We developed a user handset controller for our client’s prototype personal underwater jetpack propulsion system. The handset allows the user to control the jetpack’s speed and monitor depth, battery life and jet power. This enabled our client to undertake practical tests of their prototype in real-world environments and help them progress their demonstrator to the next stage of development.
Our client had independently developed a basic working propulsion system and had already identified a suitable BLDC motor and battery management system, but needed support with the electronics hardware and firmware for the user to be able to control the device and monitor its performance. The extra challenge with this project was that the system needed to be entirely waterproof!
Our initial phases of work concentrated on assessing the suitability of the suggested motor controller, investigating and bench testing the performance of sensors and user inputs that could be physically isolated from the PCB (for waterproofing), and demonstrating an output on the client’s chosen TFT display screen. Our findings were presented in a feasibility report detailing various options and the pros and cons of each. From this work we derived a requirements specification, designed the bespoke controller PCB and an additional interface PCB, developed the control firmware and built two working prototypes.
Throughout this project we worked closely with the client to ensure integration between the industrial design and electronic aspects of the system, producing 3D models of PCB designs so the form-factor could be verified virtually before the first physical prototype was built.
Our client was able to use our PCBs to test and validate their underwater jetpack propulsion system.
The CircuitWorx touch
Although the scope of our commission was to design and build just the PCB assembly, we’re pleased to say our helpful engineers went one step further, spending time assisting our client with the wiring and assembly of their initial prototype systems. Sadly we haven’t had chance to try out the jetpack in the sea for ourselves yet though!