May 26, 2013, Sunday

Stacy and I went over to the shop today, and hopefully I had all of the required tools and parts required to continue the assembly of the OpenROV kit.

Not only were we both using our computers to direct us with the assembly of the OpenROV kit, but Stacy had rebuilt my backup external hard drive last night. During the day today, I ran a backup on the backup drive, I also created a bootable mirror on another external hard drive.

When Stacy and I got to the shop, we were convinced we could not have lost the second nylon spacer. So we spent another half hour or more searching for the spacer, but no luck, it has just disappeared!

We decided to put Kitty to work on the project. We sent her off to Lowe’s in Abbeville to find some spacers, or locate some nylon tubing of the proper size. While Kitty was off trying to find material for the spacers, we got back to the assembly of the OpenROV kit.

We started on step #8, Assembling the Topside Tether Adapter updated 5/13/13. . We were getting smarter between yesterday and today, so we watched the video in it’s entirety, before attempting the assembly. We learned two things by watching the video. First thing was, we were missing a part to complete the assembly of the topside tether adapter. Second thing was, we could complete the electronic assembly without the topside tether adapter being together. Obviously to complete step #8 completely, we will need the missing piece.

The topside tether adapter is being built from commercial off the shelf parts. The main part being used is the Medialink 200 Mbps Powerline Network Adapter. This is a device that uses the electrical wiring in a house to link up with a wired Ethernet cable. We are going to use the half of the electronics that convert the Ethernet signals to a two wire signal. The half of the electronics that converts the two wire signal to 120 VAC we will not use.

As per the video, Assembling the Topside Tether Adapter, we cut the tabs holding the halves together. We then discarded the half not needed. We then soldered onto the remaining piece the USB regulator board. This was as far as we could get on this step. When we get the missing plastic piece, we will complete this step.

Finished Tether Adapter With USB Regulator

Finished Tether Adapter With USB Regulator

We realized we did not finish Item #7, Assembling and Waterproofing the Thrusters, so we went back and finished the phase for which we had the parts. This phase had us remove the wire leads on the three motors, and replace the leads with longer wires.

The key here is using a very sharp safety razor blade, and to be very careful. There is a single piece of shrink wrap that had to be cut off of the three wires wrapped together. Then cut the shrink wrap off of each individual wire.

Cutting Shrink Wrap Off Of Wires

Then we had to unsolder the wires off of each of the three motor leads.

Unsoldering Wires From Motor Leads

Next was to cut the necessary wire lengths to solder back on the motors. We cut and striped the new wires, and then soldered the wire to the motor leads.

New Wires Soldered On

Now we applied the liquid electrical tape, and reversed the sequence of installing the heat shrink tubing. We put an individual piece of heat shrink on each wire, and when that was completed, put a single piece of heat shrink over all three wires. This completes that phase of the Assembling and Waterproofing the Thrusters.

Applying The Liquid Electrical Tape

Heat Shrink On The Individual Wires

Heat Shrink The Three Individual Wires

Next on the assembly instructions is step #9, Potting the wire pass throughs in the end caps v2.3 instructions only, v2.4 instructions will be updated soon. We looked at the instructions, but since they were not the v2.4 instructions, we decided not to attempt it.

Now we went to step #10, Programming and calibrating the ESCs, but we did not have a 12 VDC power source or any of the clip leads required. These are a couple of more steps that need to be added to the “Items NOT included in kit (that you will need)” list.

We skipped a couple of steps, and moved to step #14, Assembling the Internal Electronics Components v2.3 instructions only, v2.4 instructions will be updated soon. When we did this there were only v2.3 instructions, now they have the v2.4 instructions online.

At the time we only had the 2.3 instructions, so we completed some of step #14. We looked at the first video, "Assembling e-chassis structure", and completed that.

Complete E-Chassis; Servo Attached

We completed the second video, Electronics 1. In this phase we attached the wide angle camera and the lights to its proper place. We first unpacked the camera and checked it out on Stacy’s laptop. If you look you will notice Stacy holding the camera, taking a picture of me. I am showing up in a window on Stacy’s computer.

Wide Angle Camera

We then installed the camera, since it had checked out good. I then mixed up a bit of the 5 minute epoxy and glued the two powerful LED lights to the camera housing. Obviously the lights are used to light up what the camera is looking.

Camera Housing With Lights Attached

When we finished this phase, we decided to call it quits for the day. We certainly got a lot accomplished. I had been over to DREAM AWAY three times during the day getting parts and tools needed to continue.

We still have a bunch to assemble and of course a couple of do overs, but we can actually see the end of the tunnel. The really down side is, it will be very difficult for me to get Stacy to Delcambre to help finish the project, but we will see what is in the future.

