The Ping sonar is a single-beam echosounder that measures distances up to 30 meters (100 feet) underwater. A 30 degree beam width, 300 meter (984 foot) depth rating, and open-source software interface make it a powerful tool for marine robotics.
Note: The Ping sonar is currently in beta. The units are well-tested and we are confident in the hardware design, but we intend to improve the software, firmware, and features in the near future.
The Ping sonar is a multipurpose single-beam echosounder. It can be used as an altimeter for ROVs and AUVs, for bathymetry work aboard a USV, as an obstacle avoidance sonar, and more. Ping combines a compact form factor and 300 meter depth rating with an open source user interface and development libraries to create a powerful new tool for marine robotics!
An echosounder, like the Ping, is one of the simplest forms of sonar. It operates by using a piezoelectric transducer to send an acoustic pulse into the water and then listens back for echoes to return. With that information it’s able to determine the distance to the strongest echo, which is usually the ocean floor or a large object. It can also provide the full echo response (echo strength versus time) which can be plotted like the display of a fishfinder sonar.
The Ping uses a 115 kHz transducer frequency, away from those used on most boat echosounders to avoid interference. It has a measurement range of 30 meters (100 feet) and a measurement beam width of 30 degrees, perfect for applications on a rocking boat or for obstacle avoidance. An advanced bottom-tracking algorithm runs on the device to determine the distance to the seafloor, even in complicated situations with multiple echoes.
The Ping is housed in a rugged hard-anodized aluminum enclosure with an encapsulated transducer and a 1 meter (3.3 feet) cable with a pre-installed cable penetrator. It has four threaded mounting holes on the back and comes with a mounting bracket and hardware to make it easy to mount on the BlueROV2. The included header pin to JST-GH adapter makes it easy to plug into the Bluart USB to Serial and RS485 Adapter.
The Ping can be connected to a microcontroller device, such as an Arduino, or to a computer through a BLUART USB to Serial adapter. Once connected, we recommend getting started with Ping-Viewer, an open-source application developed specifically for Ping. Ping-Viewer runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux and makes it easy to view the output, record data, and change settings on the Ping. The Ping sonar can be connected to Ping-Viewer directly or over a network connection routed through the BlueROV2’s Companion web interface, so that you can use the Ping on the ROV without using any additional wires in the tether.
For those who wish to integrate the Ping into other systems, it communicates with a binary message format called the Ping-Protocol. We’ve made Arduino and Python libraries for the Ping-Protocol to get you up and running almost immediately.
Check out the Technical Details and Learn tabs above for more information!
The PING Sonar installed on a BlueROV2 at the Cote d´Azur
- 1 x Ping sonar with pre-installed cable and 10 mm penetrator
- 1 x Ping mounting bracket
- 1 x Header pin to JST-GH cable adapter
- 4 x M3x5 button head cap screws
- 2 x M5x16 button head cap screws
|Maximum Supply Voltage
|TTL Logic Voltage
||3.3 - 5 volts
|Typical Current Draw
|Maximum Cable Length
||Black - Ground
||Red - Vin
||White - Device Tx
||Green - Device Rx
||0.5% of range
|Range Resolution at 30m
|Range Resolution at 2m
|Weight in Air (w/ cable)
|Weight in Air (w/o cable)
|Weight in Water (w/o cable)
|Mounting Bracket Screw Size
1. Download Ping-Viewer for your operating system.
2. Install Ping-Viewer software by following the installation guide.
3. Plug the Header Pin to JST-GH Cable Adapter into the male header pins coming from the Ping so that the same color wires match up when plugged in (red-red, black-black, white-white, green-green).
4. Plug the 6-position JST-GH plug into the serial JST-GH receptacle on the BLUART serial adapter.
5. Plug the BLUART into the computer using a Micro-USB to USB-A Cable.
6. Start Ping-Viewer and the waterfall display should automatically start.
If used on a manned vessel, the Ping should not be used as the primary means of preventing grounding or collision. Supplement depth data readings with information from applicable paper charts and visual indicators. Always operate the vessel at safe speeds if you suspect shallow water or submerged objects.
Ping-Viewer Wiki/Guide (GitHub)
Ping Installation Guide for the BlueROV2
Blue Robotics Forum – Sensors
Blue Robotics, MDC, Marine Distribution & Consulting, palanquee.fr, Ping, Ping Sonar Altimeter; Echosounder, Altimeter, Sonar, Echosounder; single beam echosounder