Will there be a kit and full instructions?


#1

Went to the Maker Faire and was pretty excited to see the ROV in action. The flyer seemed to indicate there were kits available but when I come here it seems that the design is in flux being updated and the instructions to build one are not complete. I did find the parts list which is a good start.

So not to complain and you guys seem to be very busy but is there an ETA for this design to become complete and any kits coming in the future? If there was a complete build manual then I'd feel better about buying all the parts and making one. I could volunteer some ROV testing time on some local lakes if you can exchange that for some fishing time while out testing.


#2

It was great to see the OpenROV and team at Maker Faire. I got some underwater video of it swimming around the tank. I'm looking forward to seeing the kits come out and building one, perhaps with some mods.

One mod I'm considering is a float for the tether w/RF comms to controller. This would let us get further from the craft, although getting video over RF requires extra work than simple RC. Perhaps we can learn from the FPV aircraft controllers.

As I mentioned at the Faire, I'm interested in a kit - and we have a decent laser cutter here at our Maui Makers space. A kit of all the parts BUT the laser cut ones would be perfect for us... and perhaps save on the expensive shipping.


#3

Kevin,

Nice to hear from you and sorry that the kits aren't available yet. We want to make sure we have everything solidified before releasing detailed building instructions since the process details change with design modifications. Thanks for the patience and stay posted!

Eric


#4

Don't want to repeat what's already said, but a complete build manual is crucial.
I'm looking to build a ROV for quite some time now, but since I'm new to electronics and Arduino programming a completely documented project like OpenROV would really get me started properly.


Modifying code and adding cool stuff like robot arms and metal detectors would be easy if I'd only had a complete package to start with :-)

P.S. Based in The Netherlands, eager to explore the local canals and rivers.


#5

The Kickstarter project is up and 2x funded with a bit under a month to go. The $775USD level gets you a full kit with laser cut parts, motors, controller, etc. Shipping outside continental USA (central 48 states) is extra.

Unfortunately there is no level for just plans, or electronics w/o laser cut parts.


#6

I am a bit puzzled on why there is an ethernet interface as I only see serial commands in the software. Perhaps I'm not looking at the right place and missing some stuff.
I thought there was only Arduino code and Processing code, but on github I also see a C++ file?

Also would love to know what the exact function of the 18A Brushless Car ESC is (the most expensive part and the most unknown to me :-))


#7

I think they just use ethernet because is the easiest way to plug it in, both the laptop and the device. But they are then converting the ethernet signal to a normal 2 wires for serial communication.

The source on github is pretty weirdly organized, I admit it, and it also looks they are doing a lot of development in a non opensource way (latest code is one month old).

From my understanding, Arduino is operating the motors, and tilting the camera, while the c++/js files are used by nodejs to expose the web interface to the end user, sending the commands to the arduino to drive the motors, and capturing the video stream and sending it to the web browser.

The ESC is used to change the speed and direction of motors using normal PWM signals from the arduino.

The current code is available here: https://github.com/OpenROV

The two files on the software page I thing are outdated


#8

The plans are available for free :)

Everything else you can buy it yourself at normal RC shops.


#9

I agree... a full instructions set should be available for people that decide not to use the kits.

Like, how do I wire the motors, how to I build the power distribution for the motors, how do I connect the ethernet cable and so on.

I understand they probably prefer the sell the kits, but this is called OpenROV... it should be opensource, expecially the code.

Now if I want to build your own, how do you build the beglebone shield that drives the motors? This information is missing


#10

So... Processing is no longer used then? I found this much easier than C++.

On further reading I see that they are running Ubuntu on the beagleboard.
Dunno... Looks like a lot of overhead.
I need electronics (motors, lights), some sort of Arduino to control it and and a PC interface to control the Arduino using a keyboard. The webcam stream I can view in VLC or some other program.
I guess I better wait for more details to become available. Not really clear how this all is being put together so difficult to see if I can add anything to this project.


#11

Hey guys,

You are all completely right that our documentation is way below par right now and I want to let you know that we're in the process of getting it straightened out. We've just been extreamly busy with development and getting everything up and running on Kickstarter, but we're hoping to start a wiki page this week and should have some better documentation up on that pretty quickly. The big goal is to build a community of people who can explore the underwater unknown and develop tools that make discoveries more possible. People who are aiming to build the ROV from scratch are way more valuable for that effort, and we'll try to get whatever resources we can to you to support it. Better documentation is coming! We want to do it right, so it encourages more collaboration instead of just showing how we did something.

Eric


#12

Hi Eric,

thank you for the answer: I posted some other questions around in the forums, probably all coming from a lack of documentation and the feeling that development is not done directly on the public github repository.

If you want an open source project you have to work directly on the public repo.

I've a few ideas on how the project could evolve: you guys built an awesome underwater platform from the mechanical stand point, but I think the "brain" can evolve a lot, and I'd like to take part into that, but for that to happen people like me need to see the latest status of the repository, not a snapshot that is one month old.

Simone


#13

Processing was used as "control station" on the laptop: now the control station is nothing but a NodeJs app that talks to a browser.

The C++ just the software that commands the webcam to take pictures.

I think a "real" OS is needed to have a standard HD webcam taking the stream of the exploration.


#14

Eric,

If there is anything the community could do (like setting up a wiki on GitHub or wikia), them us! Then you only could put your information in!

Dominik


#15

Windows with VLC Player is a real OS :-)
Just plug in the USB cam and select the source and you have it on screen.
You can even record from there.

I can understand that a C++ program looks cooler, but a tinkerer now needs to understand C++.
Focussing on electronic addons (gripper arm, magnetometer, etc.) would be of more use (i mean would be useful to the explorers).


#16

I meant real OS vs Arduino: you cannot put windows inside the OpenROV.

The C++ is the component that reads the webcam and sends it in streaming to the person that is maneuvering the thing. That stream can of course be watched by VLC on Windows :)

Simo


#17

Aaah, ok. now I get it.
So the USB cable of the camera is not just extended to the laptop above the surface...


#18

Answering here the sw doesn't allow any more nesting of answers :)

Yep, the USB cable is not extended to the surface :)

The USB cable goes into the BeagleBoard, that reads the stream (via that C++ file) and sends it to the browser via the NodeJs app as a jpg stream.

The only connection between the ROV and the surface is twisted pair cable that transmits Ethernet signal