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ROV #463 discovers Switzerland!

June 25 2014
After finishing my ROV #463 at OpenROV HQ, I'm taking it to my spin around to Switzerland before heading back to Australia. I'm planing to take my ROV to as many of the lakes around my place in Switzerland as possible and to see what I can discover! Stay tuned!

June 25 2014

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Mission Underway

Great success!
Yesterday I went for a couple of SCUBA dives from a boat in lake of Zug.
Initially I planed to deploy the ROV from the boat but due to time constraints it didn't happen.
Visibility on the scuba dives wasn't great but from the shore, the top looked really nice.

So, setting up the ROV and soon enough a few of my fellow divers and their kids were all eager to have a look.

We dropped the ROV from a little jetty and went for a spin!
I think the picture shows it all...

Not only Mirja and Julian had a great time (and on the day later still speak about the robot) but it looks like the big kits had fun too!

Lesson learned:
- Ducks look odd from the underside and don't like the ROV driving around them
- A lake cruise ship taking off from the jetty a few meters away can cause havoc. I think my ROV did a somersault :)
- it's possible to get your tether hooked onto some wood logs on the ground - and free yourself with the ROV

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Today was officially the first real dive in a lake here in Switzerland for my ROV!

The Wohlensee is an artificial lake for hydroelectric power creation. It was created by building a dam into the river Aare. It's about 12km long but only 700m at it's widest with a maximum depth of 20m.

It looks very calm from the surface but once I put the ROV into the water it was quite clear that there is a bit more current than I expected to encounter.
It's hard for me to say how much current there was but it was for sure more than the ROV could easily handle!

In the shallows, from the pontoon jetty where I launched the ROV it was fine, but jut a meter or 2 from the jetty the ROV was taken away quickly.

On power level 4 I managed to fight the current to come back but manoeuvring was tricky especially as the fast forward movements produces a lot of downwards tilt that is hard to fight with the prop.

At one point, probably because the ESCs had to do some work and the water was about 18 degrees, I had some fogging in the electronics tube. A bit of 'computer air', bottled gas in a can, would fix tat though.

image-1

Today, I had the chance to show my OpenROV to a group of Microsoft .NET software developers that gathered in Bern for their monthly user group meeting.

As I just piggy-backed on another event, it was only a short 30 minutes presentation but the girls and guys loved the ROV!

I think I few are thinking about getting one :)

Thanks for the .NET User Group Bern for having me!
dnug-bern.ch/index.aspx

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Preparation Stage

Just had my first deployment with ROV #463 in the river Aare.
I made sure that there wasn't too much current, so I chose a place at a little dam.

This was a test deployment to see if the ROV made the trip over safely, and it DID!

I had two small problems:
- I didn't have a new desiccant bag and no 'computer air' to put dry air into the electronics tube, so I had a little bit of condensation. Together with the visibility that was a bit impaired by a lot of nutrients that makes the water quite 'milky'

  • There was a bit of sea grass and I managed to get it around one of my props :) lesson learned
image-1

Looks good, thanks for the warning with condensation. Are you using those silicate bags shipped with different electronics for removal of moisture??

Do they sell helium balloons anywhere nearby? I'm excited to try that method for filling the e housing with dry gas, mostly so I can breath whatever helium is left and be ridiculous.

Carsten, yes, these bags are a good idea but remember that they have a lifetime. Most of them turn yellow when they are 'full'. You can try to bake them out in a low temperature oven but they never go back to new. Though about putting rice in a tea bag or similar and use that. Will keep you posted.

Erika, yes having helium might help. Both for dryness and for fun. ☺
But you will have to fill it into the tube upside down or it drifts away. Anyway, send some pictures of you filling helium into the tube, that might get a good shot

Hi do you will make a stop on the lake of Neuchatel.

Great news and things ahead!

I just talked to a fellow OpenROV builder here in Switzerland. He has a boat on Lake Zurich, so I guess I'll add lake Zurich to the list too!

Awesome!

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Hey codewithpassion,

I found out about your trip to Switzerland by chance (and Facebook). I haven't got a OpenROV yet, but I'd very much like to see one in action! I'm based in Zug, I know the lake quite well and I do have a folding kayak - I'd be glad to help you in any way I can. Unfortunately I'm on holiday at the moment - when do you plan to be on (in) Lake Zug?

Cheers, Jorre

Hey Jorre!

I'll be here in CH till the end of July. Not sure yet when I'll go to Lake Zug. But I'm a diver and I plan to dive the Baumgaertli a few times (Restauraunt Baumgarten in Immensee) and plan to deploy the ROV there.
I might do that more than once too.
When Are you back from your vacation?

Feel free to contact me on FB if you like, you'll find me under 'Dominik Fretz'

This is awesome! I don't think anyone has deployed a ROV from a kayak yet, a little tricker than a boat, but it would make an awesome photo shoot :)

Expedition Background

I'm on a trip around the globe! I can't do too many stops, but I'm going to spend a few weeks in Switzerland and I plan to put ROV #463 into as many bodies of water as I can!

Destinations I will plan to take it to:
- Lake Lucern
- Lake Zug
- Lake of Constance
- The river Aare near Aarau

And hopefully more!

Here is a picture of my ROV safely stowed away in my carry on just before i board the plane in SFO.

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Did TSA give you any trouble??

Good question. Short answer: no

I prepared it well, I took all the difficult bits out, scuba regulators, batteries and laptop. I even made friends with one of the security by talking about scuba diving - he was a diver!
But then, I was running through the body scanner with a belt with metal buckle still on and my passport in my hand - biometric passports have metal in them.
So I was alight like a Christmas tree :)

So 1 point for the planing, 0 points for the implementation!