First water test of Solarbuoy

A project log for PacificBots

Research platforms that are intend to be used as self-positioning buoys to monitor the ocean environment.

PacificBotsPacificBots 10/05/2017 at 07:140 Comments

Testing Aidan (the 200 watt solar electric "solarbuoy") from 2015:

Finally was able to get one of the bots out onto the water. For this test, I chose an area of San Francisco Bay that is subject to strong currents during the tide changes. As the tide was going out, the current was about 3 knots. The bot did fine. There were plenty of settings to tweak and a few adjustments of the Pixhawk PID had things working smoothly.

Some takeaways from the test.

Turn radius: Once I threw the switch into autonomous mode, I notice some squirrelly behavior from the bot. Checking my list I realized that I still needed to verify the turn radius. I originally estimated the turn radius to be about 3 meters. I was waaaaay off. The radius turned out to be around 7.5 meters. Once I updated that little nugget, the bot handled the waypoints with ease. 

Weight: Getting weight distribution right can be a pain. I had to stop the bot on the water a few times to adjust battery/ballast positioning so the bot would track better.

Overall a successful mission and One step closer to launch!