Darcy Paulin

Darcy Paulin

116 observations in 11 expeditions

Recent Observations

It took a year longer than expected to get going on this project, but my dad, John, and I made it out to the site of the Molly Rose Yesterday. We found: Large Sea Anemone - 4-5 (beautiful!) Small Sea Anemone - Many Crabs - 4-6 Flat fish - 3 Sticks - 3+ Hydraulic Boat thingys - 1 Molly Roses - 0 Sea Monsters - 0 We did not have the GPS coordinates (but they are being tracked down for next time.) Also I will be adding the beam lights to the ROV for next time to aid in searching. Here is the Interest list for the video: 21:05 Stick (and a Crab too) 24:25 Sea Anemone, Large, Beautiful. 28:47 another Sea Anemone, also Beautiful. 31:49 A bunch of Medium Sized Sea Anemones. 32:33 Flat fish. Not a great shot, but it is there! 44:41 Crab and then shortly after, a flat fish.

Here is a short video of the new neutrally buoyant tether at work. it is not exciting, but the boringness of it is the point. it does not sink or float (maybe a little in salt water, but very very slowly) it just stays put. I am very happy.

I puttered over to the dock near science world and moored at the public dock. There I dropped 272c in and took a look around. I found: Fish Crabs Hand-gun Sea Snake. It's true those last two don't really fit. Take a look and you tell me. Hand gun looms in at 28:30 ish Sea Snake is 1:11:20 ish Tessa Danelesko from the Vancouver Aquarium says it might be a pipefish. This post isn't even live yet and Tess is ruining all my fun! :D Donna Gibbs, also at the Vancouver Aquarium says "I had a look at your video and what you saw was a bay pipefish (Syngnathus leptorhynchus). It’s our answer to the sea horse. They’re “cousins”." Note, at one point in the video I took a break from exploring to call the Police. Rob at the marine division of the Vancouver Police Department got back to me to say "Hi Darcy, our forensic firearm unit has identified the item as a replica which is in fact a lighter. Many thanks for the call as we are always interested in these items as they might relate to investigative files. Rob Turner"

I was planning to head out to Passage Island the the Glass Sponge Reef yesterday, but the going got tough. So I headed into False Creek, as I plan to do when in such times. Next Tuesday I am travelling to Vancouver Island to Search for the Molly Rose and I needed to test out some changes to the ROV. My semi permanently sealed battery tube, my new Buoyant Tether from http://bit.ly/1Sxkomr , and the balance of the rov which I adjusted recently.

Here is the video from the first trip. I cut out most of the crap at the beginning of the trip since that is just BORING! Make sure you are sitting down at around 3:24 because there is a very large and frightening sea monster that tries to eat the ROV. Nom! Also note that you cannot tell from my silence that I am feeling sea sick. You can not. I was wondering why it took sooo long for the rov to reach the bottom but then it occurred to me that the depth sensor is new and I likely have to change the AConfigsomething file to use it properly. My guess is that it is reading 1/3rd of the actual value since the new depth sensor is rated to 3x the old one. that would put the dive at a max depth of about 84 m. Also my ROV is heavy. I added lights (which are quite bright!) and a small Raspberry pi computer but did not adjust for them. oops. So I adjusted the depth of the ROV by releasing more tether to go lower and reeling in to go higher. The lateral movement you see it I think from the ROV slowly moving like a pendulum. It started at a bit of an angle it is is working its way to being straight down from the rov (it never gets there). I did have a clump weight on the tether as well.

Here is a video of the buoy deployment. The battery died before I had finished so there is no proof at all that I spliced a loop in the line for the anchor. Twice (if at first you don't succeed and all that)

Last year, I went on a short expedition into southern Howe Sound, just outside English bay and very near to Passage Island. My ROV has been hardened to go deep, and therefore, I wanted to do exactly that! The location is good for two reasons. The first is, deep water and the deep water is within range of water shallow enough for me to anchor. The second is, the shallow anchorage is actually the tip of a mini sea mount. As everyone knows (from watching discovery channel, PBS, BBC etc.) sea mounts are much beloved by sea critters. And sea critters are the whole point of ROVing for me. Having discovered my target location and motoring out to it, I dropped my OpenROV into the greeny-black depths, sick with excitement!* I found, what at first I thought were Coral, but later discovered were in fact Glass Sponges, the reef building kind. I went back a second time, with my friend Chris and instead of anchoring, I tried to station keep with my motor. No. I was all over the place and the ROV was mostly at the whim of the current. Still, we managed to float above the bottom, looking down with the camera and capture some really exciting footage (at least for us), which is actually when I realized that these were sponges and not coral. The little reef was really amazing and full of life! It turns out that these Glass Sponges are pretty special. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sponge_reef The reef building varieties of glass sponges have been only found in the Pacific Northwest (BC and WA) and before the late 80's early 90's had been thought extinct for 40 - 100 million years (depending on the journalist writing). So, now it is time to go back. Anchoring is out since anchors will readily smash sponges in an attempt to do their duty. Manual Station keeping is... No. So that leaves placing a buoy, which i have already done. It is possible that the buoy anchor caused damage when it was placed, (though I attempted to put it just out side the area marked on this one map I found on the internets) though the damage, if any, will be limited to that one act of violence. I have used polypropylene rope, which floats, to keep the line off the sea floor and have a chain added at about the 60 m mark to keep it off the sea surface. There are technical hurdles still to overcome of course, but we shall laugh at those! Until they laugh at us... then we shall solve them! Who laughs last, only time will tell. *Sea = excitement.

Here is the video. Many starfish.

The initial goal was to test out lighting, specifically for searches. Without my anchor line, I decided to find a cliff to anchor to instead. That meant no deep (and dark) water. That meant no light test. Next time.

I am considering 2 options for illuminating our underlake search zone. 1 - A light module with its own battery pack and buoyancy. It would attach to any Open ROV. Pros: It would attach to any OpenROV... It wouldn't drain the existing batteries of the ROV. Cons: More time spent fiddling with construction and balancing buoyancy. 2 - Adding extra lighting to my ROV using some of the spare wires already potted through the end cap. (hooray!) Pros: Quicker and easier to set up. Connected to the beaglebone so you can turn it on and off. (Might draw too much current since the plan is to be very bright) Cons: Drains existing batteries. (My rov has extra batteries so this might be okay. It also might not be okay) I am thinking that one bright light (like a light bulb, but led instead) might be the thing to use. And position it below(ish) the rov. Ideas? Three of us played a boardgame. Guess who won? Hint: It wasn't me and Cecil wants revenge.

