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Bermuda Lobster Season 2014

September 1 2014
Mission: try and locate spiny lobsters using the OpenROV to build navigation and tether management skills (so I don't get caught in a reef!) while abiding by the rules set out by the Department of Environmental Protection.

September 1 2014


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Mission Underway

Using a nautical map of Bermuda, my brother an I try to locate the deepest are that is relatively close to the reef we were at near Dockyard. According to the map, we should have been expecting 16 meters. We were estimating the GPS coordinates and I would be happy with anything around 14.5 meters.

We deployed the OpenROV to do a bounce dive. For the most part, the video is pretty boring until we get to the bottom and achieve a depth of 18.2 meters (~60ft). If you look closely, you can see the shadow of a fish down there.

On the way up, the OpenROV froze a couple times and then around 8m the OpenROV stopped responding. Fearing the worst, I disconnected power and pulled the OpenROV up to the surface. Looking inside the electronics tube, there was about a spoonful of water that had leaked in. :( I opened and drained the tube, and removed the electronics to try and see if any water had gotten on the boards. I noticed a couple drops on the camera USB cable, but nothing else. It wouldn't be until a couple hours later that I would try powering it up (after drying out in a dehumidified room). Luckily it started up and there are no issues. I believe the lag was associated with image I was running (2.5-48).

I am using the 2.5 version end caps and will need to upgrade to the 2.6 before diving further.

Next step, install the leak detection circuit!


Sept 7

After our dive at Admiralty House Dock last evening, my brother and I headed out in our boat to a reef off of Dockyard to have a good time, see some cool sights, and if we were lucky, capture it on camera and recover the OpenROV #515 without any major problems. The mission was successful with only minor problems encountered. :)

The key take-a-way point was tether buoyancy, but we were expecting this from last night's dive. (The fishing shop wasn't open to get additional floats). There was also some slight condensation issues that need to be addressed. The climate in Bermuda is very humid (~80%). I will have to place the ROV in a room with a dehumidifier before sealing up the tube with a desiccant package.

One thing that I am considering on doing is to move the threaded rod that is currently up the front, further back to get it out of my field of view. I mounted the battery tubes on the outside of the ROV to clear up some my view.

All in all, it was a great day to be on and in the water!


I recommend connecting with the folks at BIOS - try Ali Hochberg - she is BIOS is working with students all over the island to build ROVs and learn about this technology - it would be great to share what you are doing!

September 6

I, along with my new trusty assistant (my little brother), headed out to the dock at Admiralty House to do some testing prior to heading out in the boat. We got to the dock and there are a bunch of kids jumping off the dock and they immediately take notice to the OpenROV!

I explained and showed the kids how it works and they are excited to jump in and swim with it.

Not long after placing it in the water, I remembered that I had forgotten one additional weight that makes my OpenROV neutrally buoyant in water. :( I had taken it off the night before to test it in my pool and left it on the table! After about five minutes of disappointment, I remembered the clever folks at OpenROV had built in some control software to get the OpenROV to keep a constant depth. So I made the ROV dive about a meter and then enabled the depth control. Amazing!

My brother and I drove around the cove and made another mental note that we would need to get additional floats for the tether, as the floats that we had on were not sufficient and we had gotten snagged a couple times on bottom. :S

One thing we noticed from trying to navigate in a small cave underneath the dock was that the water was very silty. The LED lights would light up the silt quite nicely, but unfortunately it made it hard to see beyond the silt, and the cave exploration had to be canceled for another time.

We hung around until the sun started to go down and the drove the OpenROV around in the dark! It was pretty cool seeing the lights in the water and navigating became more of a challenge.

The only thing that remained a concern for reef diving was the lag the OpenROV was having. The cpuUsage was bouncing quite a bit and was consistently around 0.73, 0.84, and 1 :S. I was running the latest image (2.5-48). Hopefully it wouldn't act up for tomorrow's dive.

All in all, a good trip! We were able to get 1hr 20mins of dive time, which was nice.


Sept 4th

On a whim and due to the nice weather, I leave work a bit early to try and get some time in the water with OpenROV #515. I had an issue trying to update the firmware on my last adventure, so I downloaded the latest dev-image and head out (without fully testing...again! What is the definition of insanity? :P )

While my brother and uncle are searching the reefs via snorkeling, I am in the boat testing and calibrating the OpenROV. I ran into an issue where the cockpit was not recognizing keyboard inputs. I'm assuming it somehow defaulted to game pad, but after a few resets all the checks seemed to work out.

Time was running out. I placed the ROV in the water on a beautiful reef and then it froze on me. :( It was getting late and we had to get back before loosing too much visibility so we don't strike any of the reefs on the way back to the dock.

I did manage to upload a very short clip from a screen capture. I'll have to get the GoPro mounted (and tested) for next time, which I hope will be sometime this weekend. Lessoned learned: Fully test and prepare before heading out. No excuses!

Was that using screencastify?

I captured this using Quicktime and a screen capture on my mac. I haven't tried screencastify yet.

Sept 1st

Made it out to the reef. Booted up OpenROV #515 and doing a double check on all systems.

Camera...check, IMU...check, Lights...check, Camera Tilt...check. Motor direction...Port motor reversed! Changed the orientation and tried upload the new firmware and it hangs! Try rebooting and starting again, but no dice. :(

Furthermore, the laptop shut down from an empty battery (which was fully charged before leaving the dock x( )

This was a big disappointment, but not good enough of a reason to head in, so I took the opportunity to scout out the reefs and came across some amazing sights and caves.


I like your thought process, Good luck with the next run!

After some minor repair on a broken battery cap wire and going over my checklist, I was set to go exploring!


What clips on the side of shell are you using to hold the battery backs in place? I'm looking to move mine because I need to mount some sensors in the payload bay.

Hey Patrick, I remember seeing them on a blog/forum post somewhere. You can download them from Dezbot on thingiverse. The credit goes to them. It is a great design in my opinion. I treaded mine onto the threaded rod and it works out great. I moved mine out to take them out of my field of view.

Expedition Background

Bermuda Lobster Season starts tomorrow! (September 1st - March 31st). I lobster dive recreationally (free diving, no SCUBA, only a noose to capture Spiny Lobsters).

I thought it would be cool to utilize the OpenROV to try and locate spiny lobsters by going to some reefs and known locations where I have caught lobsters previously. For me, this mission is to develop better operating skills of the OpenROV by trying to go in small caves and under ledges and hopefully not to get the tether caught on the reef itself!


Wow, what a cool photo! Are you the photographer?

Very cool expedition. I can't wait to see more updates.

@ericka Unfortunately this is not my photo, but I agree it is a great photo!