ROV Project

Have you ever wanted to check out the bottom of your local lake or pond without getting wet?

I had the idea to build this ROV and elected to give it a try. The sub itself is very cheap to build from parts found at your local hardware store. I'd bet you could build it for under $100 without the camera.

March 18, 2009

This project was spurred by a gentleman out of Sweden who wanted a sub to explore underneath the ice while he fished. I had always wanted to undertake a project like this, and so I decided to take it on.

The actual build took very little time compared to my other R/C submarine projects, and it was rewarding to see it develop so quickly. The body of the ROV is simply PVC pipe that I got from Home Depot. The propulsion is obtained through modification of RULE bilge pumps (1100gph) to accept propellers. The control line is simple 16guage wire with a Cat5e network cable providing input to the control relays. Power is taken from a 12V tractor battery on shore. I have a full color video camera aboard which sends video up the cable to the control station and a flat LCD monitor.

Besides an issue with a faulty vertical thruster relay, the sub performs beautifully and is very fast and quite powerful. Three switches handle control (left and right thrusters, vertical thrusters).

The video that I got during testing was pretty bad, not because of any fault with the camera, but because the water is so murky where I was testing. I'll try again in my swimming pool shortly.