Enclosure leak spotting

There is nothing more frustrating than failing a pre-flight vacuum test the day before an important dive.  We suggest the following steps to help find that persistent leak:

  • Mix a liquid soap solution in water (more soap than water) and fill into a small spray bottle (at least 1/3 full).  Dishwashing liquid will do but avoid anti-bacterials
  • Place a towel under the ROV and close all enclosure vents except the leaking enclosure.  Make sure to protect the topside FathomX card from spray
  • Using the brass fitting and tubing from the vacuum tester, connect the leaking enclosure’s vent to a bicycle hand pump (NOT electric)
  • Carefully spray the leaking enclosure with the soap solution.  We suggest starting with the rear end-cap and penetrators.  If you aren’t able to find the leak there, repeat with the front end cap and flange edges.
  • Gently pump air into the enclosure and look for bubbles.  One or two pumps should be sufficient – too much pressure will cause the end caps to pop off.  The bubbles will narrow down the location of the enclosure leak(s).

Possible causes could be a loose penetrator, a cut or broken o-ring, dirt or hair on the o-ring, not enough silicone, etc.

Happy hunting!

Opening waterproof enclosures

TOP TIP: to prevent scratches, chips or cracks when opening battery (or any acrylic) enclosures, wrap the end of a flat head screw driver in 1-2 layers of electrical tape first. Use the screw driver GENTLY as a fulcrum (in the notched areas) to remove the o-ring flange evenly from the end of enclosure tube.

QGC Software Update

Blue Robotics just announced a software update that does not require opening the electronics enclosure. Summary of changes as follows:

  • Ability to display camera tilt angle, lights level, tether turns and more in QGC
  • GPS input support in companion, including support for the Water Linked Underwater GPS Developer Kit
  • Fewer default pre-arm checks
  • Acceptable compass calibration threshold has been relaxed
  • Pilot input failsafe timeout increased from 1 second to 3 seconds (‘Lost manual control’ message)
  • Gyro calibration is disabled at boot by default
  • Support for the Bar100 pressure sensor
  • Companion login changed
  • Allow selecting a custom logo to display in the QGC gui

The software update links can be found HERE on Blue Robotics’ forum

Shipping lithium batteries

For anyone travelling with their BlueROV2, you will need to plan ahead and send your lithium-ion batteries in advance to your final destination.

Within Australia, Li-ion and LiPo batteries are considered Dangerous Goods and will almost always travel by ground. For details on how to ship, see LiPo battery guidelines at Australia Post and their latest Dangerous Goods Packing Guide. You will most likely need to partially discharge the batteries before they are shipped in order to meet AusPost’s limit of 100 Watt-hour per battery, in addition to completing a Dangerous Goods declaration.

For international travel, you will be subject to IATA – Lithium Battery Guidelines and your chosen logistics company’s rules. Most international logistics companies have lithium battery guidelines published on their websites. For example, FedEx has a Lithium Battery Wizard to help you navigate their requirements.

Most shipping regulations are based on the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) for lithium batteries which was most recently updated in 2017. The IATA website also offers an updated Guidance Document for help on compliance with 2017 definitions, classification, exceptions, and prohibitions.

And don’t forget to pack your charger!