May 25, 2013, Saturday

Stacy actually arrived last evening, so we had time to do some preparation for the assembly today. We downloaded all of the videos and hard copy (web pages), that would take us through the assembly of the OpenROV kit.

When we went to the shop today, I had all of the required tools mentioned in the documentation. We got out all of the parts purchased separately, and the kit.

Parts And Tools Ready For Assembly

Next we went to geek-landia! Stacy and I got out our computers and I brought up the following assembly instructions. Since we ordered the kit, we started at step #4.

Step by step instructions

The OpenROV consists of three parts: body, electronics and software, but most of the work will go into assembling the body. But without further ado, here is the list of steps:

1. What's in the OpenROV Kit (only for those who bought the kit)

2. Cutting out parts with laser (if you have bought the kit you can skip to step 4)

3. Bending the Outer Shell (if you have bought the kit you can skip this step)

4. Assembling and Gluing the Inner Structure updated 5/3/13

6. Assembling the Battery Packs updated 5/3/13

9. Potting the wire pass throughs in the end caps v2.3 instructions only, v2.4 instructions will be updated soon.

12. Install the software for the Beagle Bone and Cape(if you bought the kit, the BB image is already in the SD, but the Arduino code needs to be uploaded)

13. Update the software updated 5/3/13

14. Assembling the Internal Electronics Components v2.3 instructions only, v2.4 instructions will be updated soon.

15. Assembling and sealing up the OpenROV currently being updated

Read the Software Manual to know how to control the ROV.

Stacy would then bring up the videos pertaining to the step we were assembling. As we found out some steps have videos, and some steps just have a web page with pictures.

Stacy Bringing Up A Video

Let me just say here that Stacy and I should have viewed and studied all of the videos and web pages before we actually started the assembly. If we would have done that, it would have been clear that the “Items NOT included in kit (that you will need)” was not complete, and we could have done an inventory of all of the “Acrylic Pieces needed to build the kit”. So we were starting out behind the 8 ball, we just did not know it at the time!

We started off with step #4, Assembling and Gluing the Inner Structure updated 5/3/13. The first thing we noticed when we brought up the video is we did not have a syringe bottle. I had a couple of syringes I used with resins, that worked just fine. It would have been nice if the syringe bottles had been in the list of “Items NOT included in kit (that you will need)”.

Step #4, Assembling and Gluing the Inner Structure, was completed without too many problems. We did a dry fit of the acrylic parts, and then we assembled them with the acrylic cement.

Inner Structure Pieces Ready For Assembly

Stacy Assembling Inner Structure

Stacy Assembling Inner Structure

Jim Assembling Inner Structure

Stacy Assembling Inner Structure

Completed Inner Structure

The #4 assembly step went very well, so we were feeling pretty good about our progress. Starting with step #5, Assembling and Gluing the end caps updated 5/4/13, things started to go south.

In this step, we did not view the video all the way to the end first. We would look at one segment, get the required pieces for the assembly, and complete that segment. We completed one of the end caps, and in the video it said to make an exact copy, which we did. At the end of the video, it said we should have made a mirror copy, and looking at the two end caps it was obvious we needed a mirror copy, not an exact copy.

So Stacy and I had to do some rework! We decided we were going to need new pieces to create the second end cap again, it would not change anything to attempt to take apart the “bad” end cap. We were lucky, and we were able to get the end cap apart, and then back together as a mirror copy.

Another bit of bad news here, I did not take as many pictures as I should have during this process!

Cutting Parts For The End Caps

Jim At The Saw!

Finished “Mirror Image” End Caps

Now we got going on #6, Assembling the Battery Packs updated 5/3/13. Earlier in the morning, I had unpacked the battery charger and the batteries, and started the charging process. I was being optimistic that we would need the batteries before the day was over.

Here again, Stacy and I caused ourselves problems because we did not read the "Changes made between v2.3 to v2.4" section. In this section it specifically states the battery connection has been changed from a series battery connection to a parallel connection.

Stacy and I both commented that wiring six 3.7 volt batteries in series was going to equal a 24 volt power source instead of a 12 volt power source. We actually went through the complete video, and there were no changes in the assembly of the battery packs, so we decided to go through the process as per the video.

The step #6, Assembling the Battery Packs updated 5/3/13 should be labeled V2.3, so we would know there is a difference.

We assembled the battery packs except for one change. They wanted us to seal the battery packs with 5 minute epoxy, and we decided to use BoatLIFE Life Seal. I felt this was a better option because the epoxy is very brittle after it sets up.

Battery Pack Under Construction

Battery Packs BoatLIFE Life Seal Applied

We set the battery pack aside so the BoatLIFE Life Seal could set up.

