Seafox Retrofit Controller

Control of the Seafox is now accomplished via a laptop. The laptop I use is a Dell D800 Latitude, it has a 2.0 Pentium M Processor with 2 gig of ram. It is also use to record my dives.

I use this Smart TV Card to capture the Video from the Rov into the Laptop.

Control will be accomplished via a program I am writing in Visual Basic Express 2005. I had no prior programing experience before this but it wasn't to hard to figure out. So far I am able to control the Rov with the mouse (via the on screen buttons), the keyboard, or with the number pad seen below. I still need to figure out how it incorporate the video recording into my program, as of right now I just overlay the WinDVR software (that came with the video capture card) on top of my program and use the "always on top" feature of that program so the video stays in the front.

(Click the picture for a full screen shot (1250 x 750) of my program.)

To control the Relays on the Rov via the Laptop I use this Phidgets 0/16/16 USB Interface Board. The Board still only allows digital control (basic on/off) but it has 16 outputs, I use 13 of the those outputs (8 for the 4 Thrusters, 2 for the Tilt, 2 for the Manipulators Gripper, and 1 for the Auxiliary Lights.) I also use 8 of the inputs for the Compasses. (1 on the Rov, and 1 on the Control Box on the Boat (not shown yet.)

I originally planned on using this Interface Board on board a new Rov but for this retrofit the board itself is just used topside as an interface into the laptop which will allow me to finalize my program if I decide to use in on another Rov. The Board is mounted in a plastic project box and wired to the other half of the 25 Pin computer plug that the Tether plugs into. I probably will be redoing this control Box in the near future so the Control Board and Battery are all in one easily transportable Box, I have been looking at those plastic rolling tool boxes I just haven't found the perfect one yet.

I bought this laptop keypad to use as a remote joystick so I don't get the laptop keyboard wet. I sanded off the original lettering and relabel the keys with dry transfer rub on letters and then clear coated over the keys.

The Arrow Keys are steerage, SL and SR are Strafe (laterally movement) S and D are Surface/Dive, AS is Auto Surface, the rest are pretty self explanatory. Not all the Keys are used on the Seafox there is no laser yet and only one camera on the Seafox so LASR. or CAM. SELC. are not used.

After my first test outing I was having trouble seeing the screen on the Laptop in the bright daylight, I had a Sun Shade for the Laptop but it really didn't work to well so I decided to make a fully enclosed one. I made a card board template to fit the screen and then transferred that to a sheet of Chloroplast (which is basically plastic cardboard.)

The new Sun Screen folds relatively flat when not in use.

The Chloroplast I had was white so I had to paint the inside black to cut down on the glare.

The Sun Screen mounts to the Laptop with a few pieces of Velcro it's works better than the last one I had but it's still not perfect yet.

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