PCBWay 3rd PCB Design Contest

Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle

My name is Andrew Zucker and I am a senior in electro-mechanical engineering, and I am the project lead of Wentworth Institute of Technology's Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle Project.This project is one of the projects sponsored by WIT's chapter of IEEE (electrical engineering club). We are creating an underwater vehicle to compete in the Marine Tech (MATE) ROV competition in Washington State, USA, 2018. The project is aimed at students to help them learn about the engineering process, and to create something that is complex and well designed. 

This year we are designing a 1200 Watt vehicle that runs at 48VDC. We have designed a step-down power conversion board to provide our low power electronics with 12VDC. 

The goal for the members of the project is to create a professionally designed vehicle that follows standard engineering practices. 

The electronics that have been designed have been made to keep modularity in the forefront of the design. We have considered standardized connectors in our power distribution board, and a plug-and-play system for our sensor board in the case that a sensor breakout board fails. 

The power board will be using 2x600W 48/12V DC converters along with multiple smoothing elements and simple monitoring and control circuits built in. 

The sensor board will allow our Raspberry Pi to communicate with multiple sensors.

We are in the prototype phase currently, with the final competition rules expected to be released within the next month. We have designed the current electronics so that they can be expanded based on factors described in the final competition rules. 

Below is a screenshot of a SolidWorks mockup of the prototype electronics stackup. There are two boards that we have designed. One board is a Raspberry Pi 3, and there are six electronic speed controllers for underwater thruster motors. 


Below is the previous vehicle, of which we are going to base many decisions off of and improve upon many of the aspects. The previous electronics can be seen to be rather messy, and we are striving to improve upon this in the current year. 

The previous electronics consisted of a single 750W DC/DC converter mounted on the power distribution board and messy interboard connections. In the current design, we are going to improve upon this. We are moving towards using Dupont connector wire harnesses to transmit pulse-width modulation, and JST connectors for other low-powered connections. 

The previous design was constructed from a welded aluminum chassis with carbon fiber legs and thruster mounts. It was designed for 32 m depth requirement in sea water. The arm on the front was designed to have ten pounds of gripping force realized through a brushless motor and lead screw. The top was covered in an amount of syntactic ceramic foam that allowed the vehicle to be posititvely buoyant in water. Many of these design elements may be improved upon in the new mechanical design. 



Above is a detailed view of the mechanism that controlled the gripping manipulator mounted on the front of the vehicle. 

With help from PCBWay, we can manufacture circuit boards that will show the competition that we are capable of designing professional electrical engineering solutions while we are all still in university. We have put large amounts of effort into the design of our circuit boards and have been working towards final models for the two boards that we have designed thus far. 

Currently we have a need for:

Power Distribution Board 80mm x 138mm

Sensor Interconnect Board 57mm x 75mm

With the final competition rules coming out soon, we may find a need for more circuit boards and more opportunity to work with you. We would greatly appreciate a sponsorship from PCBWay as we are a club with limited budget that would like to create a well-engineered product that can show off the capabilities of Wentworth Institute of Technology and PCBWay simultaneously. 

Thank you for your consideration, 

Wentworth Institute of Technology ROV Team

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Nov 08,2017
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