I didn't take many pictures on the expedition. Apart from a few after we played board games, this is it. :D Crew returning from Day 1 excursion. I have been thinking about the expedition and what we could do to increase our chances on the next trip. I feel we did well, finding the area to search and reasonably well at staying above the target. Bill had a suggestion that we use a heavy weight to anchor in deeper water, (like a temporary mooring) Ideally right over (or near by) the target and then follow the line down. At the very least we could use this to hold our position steady in deeper water. Then we could move from deeper water towards the target, reducing the chance of tether catching on rocks/debris on the slope. The Main issue limiting us is lighting. Normally on my expeditions, I am well served by the lights on my rov, which are the 2.4-2.6 variety. Normally I am looking to see what is down there and not after a specific target, so seeing what is a few feet in front of the rov is all that is needed. But looking around for a car or train or other specific landmark requires a different set up. We could try brighter lights. Erika's 2.7 rov did have a noticeably better lighting situation, but vision into the distance was still limited. On my first expedition near Passage Island, I had a pair focused beam lights on the rov. They worked quite well lighting up more distant objects, but the brightness of the beam made it difficult to see objects not directly lit by them. They might be better suited for our current searching job. Another idea is to use both rovs at the same time. One rov could be outfitted with extra, all around, lighting. Then it could move around, lighting the area, while a second rov could watch. There a couple advantages this way. One is, you can see farther. Not only is back-scatter eliminated, but the light need only travel one way through the water. Another is that with on rov moving around and lighting up the area, the watching rov can sit still. Not moving will give a perspective that is otherwise missing. You will know that the lit rov has changed direction, and you will know when it has gotten back on track. Then once you decide to move on, the watching rov can approach the lit one to set a new viewing position and then the lit one can continue to move around once again.

Another screen cap picture. This one is a pretty blue Sac. It seems to be an egg sac. Any one know what it is?

Another picture of the mystery fish. This time with a Sculpin looking friend. :D

Goals this expedition: Reach 200+ meters depth. CHECK Max Depth was 208.91 meters. Approximately... Test New Tether, inside 1/4 inch polypropylene rope. CHECK So far So good. It seemed to do well, but we also had better tether management than in the past. We used the lifesaver candy method to attach a clump weight for the descent. It helps get you down faster, using much less battery power and, crucially, keep tension on the tether. With tension on the line, you are not guessing how much tether to play out, because you can feel if it needs more. It also lets you lift the rov off the bottom without using motors (kicking up sediment). Though obviously I forgot to do that most of the time... Test the IMU Depth Sensor below recommended depth of 100-140m. CHECK We descended well beyond that and it kept on working. Hooray! Test 'Boat Console" CHECK I mounted a small wood console (I made it!) consisting of the tether spool on a slip-ring spindle as the base, then a small box above it to hold electronics and a small table like top to place the laptop for better viewing. It was a huge improvement having a space to work from instead of my lap/on the boats tube. It will also speed up expeditions since many things can stay in place ready to use next time. Test the boat tent. See picture. CHECK We could see the screen better, we were warmer and drier, we looked kinda dumb. Fair trade. In each of my previous expeditions, I have had water in 1 of the 4 battery tubes. Each time, this resulted in one battery (the one at the front) being ruined. I was extra careful this time. I used hair elastics (no ouch) under the o-rings to tighten up the seal. After 2 hours at or close to 200m depth, 3 of the tubes had a little water in them. But, none had enough water to submerge the batteries past their plastic sleeve. I am pretty happy with this since this was the deepest by far and also the longest I have run the ROV. The leak must be incredibly slow to allow such a small amount of water in. Also the batteries in tube 'D' don't discharge. I have previously tested the tube and the fuse, and they both seem like they should work. odd. Three battery tubes have been plenty on each expedition, so I have not put much effort into the problem. Controlling the ROV. It can be difficult to control the ROV with a long tether. Particularly when you are running from the shallows area to deep water a ways off as there is a lot of horizontal area between you and the ROV for the tether to dragged across and/or tangled in. This time around, because I kept good tension on the line, it didn't give any slack for manoeuvring. I was mostly focused on travelling to deeper water, but when I occasionally wanted to stop and check something out, I forgot to give some slack and was unable to turn. Early on, I used the tension on the tether to lift the ROV without the props which kept the water from filling with sediment clouds. But later on I forgot. So next time will need to remember both to use the tension to lift the ROV when I can and to give some slack to manoeuvre. Perhaps I will get that as a Tatoo! No. If you have any comments or suggestions type them in the box below. :D

This is a short, creature mix tape, taken from the VLC recorded video. These guys are not in the other videos. I only started Screencastify once we got to depth. There is no hud, so i am not certain what depth we were at.

Video 2.6 I like the clip starting at 5:00 so much that I made a small higher res video of it the Expedition video.

Video 2.5 2.5 is not exciting. It is just reeling in the ROV. I post it only for completionists.

The video is broken up into 6 parts. (Screencastify changed its settings so i could only record 10 min at a time) This is Expedition 2 so video 2.1

We made another trip on Sunday (14 Dec). We Reached a depth of just over 208 meters. Here is a picture of a fish, to entertain you, until I post the videos.

