Filalu rig suspension

edited March 2015 in KAP Gear Sources
As part of what seems to be my ongoing miniaturisation programme I remember Christian demonstrating this at KAPiNeD2010:



I was surprised a simple wire did so well, I found it must be fixed to a plate to get the pan gear to work.

The all important hanger is carefully bent from a piece of yagi TV antenna, the cable is a 1m length of bike gear cable.

more here:

So a vote of thanks to Christian for the idea...and for posting it on the most excellent site:




  • edited March 2015
    Nice to see. How does the yaw oscillation (after panning) compare to that on your rigid pendulum?
  • edited March 2015
    There is, of course, much more wobble than with a rigid rod or tube but this is not too serious provided conditions are bright and shutter speeds high. I was surprised at how good the results were:



    The serious problem seemed to be the swing: the worst results were the shots to horizon.

    I'm not going to replace my pendulum with this. After a wasted trip yesterday in light wind I want a super light option, it's taking a while to figure out, but I think this will be the suspension I will use for it.

  • edited March 2015
    Bill, before you give up on this, something when I was experimenting with piano wire pendulums some years ago, one of the discoveries I made, which I never followed up on, is that you can select a tuned length of pendulum which effectively dampens movement for a given system weight. I found that by adjusting the length between fixed points there was an optimum length. This was quite remarkable in its effect and the length was quite critical, but well worth finding. Simply shaking the simulated kite line and timing the time taken for oscillations to damp at different wire lengths is simple to do, just by moving the clamp point. It needs to be done with the rig at exact working weight with batteries etc.

  • Simon, I need to find a quick clamp method (bulldog clip?) and plump for a camera/ battery combo (probably impossible but I'll try) but that sounds very encouraging, if I can figure a way of rolling up the wire without bending it this should be as near to an optimised pocket rig as possible. I don't want to give up on pan & tilt but I do want to have a light weight option handy without the bike feeling like lead.

    I am already thinking of a clevis arrangement for the rig attachment and was intrigued to find the attachment point needs to be plate shaped rather than a pivot.

    Christian used a plastic tube on his version but this seems to work quite well without it.

    If the weather is rubbish again tomorrow I'll see what happens with the tuned approach.
  • Well, no promises but the effect was very pronounced when I hit on the tuned length, testing in my kitchen. Whether it works in practice is another thing altogether!
  • edited March 2015
    I'll see one way or another, working off a bike is keeping me sharp on weight reduction so I want to see.

    One thing I worried about was the hanger, what if the rig looped the line?

    can this really keep my rig up there?

    Today was quite rough and although I'd be sad to see the Ixus go it's the veteran on my fleet so serves as guinea pig. What happened was interesting: the wind picked up something rotten. The Levi was heeling hard and I knew I needed to get it down quick- but not too quick as I wanted some results ;-)

    Would the hanger unbend? would it unwind the 3 turns on the line as it tightened? In fact nothing seemed to happen, it just hung on the line where I put it.

    Not sure how it would work on a very slack line though...could it slip..and if it did would it fall?
  • edited March 2015
    My inexpert opinion is that it looks stable.

    -- If it loops the line it should just cork-screw up or down the line and keep the same number of winds.

    -- A very taught line would put a little spiral in the straight section before it would bend out the kink. At least a steel coat hanger would. Not sure what the Yagi antenna piece is made of or how brittle it is.

    -- I think the rig's weight would cause enough friction to keep it from slipping on a slack line.

    You can test the last one on the ground without a kite. A slack line will generally result in a sharp angle change between the line above and below the rig attachment -- and that's easy enough to recreate on the ground with 0 tension at the reel. [Maybe you would get an interesting behavior on a slack vertical line in a thermal or overflying, but probably just a tangle, and many suspensions would get messed up in that situation.]
  • edited March 2015
    Thanks Bill for your appreciation of the Filalu rig. Of course there can be many variations. An interesting one was a kind of miniaturel folding rule. Unfortunately, I lost it.

    I'm with Simon on setting the proper length of the pendulum depending on the weight. I also would say that it does the same on the Picavet. Each times I made a significant change on my rigs and the weight is enough different I feel the pendulum is not the same and I have to make some adjustments on the length and on the Michael Haugrund dampening device.

    About the hook hanger I always set half a dozen turns and never had a failure. And yes, with half a dozen turns of the line around the hook, it doesn't slide down on a slack line because of the angle of the hook and its length sideward.
    If the rig would do a complete turn around the line, it is winding up at one end what is winding down at the other end.

    I like the cable and its bending tube for the hook.
    I have something similar with a stiff and flexible plastic tube. The diameter is 4.5-3 mm and there is a steel rod inside for the hook. The tube is semi-transparent and one meter weights 10g. The good thing is that you can't feel the pan oscillation. With a camera shooting on internal intervallometer the heaviest part of that suspension is the screw under the camera.
  • edited March 2015
    Pendulum 'tuned' by introducing a hole in the mounting bolt and sliding up and down the wire.Turned out I was close to the right length to start with. I modded the attachment point to give a better centre:


    It works just fine:

    that's from a mere 20m up I had problems going higher:

    Funny, I don't know why, but I had imagined 'Filalu' meant something a bit more poetic, if I'd had daughters I might have called one 'Filalu', it sounds so much nicer than 'Allywire'!


  • So, did you notice a "sweet spot" when adjusting it Bill, or was I dreaming those years ago?

  • edited March 2015
    Yes it's definitely there, the movement goes from 'awful' to 'slow and awful'

    Bike gear cable is nice and thin with not too much 'twistiness' so the yaw dissipates quite quickly(2-3s).

    Experiments will continue. I'm probably barking up the wrong tree but I want to use Fialu on a cPP pan&tilt rig so I'm compounding the oscillation with the rig movements.

