First Day of Field Operations 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Today was our first day in the water after installing the new flotation sphere (and a few other components) into the vehicle. The goal for the day was to properly trim the vehicle -- get its weight and buoyancy evenly distributed fore and aft, port and starboard. Our secondary goal was to get comfortable with the process of deploying: loading and unloading the truck, bringing the appropriate equipment, and so on.

In this picture, we've just finished unloading Odyssey IV from the back of the rented box truck (using the lift gate) and are assembling it next to the pier.

The Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center is a great place for us to test, because of their easily-accessible crane that is poised over water deep enough to hold the vehicle.

Only the height of the hook is controlled, so we have to use a lot of ropes to keep the arm of the crane pointed in the right direction and the vehicle from spinning.

After a few trips into and out of the water, we got the right mix of weight and buoyancy in the front and back. Time to haul it out of the water one last time and put all the buoyancy in the inside. The sun even came out!

We put the vehicle on a tether and did some joystick-controlled thruster tests. Manual control for this vehicle is done on the equivalent of a USB Playstation controller, although the available commands don't translate perfectly to the analog joysticks on it.

The thrusters are powerful enough to make visible effects on the surface of the water, and to tow the Boston Whaler that we were using as a chase boat.

Installation of New Battery

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The new battery has been constructed, and packed into its protective Nautilus sphere housing.

It appears to charge and discharge normally!

Acoustic Modem Road Case

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To make it easy to lug the acoustic modem, deck unit, and sound baffle into the field, Roman and I cut up pieces of foam to safely (and efficiently) pack those pieces into a shipping crate.

We cut some rough shapes into the green foam for the smaller pieces of the sound baffle so that it would be clear if any were missing.

Not shown are the deck unit (shipped back for repair) and the lead weights which will be the ballast for the sound baffle (we don't yet know how many we need).

RTU Shaft Stress Test

To make sure that the force produced by our thrusters would not bend (and bind) the RTU shaft, we hung 60lbs of weight from each arm (simulating 30lbs of thrust at the end of the arm).

The RTU survived without binding!

Tool Holders

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

To make it a little easier to work on Odyssey, I put together some tool holders that clamp onto its frame.

The construction is simple: bolt together a magnetic tool strip, angle brackets, spring clamps, and rubber feet.

This is what they look like in action.

Battery Reconstruction Progress: 50%

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

12 of the replacement supercells (for our 24-supercell battery) have been completed. This time, we made better notes of the process.

Update: there is a new page on our wiki for the construction of a supercell.

Teledyne Benthos Acoustic Modems Have Arrived

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The deck box and top-side acoustic transducer.

The transducer that will be mounted on Odyssey IV.

Odyssey IV on Display after MIT Commencement

Friday, June 5, 2009

Today we brought Odyssey IV to the lawn in front of Building 14 (Hayden Memorial Library).

We got a lot of great questions from graduates and their families.