I'm baffled...

edited May 2013 in KAP Gear Sources
My rig is a HoBEAK, and I love it, pretty much. Only, I've recently become aware of a certain limitation. It will pan, but it won't tilt. This has lost me shots. Have you ever tried to pull in, hand over hand, a thousand feet of line, when the wind was blowing strong and steady - and your camera was tilted at the wrong angle to capture the gleaming white cruise ship, sailing in through the Golden Gate? I didn't get the rig down until the ship was past Alcatraz.

So I've looked on the Brooxes site, with an eye for adding a tilt function to my HoBEAK. It doesn't, however, seem as if that option is offered. I could, maybe, replace my lower utility frame with the basic tilt frame; but how would I make it tilt? I could buy another servo, I guess, to power it; but it would need gears or something, too, right? And how would I control it? No, that doesn't look like it'll work.

I guess what I'll need is a new rig. Ah, let's see, the Brooxes Basic KAP Kit (BBKK) is only 72 dollars (more than I wanna spend), and it "was designed for radio control, using model airplane servos to provide 360-degree horizontal (pan) rotation, vertical tilt, and shutter control." Sounds good. But, no, wait: "you will need tilt and shutter servos...and a two- to four-channel radio control system." What? Did I read that right? It was designed for radio control but it doesn't come with a radio control system using model airplane servos but it doesn't come with servos.

I'm baffled. Why wouldn't there be an option to add a tilt function to the HoBEAK, and why would the BBKK be sold incomplete? Does anyone have an explanation? Is it that I'm projecting my inherent state of confusion on the Brooxes site? Or, better yet, does anyone have a suggestion for how I could upgrade my HoBEAK with a tilt function?


  • edited May 2013
    I assume that the customers have very different requirements on the RC-equipment. One configuration would probably not fit all.
    Some people want bigger servos because of heavier/several cameras and some want to keep a firm budget and buy low-cost no-name RC-kits from eBay/China. Another group have all that already and only need a new rig.

    If I use myself as an example I am building a pano&tilt RC-rig right now. I build it from scratch in aluminium, nylon and carbon fiber. I´m hunting for every unnecessary gram I can remove.
    Therefore I will try to use the lightest servos, receiver and battery I can find (at acceptable cost) so If I would buy a complete rig I would like to select RC stuff myself. Right now 2 servos, receiver and battery
    and 4 gears adds up to about 60 grams but I assume others have different priorities.
  • My base model car comes without inbuilt satnav, the all singing dancing model is way out of my price range. When I go long distance I use a separate handheld Satnav which cost me £40, to have it as an in car extra was only available in the "weekender" package at a cool £300 extra, but you did get colour coded gear knob and door handles as well. The most annoying thing, is the hole is there for the Satnav in the dash, why didn't they just fit one? oh yes they are in business, the business of making money. My car is apparently capable of going to Spain, it shows a picture of it in some town there, but I've never been and it looks like i don't need to modify it. I've just checked the ferry times and apparently you have to pay, where does it all end, Arggggh! :-(
  • Seems to me you need something like this.

    One of the servos or the like http://www.kapshop.com/Rig-Parts-Servos/c6_43/index.html

    and a control unit with power supply. http://www.kapshop.com/Rig-Parts-Motion-Control/c6_81/p197/AuRiCo/product_info.html

    To reproduce this type of automatic action.

  • Brooxes Basic KAP Kit is a kit, that's the point. You can customize it as you wish. Mine has had about 7 different lives, with 5 different cameras, 3 changes of servo and 2 different RC systems. It has survived several heavy landings. I have hacked it about, riveted bits on cut bits out etc and it is still a work in progress. If you don't like working with sheet metal it saves a lot of messy work and possibly the purchase of tools etc. It was very cleverly designed and although I have made 4 other rigs myself I still go back to it repeatedly.
  • Hi SnapHappy - as Barry (Puffin) says, you just need a cheap servo and a new controller that will handle both pan and tilt. The Aurico he mentions is not (as far as I can see) on Brooxes, but you can order one direct from Peter Engels - see here.

