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This instruction set will talk you through all the steps necessary to build and assemble the OpenROV. Assembly of the entire OpenROV structure can be done over a weekend, and most sections take less then an hour.

Remember, if you have questions, you can always visit the OpenROV builder's forum.

These instructions cover both people that bought the kits and people that sourced their own parts following the official BOM.


Which version of the ROV do I have?

If you received your ROV kit through Kickstarter, you have V2.3.

If you received your ROV kit by ordering through the web store AND your ROV's outter shell is made from blue acrylic you have V2.4.

If you received your ROV kit by ordering through the web store AND your ROV's outter shell is made from milky-white polypropylene you have V2.5 or V2.6. (V2.5 kits have serial numbers 421 through 618, V2.6 kits have serial numbers 619 and higher).

Changes from 2.5 to 2.6

  • Larger o-rings for electronics tube endcaps that are more effective and have a larger range for a better fit
  • Simplified and strengthened internal structure
  • New control board (2.6) configuration that accomodates changes made at the factory to the Tenda Homeplug adapters. If you are buying the parts on your own instead of in a kit from us you should read the notes on the two versions of the Tenda Homeplug here.
  • New top side adapter board for easier assembly

Changes from v2.4 to 2.5

  • Ultra robust polypropylene shell
  • Now using a Beaglebone Black
  • Custom made OpenROV controller with onboard Arduino MEGA, telemetry, and power regulation
  • More robust, clear battery tubes with o-ring seals
  • More efficient and powerful Graupner marine propellors
  • Simplified electronics connection and assembly
  • Laser range and scaling capability

Changes from v2.3 to v2.4

  • The E-tube endcaps are composed now of a single o-ring (thus saving weight and avoiding o-ring alignment issues) and use 6mm thick acrylic for the outer endcap.
  • The internal structure has cutouts to reduce weight and aid water flow to minimize drag
  • Battery wiring is now changed to the tubes wired in parallel instead of in series in order to use Lithium IMR batteries
  • Tether communication now uses hacked Homeplug adapters instead of balunds Forum discussion about homeplug.
  • Screw terminals on the cape no longer used

Where to get the parts

If you want to start building a OpenROV and contribute to underwater explorations you have to options:

Step by step instructions for V2.6

2.6 Assembly instructions HERE.

Our website has some videos available HERE to show the slight differences between 2.5 and 2.6 assembly

Step by step instructions for V2.5

2.5 assembly instructions HERE.

Step by step instructions for V2.3 and V2.4

The OpenROV consists of three parts: body, electronics and software, but most of the work will go into assembling the body. But without further ado, here is the list of steps:

  • Building the 2.3 OpenROV
  1. What's in the OpenROV Kit (only for those who bought the kit)
  2. Cutting out parts with laser (if you have bought the kit you can skip to point 4)
  3. Bending the Outer Shell (if you have bought the kit you can skip this step)
  4. Assembling and Gluing the Inner Structure updated 5/3/13
  5. Assembling and Gluing the end caps updated 5/4/13
  6. Assembling the Battery Packs updated 5/3/13
  7. Assembling and Waterproofing the Thrusters updated 5/15/13
  8. Assembling the Topside Tether Adapter updated 5/13/13
  9. Potting the wire pass throughs in the end caps updated 6/16/13
  10. Programming and calibrating the ESCs
  11. Getting the cape ready only for very old Capes, skip if you have v2.3 or v2.4
  12. Install the software for the Beagle Bone and Cape(if you bought the kit, the BB image is already in the SD, but the Arduino code needs to be uploaded)
  13. Update the software updated 5/3/13
  14. Assembling the Internal Electronics Components updated 6/16/13
  15. Assembling and sealing up the OpenROV updated 6/16/13
  16. Read the Software Manual to know how to control the ROV.

Something doesn't work quite right: what can I do?

If you encounter any issue while building the OpenROV, you can first have a look at the Troubleshooting section of the site, where all the most common problems are listed together with their possible solutions.
If you still have problems you can post your questions on the OpenROV builder's forum.


Once the OpenROV is fully assembled and dry-tested and wet-tested in your bathtub, it's time to drive to the nearest water pond and test it in real conditions. But before doing so please carefully read the following pages and follow the deployment checklist:

Bonus section

Here is a list of helpful and useful additional content to support the assembly and development of OpenROV.