Another Crazy Project
A Radio-Controlled Video-Equipped Submarine
Having a lovely boat on a wonderful lake, I got to thinking about other things to do at the lake.
the 1980s my (then) husband and I got into Radio Control - he bought an
airplane and I bought a helicopter and spent the next two years
learning to fly it!
In the late 1990s I added a 1/14th scale semi tractor and trailer - lots of fun to drive!
it seemed somewhat logical to consider an R/C boat for the lake,
particularly since I dock on the edge of a large shallow marsh -
perfect place for an R/C boat! I looked at model cabin cruisers,
sternwheelers, tug boats, and then stumbled upon R/C submarines! (Oh
oh! Here she goes again!) One submarine lends itself to carrying a
video camera and that is the SB-1 "Neptune" by Thunder Tiger.
research produced a suitable video camera and a radio system to relay
the video images to the mother ship in real time so all the components
were put on order.
abandoned my first attempt at a video buoy in favor of a design that
provided greater heat-sinking for the 900 MHz transmitter (which
dissipates 3 Watts!) The transmitter is mounted to a 4" square, 1/4"
copper plate which in turn is mounted to the bottom of a 4.5" square
cast aluminum utility box. Six D-size gel-cells provide 12 volt power.
Composite video is fed to the transmitter through one SMA connector and
the second connector is for the 900 MHz antenna. Two conductors extend
through the cover: one from the battery positive terminal and the
second to energize the transmitter.
Neptune SB-1 arrived and checked out fine right out of the box. Leak
test and ballast trim will wait until the camera has been installed.
(The original video buoy is shown in the following pictures.)
the arrival of the video equipment from Range Video, the DX201 camera
was installed on the Power Distribution assembly. The size of the
camera necessitated cutting a recess into the plastic switch panel. The
camera mount was then split and screwed to the panel as
L-brackets to hold the camera. The Power Distribution assembly was then
reinstalled in the sub after testing.
The 900 MHz transmitter was connected in the video buoy and tested before buttoning up the buoy.
having trouble with the receiver and awaiting a replacement, I moved
the camera to above the power distribution board to give a better view
with a slightly downward angle and decided it was a good time to do a
leak test (yes, there was one - my fault!) and trim the ballast. Not too bad for the first time the Neptune got wet :)
The view from the (wet) sub.
25 was the first trip to open water for the sub, Lake of the Woods,
Rheault Bay Marina, for a test run off the side of my boat at the dock. The sub, video buoy, and laptop are prepared for the maiden voyage.The video buoy is launched and the sub is about to take to the water.And off she goes ........Within a few minutes, things got REALLY INTERESTING!(Click on the above image to go to youtube video)