Friday, March 11, 2011

(More?) Hardware Repair

So we decided to stay home on Thursday (March 10th) after running into some hardware troubles on Wednesday and ended up getting a lot of troubleshooting done. Our major goals for the day were making the partial ROV water-proof so that we could check its depth sensor in our makeshift pool (a large trashcan), checking the depth sensor of the full ROV, and doing some work on one of our tethers so that we could get full communication with the ROV (one of the problems we experienced Wednesday).

Tyler and I worked with the ROV and Brig and Jeff took on the tether job. We hoped to meet up later in the day to connect the 2 hopefully-fixed pieces of hardware. Tyler and I put the trashcan into the shower and filled it up with water.

We waterproofed the partial ROV and put it in the water for the first time since we've been here in Malta (we had been primarily using it for parts). We used both ROVs and both of our control boxes to test the depth sensors. We received inconsistent readings of depth on the control boxes, and could not communicate with the sonar unit at all. After some testing, we took a break and got some McDonald's coffee down the road. We were even graced by Timmy's presence midway through our day.

Jeff came down and finished up splicing the new piece of the tether together so that we could combine our jobs from the day.

The fixed tether solved the sonar communication problem completely! We now knew that the problem was in the other tether (the one not spliced) so we could now actually get sonar data from the cave! We also tested both cables connected in tandem so that we might be able to get some extra length in the huge cave. The cables connected and were able to control the ROV, but we still did not have sonar communication, which again assured us that the error was within the tether.

The final step was to waterproof the new connection. This required wrapping each connection in electrical tape to prevent shorts, sealing all the connections with epoxy, heat shrinking the epoxy, covering this in a sturdy hose-like wrap, and finally epoxying the ends of the cover.

By the end of the day, the ROVs were back together and waterproofed, and the tether could now communicate with the sonar. Although we lost a day at the cave, we were able to successfully remedy some major problems, and the entire team felt like it was a good choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Locations of Site Visitors