New Industry Products

Vicor’s Underwater Remote Operating Vehicles Rely On Modular Design

March 30, 2021 by Gary Elinoff

The flexible design approach of the Video Ray series of Remote Operating Vehicles (ROV) enable quick configuration for custom missions

Vicor’s VideoRay underwater ROVs are proposed for missions such as underwater search and rescue, port security and mine countermeasures. To perform in any role, each configuration needs an efficient, high density power source suited to its particular role.


Vicor’s Defender ROV. Modified image courtesy of Vicor
Vicor’s Defender ROV. Modified image courtesy of Vicor

Video Ray uses an array of modular components residing on a single intelligent network. These include:

  • Power/Communication module
  • GPS module 
  • Doppler velocity log module 
  • Gyro module
  • Led lighting module
  • Thruster module
  • HD Camera module
  • Multibeam sonar module
  • Manipulator module

This methodology provides an extremely flexible platform that is readily adaptable to an array of missions, payloads and tasks. 


The Videorays

Pro 5 is an inexpensive device that can be employed in infrastructure inspection at depths of up to 305 meters.

Defender can maneuver in multiple dimensions. Pitch and roll control is useful when employing a manipulator to grab an object. The ROV can lift up to 22 pounds 


Powering the VideoRay ROVs 

The units can be powered via onboard batteries or by either a short or long tether

Long Tether. The mother ship’s 400 volts is delivered to the ROV, where a DCM converter generates 48 volts, which goes directly to the thruster and to two BCM converters, which generate 24 and 12 volts for onboard electronics and payloads.


Powering a Videoray over a long tether. Image courtesy of Vicor
Powering a Videoray over a long tether. Image courtesy of Vicor


Onboard Batteries. A number of PRM converters stabilize to output of the 48-volt batteries, and from there operation is similar to a long tether

Short Tether. Employs BCM converters in series to generate 72 volts for the tether.


DCM Power Supplies

The DCM48AP480T320A50 and the DCM300P480T500A40 are isolated DC/DC converters that deliver between 28.8 to 52.8 volts at 320 watts and 500 watts respectively. The input range for the DCM48AP480T320A50 is from 36 to 75 volts, and the companion device works from 200 to 420V.

For both units, up to eight units can be paralleled for eight times the output current. Each offers undervoltage, overvoltage, overcurrent, short circuit and thermal protection.

The 320 Watt device offers 92.5% peak efficiency, power density of 818 watts per square inch and 2250 VDC isolation

The 500 watt device features 93.3% efficiency, power density of 1032 W/in3, and isolation of 4242 VDC.


The BCM Bus Converters

The BCM48BF240T300A00  and the BCM48BH120T120B00 offer outputs of 300 watts at 19 to 27.5 volts and 120 watt over 9.5 to 13.75 volts, respectively. Both units work from inputs ranging from 38 to 55 volts.

Efficiency and power density for the BCM48BF240T300A00 is 94% and 1022 watts per cubic inch, respectively. The corresponding figures for the BCM48BH120T120B00 are 95% and 801 watts per cubic inch


The PRM Regulator

The PRM48BF480T600A00 accepts inputs over a 38 to 55-volt range. With available outputs from 5 to 55 volts. Full load efficiency is 97.6% with a power density of 2,072 w/in3. The exceptionally high power density is made possible by the 1 MHz plus switching speed, which allows for smaller filtering components

These three types of power units are useful in applications other than ROVs, as detailed in their datasheets.


Physical Considerations

The sizes of the units are: 

  • DCM48AP480T320A50: 38.7 x 22.8 x 7.2 mm
  • DCM300P480T500A40: 47.9 x 22.8 x 7.2 mm
  • BCM48BF240T300A00: 32.5 x 22.0 x 6.73 mm
  • BCM48BH120T120B00: 22.0 x 16.5 x 6.73 mm
  • PRM48BF480T600A00: 32.5 x 22.0 x E6.73 mm