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Lake Tahoe Expedition III

July 29 2014
The purpose of this expedition is primarily to gather engineering data and make improvements on the performance of the new v2.7 OpenROV. We've rented a cabin on Lake Tahoe that has access to a pool as well as the lake, so we can make iterative improvements to performance (likely through software mostly) quickly, than follow those changes up with actual field testing.

July 29 2014


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Mission Underway

Video from the final flight of our Tahoe III expedition. This was a 2.7 that we were testing out. We discuss what is new in the video. We have some issues with weight due to the 2.7 being lighter than prior models. Once we fix that we give you a great video showing why you want floats on your tether with rocky terrain.

This is video from the 2nd flight of day 1. Using a 2.7 chassis and trying out an experimental camera to get comparison video. We end up with lots of "HUD Reboots" which are actually a result of the Arduino rebooting. Later troubleshooting narrows this down to use of the IMU. Additional troubleshooting needed.

Is the 2.7 prototype using the turnigy ESCs?

One last morning dive. A view from the cabin control station.


We have night life in the water. This is video from our night dive on day 1. This is using the screencast plugin for Chrome to do the recording. We have a second video which is the same feed but using another program. Our plan is to compare the two so we can make recommendations on which to use.

This was using a stock 2.6 with a poorly mounted go-pro on the front that served more as bumper to keep off of the rocks.

Bad weather moves the operation to the pool. Testing new depth hold algorithm.


Tracking lightning strikes (from


Rain Delay!
We use a board with a big metal pole sticking up for Internet. We are very concerned with lightning so we are wait and see for our next deployment.


Video from our 3rd dive of the trip. Same ROV as dive#2. Moved to a new location that has a more rocky bottom to get better video to compare to our stock camera. Still plagued by Ardunio reboots that we later determine are related to the IMU we were using.

Our first dive was using a 2.6 unit. Our goal was to get reference video so that we could compare the quality of video between units. As the first flight, we spend some time correcting the angle of the wireless system to prevent communication brown outs. We did git a quick video of a fish. We run most of the flight with the latest depth hold code enabled.

UC Davis and Nasa have real-time data capture systems on the Lake. Here are the reading for the last 24 hours for wind speed and water temp.


This evening, we decided to do a preliminary dive with a few ROVs in the pool near the house we're staying at. Some passer-byers saw the ROVs in the water and stopped by to take a look, then a few more came, then more still. Before we knew it, the whole pool was lined with onlookers as we flew the robots around!


That shows you how cool OpenROV is!

Preparation Stage

Weather forecast for the trip


We have our line of sight from the cabin. It is a bit of a narrow...


On the way to Tahoe. We have a 3 car caravan and a 3 hour drive...

From a software standpoint we have several things to tests:

1) Depth and Heading control loops that we would like to dial in.

2) Would like to log a good 20 minutes of open drive time using drive by wire.

3) Real time performance tuning. Use the telemetry data and new diagnostics data to paint a more complete picture of what the ROV is doing.

Expedition Background

We're headed up to Lake Tahoe for a few days. The goal is to test out some new features and configurations that can be incorporated into the next version of OpenROV, version 2.7.


Yay more tests at Lake Tahoe!