Building 1st RC boat for depth mapping of lakes and other water bodies. Help in selecting type of propulsion system

Hello everyone. I am planning to build a RC bodyboard boat with echosounder to make depth map of water bodies. Looking at the build made by rcmackay9 here I found that using submerged thrusters will cause debris to get stuck in the thrusters.

I was also curious if an airboat version can be made using the same sized body-board so as to eliminate chances of debris and aquatic plants getting stuck. If I plan to build an airboat, will it affect my efficiency and performance in any way when compared to submerged motor pod like T-200 thrusters?

I also noticed that with T-200 we get bi-directional motor which makes reversing of boat possible. Is it possible to make reversible airboat?

In short, should I go with submerged motor pods or with airboat?

The efficiency of an air boat sucks big time.

Thank you so much for your response. I’ll go with submerged thrusters. Maybe I’ll increase the distance of motors from the hull to avoid debris.

You could make a prop guard with some simple chicken wire mesh
Blue robotics even sells prop guards

Airboats work very well, if you intend boats propelled by air propellers (no hovercarfts)
There are actually no alternatives if you want really to be free from troubles with vegetation, floating debris, very shallow water, which IS A PROBLEM.
I am operating one of those, if you like I can give you more specific advice.
And yes, props can go in reverse, of course less efficiently but they do the work, and for short amount of time it doesnt really matter.
Arduboat code is excellent

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Please advise mate. I have recently made a boat with submerged thrusters and seem to get much debris in them.

Any advice is more than welcome.

Is airboat design less efficient? Will the endurance of my boat be affected using similar power system but one in airboat mode and other in submerged mode?

Thank you!

I’ve hacked apart trolling motors in the past and just hooked them up to 12v with a DC speed controller (ie spark max, talon srx, victor sp etc)

plenty of power and super cheap to build.

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Hi all. First post. Let me know if I should start a new thread. I am contemplating building an autonomous canoe. I have a disassembled trolling motor which has separate motors to turn, retract the prop from the water, and propulsion. I have a little experience with ardupilot from a 3dr iris +. I could probably use some parts from that although I wouldn’t want to make it unusable. I have a lot of reservations about taking the project on because I don’t know what I am doing and fear leaving yet another project half done. Am I likely to get the huge amount of hand holding I am going to need on this forum?

Are your reservations the hardware or the software?
Are you using this canoe for mapping?
I’m guessing you will use the one prop that articulates or do you expect to use 2 props with differential thrust?

About 3 months ago I had zero experience with ardupilot but I managed to get through it. I don’t consider my self even necessarily proficient at Mission Planner and the entire architecture yet but it is already enough to have some steady work coming in with our system. My time on the water is so limited that I’ve been tuning while doing jobs. :grimacing:

I did have some troubles but mostly mistakes of my own ignorance and assumptions.

In hindsight I’d say that the mission planner side of things has actually been easier than a lot of the other parts. If you are just looking to get a boat running patterns I think the system does a lot better job than you may expect. It is easy to dig through this forum and find a lot of frustrated people but I think in reality there are a lot more people who have dug through the forum and figured stuff out without having to create a raging thread about how terrible the system is.

I’ve been quite impressed with stuff that just works without having to do wild things to adapt it to your special system. Furthermore for the developers to make all of this stuff work over such a wide variety of boards is quite a feat in my book. Hats off to them!

I have to credit a large part of my success to Randy Mackay’s youtube channel:

Google Photos

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Wow. That is a very professional looking boat. Thanks for the encouragement. I guess I would be a little more intimidated by the software, although figuring out exactly what I need to collect parts-wise also looks a little daunting. Hoping to get used parts without spending a lot of money. I would use this boat just for fun with the kids (self-driving around the lake). I would use the single prop and turn it with its own steering motor. The motor is a Minn Kota Genesis.

Is there a straight forward way to control the motor that steers the “rudder?” It’s a not a servo type motor.