    What's nice is the toughness of the method, the hanger and wire have no moving parts and no lines to tangle. Unfortunately when fixed to the rig the combination is a bit awkward to stuff in a pocket. I'm considering a 'quick fit' rig attachment but I don't quite know how to yet...I don't want it to quick un-fit!

  • edited March 2015
    It really works!

    In a smooth 3-7mph flow the Filalu got the best results of the session.

    On the left wire suspension on the right rod and tube. Both rigs were running clickPanPro for pan and tilt.

    more here:
  • For ultra light weight KAP rig....I simply put a camera on a string....need a camera with a built in intervolemeter or something like CHDK to trigger the shutter. I have found the random kite motion is enough to get full 360 degree coverage with surprisingly sharp pictures under bright light and soft wind conditions.

  • This bike gear cable rig invented by Bill looks fairly sound and I will not hesitate to recommend it. The design review is sufficient to me without prior testing.
  • Thanks a lot Billblake for this subject and to Christian for the original idea;
    I'm personally very sensitive on small light easy pendulums,... small transport package,... quick hang

    The discussion has warmed up an existing interest and I have done two versions based on a plastic tube PU originally used for air compressed purposes in ELASTOLLAN dia 6 x 4 mm flexible and naturally damped; capable of good control on PAN,...

    Just for safety added a short string for a stormy condition,.... but I have used similar hangups without problems

    version A A is near one of those proposed by Christian; version B B is very attractive when folding - transport package is involved
    complete RIG is 100 grams (including camera fixation screw) + camera

    SMAC from Italy
  • I like Italian design! And British design too.
  • edited March 2015
    Peter, I think 'British design' is a bit of an over-statement to describe this. What I have here is at best 'improvised'...from a French inspiration!
    Peter Blackmore has come up with a method for a removable fixing for the cable:


    so now I have a pan & tilt rig that fits in an A5 package. It's something of a prototype but I think I'm getting close to a bombproof 'budget' rig here, I'm still a bit uncertain as to how sale-able it is but it works well on test.

  • Bill that looks great! Just one far as line attachment goes, would it work if one was to crimp a loop in the opposite end of the wire to the rig, and attach a carabiner to it, to attach to the kite line? It looks awesome, and ultra portable!

  • Tim,

    Yes, you could use a carabiner, but Christian's method gives what a narrow base line lacks: it's much more rigid in damping the turning of the rig.

    Portable is the's safe in the box so the other big nasty lumps of stuff in my panier won't bend anything.

  • edited March 2015
    Yeah...did think that was the reason behind the hook (stiff for damping the rig). Could I ask, what did you find was the optimum length of wire for our auto rigs plus the s95/100 cameras? ;-)

    Oh...having issues with usb working to take shots on the auto rig...doesnt seem to matter which setting the camera is on as far as the remote capture...might have to show you sometime! Hope you are well....would be good to catch up, havent seen you in ages!
  • As discussed above you should try to tune the length to match your rig.
  • Simon...Bill built my auto rig and uses an identical one that he built after he made mine! Was looking for a head start! Though I suppose it's unlikely that the one I make will be just the same....they look very, very useful though! Definately going to get one on the go before the trip to France!
  • edited March 2015

    The length of the wire is 729mm for the S95 and 872mm for the Ixus7.

    As Simon has pointed out the wire must be tuned for the unique mass of the rig. I have found this to be critical to the mm to reduce the twisting, there is a sweet spot where the twist/yaw is killed by the correct length. I am figuring out an adjustment method to get this to work across 3 cameras, but this is still at the 'experimental' (i.e heavy) phase. As it is it's a spanner job to change the length.

    A wire for your rig will be a different length as the rig mass is different to this one. Despite my best efforts I don't do 'identical'.

    I should point out the wire is not as good as the rod pendulum but has the benefit of less weight and compact packing.

    Keep an eye out for old TV antennae...that's the source of the hanger tube.

    If the USB remote is not working it sounds like your USB cable has a break in it. I'll do you another. I'll PM you when it's done.

  • Tim

    to check if the usb cable is the problem, try plugging the camera (while switched on) with a standard USB cable into your computer and then unplugging it. If it takes a picture then you know the problem must be with the usb cable from Bill. If it doesn't, then the problem is in your CHDK settings.
  • edited March 2015

    I have a replacement ready if required. I have managed to reduce the connector size a little too. On the left the the hacked version compared to standard Mini USB 'B' connector, on the right the whole thing:


    It's fragile but shaves some weight off and should fit the S100s 'upside down' USB port on the rig without grief. PM me if you need it.


  • Bill, I ran across some right angle USB cables on Ebay a while back. The vendor had them in right-side-up and upside-down versions. My A650 has one orientation, and my A2200 has it in the other so I got both. Not sure if that would help streamline your rig, but it's a thought.


    P.S. Any pictures from making your cable? I'm still fighting overly bulky USB cables, and would like to re-build that end of my GentLED-CHDK cable again.
  • Tom,

    I did an eBay trawl and yes, right and left angle mini USB connectors are out there but still quite bulky and most either a good week away or too dear for something I'm going to take a blunt knife and soldering iron to. This is a £1.70 part from Maplin and an old servo wire. I was a case of 'want it now'.

    Assembly of the USB connector is straight forward but the soldering on the tiny pads is pics of the efing and blinding sequence, I'm going to do another now I have hacked my way through a 'rehearsal' and found it works.
    I'm lucky I only needed 2 wires out of a possible 5!

  • Bill that is awesome, thank you. Do you already have my address to send it to me? Was that the right angle adapter I gave you that I saw in your recent rig? Might have to try and remember where I got it and buy another one! Glad it was useful.
  • