View Full Version : [Project] Pan, Tilt, Roll, Zoom, Shutter

04-09-2009, 05:16 PM
I joined quite a while ago and did some research and browsing. I guess I'm a little slow in the electronics part of this so I need help.

Could someone let me know what I need or possibly give me a quote via pm or email on what it would cost to create this. I don't understand the controls and servo controllers and such.

I make remotely operated camera gimbals. Many are on kites, RC airplanes and helicopters. The Mast (telescoping pole) mount I would like to operate either via computer or with some of these wonderful controls.

The photo below is tilt/roll only with auto leveling roll. The servos are 360 modified... Soon I'll be switching to programmable digitals.


I need to be able to control pan, tilt, roll (portrait/landscape and leveling) Zoom and shutter. A minimum of 5 servos will need to be operated. I'm thinking tilt and roll on a joystick, zoom and roll on separate sliders and a momentary button for shutter.

Many of the camera's functions are controlled via computer through usb extenders and Cat 5 cable. I would like to make it simple for photographers with a plug and play setup.

Any ideas or suggestions?


04-10-2009, 01:01 AM
There is some parts at Servocity (http://www.servocity.com/html/pan_tilt_roll___accessories.html) that seem to cover part of your request (http://www.servocity.com/html/pan___tilt_packages.html).

The control interface is a computer or a separate handheld device? Wired or wireless? Range if wireless? Line of sight if wireless?

04-10-2009, 09:16 AM
Currently the wireless operates via RC remote control, line of site up to a around a mile. Same goes for the wireless video downlink looking through the camera, but this method lacks any actual camera control. The wired setup only controls the camera functions (all of them, settings, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.) I do use ServoCity's servo hubs, clamping hubs and gears.

I would like to allow the option of wired control with the analog sticks or full control via a computer even if just using keys. It would be better to control with a separate set of controls so the computer can focus on camera control itself.

Whats different from the ServoCity setup? The servo wires would need to be extended a minimum of 50', in which really don't work that great over 48". With USB extenders and cat 5 cable I run a 100' cable for control. Using the extenders with a multi USB receiver hub would allow the need for only one cord if controlled via computer. So, the analog controls my not be an option.

From what I can figure out I would need an 8/8/8, PhidgetAdvancedServo 8-motor, Analog sensors such as the slider, mini joy stick and touch. I would also need a power supply and would need someone to write code? But, If controlled only through a USB cable I would only be able to use a PhidgetAdvancedServo 8-motor, a battery pack with it, and some programming for keyboard controls?


04-10-2009, 09:54 AM
What would seem easiest to work for both a wired and wireless control, is to set up for wireless first, then have a minimum of wires to head out to the device. I don't know what wireless you have, but XBee stuff is in the realm of range noted. And it is simply a serial link in most usages. So you could have your PC or your joystick interface at the user end sending signals to the camera unit. The joystick and buttons being read by a micro, and sending the signals to another micro at the camera end. Or the PC sending signals. When wanting wired control, keep the serial link but bypass the XBee, possibly using the USB repeaters mentioned, or some type of RS232 extenders. Again, either the joystick module or PC could send commands. The Phidgest items could be a part of this, and have some pretty good combos, including PC interfacing, but I have not worked with them. It might be a bit of a trick to get a micro to be a USB master loading the Phidgets API for a seperate joystick module too.

06-23-2009, 08:31 PM
Could the phidgets analog sensors be used to replace the sticks on a regular RC transmitter to enable custom recasing?


06-24-2009, 12:35 AM
The sticks on an RC transmitter are a pair of potentiometers, so they could be replaced with other equivalent variable resistor device. I don't know why anyone would try to do so with a $50 Phidgets linear touch sensor, when a $3 slide pot (http://mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=8YYpzd7qSxJPC03w5jU0oQ%3d%3d ) should work. A $15 softpot (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/sparkfun-softpot-membrane-potentiometer-100mm.aspx) should work too. The Phidgets USB interface is not needed by the RC transmitter.