A Radio-Controlled Video-Equipped Submarine

After years of satisfactory operation, technologies had changed and there were a few desirable features missing so I decided it was time for an upgrade to the submarine

High resolution video cameras had become available at a modest price so I decided to upgrade the video system to HD, send the video via Wi-Fi and have the video viewable by any smart phone or tablet on shore.

The other shortcoming of  the Thunder Tiger Neptune was that when the submarine is underwater and can not be seen, the operator onshore has no idea of the depth or the heading. It was decided to use a microprocessor module, an Arduino Nano, and a "10 Degrees of Freedom" pressure senor and magnetometer to sense depth and direction. The Arduino sends the telemetry data on the same Ethernet link to the shore where Heading, Depth, and Pitch is displayed  using servos to provide indication in direct sunlight.

The 10DOF sensor board is about 1.5x1 inch.

The Arduino Nano isn't much bigger but provides all the "smarts" to read sensors and send the data over the Ethernet.

And the Nano needs an Ethernet Interface to send data over the WiFi.

At the "Shore Station" the data is received  by a second Arduino, a larger model, and is used to drive servos to indicate the submarine's heading, depth, and pitch. It is incorporated into a wooden box that cradles the radio control transmitter.


Of course all this plus the camera has to fit inside the submarine's hull where it doesn't get wet Finding more space in the sub wasn't going to be easy!


Space was found behind the first bulkhead for the Arduino, sensor board, and Ethernet Interface with some re-arrangement of wires and removal of the original power supply board.

The camera will mount to the front of the bulkhead.

Considerable software development was required to integrate the various components into a working system.

Then there was the challenge of  fitting the required components into the available space in the submarine!
(Thank  goodness for hot glue - some of the parts had to be moved more than once to fit into  the case!)

Images from the 5MP camera from Shenzhen CCDCAM Technology Co., Ltd. is truly impressive!

Fitting everything into the available space took a few days and multiple assembly attempts to ensure the revised bulkhead did not interfere with the existing components inside the shell.

Water-tight testing was then  done in the bathtub and after some revisions to the cable seal, it was all  water-tight again. The two Ethernet cables connect to a surface float which convey the Wfi to shore for the camera and the telemetry to the shore station. Two cables were required because there was not enough space in the submarine to incorporate a switch.

The submarine and the shore station are completed and the surface float is yet to be done. Deep-water testing will have to be deferred until the ice is gone from the lakes.

To Be Continued .....

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