Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Drip, Drip, Drip, How to Make a Watertight Window?

 Some work has been done over the last couple of weeks on trying to adapt the WeatherBox to function as an underwater camera enclosure. This work has been educational but not entirely profitable. Some underwater tests had been done in the pool, and at the time appeared to be successful, but they were too short (less than 5 minutes) to really prove out the leak-worthiness of the enclosure.

A longer test in a real-world environment confirmed that the enclosure leaks too quickly to be of any use for underwater pictures or video. A slightly modified version of the enclosure with a longer stem was attached to the underside of AMOS and used to record a video frame every second, for a 1 hour test along the shoreline in Cap Brule, New Brunswick. The stem was not really long enough to keep the camera underwater all of the time, and the mounting pins inside this particular enclosure had snapped off, so the camera board was not properly centered. The camera software uses an auto-brightness adjustment, which I think was confused by the alternating views above and below the water. 

The camera ceased to function after about 20 minutes of operation. When the boat was taken out of the water about an hour later, it was half-full of sea water. The camera board was immediately rinsed and dried off, to no avail. A subsequent test confirmed that it no longer functioned at all. 

Some decent depth, temperature, and conductivity data was collected for the test, showing a nice correlation between the 3 parameters: the shallower water was warmer and had a higher measured conductivity.




Here is a video created from stringing the individual 1 Hz video frames together and increasing the playback speed by 5x. Not much to see really, just a lot of bouncing up and down and the occasional piece of seaweed:

I'm going to test out some changes to the camera enclosure cap this week; at this point it looks like the weak point is the O-ring seal with the enclosure window. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

AMOS Goes Camping

This past weekend I went with my daughter to her triathlon training camp at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. We purchased a campsite for two nights and brought the tent, her bike and other triathlon-related equipment, a kayak, and of course AMOS! While Kirsten practiced swimming, biking, and running, I figured I could test out AMOS and follow around in the kayak.

The weather on Friday turned out to be awful though. Tropical storm "Elsa" passed through the area late in the day with high gusting winds and buckets of rain. The fly on our camping tent kept nothing dry, as rain was easily blown underneath, so that by Friday evening, it was basically raining INSIDE the tent too. We  decided to put AMOS, the bike, and most of the other equipment in the tent, and ended up spending the night in the van instead. 

Fortunately the weather on Saturday was much better, and by noon it turned into a sunny hot day. While Kirsten was training around Merrimakedge Beach, I mostly kayaked and observed AMOS as it followed a pre-programmed sampling course. Unfortunately I had forgotten to bring a necessary cable for the depth sensor, but did manage to get some good conductivity and temperature data over a few hours:

 Over the last couple of weeks some progress has been made on the Android app for viewing AMOS and phone / tablet positions on an Esri / ArcGIS map: 

At present you can see the position of AMOS (yellow boat outline), and the position of the phone / tablet holder (white stick figure), but there is no data visible on the map yet, just some diagnostic information below the map.