Completed Battery Packs - Serial Connection

We then started on #7, Assembling and Waterproofing the Thrusters updated 5/15/13, which was very frustrating. The first picture shows someone using a tool and removing the snap ring from the base of the motor (the snap ring looks like a C).

The very next picture, they are moving right along. The snap rings on these motors are incredibly small. I went back to DREAM AWAY, and brought my two sets of snap rings pliers back to the shop. Both pair were way too big. It was incredibly frustrating, and it took Stacy over an hour to get the snap rings off of the shafts on the three motors. It would be nice if the folks at OpenROV would suggest or tell us what they used to remove the snap rings. By this time we were ready to chew nails.

We skipped ahead in step #7 to the "Attaching the Propellers to the Motor" phase. In this phase we have to attach a propeller to the shaft of the motor using a nylon spacer. The problem with this phase is we only had two of the required spacers. These spacers were not part of the kit inventory, and they should be! To add insult to injury, while searching for the third spacer, we lost the second spacer!

Stacy and I spent the last hour of the day looking for the lost spacers. We left the shop for the day a bit frustrated, but very happy that we had got as far as we did. The OpenROV was coming together. Stacy and I were taking notes so, as we move along, we will be able to help the processes of the OpenROV group with helpful suggestions.

May 21, 2013, Tuesday

All of the steps needed not in the kit, I have on hand or have been ordered. the last two steps that were ordered are supposed to arrive on Thursday, May 23rd. All of the tools required for the kit assembly, I have on hand. So come Saturday morning, May 25th, Stacy and I will be going to it!

A Couple Of Items Purchased Locally

May 07, 2013, Tuesday

Today when I went over to the shop, I had printed out the “What’s In the OpenROV Kit” inventory, so I would be able to do a proper inventory. The inventory went very well. I was over on one part, and under on another part. When I emailed the OpenROV group, about missing a couple of M5 stainless nylon insert locknuts, they told me the inventory should have listed four nuts instead of eight. Now it turns out I have one extra nut, because I have five in the inventory!

The first step on the inventory says all of the necessary cut acrylic parts to assemble the ROV 2.4 kit! That’s it! I do hope they are all there, because there are very many of them!

Following is the actual inventory, and some photos of the parts during inventory.

Completed Inventory

Starting Inventory, Bag Of Some Acrylic Pieces On Top

Bolts & Nuts Being Inventoried

Various Parts Being Inventoried

Medialink Network Adapter

Now all that remains is to order, or verify I have the parts and tools not in the kit.

Items Not In The Kit That Will Be Needed

Stacy has made plans to come to Delcambre over the Memorial Day weekend, so we will get our OpenROV kit together then.

May 01, 2013, Wednesday

Went through the kit and it looks very complete, but did not have the “What’s In the OpenROV Kit” with me when I did this. I have a bunch of photos of all of the stuff, but I still have to do not have a proper inventory. Please enjoy the photos.

First Group Of Parts

Second Group Of Parts

Third Group Of Parts

Fourth Group Of Parts

BeagleBone Computer And BeagleBone Cape

Fifth Group Of Parts

Sixth Group Of Parts

All Parts Back In The Box

As you can see, lots of small parts to assemble. Of course in the documentation, they say it can be put together in a weekend. Probably something like a two hour boat project that takes four days. I also wonder if they are talking a 48 hour weekend, or just two eight hour days?

When Stacy and I get together, we will find out!!

April 29, 2013, Monday

Stacy found the OpenROV web site last year at the beginning of December. It is a really cool innovation, and we perceive it has many practical uses, especially if you live aboard a sailboat. The need to explore the underwater surroundings is self-evident.

Stacy and I talked about the device, and decided we should attempt to build a unit for testing. By the end of December of 2012, the OpenROV group were selling kits. Stacy and I immediately ordered one. That was the good news. The bad news was our order arrived at the company after they had already sold out of the first run of the units. So, we got in on the second build of kits, with a scheduled delivery for April of 2013. The good news is there were many changes and upgrades made from the original run of kits, so we were actually getting a better kit than the first run.

And now the moment of truth has arrived. I received an email from the OpenROV group last week telling me to be on the lookout for our kit delivery. Today, April 29th, the kit arrived. Now Stacy has to schedule some time to come to Delcambre so we can put the kit together, and test it.

Welcome Letter To The OpenROV Community

Kit On Shop Work Bench

Kit Contents And Welcome Letter

Close Up Of Kit Contents, Kit #265

More Kit Contents

More Kit Contents

More Kit Contents

I did not actually take any of the kit parts out of the box. I was afraid I would never get them all back in the box. Tomorrow, April 30th, I will find a larger box than the kit box, and inventory the contents.