PufferFish Frequently asked Questions
- Are the kits reusable?
- Yes, almost everything is made from highly durable parts that can be used over and over again. The motors are waterproof bilge pump motors that should run for ten or more years; the control boxes are strong and water tight (but don’t submerge them). To use the kits with students the following year, cut the power and motor wires just as they leave the circuit board. A new printed circuit board and components can be ordered from MATE. Everything else can be taken apart and used over and over again.
- I have never soldered before, what should I do?
If you are unfamiliar with soldering, watch some videos on how to solder and how to tin your soldering iron. One of the problems that can occur with cheap soldering irons is that they may not get hot enough or they may get too hot. Soldering should be fairly straight forward if you have a good soldering iron. Read the reviews on soldering irons before you buy. MATE also sells practice mini-printed circuit boards. If you are doing this activity with a number of people who have not soldered before, we recommend soldering the practice board first. Here is a good video on soldering components to circuit boards. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_NU2ruzyc4&feature=youtu.be
Notes on solder: Leaded solder is easier to use because of its lower melting point so the soldering iron does not have to be as hot or held to the board as long. Lead-free solder has more flux (acid) in it, which can irritate the eyes if hands are not washed after soldering. Wash hands before and after soldering. We recommend 60/40 Rosin Core Solder in .032” (0.08mm) diameter.
- My Switches are not working, what should I do?
- Sometimes the switches fail but more often the contacts start to corrode if water drips into them. We recommend spraying some contact clearner into the switch and then move the switch back and forth a few times. Use contact cleaner every so often to help prevent corrosion.
- Can the PufferFish ROV be used in the MATE ROV competition?
- Yes, as long as you use the buy an unassembled PufferFish Kit. This kit is appropriate for the SCOUT class.
- Can a camera be added to the PufferFish Kit?
- Absolutely, see this handout for more details. The PufferFish 2.0 circuit boards now comes with an auxiliary power connection so the camera and monitor power wires and be solder to the board. This way the system is compatable with the MATE ROV competition requirements (everything must be run off of one power source.)
- Can a fourth motor be added to the PufferFish Kit?
- Yes, but there are only three switches; you will need to run two motors off the same switch. Some people like to have two vertical motors for up and down to assist with retrieving objects off the bottom.
- Can the tether be lengthened so the ROV can go deeper?
- Yes but you will experience a voltage drop due to the resistance in the tether. The longer the tether the weaker your motors will be unless you bump up the voltage. See www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html and do the math!
- Is there a curriculum for the PufferFish ROV Kits?
- We are working on a middle school engineering curriculum to accompany the kits. Here is a link to what we have so far. The learning objectives for this curriculum can be viewed here. We also offer professional development workshops for faculty - see workshops
- Is there an easy way to power the ROV with a jump starter for a car?
- Yes you can buy a portable power pack like this http://www.harborfreight.com/automotive-motorcycle/battery/12-volt-jump-start-and-power-supply-38391.html and use banana plug adapters like this http://www.vetco.net/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=14962&keywords=12%20volt%20adapter%20banana%20plugs.
All of our kits come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.