    You won't need any gears and any cheap servo will do the job, though you will have to do a bit of metal cutting to make the hole for the tilt servo.

    Of course if you want to be able to control panning and tilting from the ground you will need a radio control set, but for AutoKAP with pan and tilt the Aurico will do fine - it's what Jim Powers (WindWatcher) uses.
  • edited May 2013
    Hi Snaphappy!

    I'm baffled that you are baffled! :) I don't see the problem here. First of all, there is a wealth of knowledge here on the forum.
    I guess getting involved in KAP requires a lot of improvising and experimenting, and above all sharing your adventures here on the forum!
    In my humble opinion a KAP kit is no more than a starting point. You will not find a ready to fly solutions, and that is 75% of the fun!

    Good luck!


    Gopro Hero3 KAP rig
  • Bas - Snaphappy is in California, so he was looking at Brooxes site, not the European KAP Shop. Though they both sell Brooxes kits and parts, they don't have exactly the same stock (no Aurico for example at Brooxes) or documentation. And phoning Peter from California is not that easy either!
  • edited May 2013
    Good point Dave. Tnx!
    I see that the stuff on Brooxes site is a little different from KAPshop!
  • Ok. Thanks for letting me know about the Kap Shop. THe AuRiCo looks like a useful thing to have. Guess I'm outta luck, though, as far as being able to add a tilt function to the HoBEAK sold on the Brooxes site? And I will have to buy a new rig, right?

    (Bas, that's a beautiful shot of your rig.)
  • edited May 2013
    Snaphappy: I guess you could just modify your current rig. But, then you need to add a servo, similar to my rig. I have good experiences with KAPshops Aurico rig, I have it on video. With the Aurico setup, just bring your camera up, and the rig will do the work for you! No need for radio's, just a bit of time! Could be a good option for you. Here is the video: (here it's still in test setup)

    My current rig is a BEAK-AuRiCo from kapshop.com
    I added a BBGG and Picavet blocks. The combination does a great job. I'm using a Spektrum DX5E radio, with AR600 receiver. It worked flawless so far. I don't use a video transmitter/receiver so far, but a visual pan indicator. It works, but that is not the ideal situation, I'm really feel the need for video feedback for these perfect shots. I love photography, I guess that's why.

    Let me know if you need information! Good luck!

  • edited May 2013
    I've never flown this DSLR, but the main rig components are the standard Beak-AuRiCo available from the KAP Shop. http://www.kapshop.com/Rigs-Compact-P&S/c46_93/p306/BEAK-AuRiCo/product_info.html I removed the shutter servo generally relaying on the cameras interval-meter. I've swooped, added and changed various parts to the original kit along the way. That's the beauty of Brooxes system, most parts are add on or interchangeable to suit your needs. As Bas said you can add the AuRiCo and second servo very easy.

  • I think this has already been said, but I'll chime in to give you the analogy I think of when working with Brooxes parts: They're like Legos. Or Meccano. Or whatever your favorite mechanical building kit is. You can put the parts together in a Lego kit to make the car they have pictured on the box. Or you can put them together to make something completely different.

    The same is true of the KAP bits. There are a handful of parts that make up every Brooxes kit. Take a look on the "Parts & Accessories" page to see the various frame bits. You should recognize the parts from your HoBEAK, and from pictures of the other rigs like the BBKK. Once you see what parts are used in each of the kits, getting just the parts you need to re-purpose your rig isn't all that expensive.

    A HoBEAK is two Utility Frames joined by wing nuts to set the tilt angle. A BBKK is a Main Frame on top and a Tilt Frame on bottom. I've built a modified version of the BBKK by using a Main Frame on top and a Utility Frame on bottom. It works great.

    If you replace the upper frame with a Main Frame ($11 US) and pick up a tilt servo (Tower Hobbies TS-53 is $15 US), that should be enough to give you servo control over the tilt axis. You may need to improvise a pivot for the side opposite the servo, but that's relatively straightforward. Mine first pivot was one of the standard bolts that comes with the various kits (#8, I think) and a nylon sleeve with a nylock nut on the outboard end. This is all stuff you can get at the local hardware store. Just bring the Main Frame and lower Utility Frame with you to the store, and fit check the bolts until you find a combination that fits.

