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Underwater ROV Design and Component Selection

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: January 22, 2021
Underwater ROV Design and Component Selection

Underwater ROVs need to obey the same reliability standards as other high-performance, high uptime products like aerospace and military systems. High reliability is all about component selection and designing boards that are fully manufacturable while keeping a system safe. The DFM features, supply chain tools, and design verification engine in Altium Designer give underwater ROV builders a complete package for electronics design and fabrication. When you’re designing systems for an ROV, pay attention to these component selections and layout guidelines to keep your system reliable.


The industry’s best EDA platform for electronics design for high-reliability applications like underwater ROVs.

Harsh environments demand accurate and reliable designs, and it all starts at the board and component levels. If you can spot the right components and create a high-quality layout, you can rest assured your board will be defect-free and will operate reliably in its intended environment. Underwater ROV design is one area where systems need to be built to high-reliability standards, such as IPC 6012 Class 3 or military performance standards. However, there aren’t many designers that are active in this area, and it can be difficult to spot reliability problems before a system is deployed in its intended environment.

Because designs like underwater ROVs come with stringent performance and design standards, you’ll need to select the best set of components that can withstand extreme temperatures, high pressure, and long operational timelines. There are also simple choices you can make that will maximize your product’s reliability and prevent premature failure of your system. Altium Designer can help you in all of these areas and many more with the best set of supply chain, manufacturing, and layout features the industry can offer.

Selecting Components for Underwater ROV Systems

Hydrostatic pressure in an underwater ROV is the primary mechanism that can destroy electronic components. In the worst case, components can implode under high pressure, so packaging becomes an important criterion for component selection. The packaging will determine the depth to which an underwater ROV can be deployed and will limit component selection to specific parts.

Altium’s Supply Chain Tools Help You Find Components

Only Altium Designer gives you complete supply chain visibility and helps you find the parts you need for your underwater ROV boards. Once you’ve tested and qualified components for your underwater ROV, the Manufacturer Part Search Panel in Altium Designer helps you source your components and access CAD models for your PCB layout. You can design the best circuit boards for unique applications like underwater ROVs in Altium Designer.

Circuit board parts selection for underwater ROV designs

Quickly find parts for your underwater ROV with the Manufacturer Part Search Panel in Altium Designer.

Design Reliable Circuit Board Layouts in Altium Designer

Building any reliable board is all about ensuring your design fits within your particular group of standards. Reliability is critical in underwater ROVs, and reliability extends beyond component selection. Circuit boards in underwater ROV electronics will experience temperature extremes, high pressures, and possibly high electrical demands (such as in power supplies/converters).

Underwater ROV circuit boards need to be designed to exact standards, such as IPC 6012 Class 3, SAE, or MIL-PRF standards. Make sure to define your relevant standards as design rules in your circuit board layout and routing tools. This helps ensure reliability in your design and lets you check your layout against design rules quickly. Once you’ve created a reliable circuit board layout for your underwater ROV, you’ll need to complete your manufacturing documentation to ensure your system is fabricated without defects.

Altium Designer Makes Design and Manufacturing Preparation Easy

Preparing for manufacturing should be simple and shouldn’t require an external set of fabrication tools. Altium Designer provides a complete design and fabrication preparation experience in a single application. Altium Designer will instantly take data from your PCB layout and create your manufacturing deliverables automatically. In addition to creating your manufacturing files, Altium Designer helps you source components for your circuit board by giving you pricing and component stock data from major distributors.

PCB for an underwater ROV

An underwater ROV circuit board.

Use Rules-Driven Design to Ensure Reliability

As you work through your circuit board layout, how can you ensure your board complies with design standards and will be reliable once deployed? Circuit board design tools with an online DRC engine will check your layout against design reliability standards. This helps you stay productive and gives you control over your design standards as you build your board.

Use the Comprehensive Set of PCB Design Features in Altium Designer

With the complete set of PCB design features in Altium Designer, it’s easy to prepare an underwater ROV board for production in an integrated design environment. Everything needed for front-end component selection and schematic design is accessible in the same application as your physical design and layout tools. Finally, you have everything needed to prepare a standard file package for fabrication and assembly.

Altium Designer underwater ROV

Design high-quality layouts in a single program with Altium Designer

When you need to design circuit boards for an underwater ROV, you need the complete set of layout, routing, sourcing, and fabrication features in Altium Designer. Everything needed to create high-quality, reliable circuit board layouts are included in Altium Designer, the industry’s best circuit board design application.

Altium Designer on Altium 365 delivers unprecedented integration to the electronics industry until now relegated to the world of software development, allowing designers to work from home and reach unprecedented levels of efficiency.

We have only scratched the surface of what is possible to do with Altium Designer on Altium 365. You can check the product page for a more in-depth feature description or one of the On-Demand Webinars.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 2500+ technical articles on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, American Physical Society, and the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA). He previously served as a voting member on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee working on technical standards for quantum electronics, and he currently serves on the IEEE P3186 Working Group focused on Port Interface Representing Photonic Signals Using SPICE-class Circuit Simulators.

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