I got water in a different battery tube this time. I'm not supprised the one that leaked last time was dry this time around. I used hair elastics ('no ouch' hair bands) under the o-ring to tighten things up. My battery tubes were particularly loose fitting compared to previous battery tubes. The hair elastics make the tube very tight. It is still easy enough to get off though thanks to my integrated BTcap handles. ;)

Here is the first video from the expedition. The link starts at 2m31s, just before you see the first fish. Hope it is as exciting for you as it was for me. :D Below is a link to the second video, but first, a warning. It isn't much fun. There isn't a lot to see and it is mostly video of us having trouble with my computer and of the tether getting stuck. If you have an interest in that then go for it! :) It is also worth noting that we reached a depth 146m in the second video. At the time I thought we were in the middle of the water as there was nothing to see on the camera. The lights were on and the screen was blank. When the ROV finally returned to the surface, there was something yellow between the chassis and the ROV shell. I assumed at the time that it was just floating around. Later I realized that the camera was dark because either it wasn't sending a signal or the lights were not actually on. I suspect the lights were not on, since I can see some gradients in the video just above 40m, suggesting it was on at that time, but we should see 'snow' in the water, if nothing else. It is harder to see the screen when you are outdoors and a nearly blank screen can look blank. Which is what I assumed. At home, I pulled out the yellow object and it was brittle. It does make me wonder if there are glass sponges there as well (some of the sponges near passage island were a similar yellow color) , but I as I had hopes of find them there, I can't be trusted. ;) I will post a picture of it when I get home. Here is the link to the second video. youtu.be/nzcytdicO10?t=42m2s The link starts at 42m2s right at the deepest point of descent. And below is the First video, aka, the one with fishes n stuff in it. :D

After the video ended, but before the computer shut down, we discovered that the tether was caught. I manoeuvred the ROV down a bit, to give some slack, then motored back up and it came loose. Just in time too! the computer battery then died. Phew! There was a tangle of tether from the lengths that had floats on them. I suspect the floats made that particular tangle more likely to happen. It was a complex enough tangle that I decided to just cut the line.

Preparation went smoothly, with one exception. On the last expedition, the ROV had some tangled tether, which I cut. I re-soldered the quick connect onto my spare spool of tether (Just in case a few meters less tether became a problem). The spare tether needed to have a quick connect attached to the other end too (it is how I have it set up). I soldered the wrong end on. Then I didn't test it. Cause I was super 'certain' is was the correct one. boo! luckily it was the top side and I had some electrical tape. :) This is a picture that basically looks like the connector I am using. I pour a tiny bit of mineral oil into it, to help fill any gaps water might seep into. During Depth test II, both the oil filled one and the dry one came back up without any sea water in them, and so far they have worked for me. I also use a zap strap across the connection, just in case the connectors became loose. They have so far been very tight.

A few weeks ago I scouted out a good spot, in 'Say Nuth Khaw Yum', BC, to reach deep water, from shore. The trick is that we still needed to be in a boat since the 'shore' was a cliff side. I bought a rock climbing anchor (though I am sure it has a different name) and headed out, on the good science yacht 'Bouncy Castle', with my good friend Cory Lake.

When I see the Glass Sponge for the first time, I called it a coral. I couldn't see the screen very, well thanks to the bright sunny sky. But most importantly, I was expecting to see coral. In my last trip, I got some footage of what I thought was coral. Now I believe it was glass sponge but viewed only from below. I later found maps of Glass Sponge reefs and one of them is right at the location of my last 2 trips. Pretty cool! Though if I'm being honest, I did have delusions of discovering some unknown species. :D Fueled by the lack of any information on coral of that likeness. That is because it is not coral silly! Doh! Reef Building Glass Sponges (though not all glass sponges) were thought to have gone extinct 100 million years ago (according to naturalhistorymag.com/features/282622/glass-castles-in-the-sea ). In 1987 they were discovered in Hecate Strait and early in the new millennium they were found in the Georgia Straight (between Vancouver Island and the mainland). We now know that they have reefs from Alaska to Washington State. All of reefs from Vancouver to Alaska live in areas of shelter, but the Washington reefs live in open ocean. I know. Very exciting!

Slack tide did not turn out to be so slack. I attempted to compensate with the motor. As you can see from the track, it didn't really work out that great. The ROV was dragged slowly at a few points, but not fast enough for me to be sure that was the issue. I did have an problem, from placing the props on the wrong motors, causing the controls to turn side ways (on my keyboard). Even though I have had, and solved, this problem before, it took me a while to remember. oops.

We cruised around Passage Island looking at the houses, discussing how they seemed to deal with the power issue (as in no power) and explained how we would do it better (obviously). Then we considered where to launch the ROV from. I had intended to drop anchor, as I did the first time, and float out over the spot with the tidal current. According to my handy tide App, the tide was just finishing coming in and I figured we could get some good slack tide exploration going. Woot! We screwed around setting things up and getting to depth for so long that my laptop battery died shortly after getting to depth. Still there is 17ish min in the video (I trimmed the lead up) I also cut out most of the 5 min when I reset the ROV to try and fix and issue. The video starts almost 4 min in, just before we first see bottom.

I already had the ROV prepared and ready to go since I had a couple aborted expeditions in the last month. I didn't even take any pictures. What?!

On my previous expedition near Passage Island, I found what I thought were corals. I had technical and biological difficulties, some of which have been addressed, and I wanted to get better footage. I also wanted to test the changes and repairs I made to the ROV.

Testing individual Batteries: voltage 3.3v (each) (measured 2 days after dive) On Screen at end of recording: 9.1V (it was between 7.1 and 9.2V near the end, depending on if motor use) The tether was broken in 2 places. But the break occurred in the middle of the twisted mess, so the rov was held fast. Phew!

Here is the 'Bouncy Castle'. The wood console did not stay like that for the whole trip out. The water was quite rough, and I must admit to a fair bit of cursing (at) English Bay. I called it a brother trucker. I know, harsh. The bench the console is attached to came off on one side, so I put the whole thing on the floor of the boat and kept my foot on it. Turns out that is an effective way of keeping it in place! It is bigger than it needs to be for an ROV adventure, though it is still suited to depth testing due to the larger spool.

I am happy with how the ROV performed. I was concerned that I would have issues with the salt water, since that seemed to trigger my previous rov issues. It is awesome to be past those issues and on to dealing with newer challenges. Improvements for next time: Deal with the small leak on the one battery tube. Laser cut an improved e-chassis that allows the camera to move. Then I can use the (amazing) depth hold function to hover over the bottom and tilt the camera as needed. Floats for tether nearest the rov at least Adjust the PS3 controller settings to have a larger dead zone. Some of the murk was caused by the controller being nudged ever so slightly forward, and my failure to notice it. Booo! Add standard OpenROV leds. I will keep the beams as well. They worked better than was apparent to me during the dive. The sun was very bright and my sunshade was fail. This meant I only saw the brightest spot on the screen. In later viewing I noticed that the foreground was actually well lit also, however, once the camera can tilt, I could have issues seeing things off plane. It would be preferable if I could have them controlled separately for easier comparison. I need to look into that. Better sunshade. The sun is like, super bright. One time, it was foggy and kinda gloomy, then the fog lifted and the sun lit up, like, everything in sight, all at the same time! And crazy bright too! I was squinting. It sounds unbelievable I know. You will just have to take my word for it. Toughen up! Or buy drugs. Or pay a wizard to magic me up. Please leave comments if you have any suggestions to make future trips better.