    I never drilled out my Legos, but I've drilled extra holes in Meccano parts when they didn't exist where I wanted them, or were too small. A small collection of drill bits and a pistol drill are plenty for modifying KAP rig parts. It doesn't hurt to throw in a file while you're at it.

    As for why kits ship without servos, it's for all the reasons people have already said, plus there are people like me who wind up accumulating this stuff over the course of several years and several hobbies. I keep a stash of servos in a box for when I take on a new project. Having kits that don't come with servos means I can dip into that stash rather than being forced to buy new ones.

    If you're looking for an inexpensive radio, there are a number of Chinese 2.4GHz 6-channel radios that are excellent for KAP. I think my first one cost $27. This one's on back-order at the moment, but it's listed at the US warehouse, so shipping won't even jack the price too much:


    But radios and servos are one of those things where a frugal KAPer can do quite well by scanning garage sales, swap meets, or visiting the local hobby shop. My first KAP radio system was a 72MHz Futaba I picked up at a garage sale with six servos for $30. Insist they demonstrate that each part of the system works, and you won't come home with a dud. A couple of years ago I was at a hobby shop, and the guy almost shoved 72MHz radios at me. So many people were trading in for 2.4GHz systems, he had shelves used radios people had given him. Ask around.

    As you build more KAP rigs, be sure to hang onto the bits you take off. At one point my main go-to rig had three axes: pan, tilt, and plan rotation (HoVer is the KAP term). Later on I switched cameras, and the HoVer axis came off. It's a Utility Frame with a 1:1 BBGG gear system on the back. I keep it in that same box with the servos. At some point a project will come along that will require those parts. Then I don't even have to buy new ones! I pull out the box of KAP Legos, and start building.


    P.S. Yeah, I love making the rigs as much as I love flying them!
  • edited May 2013
    The various stages of the development of my current rig. I'll post detailed images of the various bits and mods.

    Auto KAP Rig 2010-09-27_00001

    KAP rig 2010-11-29_00002

    KAP Rig 2011-05-18_00001

    GoPro DIY KAP Mount

    The latest edition using Brooxes basic rig parts with my own mods.

    Kap rig 2013
  • Great articles gents! Good reading stuff, inspirational!
  • edited May 2013
    Thanks, everyone! I know what I need to do now. Replace the upper Utility Frame with a Main Frame, rather than the lower with a Tilt Frame, and add another servo. For a controller of the tilt servo, I couldn't just order another peanut (aka clickPAN-IR), could I? That would mean adding another battery pack as well, and the weight might become an issue (or would it?). My best bet would probably be to get an AuRiCo for a controller--except, that doesn't trigger the shutter by infrared, does it? At any rate, I'll start saving some money, now that I know generally what I need to buy.

    (I'm a bit depressed right now 'cos I just broke a spar on my Levitation Delta, but I'll talk about that in another thread.)
  • A single power supply will power a AuRiCo and 2 or 3 servos.
  • There are AuRiCo's in stock at KAPshop.com. At this moment they will be shipped for free worldwide (Special Offer!).
  • SnapHappy - the peanut won't do tilting, it sends signals that cause a modified 360 servo to pan in one direction - if sent to an unmodified servo they it will just make it twitch.

    If you're going to use an Aurico then as well as another servo for tilting, you will also need to plug a Gentled Shutter into it to click the shutter. It's worth pointing out that WindWatcher doesn't do this - he just runs an intervalometer script in his Canon s100 to click the shutter every few seconds (and uses the built-in intervalometer of his GoPro). Not sure if your camera can do that.
  • edited May 2013
    I just joined this conversation, but my old friends have done a splendid job of covering for my absence. Thanks, guys!

