Introduction: The Ecological Submarine
The objective for the design is to aid researchers and young scientists to monitor the quality of water using inexpensive instrumentation. Our design is equipped with four sensors to record the levels of nitrate and dissolved oxygen in water as well as the temperature and pH. Some of the sites where the instrument can be deployed are at estuaries which are home to many species of terrestrial and aquatic organisms and rivers. More than two thirds of the fish and shellfish we eat spend some part of their lives in estuaries. Additionally, these ecosystems provide many other important ecological functions because they act as filters for terrestrial pollutants and provide protection from flooding. The balance of this fragile ecosystem needs to be protected because they are easily destroyed by human activities such as sedimentation from construction sites, nitrate from fertilizer use, erosion of natural deposits and many other pollutants. We hope that in future generations our instrument can be used as a stepping stone in order to detect and prevent any alterations in the quality of water that may disrupts life cycles of marine organisms which may result in disastrous effect for the marine food web.
Step 1: Purchasing the Required Material
The first step to get started on building the ECO-SUB (The name of our device) is to purchase the following materials that are listed in the table in the following step. It comes with the details and parts numbers of each components required for the assemblage of the ECO-SUB and this information can be found in the next step.
Step 2: List of Items
The following Table below lists items used in the making of Eco-Sub along with their matching item numbers as used by Vernier (company of where we purchased our probes) and McMaster-Carr (Keep in mind that these prices may change):
Step 3: Components
The image below illustrates where the components were used in order to integrate the ECO-SUB. Figures 1 to 10 corresponds to items 1 to 10 from the previous Table.
Step 4: Holes and Liquid Tight Conduit Fittings
Take the clear acrylic discs and drill four 1/2" diameter holes in the disc, this allows the," Liquid Tight Conduit Fittings, (LTCF)" to be inserted through.
Note: take a measurement of the diameter of the part of the LTCF that will be inserted in the disc, before drilling.
Once the LTCF have been inserted in each of the holes in the acrylic disc, take each probe and inserted it in the opening of the LTCF.
To ensure non leakage you should put some teflon tape around the probes to increase the diameter so when you fit the probes through the LTCF it will be snuff to avoid water from seeping in.
Note that the reason why we chose to used clear acrylic discs is to be able to add in the future a video camera (but this is optional).
Step 5: Placing the Pipe Coupling
Take the clear PVC pipe and slip one of the 4" diameter pipe coupling (McMaster-Carr) on one end of the pipe. The open end of the clear PVC pipe will allow, the entrance of the data collecting device which will be connected to the probes that was inserted through the LTCF. After one coupling is situated firmly around the clear PVC pipe,
take a hose clamp and slip the clamp around on the coupling that is already situated around the clear PVC pipe. There should be a grove imprinted on the coupling that will allow the proper fitting of the clamp. Make sure that the clamp is nested around this grove and is aligned to the perimeter of the acrylic disc located inside the pipe coupling.
Then take a flat-head screw driver and begin to tighten the clamp until the coupling is situated properly (REMEMBER TWIST TO THE RIGHT TO TIGHTEN!)
Repeat this process again for the second grove imprinted on the same coupling. When the clamps are properly tighten the coupling should not lead to any leakages.
Step 6: Data Logger
Obtain a data collecting device (also known as data logger) with 4 AA batteries and the necessary test probes. After acquiring the data logger and test probes, connect probes into appropriate ports on the data logger and place the data logger inside the clear PVC pipe. Slip on the second pipe coupling and use the hose clamp to tighten appropriately using a flat-head screwdriver.
Step 7: Deployment
Tie a rope and now is ready for deployment and have fun.
To test for any leaks go to our nearest pool and submerge the device. Be sure that your submarine is heavy enough to sink so you don't have to push it down in the water, a mistakes we learned the hard way!
For good heavy objects, we suggest you purchase some lead shots from a local sporting goods store. Then place it in the submarine to have a even distribution so that the whole submarine submerges in an evenly fashion.
Happy building and testing! if you guys have any suggestions or advice please feel free to comment on our instructables.
This has been brought to you by the members of the ECO-SUB team, a Research Undergraduate Experience Summer 2007 at Cal State University Los Angeles and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Credits go to
and the National Science Foundation.
Step 8: Pictures of Our Submarine and Testing
Here are some pictures of our submarine and places where we tested our submarine! Also attached to this page is a copy of our research paper we wrote about building the submarine and the results from our testing. Please Enjoy!!!
Areas we deployed our submarine for testing, if you want to try out some testing you should consider these following sites:
1) Ballona Wetlands 303 Culver Blvd, Playa del Rey, CA
Friends of Ballona Wetlands
Kelly Rose, Programs Director
(310) 739-8613 / 306-5994
2) Tijuana Estuary in San Diego, CA
301 Caspian Way
Imperial Beach, California 91932
Office (619) 575-3613
3) Whittier Narrows Recreation Area
823 Lexington-Gallatin Road
South El Monte, CA 91733