OPEN ROV Designs


ROV1 is a shoebox-sized ROV designed to operate in an unexplored underwater cave in the mountains of Northern California.  It is built using laser cut acrylic parts and communicates to the surface through an extended USB connection that sends data to and from its onboard HD Webcam and Arduino microcontroller.


Figure 1: ROV1 with tether on workbench.


Figure 2: ROV1 with electronics board in aft dry tube.


Figure 3: View from front of ROV1.



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Comment by Vlad on November 18, 2012 at 6:48am

Hi, inventors! Can you tell me a price of this nice device?

Comment by Christopher Plymire on August 20, 2012 at 3:57pm

The power is currently supplied by on-board alkaline batteries in the lower tubes.  The USB supply is provided from these batteries.  The tether is currently only used for communication, but POE and other alternatives are being looked at by other developers.

Comment by will on August 20, 2012 at 1:56pm
How are you powering USB over such long distances? Is USB used for and arduino?
Comment by Eric Stackpole on July 10, 2012 at 8:22am

That would be awesome!  I also really look forward to when we start seeing videos online of what people are using the ROVs for.  During our very first test of the ROV with live video in a dinky reservoir behind my house, we were surprised to see fish almost immediately after we entered the water (hanging out near an old underwater snag).   Let us know how we can help with your project!

Comment by Mike Fuery on July 10, 2012 at 7:04am

I'd be very interested to use this for a non-envisaged application - spotting salmon in the pools that I fish.

Comment by elsinidentidad on July 9, 2011 at 10:08pm
@Eric Stackpole that is a good start.. a goal for the project would be to use "brusless" motors technology for the thrusters, since they're more efficient, and they work better under pressure, and obviously the costs. They're very popular under hobbist shops; also we could have good ESCs for low price on the 10A-100A range. Did you evaluated this option ? more of power with less $$..
Comment by Eric Stackpole on July 8, 2011 at 7:56am
I'll try to get some more detailed photos (and maybe even a cross section of a bilge pump motor if I can) some time in the future.  In the mean time though, check out this page on the forum
Comment by Arda Tezcan on July 8, 2011 at 1:31am

Great project! 


I have a question though, you say the fans and motors are hacked, how exactly did you make those parts of the rov? If you have a picture of it disassembled that would be great too :)


Anyways, great job, thanks!

Comment by Eric Stackpole on March 28, 2011 at 8:54pm


Thanks for the comment!  The two 2.5" OD x 10" air-filled acrylic tubes used to house the electronics were sized so that ROV-1 is naturally slightly positively buoyant.  When I get to the water, I can add weights to the threaded rods on the base of the ROV to trim the submarine out for neutral buoyancy (the amount of weight I need depends on properties of the water, such as salinity).   The next ROV  -which I'm working on now- has just one electronics compartment (also tubular) that has a larger diameter and should provide an even greater amount of flotation to account for the greater mass the ROV will be carrying. I'm planning to post the design sketches I've been playing around with for the new ROV soon.  Stay posted!

Comment by Marco Eliud Hernandez Morales on March 28, 2011 at 8:25pm

Your vehicle looks really nice!!!. I'm wondering what type of flotation you are using?



Comment by Eric Stackpole on March 18, 2011 at 5:10pm

I just created a YouTube account for OpenROV where I'll try to post updates periodically.  In the mean time, I've posted a video that I took back in July of 2010.  During this time, I was having a lot of connection problems over the tether I had just built, but I wanted to make this video that shows the functionality of the ROV assuming I'd be able to get the tether working. This might be a good way for you to get an idea of how everything works.  Here's a link:


Comment by gfb on March 15, 2011 at 2:54pm
I'm also interested on the parts used. Specifically those tubes and how you are sealing the ends. Wouldn't hurt to have a source for the laser-cut parts or the plans available either ;)
Comment by Robert Libby on March 15, 2011 at 9:45am

This looks very cool. Are you going to share more pictures and details on your parts? I would like to see more on our chambers.




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