    The only thing I would add is that while Ken Conrad at brooxes.com has run out of Aurico controllers, he has a new one from James Gentles called the ClickPan Pro that does similar things for about the same price -- but he's so busy he hasn't posted it to the website yet. I'd suggest that you contact Ken at kitemaker@comcast.net and ask him about it. Tell him you heard it from me here.

    Otherwise, you're on the right track.

    Chin UP
  • Tom,

    Your parts bin approach is so appropriate. For me, organizing the stock room is the bigger challenge....
    But what's better than KAP.....outside, sunshine, beaches, gypsy tinkering and photography....and
    you get to talk to curious bystanders...and the challenge of how our rigs evolve. And the flip side
    is sometimes it's a long time waiting for the wind...

    Brooks, good to see ya back....


    ps: what is the advantage of 2.4 GHz over 72 MHz....I have both and rarely use either...

  • Paul - link to an old but useful post on frequencies. I have been using my 2.4 GHz Spektrum radio for six years now and it has worked very well.
  • Peter - thanks for the special offer. Looks like I need the AuRiCo, and I really can't afford the cost of shipping.

    Dave - could I connect the peanut to the AuRiCo, but not to a servo, and use it to click the shutter via an IR signal, while simultaneously connecting the AuRiCo to the pan and tilt servos? The Sony NEX 5R, my primary KAP camera, does not have a built-in intervalmeter.

    Brooks - thanks for the inside info, and I wish I could take advantage of it. I intend to buy a Main Frame, another servo, and a 4-cell battery pack from Brooxes.com, and it would have been great to also get the ClickPan Pro; but I'm so short financially that I'll have to follow up on the special offer at the KAP Shop, and wait until next month to buy from Brooxes.
  • Snaphappy - you could use the peanut just to click the shutter - the only disadvantage is the since the aurico and peanut are independent, the aurico might be panning or tilting when the shutter is clicked. But an intervalometer has the same disadvantage and it doesn't seem to worry WindWatcher.

    You might need to do a bit of cable-splicing in order to supply voltage to both Aurico and peanut.
  • An alternative to AuRiCo - clickPAN-PRO
    Available from brooxes.com and KAPshop!
  • I use the Brooxs BBKK auto KAP rig with the AuRiCo controller. The AuRiCo controller drives the servos (tilt and pan). I use Canon cameras that support CHDK / SDM for most of my auto KAP flights. I also use dual cameras (Canon S100 and Go Pro Hero3) on most flights.

    I also have the auto KAP rig set up to multitask and easily switch between different cameras.

    The same auto KAP rig is set up to support my Sony NEX-5 camera that is triggered with the AuRiCo shutter port on one end and the James Gentles IR peanut on the other. The AuRiCo fires the shutter connection but in place of a shutter servo I use the IR trigger. I place the IR peanut right next to the Sony NEX-5 IR sensor. Works great. See picture of the auto KAP rig set up with the Sony NEX-5 below (three years old but still ticking).


    New Beginnings - Sony NEX-5 KAP Rig
  • Wonderful, Wind Watcher, that's what I'll do for controller and shutter release. I've ordered an AuRiCo; then next month, I'll get a Main Frame and another servo from Brooxes, and I'll modify my HoBEAK to include a tilt function.
  • Here is a link to the AuRiCo manual to get you up and running. http://skyware.fam-engels.de/aurico/manual/aurico-manual_en.pdf
  • I believe that I have assembled the necessary hardware to add a tilt function to my HoBEAK. Got the Main Frame and an additional servo (as well as a 4-cell battery holder, and an AuRiCo to control it); but, looking at the pictures so kindly provided and comparing them to my Main Frame, I can't see how the servo is attached. Here are four holes on the servo, suitable for inserting bolts, and over here are a corresponding four holes on the Main Frame; yet, the space that might have been designed (so size-appropriate that it is!) to fit the servo is filled with more of the Main Frame. Is this material to be cut out so that the servo can fit? Or, am I just looking at it wrong?
  • Yes chop it out and file the edges. Then bolt the servo in place.

    Have look at some of these manuals for more details. http://www.kapshop.com/a1/Manuals/article_info.html

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