Friday, August 1, 2014

Rachel Holladay's Internship, Summer 2014 - Part 5

It's alive!

With some large parts deliveries over the course of the past week and a lot of construction time in the lab, we have the first prototype of the ROV driving around. As of right now, the SeaPerch base is assembled with motors, controls and the attached plankton net while construction of the water sampler is waiting on one final part. I'm in the process of assembling two sets of the sensor suite and have completed most of the circuit board soldering and mounting. Unfortunately, the light sensor is now only produced in a much smaller size and my jumper cable attempts have resulted in mostly singed fingers and electronics.

So far, I've been conducting field tests in a pool behind my building. However, next week a few of us are going to go down to Bay St. Louis, MS to test the ROV in the bay, probably off a pier. In addition to being able to test the aquarium kits and samplers the ability to test the ROV in much more realistic, although unpredictable conditions, should yield some useful experience. During the planning stages, we were worried about the ROV having enough flotation to be buoyant, but recent testing in the pool shows that we actually can't get the ROV to sink! However, the salinity levels in the bay will almost certainly mean different performance, so we'll have to see how it plays out.

Since we attached a GoPro (Hero3 Silver edition) to the ROV, I've been taking footage of the dives. After the field testing, I'll try to compile a larger video showing off a bunch of test, but for now here is a link to an example of a test drive: (I do a lot of iterative testing, shown here is test 4 of 11).

Posted By:
Rachel Holladay, Naval Research Laboratory

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