Underwater ROV (Part 2) – Beginning Design.

After a lot of research I finally have enough information to start some design and prototyping.  If you missed the previous post, its located here.  Here is a refresher of my design goals and info about how I plan to accomplish them.

Design Goals

  • 50 ft average depth 100-125 ft max    ( Should have a near neutral buoyancy including the teather, use thrust adjust)
  • Video  ( If end up with ethernet I might try a CPU big enough to use USB cams, Intially I’ll use my gopro or wired camera)
  • Surface controlled.  ( I’ll be using some type of MCU/PIC/CPU on both the ROV and topside, RS 232 or Ethernet fly by wire)
  • Tethered  (Most likely I will surface power and just bite bullet on long heavy cord)
  • Use easy to get materials. (PVC Frame)
  • Cost somewhere between $200-$1000 (Rough estimates prototype budget $800)
  • Small enough for one person to deploy(Should weight less than 20lbs and 12VDC powered.)


The frame will be PVC. It will be easy to manufacture, durable, light, and give me ability to adjust bouyancy.  I will like construct simple box first and use a heat bender to form slight curves to make sure it won’t get snagged underwater.  It will be simple heavy keel and float top design to ensure it always rights itself.


I really like the idea of using bilge pumps and using jet propulsion. However I don’t think the thrust will be as good as props and its not reversable.  Intially I may do jets but most likely will do take the pump off the bilge and use a RC prop.   I plan on doing a unit on each side with forward and reverse to allow 0 turn steering and allowing very fast exit and retreat.


Single bilge motor with prop using forward and reverse to go up or down.  I’ve also thought about emergency CO2 power liftbag but thats more a toy than practical.


Ardino Based onboard microcontroller using RS232 for control using a laptop or another Ardino based controller.  Possilbile to let the ardino be controlled with a custom controller and tether.

Share with others!
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone
Digg this

Leave a Reply