ROVL Installation on a BlueROV2

Hi Everyone!

Like everyone else these days, I have been spending a lot more time at home lately. One of the projects I have been putting off since last summer has been refitting my BlueROV2. Some pieces of equipment haven’t worked as intended, and new technology has come out since then.

One of those is the ROV Locator. I’ve been looking forward to a USBL system for quick, small boat deployments for archaeological work.

I haven’t seen a build thread yet for the ROVL so I thought I would post my progress and design choices for a topside box to make everything nice and neat.

We’ll start from what comes in the Bundle and go from there.


Because I’ll be doing a normal configuration, the first step is potting the cable for the transmitter.

First, we’ll strip away a few inches of cable jacket.

Next, we’ll pot the cable. I used an M10 penetrator for a 3mm cable.

While I was waiting for the epoxy to cure, I worked on drilling the holes for the mount.

Test fitting to check the height. I wanted the transmitter a bit lower than the very top of the frame so it is out of the way of the Ping360 I plan to mount on the other side. The transmitter will still show in the Ping360 acoustic image, but it should be less than if it was up high.

1 Like

After the penetrator was cured, I crimped on male header pins onto the negative and positive wires.

The penetrator was installed onto the endcap.

And the wires were pulled free to be accessible.

1 Like

Connected the power wires to a 5V6A Power Supply. The RX and TX wires are unconnected and not needed for this installation type.

Secured the transmitter to the mount and tucked away the excess cable.

1 Like

Completed ROV installation.

1 Like

The topside box is going to take a bit more work, but not much.

The Receiver will easily connect to a topside computer with a BLUART Serial to USB converter. Knowing that, it would be easy to make a connectorized waterproof box.

However, we already have a box with the FXTI and that has a USB connection already. So my plan going forward is to put a USB hub inside the FXTI and connect everything through that.


After some research, I had picked out a USB hub from Adafruit that was thin enough to fit inside an FXTI. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the lead time from DigiKey is around 60 days. I won’t see that one for a while.

So with that, I decided to proceed anyway and just have another USB cable out of the FXTI.

I wired both the Binder 770 plug and bulkhead according to the pinout from the Blue Robotics Connector Standard for serial devices.

I fit the bulkhead connector into a spare port on the FXTI, and connected the BLUART and USB cable.

Everything was then put back together.


I plugged in the USB cable for the ROVL, selected the proper COM port and everything connected right away. I know it looks like a lot of red, but the bottom left green icon shows I have a good IMU status on the receiver.

Conducting the crystal calibration:

Looking good!
Question: What laptop is that? I’m using a Panasonic CF31 (i5). And it’s CPU is maxing out.

It’s a pretty maxed out Dell 5420 Rugged. I couldn’t afford or justify the size of a fully rugged and I didn’t need a CD/DVD drive.

I researched it for about a year and when some poor reviews came out for the Toughbook 55 on display and GPU, my decision was made.

Love it so far, and it’s not that thick for the protection you get!

That’s a fantastic machine!

I’m going to start looking around for something of that caliber. I regret getting the under-powered CF-31.

Great looking build so far. Well done!

What voltage range is acceptable for the unit?

TX power draw range:
3.5W average @ 5V
6.5W average @ 14V
12W average @ 28V

4.5V to 16V DC <1 Watt

I hope this helps,