This is a story from a fellow member of VHS (Vancouver hacker space) who used to fly ROVs and get paid for it. "A story about umbilical and prop. These guys are flying back to the surface, and the skipper decide to re-position the mother ship. Boom, video goes out, telemetry goes out, everything flat-lines, umbilical goes limp at the deck crane. Everybody goes white, they know they have lost the sub, it got cut off by the propeller. Tense silence, as the managers compute the loss vs insurance vs future rates in their heads, then one call the crew to complete the reel in 'cause might as well see how much umbilical we have left.... The crane re starts and .... Start getting loaded. Eventually, the ROV appear on the surface, along with both ends of the umbilical, messily knotted together by the same prop action that sliced them apart in the first place. Sometimes, you can't lose. You got yourself a nice hobby, Darcy! By the way, notwithstanding the heaving*, you should record voice comments along during the dive, or even after, pointing out stuff and intents, etc... SDY nothing to be ashamed of, yours truly get seasick walking on morning dew..." Written by Steven young

Here is the video of the expedition. I added links, in the details and comments sections, to points in the video of note. Some portions of the video should be skipped completely, others might have points of interest I have missed. I will try to steer you clear of the bad parts. I would just edit them out, but I already went through the video marking points of note and I don't want to do that again. :P The ROV doesn't move very much. It seemed to be caught on something, then at 36:45 I saw what might be the cause.

Seems the coral had an accomplice. There was a little bit of water in one battery tube, but no where else. I brought a milk jug of water for just such an occasion which I poured into the battery tube when I arrived at shore. Looks like the tether (including the traitorous zap strap whose job was to keep this from happening. You had one job man!) wrapped so tight it broke. I am just happy it wrapped so tight that it didn't let go when I reeled it in. :) 2 reasons immediately come to mind (in addition to old zaapy, who will be dealt with) as causes: 1 - No blade duct (housing, cowling, tube...?) I keep forgetting to order that tubing. 2 - I let out too much tether, and worse, I didn't reel in the excess when I saw it on the screen. I blame that sick guy who marred the side of my boat.

This is the last frame of the video. I was trying to turn and then everything died. I started to reel in the rov, then paused while the sea sick guy chummed the waters a bit more, then back to reeling in the rov. I was concerned that all the wriggling around, trying to move, broke the seal and flooded the rov. Or that it was eaten by a shark/giant prawn.

Some deep sea coral. :) It did not want me to turn any further to starboard.

I dropped my anchor on top of the mini seamount and let out all of my 100+ m line. I'm not certain where it caught, but it grabbed on nicely. I was very happy, because: A - it was my first use of an anchor, and a fairly small target. B - someone started to feel sea sick right after letting the line out. I'm not saying it was me, but no one else was there... The first pin represents where the boat was after dropping anchor and settling in. The second pin is where I estimate the rov landed. I lined it up with the line the current was pulling me at the time of deployment. It changed angle a bit by the time I pulled anchor.

Choosing the right area to explore can be challenging. I wanted to explore a deep area of my local seabed, but getting within range is usually difficult. The first option is to limit your expedition slack tide on a windless day, but that requires a fairly open schedule. I instead looked for a steep drop from a point I could anchor. I looked at the charts and found a few miniature seamounts 20 - 30 meters below the surface and one that was within 100 meters of deep water.

Help me out! This is a picture of the small pressure gauge dial. Compare this picture to the video. Tell me your estimate for the depth of each of the 2 endcap failures. E-mail me: darcy@drexollgames.com or post in the comments. :D

Here is the after pic right beside the before pic. Sooo convenient! Large pressure gauge. It sprang a leak sometime after the cameras were eaten by the sea. (I guess I haven't mentioned that yet) It's failure is not surprising to me. I had to quickly repair it as between the last trip and this one, the epoxy came loose and the endcap came off. sadly gluing it went less than smoothly. I was quite happy it worked as long as it did. :D Small gauges. all good. 1/2" solid endcap. You can see in the video that it had a faulty syringe seal. full of water now. Empty battery tube. Failed in an undramatic way, and off camera. Small piece of endcap broke and it filled with water. It was squeezed flat first though. 2.6 battery tube endcap. I don't want to talk about it, or how I seem to have for gotten to seal the hole in the endcap. Too late, now you know. Full of water. Semi-permanently sealed E-Tube, using hot glue. Holy poop nuggets, it worked like a charm. dry as a bone inside. I threw this together at the last minute and I was pretty sure it would leak from one end. (Woot!) 2.6 battery tubes with fake supports. These are the real champions of this test. This is the standard 2.6 battery tube. The 'fake supports' are just plastic tubes. I didn't have any extra batteries. :) They went to 260m+ depth. One of them was completely dry. it collapsed onto the fake battery, but didn't fail or leak. The other tube had a tiny bit of water in it, not enough to pool but more than condensation. This second tube doesn't seem to have collapsed at all! 2.6 endcap. You can see what happened to it in the video. It Failed at 147m (though calling this a failure is insane. 147 m is close to 50m deeper than my 2.4 endcaps lasted. Very impressed. 2 x 1/4" Again you can actually see what happened in the video. Failed at 180m. That is much worse than I hoped, but not a real surprise. It seems that gluing two pieces together is much weaker than the equivalent solid piece. 2.6 o-ring. The tube was full of water. It wasn't in the frame of the video, so there is no info on when this happened. Buoyancy tubes. These two tubes held up just fine. ;) Quick disconnects. The small QDCs both kept all the water out! Very surprised at this. They are $3 each at lees electronics, so not high end. The large QDC with oil in it seemed to be absent of water. The 'dry' one had some water in it, though I didn't see any corrosion yet. The question with that one, is weather is would have been bad enough to cause an electrical short.

