Yvon's KAP rig #5

Hi all,
I started working on my 5th KAP rig for my Canon T4i. This will replace the one that dropped into the muddy river last September. ;-)

1. This time, I'm trying to use as less metal as possible to minimize wireless communication (remote control and video transmitter).
2. I want to put everything (electronics, motors, ...) "inside". It makes it a little easier to carry and less chance of knocking off something.
3. I'm using timing belts this time, hoping that I can minimize the backlash caused by gears.
4. As usual, I'm trying to keep the cost and weight down as much as possible.

Here's a first draft:
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Comments

  • SueSue
    edited March 2015
    I can see the images now. Great project. Hope it goes well. ☺

    Fly High

    Sue
  • Yvon, I take it most of the material will be FR4 or some other PCB material with no copper on it? Are you using metal fasteners? (There are a lot of fasteners there!)

    I'm designing a new rig for my T2i, A650, A2200(s), and Gopro. I have a similar feature requirement as yours: light on the metal, fully enclosed wherever possible, etc. One feature I'm designing into mine is to have jacks for shutter and video on the tilt frame. I was planning to use a hollow tilt axle, and to run the shutter and video cables through that and into the tilt frame. That way the only exposed wire is short - 2cm or so - and plugs into the back of the tilt frame near the jacks on the camera. I'm considering using 6-pin Multiplex connectors for this, so it doesn't require a lot of room to pull it off. Your tilt frame lends itself to that idea better than my current design, and it's in line with your approach of no exposed wires.

    I like how you're handling your battery access. I still haven't worked out that aspect of my design.

    Mind my asking what motors you're using for pan and tilt? Those things are nice and compact!

    Tom
  • Hi Sue,
    I don't know why you can't see the images. Can you see the links? If so, can you try to copy it to a web browser?

    Tom,
    I have a RCA jack for video on the and audio jack just below for camera capture. I'm planning to leave these 2 cables free hanging.I like the idea of going through the tilt screws. These a 8mm nylon screws.

    All hardware except the Pan screw are in plastic.
  • And yes, I'm planning to use FR4 PCB material with no copper.

    For the battery access, I bang my head on the wall a few times before I got there. I'm still not 100% sure.

    For the hardware, I'm picking parts here:

    sdp-si.com/eStore/Catalog
    mcmaster.com/
    digikey.ca/

    For the motors, they are Pololu micrometal DC motors with extended shaft and encoder board.

  • Once done, I'll post details and Bill of Material.
  • Hey, cool! I know those motors. Never used them with the encoder boards, though. Please do let us know how all this works out. I can't wait to see the pictures as your rig comes together.

    Tom
  • edited April 2015
    Construction is going well. All mechanical parts are done. I started building the electronic circuits.

    I used the milling machine we have at work to cut the fiberglass parts. It was my first experience with a milling machine but it was fun. This is all manual control so 45deg cut were very slow to cut.
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    Here are all the parts that I cut in one day. The sides and the top and bottom were cut a few days later.
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    First time I put the fiberglass parts together to make sure everything fits.
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    I didn't like the yellowish color and I didn't want to use paint. :-)
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    To minimize the weight, I decided to make the PAN shaft out of an aliminium rod.
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    All parts put together. This week I'll be working on the electronics and the picavet. So far, the weight is at 436g.

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  • edited April 2015
    Hi all,
    All the electronics is built and partially tested. Programming the processor and further testing of the motor control circuit is my next step. Hopefully everything will work fine.

    I'm doing a presentation about KAP in May and I'm trying to have this done by then.

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  • Holy cow, Yvon! That turned out GREAT!

    I take my hat off to you, sir, for doing all that on hand cranks. When you first showed your 3D model of this I thought you'd send it off to a PCB maker or cut it on a CNC router. I looked at my own CNC mill and thought, "Yeah, I could do something like that!" And then you go and do it on hand cranks?! Fantastic!

    You've raised a high bar. AWESOME!

    Tom
  • Thanks Tom,
    This was my first experience with a milling machine. I have to say, I used hand cranks but I had digital displays for the positioning for the 3 axis which helped. I spent a full day and one evening to cut all the pieces.

    The nice thing with this design approach is that i can have as many as I want built by a PCB manufacturer. Once I'm done programming this thing, I want to send the files for a quotation.

    Next winter, I'm planning to design a printed circuit board for all the electronics. This way, it'll eliminates almost all the wires, save some weight and it'll much easier to assemble. Once that done, I can then build as many as I want.
    I also want to do a smaller version of this for a small camera.



  • edited June 2015
    It's alive!!! Yes.... :-)

    The software is almost finished. The AutoKAP is fully fonctional. I just have to fix a little bug on the PAN motor control when in Manual mode. The remote control is the same one that I built for my previous rig.

    The most difficult part was the software for the dc motor interfaces. On all the other rigs I built I was using stepper motors. This time, i'm using the Pololu microgear DC motors with the extended shaft and encoder. I'm also using a new microcontroller which I had to learn (Texas Instruments Tiva Series TM4C123G). It's an ARM core processor. The PWM interface to control to motors speed was a little difficult to understand but once properly setup, it worked fine.

    If I can build the Picavet before the weekend, I'll be able to give this new baby a test run. :-)

    I wanted to have this ready for the next weekend at the kite festival in St-Honore in Quebec.

  • I've been really busy this summer (work and home) and I'm still am, but, last week I finally had a chance to try this new rig for the first time. There was a light steady wind so I used my Maxi-Dopero to lift it. Everything went well except for the video transmitter. It didn't work right away so I didn't use it and went AutoKAP. I'll try to post a few photos soon.

    Yesterday I tested my video transmitter and it turned out that it was my receiver's batteries that were too low. I suspended my KAP rig on my front porch and walk down the street to see how far I could get the video signal. With a 25mW transmitter, I reached about 250feet before I started to loose the signal. I could still use the remote control.

    250feet is good enough for low altitude photos but I'll probably get a 200mW like I had before to reach further distances.
  • I finally was able to KAP and test the video transmitter in a real situation. The rig was about 400feet away from the receiver and I could still see the video on my display. I'm pretty impressed and surprised to reach that far with only 25mW. The antennas used are just the dipole that came with the transmitter and receiver.
  • I finally had a chance to take some photos of the complete rig with the Picavet. Also, today I started drafting my 6th KAP rig. It'll be the same approach as this one but much smaller and lighter. At the same time, I want to replace my Canon A590IS that I've been abusing for the last 6 years. I'm thinking of using the Canon PowerShot G7x. Anyone has used this camera already?

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  • That thing is beautiful, Yvon. Love your work!

    I haven't used the G7x. I don't know how it stacks up as a KAP camera.

    Tom
  • I agree with Tom that unit is a thing of beauty
  • Well done. All that work has paid off at last. Have fun

    Fly High

    Sue
  • Thanks all for your comments.

    I really like this rig. It's easy to setup, long range video transmitter and remote control. Also, I don't have to worry about breaking some wire or electronic components during travel.

    For the remote control, I'm using the same one I made for my rig #4.

    arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/discuss/index.php?p=/discussion/4308/yvon-s-kap-rig-4#latest

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