Department of Marine Science
The Pilot’s Console is what the pilot uses to control the Catalina ROV and see where it’s going. It features a small TV monitor through which the pilot can view live video images of the underwater world from the ROV’s camera, and it has a joystick and buttons through which the pilot can control the ROV’s movements or turn the camera and lights on or off. It also supports the main battery and electronics box.
All of the components of the Pilot’s Console (Battery, TV, joystick, and electronics box) are mounted securely to a white plastic cutting board. This keeps them organized, facilitates transport, and reduces wear and tear on the wires and connectors joining the various components, since they can remain connected together with their wires wrapped and tucked neatly away. There’s nothing magic about the cutting board — it just happened to be the most convenient way to get an appropriately sized slab of plastic upon which to mount everything. Any stiff, sturdy piece of plastic could be used. Wood could be used too, but might have some problems over time if it gets wet.
The battery is heavy (about 10 pounds) and the cutting board has a slippery surface, so it was important to prevent the battery from sliding off onto somebody’s foot when the Pilot’s Console was being moved or used on an uneven surface. To keep the battery in place, two small aluminum brackets were bolted to the cutting board on either side of the battery to keep it from sliding sideways, and a hook-and-loop cinch strap was run through two slots cut in the cutting board and tightened securely to keep the battery from moving forward, backward, or up. The combination of the cinch strap and the brackets keeps the battery firmly attached to the board, even if the Pilot’s Console is turned upside down.
The TV monitor came with a small stand, which had screw holes and screws we used to mount it on the board.
We mounted the joystick to the board by drilling some holes through the board and running cable ties through the holes and through the loops in the base of the joystick to anchor the joystick it place. Before you do this, you’ll need to open the joystick and modify its wiring for use with the TReX motor controllers. (See the page about the control system for details.)
The electronics box was anchored in place with some screws placed through holes we drilled in the bottom of the box when the lid was removed and the box was empty.
We put some 3/4" tall rubber "feet" on the underside of each corner of the board to give the board some traction on smooth surfaces.