Here is the summary: The water was very calm. Took very little time to travel the 2km from my launch point to the 285m+ target area. The new rig went together very easily, lessons have been learned and mostly remembered, but lets not dwell on the forgotten mast... I chose not to use lifesavers CANDY because I needed a fair bit of weight and I feared they would not last long enough to reach the bottom. It was, I think the correct decision as the cage sunk quite slowly at first, and the cameras failed before hitting bottom. With lifesavers I would have no idea how deep the rig went, but with the full weight I have some idea. Having the clump weight on long (1.5m ish) rope really helped because I could put the rig in the water and get everything set up to my liking before tossing the weight in. I had connection issues during pre-trip testing so I decided to set all the cameras to save files instead of stream. During the test however, I had a fairly solid connection. Because I was only using the 5v battery pack to keep the switch running, it kept switching off. I think it wasn't using enough current and the auto time out kicked in. Each time I turned the battery back on, the cameras started recording and saving again, but I think they kept recording over the previous file. The raspberry pie does not have a battery to keep time with, and so the time stamp file name must have been repeated, erasing the already recorded video. Bugger! It didn't do that in testing, perhaps because in testing there was a computer/internet to get the time from? I don't know. The reason the footage I have survived is that the camera was shorted out during this recording. the other camera lasted long enough for the reset to happen and so its last video has no usable footage, just a water logged bubble for a few seconds then dead. I am very happy to have the footage we do have! phew! The camera module kept running the whole time, but water did get in fairly early, but it did not fill completely. I was quite careful when placing the seal. Don't know what the issue was. Still, if it hadn't leaked, we would have no footage at all. :D It was quite a battle getting the rig up, so much less buoyancy with all the tests failing. I quickly learned to let the boat do the heavy-lifting with each wave. It was very dark by the time I got the rig back up. I saw 2 shooting stars and the milky way was bright and clear. The rig light up the water below my boat (the Bouncy Castle) before I could see it. I couldn't get a good picture of it. I need to bring a better camera for that. :D As for how deep the rig went: The network cable I was using is 295m long and at the end of the descent, it was going 'straight' down. It was very heavy so though there may have been some angle, it can't have been too much. When I was puling it up, at one point a tangle in the cable let go and I pulled (worried that it had broken) a very light cable for some time before I felt the weight again. At another point I pulled up a portion of the cable with another tangle in it. It is hard to be certain, but I am estimating the total length of the two tangles to be 20-30m. So the total depth is likely 265 - 275m

If anyone would like the video file, I have shared it here: http://bit.ly/1o9QDGq The advantage of the file vs youtube is that with VLC you can play it frame by frame. To enable frame by frame you need to make the 'advanced' controls available. Just click on the 'view' menu and click 'advanced controls'. It is the same control bar you need to record a stream using VLC. There are 4 new buttons. it is the one on the right. each click will advance the video by one frame. Mostly that would be very tedious, but right around the failure point it lets you see things you would otherwise miss. ;D

This is 10 seconds before the 1/4" + 1/4" endcap fails. About 180m depth.

This link starts you 10 seconds before the 2.6 endcap fails. According to the large pressure gauge, it failed just shy of 150m! Nice! 147m is what it looks like. I will compare this to what the small gauge, but first I need to go get it as a reference point. I will update this post once I do that.

Footage. I must sleep now. remember it is 90fps. So it plays in slow-motion. The video is 32 min long, but it was recorded in 10 min.

And I made a checklist. So I don't forget lifesavers candy, or say... lifesavers candy. I have shared the list. If you think of anything I missed feel free to add it. :) Link:docs.google.com/document/d/1R0pUBryAI3vgozZdjb5GAecigcDyzGtbhVwjWHd3w/edit?usp=sharing You will have to cut and paste it as it seems to be too long to link properly.

Last time, though it too me a while to notice, a little water got into one of the battery tubes. Boooo! the batteries were a bit rusty but they all still held their charge. One is so rusty and just nasty looking, that I won't be using it unless i get really desperate for one more battery. As a result, here are the face seal rings I laser cut at VHS. (Vancouver Hacker Space) For orings, I just use the same ones we use normally and they just stretch. I made the battery tube endcaps with an extra inner disk to leave room for the o-ring.

I didn't take a lot of pictures while building this rig. Originally I didn't use something like a garbage can because I wanted the cameras to be able to see out into the water past the test tubes. But you can't see much past the mosquito net any way. Working with a garbage can is nice. it is like working with wood, in that you can just drill a hole any where you want or mount any where you want. Hooray! I needed a net for the clump weight and I was having trouble finding what i wanted. The prawn trap had a net and the frame is perfect for sitting at the end of the garbage can to hold the test items. I cut out the center of the garbage can lid and laced in to the top of the prawn trap to hold the can in place. Works better than I hopped. I also have bungees and a 'safety' rope in case it gets hit by jaguar shark in the deep and comes apart. The camera module goes at the bottom between the 2.4 style battery tubes. ;)

Here is the layout of the test items Unlabeled and underneath some other items are 2 pairs of quick connects of 2 different sizes. I put oil in 1 of each size and left the other dry. They are very cheap so I don't expect them to hold the water at bay, but we shall see.

I finally collected all of the parts needed to get back on the road with the expedition. Sorry it has taken soooo long! I accept full responsibility. I was ready to go, then during testing it over heated. It does that when sealed up but not in water. I have 8 - 15 min of dry work but I had not considered the helium I filled the tube with, which doesn't transfer heat as well. Too bad. It isn't all that bad though, I just had to re-write the SD image and it is now working again. If the weather does not stop me, I will go this evening (since the it is predicted that said weather won't stop me at that time.) This giant flashlight/Dalek looking thingy is the new rig:

The part at the very beginning of this video is kind of neat. It shows the wibbly wobbliness of the mixing waters, in slow motion! The rest of this video is almost 3 hours of nothing. It was recorded over a period less than 1 hour.

This is the empty battery tube.

Four Pics showing how smoothly the cable came in this time. This was one of my goals. Success! (I will take what I can get) In the bottom right pic you can see the rig returning from questionable depths. Yes, it is upside down. That is a bug, not a feature.

Yellow tube: Made with standard OpenROV Acrylic from McMaster Carr.

Green tube: The "softer" acrylic endcap.

