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I'm a software developer with no experience in building physical devices/hardware.

I did ~15-20 beginner-to-medium-level projects with Arduino (following some tutorials), but I wouldn't count this as an electronics experience.

Even though most of my life I've been developing software, I've been always passionate about the idea to build some physical device which would somehow interact with surrounding environment.

I've just got some free time from my work (about 6 months) which I would like to dedicate to some project. Ideally, I would like to build some simple underwater vehicle which I could control from outside and which would be able to do, lets say a photo while being underwater.

My question is basically where do I start? What kind of knowledge is actually required for building such a device? I believe my path should be something like:

  1. Quick recap of school algebra classes
  2. Quick recap of school physics classes
  3. Dive into Electronics
  4. Learn about how to do the communication with underwater device (some isolated cable should work I guess)?
  5. ???

I'm also trying to understand how do I build (or I just buy?) the parts for the vehicle. How do I learn to build something that can swim underwater? Could you please give me a direction?

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You can split your project into these major parts -

Hardware - includes body of the vehicle, control mechanisms, tanks to control depth, propulsion etc

electronic hardware - includes a microcontroller like arduino (or 32bit like stm32 if you need more processing), sensors for depth and speed measurement or scientific payloads, antenna and communication equipment. camera and microphone, servos etc

software - programs to operate the ROV, if it is autonomous then you can use special programs like ROS(robot operating system) or ardupilot, maybe image processing softwares. and programs to run the electronic hardware itself.

I recommend you find videos on youtube for similar projects, some of them explain their projects very nicely you can get inspiration for your design or atleast a starting point. For building it, you can buy lots of components available at RC stores. Some components can be 3d printed, learn how to use a CAD modelling software or ask someone for help. Or just repurpose and improvise things like Soda bottles for body and plumbing from water filters for dive tanks

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