After having been absent (at leat on this blog) for a while here’s some new posts ! It is not that I haven’t been busy with ROVs … I made a complete new design and this took some time !

The ideas behind the concept were :

  • Use existing materials wherever possible
  • Use standard components
  • Highly modular and extensible
  • Affordable

After the first experiments with MCU’s (Conrad) I decided to go for more standard and more powerfull devices. The final choice I have made here is the ATMEL’s ATMEGA16 processor. It has enough ports of the right type, it is widely used, it is inexpensive and it exists in DIL format. I do not like SMD chips too much for this type of application because they are very sensitive and difficult to handle in repair situations (eg in the field)


There are two modules, HOST and REMOTE. The HOST module resides in the ROV and does all the steering, measuring etc … The REMOTE unit sits above water and is used to control the ROV.

The HOST module contains :

  • Compass
  • Depth Sensor
  • Dual H-Bridge circuits for thrusters and lights
  • Temperature sensors
  • Humidity sensors
  • Video Overlay
  • RS485 Interface
  • PSU (Power Supply Unit)
  • Camera with TILT function

The REMOTE module contains :

  • PSX (Playstation) Joystick
  • RTC (Real Time Clock)
  • PSU
  • RS485 Interface

The idea is that the REMOTE unit sends joystick data to the ROV over RS485? The HOST module interprets and excecutes the commands, gets sensor info and video, overlays all data on the video and sends that video back to the REMOTE unit for viewing. No data is sent back to the REMOTE unit.


For now the hull is build (85%), the elctronics are build and software is written (75%). Have a look at the different parts in this blog.

Obtaining ROV Parts

One of the most difficult tasks is to obtain all the different parts. I am afraid I cannot help you with the mechanics parts (except with advice). I am planning however, to make the electronic parts available in some way (empty PCBs, build and testedc PCB, software …) but that will be in a later stage.

Feedback, Questions …

All feedback is welcome as wel as technical questions. I could not have realized this project without getting a lot of help from the community so I am willing to do something in return !

Do not hesitate to contact me