exploreHD Heavy#

exploreHD Heavy


Introducing the exploreHD Heavy, the next evolution of our flagship product line. With an uncompromising commitment to image quality, this underwater USB camera features the same high definition USB output and Sony sensor found in our original exploreHD camera, but with a depth rating of 1000m! Advanced automated exposure and white balance adjustments ensure accurate colors and a natural image, even in low light conditions. The exploreHD Heavy also features H.264 compression technology, allowing up to 7 cameras to be connected and streamed simultaneously with minimal loss in quality and latency. This makes it the perfect choice for advanced multi-cam ROV/AUV setups, deep sea exploration, and scientific research. With the exploreHD Heavy, you can capture stunning images of the most remote and inaccessible underwater environments with ease and confidence.

Technical Specifications#

Waterproof Specifications

Waterproof Depth: 1000 meters

Cable Diameter: 4.5mm OD

Physical Specifications

Mass in Air: 276 grams

Mass in Water: 226 grams

Camera Specifications

Image Sensor: 1/2.8” Sony Exmor™ STARVIS CMOS 12-bit

Resolution: 1920x1080

Framerate: 30fps with H.264/MJPEG

Format: H.264, MJPEG, YUY2

Chroma Subsampling: 4:2:2 with YUY2, 4:2:0 with MJPEG/H.264

Color Depth Per Channel: 8 bit per RGB channel / 24 bit per pixel

Bitrate: 10Mb/s with H.264, VBR with MJPEG/YUY2

H.264 Compression Profiles: Baseline Profile

Streaming Latency: 35ms ± 20 More Details

Connection: USB2.0 High Speed

Voltage: 5V

Current: 250mA

Wattage: <1.5W

Lens Specifications

Type: Fisheye

Lens Aperture: f/2.0

View Angle: 150 Degrees Diagonal (in water)

Minimum Focus Distance: 20-30 cm

Image Samples#

Color remains accurate even in low light situations exploreHD Heavy

Comparison of Color Accuracy with GoPro#

The left Image is from exploreHD and the right is from a GoPro Hero exploreHD Heavy

Operating Notes#

Lens Field of View in Air vs Water#

This lens has a fisheye effect which is more noticeable in the air than in the water due to the changes with light as it passes through different optical mediums. We took into account this factor and picked a lens that has a very wide field of view in the air so that when the lens is in the water, it can compensate for the lowered field of view. You may also notice a bit of vignetting when above water from the lens cap that will disappear in the water.

TrueColor Technology#

The camera offers TrueColor Technology which compensates for the blue/greenish tint in water using advanced AI white balance technology that we developed. However, to reduce the bluish/greenish tint, the camera has to compensate by adding more red/magenta. This means that in some images, the shadows may appear more red or magenta color. If you do not like this effect, you can turn off auto white balance in the exploreHD camera preferences.

exploreHD True Color Technology exploreHD True Color Technology exploreHD True Color Technology exploreHD True Color Technology

Camera Installation#


All exploreHD Heavy units will come with a WetLink Penetrator by default.

Cable Penetrator:

WetLink Penetrator (WLP-M10-4.5MM-HC (for 4.0 mm cable)

Mount Installation

Step 1


Drill two holes, 30mm apart into your frame where you want the camera to reside. If using a thread-able material, tap an M3x0.5 thread. If using a non-thread-able material, ensure there is space for an M3x0.5 nut on the other side.

Step 2


Using two M3x0.5 screws, attach the camera bracket to the frame through the two holes on the base of the bracket.

Step 3


Place the standoff portion of the main camera body into the two remaining holes of the bracket. Now, you should have an axis about which the camera may rotate.

Tighten the camera into place using the two M2x0.4 screws and the threaded portion of the standoffs.

Step 4


There may be some give on the rotation of the camera body. To ensure the camera is held in place, zip tie the camera usb cable to the ROV in such a manner that the tension of the cable keeps the camera in place. Ensure to make the zip tie as tight as possible without damaging the cable.

Cable Waterproofing

Step 1


Ensure that the camera is mounted securely on the ROV as you like it with the previous steps

Step 2


Cut off the USB cable to the desired length. Ensure to leave extra length for when the cable is in the enclosure.

Step 3


Strip the cable to the length that will be in the electronic enclosure.

Step 4


Twist the section of wires that are stripped from the black rubber insulation

Step 5

Depending on the cable penetrator you are using, follow the instructions to waterproof the wires

USB Connection

Step 1

Before soldering the wires to the provided USB connector, please ensure the following tasks have been completed

  • Cable is properly waterproofed, following the steps in the previous page.

  • Cable penetrator has the o’ring in the o’ring groove.

  • Cable penetrator is on the outer portion of the electronic housing end cap.

  • The wires have been passed through the nut for the cable penetrator.

  • The nut is on the inner portion of the electronic housing end cap.

Step 2


Ensure you are knowledgeable on the function of each wire.

Black: Ground

Yellow/Green: D+ (DP)

White: D- (DM)

Red: 5V



Ensure there are no solder bridges and DOUBLE CHECK to make sure the connection is correct. The camera will get damaged if the polarity is not correct.

Other Method of Installation Besides Soldering

Although not our favorite method of connecting the exploreHD, if soldering becomes a challenge for you, we suggest using a USB to terminal block instead. This method is not as recommended because it takes up a lot more space in our electronic enclosure but if space isn’t an issue, this method will work just fine.

Be extra careful to not mix up the polarity of the USB

USB Type A to Terminal Block

Step 3

Connect the USB cable to a computer to confirm the camera is working and in the correct orientation.

exploreHD exploreHD

An image should be displayed using the built-in camera app on your computer. The device name should be exploreHD USB Camera

Multi-Cam ROV Connection Diagram#



Streaming via custom Raspberry Pi

If you want to run your own custom streaming setup on the Raspberry Pi, we have the perfect documentation for you!

This is perfect for MATE ROV teams who want to use the RPi to stream but don’t want to be limited to PixHawk Controller from ArduSub Companion. It’s also a great way to learn and customize your code for your specific setup!

Raspberry Pi Streaming Setup for exploreHD Instructions

Streaming alongside BlueOS Companion


As of November 20, 2021, all exploreHD shipped will feature a new firmware that allows the cameras to be plug and play with BlueOS Companion without the need for drivers.

If your camera was shipped beforehand or you notice the video stream is sluggish, you may be running an older version.

Click Here for instructions on how to update

If you want to stream multiple exploreHDs at once using BlueOS Companion, check out our BlueOS Companion Guide for installing our software alongisde BlueOS.

H.264/Bitrate Control for Streaming

To set custom H.264 parameters when streaming from a Raspberry Pi or similar computer, install our exploreHD Driver UI!

This software supports unlimited camera streams given you have unlimited USB ports, and installs perfectly alongside BlueOS.

DWE Firmware Loader

  • Bitrate: Adjust the bitrate of the exploreHD Camera

  • H.264: Toggle H.264 on or off (Off is similar to MJPEG)

  • VBR: Variable bitrate, changes bitrate depending on scene

  • UDP Stream: Starts a UDP H.264 Stream via GStreamer with port 5600.

Streaming Latency#

  • Streaming Method: UDP H.264 via Gstreamer

  • Streaming Device: Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 2GB RAM

  • Streamed Devices: 3 exploreHDs

  • Recieving Software: Open Broadcaster Software

  • Latency: 35ms ± 20