The wifi router I was using ran out of juice and so the rig turned off. I was unable to connect to the top camera and see what was going on, so I didn't notice until too late. So no exciting implosion videos. Don't worry. I will need to make a third trip so there is still hope for cool implosions. Here are some screen shots of the video. Top left: The Squamish river flows into Howe Sound. It takes a while for the fresh water to mix with the salt water. It is known that, fresh water makes light go wibbly and salt water makes it wobbly. Top right and bottom left: Greeny yellow sea water makes vision tough. One reason why dolphins are so keen on sonar. Bottom right: This shot is just to cleanse you senses and let you see what a clear image looks like.

Some smashed bits in the net. Just finished reeling it in and now I am heading to shore.

The spool is empty, so I will reel it back in now.

I can't connect to the top camera, so I can't see what is going on. The right and left cameras are recording though, so we should have something to look at later. :D

Guess what I am doing now.

So I must set a new date for the test. How about 1 week from today? June 4th. I have also decided to do the test in Howe Sound instead of Harrison Lake. The reason I was testing in the lake, is that my original plan, of renting a boat to test in Howe Sound, failed, due to boat rental season ending. I have concerns that my battery packs will not hold up. That wasn't a problem in the lake because "its only fresh water". Possible solutions are: laser cut some disks. Glue them to the end of the battery tubes for a face seal. Seal face of tubes with silicone. Fill the tubes with fresh water (or oil, but no.)

After emptying the kayak of all the gear, I decided to take a paddle about. Which is where I took the pictures. The lake is many meters higher than it was in November. Too bad! I mean, bonus meters for the taking!

So given the failure of this trip, the question seems to be "What are you gonna do about it Paulin?!" But it isn't. The question is, given how flat this tire is, what is that hissing noise?

The next day, the tow truck driver, (who owns Rayne towing and auto body, and never told me his name) picked me up at the hotel and towed my truck to the OK tire shop. Thanks Man! The top left picture is the rock from my right tire poking through the tread wall. Right top is same tire but from outside. The Bottom left is the rock that was InSide my left tire. They call these bad touch rocks arrow heads. This ones looks match its name.

This sign states the distance to the beginning of the logging road. But the logging road is about another 10 km from town. I think 'No Problem!' because I am occasionally optimistic... It was about 8:20pm I only walked a few Km, checking my phone every few seconds for a signal, before a nice family picked me up and gave me a ride into town. Hooray! Even driving it took 20min. I called a tow truck and they agreed to get my truck even though by then it was dark. It was a long drive in (work trucks have stiff suspensions for the handling of heavy loads, makes for jarring trips down logging roads) and an even longer trip out. We were moving no faster than a slow jog. They didn't have any tires that would fit my truck, so I had get a hotel room.

The problem was weight. too much of it: The plan required a lot of rocks. So I had a bag of rocks from the shore. The rig is heavier. The empty rig may weigh slightly less but there is a lot jammed onto it. The Kayak was low in the water on the last trip too, so it doesn't take much extra to put over the top. Pie. I don't want to say too much pie. Because that is nonsense, obviously. But I have eaten a lot of pie since the last test... Also, I was sitting further back than before which concentrated the excess weight in the back. This picture doesn't do the scene justice.

This is a picture of the roots of a tree, flooded from the spring melt. It is the only underwater image from this trip. I arrived really late. I got up late (I mean it WAS Sunday after all) and had a number of difficulties. I was not worried because I didn't have to get home early, and it was pitch dark, before I got back to shore, on both previous trips here to Harrison Lake. It took almost 2 hours to set up. I ran into further difficulties with my console. I had adjusted the Steel tube a couple inches closer to my seat just before firmly epoxying it into place a few nights before. I had been using an empty spool of the exact same type, for fitting. But I forgot I had added a piece of wood to the end of the actual spool, to attach a handle to and give better leverage. It didn't fit, I didn't have a saw, and it was attached with glue, also I didn't want to remove it. Instead I used my drill to cut a bunch of holes in a line and hack it into usability. It sort of worked, but not smoothly. I figured it would be fine and continued with setting things up. Eventually I got into the water but then I found it impossible to position my self to control the motor. I had things set up the same as the last time, but the top camera on the rig was going to take a beating, if I tried to control the kayak in that configuration. So I switched the rig to be in front of me and started cruising out. But when I looked down, I noticed that the water was only an inch from covering the rear pontoon. The water was fairly calm where I was, but I had about 3km to travel and I could see waves. I tried shifting my weight forward, but the rig didn't have any where to go. It was clear that this wasn't going to work. I turned the boat around and headed back to shore.

I got about a quarter of the way up the logging road when I realized i forgot the lifesavers! Ack! So I headed back down to the Harrison Hot springs Husky gas station. They didn't have regular lifesavers. Just mint flavor. I bought a roll of mint and a pack of Halls too just in case the mint version was weak and un-believable. Later, I got hungry.

It took longer than I hoped. I didn't leave a hole for screwing and unscrewing the console from the kayak, so that took a while to sort out. Placing the mosquito net also was a real pain. Truck Loaded and ready to go!

I was unable to go to deer lake on a test run. I spent a few hours troubleshooting connection issues, and attaching lasers and lights.

This is the blackout hood. Very exciting. It would be better if the goggles were not clear on the edge. I may have to fix that.

I forgot to take a picture of the rig with the next on it, so you will have to use your imagination. Note the net is bigger than it needs to be, so it properly, with parts folded here and cinched over there. The nets job is to catch any endcaps or other shrapnel that might try setting up permanent residence in the lake.

Lasers and Servos and Wifi, oh my. I used the stairs and hallway (very neatly as you can see) to align the lasers which I didn't have until now. Helpful hint to future laser mounters everywhere; clamp your camera mount to something. You might need to remove it, but it will save you much time if the camera mount can't move, so is not easily nudged, every time you adjust one of the lasers or touch anything at all... :D I felt, at the time, that they were "close enough!" but I will have to check them again as I may have been feeling strongly that "I don't want to do this any more". They were a little closer than 9cm apart at 4.5m distance. I also replaced the plastic geared servo with a metal geared servo. It was a slightly smaller size, therefore, hot-glue. Lots. The D-link dir-506L is a wireless battery powered router that lets you charge your phone. Instead I use it to power the Topside adapter. ;) It works great, un-tethering your computer and allowing you to view your rov from your phone, or even control your rov from an iPad. The smaller tplink box is also a router but it needs to be powered by usb. It is quite in expensive though.

