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Honeycomb Rising

November 10 2016

Eighteen months ago, we lost Honeycomb. Now, after a year and a half underwater, Honeycomb has returned! Join us as we rebuild this legendary OpenROV.

November 10 2016


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Preparation Stage

Testing the wiring harness. And with that, the teardown is complete and we are ready to begin the rebuild!

The motors are off and we're ready to test the electronics and start the rebuild.

I'm taking a brief break from rebuilding Honeycomb to go explore the Marianas Trench.

Follow along with the Surface to Abyss expedition:

More from the battery tube tear down.

There is some minor chemical damage on the rear acrylic piece, but it looks like the fuse adapter/spacer and the front battery contact took the brunt of the assault. The smell emitted from the tube was distinctly acrid and reminded me of paint stripper.

Which, incidentally, leads my to my current working hypothesis of what happen.

At some point after Honeycomb was lost, the o-ring on one of the battery tubes failed. This allowed freshwater (Lake George, an alpine lake in upstate New York is extremely fresh). This generated a very weak current, which began to electrolyze the water, producing hydrogen peroxide, which, in high concentrations, reacts with acrylic (which the end caps are made from) but does not affect polycarbonate (which the tube is made of. So the acrylic parts get reduced to mush and the tube itself is relatively unharmed.

The fact that the front end cap was significantly more damaged than the rear suggests that Honeycomb was lying on a slope, with its nose pointed down.

Watch the battery tube tear-down.

Today I pulled the batteries out of Honeycomb. One tube managed to stay completely sealed during the entire 18 month submergence. The other did not fair nearly so well. Can you guess which is which?

Expedition Background

Over a year ago, while diving in an alpine lake in upstate New York, we paid the exploration tax:

I had all but given up hope that the OpenROV we lost would ever be recovered. Then, last month, a local diver contacted me. After almost 18 months on the lake floor, somewhere between 30 and 70 meters deep, Honeycomb has returned!

This little bot is in pretty bad shape, but it can be rebuilt. It will dive again. Join us as we systematically disassemble this legendary robot and rebuild it.

This is Honeycomb Rising!