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Pacific Ocean Survey

May 16 2015
Launching of Edgar into the pacific Ocean. Edgar is a moveable buoy that will be able to self propell to any spot in the pacific ocean and then drift with the current. While drifting in a certain area, Edgar will sample water Ph/Temp as well as wind/speed/direction, air pressure/temp. These results will all be relayed in real time via satellite back to our database.

May 16 2015


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Preparation Stage

More water testing. Putting in some upgrades as well so Launch date has been pushed to mid to late July.

Here is a video of the platform in action.

Wow - it's cool to see this in action!

With the launch date for the buoy drawing near, I am wondering what Organizations might be interested in telemetry from the Buoy.

The telemetry will include:
Air temp/pressure
wind speed/direction
water temp/ph

The telemetry can be received from the buoy anywhere from every 5 minutes to hours. Time and telemetry settings are adjustable.

Just thought I would throw it out to the Open Explorers to see if any Orgs would be interested in the data.


The pic attached is the test bucket. THat solar panel has been immersed in water for 6 months now. Every few weeks i take it out and test the panel to see if there is any corrosion or damage to it. So far so good!


Wow, great offer, I'll put my feelers out and see who might find it useful!

Look great and fantastic to see you so willing to share

I'd definitely love to use that data for education! I'm going to send you a message through twitter with my personal email!

This photo is from the water test done earlier this month. Everything went well. During this run I was tweaking settings on the fly to fine tune things.

The telemetry came through great and in real time. I am excited to be able to get live ocean temperature and ocean PH balance as well as wind speed /direction/ humidity/air temp.

I am submitting some more posts with pictures.
With the days getting longer, I am currently deciding on a time to get the buoys in the water.


Great test vessel you have there! You also have a pretty extensive sensor suite for telemetry.
I also noticed the GoPro. Would you consider having a camera take a shot an upload a picture every hour or so the vessel was out at sea to go along with your telemetry? It might add in information if you are trying to determine sea state.

I love this design. I'm eager to see video of it in action!

I have been working toward being able to send pics via satellite. IT might not be ready for EDGAR, but with the AIDAN and LISA buoys coming on line this summer fall, the electronics package might be ready to go with them.

The first iteration of controller and Pixhawk. At the time I thought The Pi would be too big and draw too much power. Power was ok, but definitely too big.

I originally planned to use three 50 watt solar panels since I could not find a 150 watt panel that was narrow enough to fit on top. The width of the hull is 21". The length is 92"

I also planned to use the push pull system for the rudder. I quickly found out that even a heavy duty servo could not tolerate a week pushing water back and forth in my torture test bucket. This caused me to rethink and redesign the rudder system. I eventually went with a thru-hull rudder system. This is a typical powerboat brass rudder port mounted on top of a 1/4" carbon fiber plate. On the bottom of the hull is a 1/4" ABS plastic plate. With weight ever increasing, I went with a kayak rudder and an 1" diameter aluminum rudder shaft.

After weeks breadboarding everything and testing, the final control system looked something like this. As you can see from the picture I moved from the servo rudder control to a linear servo. This one has 135 lbs of thrust and handled the bucket challenge with no problems

The servo installed in the hull. I was very fortunate that the servo lined up almost perfectly with the rudder aperture. This is the only pic I could find of the servo so the candy obscures part of it.

Once all the systems were figured out, the challenge became how to fit them into a small enough water tight container. This caused a lot of grief. This is a first attempt.

Finally I found the perfect waterproof container for the electronics

At the back are the waterproof ports for most of the electronics. The exposed sma connector attaches to the Satellite antenna. In all I drilled about 15 holes in the case for cabling.

Expecting that the ocean will batter the crap out of this, I mounted a carbon fiber plate to the the hull and bolted the electronics to the hull via vibration mounts. These mounts will keep the electronics about an inch off the hull. Hopefully the vibration will be significantly reduced.

Juggling family and a full time job meant that everything was done from 8pm till the wee hours of the morning, hence this taking a year (and counting). Soldering success at 3am. I had blown through 4 boards before this one by letting the solder touch and failing to clear it properly before plugging the controller board into a power source.

I went with a 100AH battery after figuring in the power requirements. Just running the electronics 24/7 added up quickly not to mention powering the motor and the rudder. Since this platform is designed to drift with the current and monitor the ocean/air once it reaches a certain point, there will not be a constant high load demand on the battery. Getting to its destination is another power story entirely. lol...
I wanted to be able to stay on-station for many days even in the event of a lack of sunshine. A 100ah LIFePO4 battery weighs about 26lbs. You can see the battery installed in the hull in my previous post.

Once the battery was in, I then had to wire up to the charge controller and also wire up a secondary chrage port so the battery could stay charged while inside. At one point I had wires coming out of all parts of the boat. The usb ports for talking to the pixhawk and other devices are in the shot as well


Great project!
Is that a W-Kayak?

What a huge undertaking, so cool to see those solar panels! These posts can only support one photo, though your descriptions of the servo and built components are neat. Can you post those photos one at a time for the time being? Would love to see them.

When do you launch?


Thanks for the upgrade the pictures on your twitter account add heaps to understanding you "vessel" Edgar

Would love to hear more about "Aidan" as well

I have been tinkering a bit in this space for persistence data gathering and love what your doing


Expedition Background

Edgar is a moveable buoy that will be able to self-propel to any spot in the pacific ocean and then drift with the current. While drifting in a certain area, Edgar will sample water Ph/Temp as well as wind/speed/direction, air pressure/temp. These results will all be relayed in real time via satellite back to our database.

It can be prohibitively expensive to drive a ship out to a set of coordinates and drop buoys into the water for monitoring. Edgar can launch from the beach and navigate itself to any desired coordinates to be monitored, stay on station and then when the mission is completed, move onto the next set of coordinates for monitoring.


First off Good luck with your project

But a question how is Edgar the moveable buoy going to get around and maintain station? is it a Slocum style change in density glider or a Wave Glider style gaining energy through wave movement or is it a solar cell and motor style arrangement or something else?

All the best

This is a great idea, is this an academic research project or are you doing this independently?

Hey Guys, Thanks for the comments/interest. Edgar has a (solar) electrically powered motor with a 100 amp hour battery.

I am working on a second buoy, Aidan, which is a wave powered surface buoy.

I am working on this independently.

I will post an update today.

Hi Pacificbots
Thanks for the clarification (although it has made me think of even more questions) looking forward to you next post and would love to hear of more details


Please feel free to ask any question. I will answer it if I can!
Right now I am busy getting ready for a sea trial so abit crazed

Hi @Pacificbots
Thanks for the reply, Hopefully a few pictures of the unit may answer a few of my questions, Always keen to see and hear about what people are doing to have a persistent presence to allow longer more cost effective autonomous data gathering

I wish we were closer, I'm doing the same thing but I have a slightly different build platform!