Once mounted, the give the rov a balanced look, which is quite the opposite look of the battery tube lights. Nice!

The New lights have a beam going forward, but also have leds on 4 sides to spread light in the local area.

The best part about those lights was how easy it was to get the battery tubes open! So I added some similar handles. They won't add any pesky buoyancy where its not wanted, but still give you something to grab.

My rov needed some work. The lights on the battery tubes were sub-optimal position wise and also didn't cast enough light in the area around the rov. So I removed them. I use an sharp knife and they pried off easily enough.

This is the steel tube, with slip ring fastened, for the spool.

My Truck is going into the shop for regular maintenance on Thursday the 22nd. Because the site on Harrison lake is down a short stretch of logging road (about 40km), I am going to make sure that the truck is working properly before the test. So the test will be delayed until either Sat/Sun or until next week. Because this is the weak excuse of a quitter(!), I will do a test run on Wednesday the 21st (the original date I posted for DTII) at Deer Lake in Burnaby, BC. it will be a 30-50min drive instead of 2.5 hours and will not take me out of civilization. :D Hooray for compromise!

The Ethernet cable will travel, from the water, through a plastic ring, through the front pulley, up to Mr. LongArm, down through my hand, under and around a wooden dowel (with a plastic tube for slippage) and onto/off-of the Spool. Having a wide dowel, a fair distance from the spool, allows me to move the cable back and forth to fill the spool properly. Last time ,it was energy intense, pushing the wire left or right to fill the spool, and I didn't have any energy to spare. This was another lesson learned from DTI. Hooray for learning!

This shelf is where my computer and iPad will go. I haven't finished it yet. It still needs a blackout hood or housing of some sort. I will use a pair of goggles as a view port, so that all I need do is put my eyes into the goggles and I will see through to the screen. It is a real pain to view a computer screen when the sun is shining. Having this system built will allow mother nature to be cloudy or rainy or whatever she wants, without missing an opportunity to make my life miserable (by shining bright sun onto my screen and making me upset.) :D The Long white tube near the bottom is a wooden dowel with a length of 2.4 battery tube around it (for slippage). The dowel can slide out the left hand side so the ethernet cable can be put through. The short black tube with a dowel in it and an ugly mass of hot glue is my "saddle horn". During DTI I would have killed for such a simple device. Sadly there was no one nearby small enough for me to kill, that also had a saddle horn. So I suffered instead. The Spool you see, and the steel pipe, are both just place holders for fitting.

This is the pulley at the front of the kayak.

With the rig running, the next step is to sort out some of the other aspects of the mission. Mr. LongArm here is being used to hold a pulley above me so I can use my weight when pulling the cage (though my plan is that I not need to do much pulling this time around).

And from the the other angle. Note I have added the extra E-tube. And there are some strange ghost images of led lights to the right of the rig. Spooky!

This is a side picture with the rig lit up, at night in the garage. So all the light you see is coming from the rig.

Now that the rig is positively buoyant, I need something to hold rocks (for weight) and connect to the lifesaver(s). I attached this old kitchen towel under/behind the camera module. It will fold underneath and a wire attached to the other end will pop up through the big hole (see picture from previous post) to connect to the lifesaver(s).

And the Experiments are attached, mostly with elastic bands. There are 4 (e-tube) endcap tests: Red: Testing the 2.6 o-ring. Will it hold a seal all the way to the bottom? If it does, that will simplify things greatly! Clear(behind Red): 1/2" endcap formed from 2 x 1/4" disks. If this holds up, it could make thicker endcaps easier to come by. Cutting 1/2" acrylic might be a challenge for smaller laser cutters and not having to buy a fourth variety of acrylic would also be nice. Green: 2.6 endcap but made with a different variety of acrylic. Tyson Haverkort bought his acrylic from a different supplier than me. I noticed that it had a "softer" feel to it. I traded some other endcap pieces with him so I could test it out and see if it held up as long. Yellow(behind green): Regular 2.6 endcap Not Pictured is an full sized e-tube, it is there both for buoyancy and to confirm that it will hold to the bottom. The endcap is one piece, made of solid 1/2" acrylic. In addition, there are battery tube (BT) experiments: In the foreground is an empty 2.6 BT. It has been sealed at both ends with epoxy and has no support inside. At the back, on the left is a 2.6 BT with a thick tube inside as a placeholder for actual batteries. It does not fill the whole tube but stops short, as the batteries generally do. This test is to see if the tube will fail along that unsupported section. On the right is another 2.6 BT. It also has a support inside but it fills the whole BT from top to bottom (which makes it hard to detect its presence). at the back left and on the right are 2 shorter tubes. I had planned to use these tubes as buoyancy on my 2.4 ROV but I don't know how deep they can hold. They are make of the same PET-G material that the regular BT are made of, but the material is twice as thick and they are a slightly smaller diameter. Another minor test is the pressure gauge. The large one at the back has a gauge on both faces. The one you can't see is the one that was showing during Depth Test I. It took a beating from each implosion, though because it was facing the camera, we can make the adjustments to read it more accurately. The gauge in the picture, was facing the camera that failed during DTI and I need to see if it is accurate. The small one up front (and another small one behind it facing the top camera) are new. I am relying on them to report the depth we reach.

I used a few sticks of hot glue to fasten the large light on it's mast. I also soldered the switch and wiring, then strapped it all in place. Things have been moving quickly, since I already worked out where I want things while building the steel rig.

Next, I added the batteries and lights.

The Camera module needs to be firmly attached so I have epoxied it in place. I drilled holes for the screws, filled them with epoxy and pushed the screws into the holes. Masking tape doesn't adhere to the foam, it might as well be just a regular piece of paper. Hot glue holds ever so slightly better. Which is to say it doesn't really stick either. It may be that it needs to be very well cleaned of dust (from drilling) or it may just need personal space. Because of this, I put enough Epoxy in the holes that a little bit squeezed out the bottom. That way if the bond fails it should still hold (like an epoxy rivet).

I need something to attach the experiments to and this small metal (300g) shelf will do nicely. It is the same style of shelf I used to make the bracket the Camera Module is attached to. I drilled holes in the foam, and used zap straps to hold it in place.

