This custom-designed PCB is the brain of the boat. It will be responsible for the most important tasks like navigation, collision avoidance and sending messages. Here are some interesting features:
- The microcontroller is Atmega2560 running at 16 MHz. It has been chosen because it’s widely used in development boards like Arduino Mega and there’s a vast amount of available libraries for various sensors.
- It can be programmed over Wifi. This will make life easier as there is no need to open the hatch and connect the cable for programming. The boat can be tested in the ocean while staying connected to a laptop located on the shore or motorboat. With a long range Wifi antenna, the program can be uploaded even hundreds of meters over the air.
- Tilt compensated compass. There will be also an auxiliary compass that will be mounted far enough from magnetic noise.
- Accelerometer & gyro. The motion sensor will give us a better idea about what the boat is actually doing, especially during storms and high winds. It will report pitch & roll, average wave height, etc.
- Battery power sensor.
- 2 MB flash memory for data logging.
- Experimental 256 KB FRAM memory which is faster than flash.
- Temperature, pressure and humidity sensor. It may discover potential problems inside the waterproof housing such as leaking, overheating or need for pressure compensation.
Yes, it’s open source as promised! Schematics on Github: