed by Sofar so be careful to consider your own circumstances before giving it a try.

Take a look at the new selfie stick that I have just completed (I have already made three of these and I have enough materials/components to make two more).

Also, here is a photo of corrosion in some other brushless DC motors that I operate to help demonstrate the quality of the Trident motors and to help put it into perspective. Fortunately, I have worked out how to prevent and remedy the corrosion in these motors as well. The ocean and electronics are never good friends!

2 Likes