I decided to use the syntactic foam. Because adding the foam to the rig would almost double the weight, I am going to swap out the metal shelf I'm currently using with the syntactic foam board instead. It has a feel similar to some counter tops. It is quite rigid and seems quite strong as well.

To add enough extra buoyancy to reach approx neutral, I considered 2 options. 1. Add an additional e-tube. This will get me close enough. 2. Use the syntatic foam that just arrived a few days ago.

I weighed the rig in the tub. The total of submerged, without the test items, and in water weight of test items (as if collapsed) is about 3kg.

It occurred to me, in the midst of making the reed magnetic switch, that what I should use is a transistor as a switch, using the reed switch to operate the transistor. Then it occurred to me that I should replicate the OpenROV 2.5/6 method of running the transistor switch from the 5v added to the tether and skip the reed switch all together. So that is what I did. It was so easy and worked so immediately, that it makes for a boring story, and for that I apologize. Not only does it work, but it is a far far (far far far far) more usable switch, allowing me to reset the modules down-under* if necessary. *Or underwater.

The electronics are basically done now and I am working on other things. - I re-wound the top 3rd of the spool (on the last test I was exhausted by the time I pulled the cage all the way up and so the rope and wire spools were not wound very well.) - The rod I rested the spool on last time was bent from the weight of the reel and also from my leaning on it heavily. I found a steel pipe to replace the bent brass one. This time I am not using a rope. I will add buoyancy to the cage so that, when all the test items have failed, it is slightly negatively buoyant. It will still be Positively buoyant with all the test items intact so, I will add weight to the bottom, Tahoe Life saver style. (see the Lake Tahoe Expedition openexplorer.com/expedition/shipwrecktahoe ) This way I can stay at the bottom if I want, but when it is time to recover the cage I need only fight the weight of the ethernet cable plus the bit of cage excess weight.

In Waters 230 - 276m Deep, I will be Testing the Max Depth of: - v2.6 Endcaps strength - v2.6 O-ring Seal (using a ~1" thick endcap) - v2.6 Battery Tube/Endcap Strength - v2.6 O-ring Seal - 1/2" (Solid) thick modified v2.6 Endcap ('under pressure' software suggests this will survive.) - 1/2" (2 x 1/4" glued together) thick modified v2.6 Endcap - Thicker Battery Tube/Endcaps modified v2.6 (these are twice the thickness of v2.6 Tube/Endcap, so 1/8" tube, 1/4" endcap, and are powering the Test Module and Lights. It is possible they could fail, while the standard v2.6 hold, as the standard tubes are meant to flex some under the pressure and the thicker tubes may break instead) - 1" Diameter, 1/8" thick tube, 1/4" Endcap ~7" long. Same material as v2.6 Battery tubes, PET-G (I have 2 of these that I intended to use for buoyancy) - Various Pressure Gauges - LED Modules, Sealed in Clear Epoxy. Hysol E-30CL. - Test Module. 1/4" thick tube with ~1" Endcaps. Contains: 3 Raspberry Pi's, 3 Raspberry pi Cameras, Network Switch, Home Plug Adapter, DC to DC power converter. Overheats from cold in 8 to 15 min when sealed in Tube. (It will run longer in the cold lake water but I am unsure how long) You can get 'Under Pressure' for free: deepsea.com/under-pressure-upwin

I was being optimistic (which has been know to happen from time to time). The switch worked twice, turning on then off each time, but when I ran the full load (cameras all streaming/recording) it transformed from a switch to a wire. Boo! The switches were, I believe, rated to .5A each (the guy at the shop thought they might take as much as 1A). The whole system uses 2.5A with all lights and cameras going full. But, I was testing with only 2 battery tubes and that is too much power to draw from 6 batteries. Drawing that much power lowers the voltage (in this case it dropped almost 4V. From 12.5V down to 8.75V) which means it draws more current. With 2 Battery tubes I was drawing 3.5A, which was way too much for the switch(es). As a note, it is also very bad for your batteries to draw too much current. It increases the internal resistance much faster than normal which reduces battery life. In this case it also dropped the voltage too low for some of the LEDs I am using to run. That was a helpful clue as I hadn't yet figured out that 6 batteries, is not enough batteries. I am now using 4 battery tubes (12 batteries) and the system is running at 2.5A.

For my next attempt I decided to try a magnetic switch and forgo oil all-together. I bought 3 reed switches and ran them in parallel. The hope being, the magnet would activate all three at the same time and between them be able to carry the full current load.

Sadly, there is no where for the oil to displace. The only flexible diaphragm is over the button so it is hard a rock. I should have been aware of this, after all, the near un-compressability of oil is why I was using it in the switch! Oh well.

First Attempt at a power switch. Everything went as perfectly as you could possibly hope for!

The External Camera and ribbon cable

The External Camera in its housing, before the Clear Epoxy is poured in.

Potting the Test Module Endcap.

I used my wii to weigh the test cage from DTI and decided to use just one of the shelves. To solve the problem of pieces escaping after implosion, I have a Mosquito net that will wrap around the whole cage. It will flex when test items collapse.

I made a few small modifications to my OpenROV so it could fly deeper: -A 1/4" tube to replace the 1/8" standard tube -Thicker endcaps. A 1/2" core replaces the 1/4" standard core. To make room for the thicker cores, I permanently glued one endcap which then did not need the inner portion. I also thinned the e-chassis to make even more room. -I used a thicker material for the battery tubes and the battery tube endcaps. Those are all the changes made to increase depth, but I also added lights to the ends of the battery tubes. I wanted to move them further from the camera and outside the e-tube. Unfortunately, as you could see from the video, placing them on the lowest part of the ROV was problematic. They lit the wrong things and in addition, they added buoyancy to the front, which is awkward. Thanks to the tests and trials this weekend, I now have a new list of modifications to make. Hooray!

We are going to take a look at the Molly Rose and any other wrecks that may be in the area. I have been told there is at least one other in the small bay. Challenges: Need to acquire some sort of boat (since ours is under water and has not been replaced) Find her in the bay. It is not a huge bay, which makes for a good starter expedition, but it will likely take a lot of searching. We will be working at a depth of 20 - 30 meters. Scurvy.

Expeditions Following