Thermal Imager and the ROV

This article was first published on 03.09.2021
Even before assembling the drone, we understood that, on the one hand, the ROV's case must withstand fairly serious pressure. On the other hand, sealed chambers for electronics and equipment will be like a mini thermos trapping in heat, and the issue of good heat transfer is quite important. The reliability of the device depends on regulating the temperature.

As we know, there are many elements in a robot that generate heat: an on-board computer and a control computer, 6 pieces of drivers (one for the engine), as well as the wires themselves, some of which have a current as high as 180A.

During the tests in the pool, after all the necessary measures, we decided to have fun and give the robot maximum load, using it as a tug.
By the way, the drone did it well! But the main surprise awaited us after the test. Arriving at the office, we disassembled the robot and found that the main power cables from the battery to the drivers had simply melted:
Open water tests were planned in another city. A little more than a day remained before departure. We found a solution - to quickly replace all the wiring with a more reliable one and test it in the pool again.

For 2-3 hours of hard work, all power cables were replaced, the sealing of all connections was re-checked, and on the same evening we carried out extraordinary tests in the pool. Everything went well, we can safely fly out!
At the sea, everything went without any problems, but the issue of heat dissipation still needs to be solved somehow.

To successfully solve almost any engineering problem, you must first collect the maximum initial data, and only then think. Armed with a thermal imager, we began to check all the hotspots of the robot.

For the first test, we took the motor, ESC, battery and dipped it into a small container of water.
And this is what the thermal imager shows:
At the same time, this is just one motor with one ESC, which worked for only 2-3 minutes, at an average load.

And this is what the rest of the electronics looked like:
The data was taken in the open air, and not in the sealed compartment of the robot. Accordingly, the temperature there will be even higher. In general, the initial data has been obtained, and our team has already started solving the problem of heat dissipation.
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