COUL beginnings…

‘Here’s to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.’ –  Steve Jobs

I have been promising Madeline that I would write a guest post since I helped her set up her blog nearly a year ago now.

What I can say is that I did not think I would be writing one for such an exciting reason…. 😉

Madeline was visiting me in Paris at the start of April and we were talking about her move into Marine Biology with the purpose of studying underwater life and her ultimate wish to create short documentaries passing her passion and knowledge onto others.

I thought that this was an incredibly interesting idea, and in typical Michael fashion replied: “Why wait!?  Let’s make a camera right now!”

It has taken us both a few weeks until we could both find some time to take a break, but yesterday we spent the day pulling our plan together…..


Part 1:

The purpose (Madeline defined this in Introducing… The COUL)

Part 2: The goals

By the end of the project we expect the system to have a very extensive set of features (remain underwater for extended periods of time, low-light photography, etc..) we have decided that the most appropriate production method is to create the project by iteration.

We will begin with the simplest of goals, creating what we are calling a “Proof of concept”.  The idea is to check that what we are creating will work before we spend too much time or money.  Neither of us has any design, or electronics experience – but a real desire to make this thing work!

Version 1 – proof of concept

We will be building an underwater camera with the following aims:

  • To be entirely waterproof (lol!!?!?)
  • Able to remain underwater for an hour at a time, 3 * times per day (we plan on visiting 3 separate dive sites per day)
  • Maximum 20m depth
  • Transfer data to a computer

Part 3: The budget

We found an underwater camera kit for GBP 150 ( and figured that we had to beat this!

With our aims in place, time to begin the design:


Our first design included the solar panels and a buoy on which the power source would sit, but we have decided that for a proof of concept we should be not be complicating the design just yet!


Our second, simple design:


The way we see it; we will arrive at a dive site in the Captain’s boat, drop our camera into the water and leave it there for the hour.

Camera housing

We really, really liked this simple piping housing: youtube vid, but we were struggling to find the piping we would need, almost by accident I came across a picture of someone using a tupperware box for a similar project.  (yeah, that’s right!! we’re going to be using a lunch box!!)

The tupperware box we have found is an airtight one.  In theory, this should also be watertight but we will also put sealant all the way round making doubly sure!


We will be using the Raspberry Pi and the Raspberry Pi camera.  The system is affordable and gives us the flexibility to manipulate the way we take pictures, the frequency and can be extended to include our future goals.


We will keep the battery pack on the surface, nice and dry.  We chose not to put this in the waterproof housing as we would need to break the seal every time we wanted to recharge the battery pack.

Ultimately we see a solar panel sat on top of this battery pack, resting on a buoy on the surface of the sea feeding power down to the camera.

There will be three cables, two going into the camera housing (1 * ethernet to get the pictures off the camera, 1 * power) and the third one will the tether to keep it all attached.

We have just put our order through to Amazon for the electronics and they should arrive by Thursday….

Our order for the electronics includes:

Raspberry Pi Model B (512MB RAM, UK Model)

Raspberry Pi Camera Module

For Raspberry Pi – 16GB Class 10 branded SDHC SD Card preloaded with latest NOOBS choice of Linux operating system.

LINDY 20m USB 2.0 Extension Cable

USB Wifi Adapter for the Raspberry Pi – By New IT

EasyAcc® 10000mAh Power Bank Brilliant (Black+Orange) Ultra-Slim Dual USB (2.1A / 1.5A Output) Portable External Battery Charger for iPhone 5 5S 4S, iPod, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S3 S4 Note 3, HTC One , Nexus 5, Nokia Lumia 925 1020, LG G2,Bluetooth Speaker, Google Glass [ For Most Smartphones & 5V Tablets]

So far we are on target with the budget at £106.51… We’ll update you real soon with the progress 😉

2 responses to “COUL beginnings…

  1. Good luck with the project. I can see you both busy for a number of months, years:). I can’t wait to see and hear about your findings.

  2. Pingback: Introducing… The NEW “guest post” category! | Divers Who Want To Learn More·

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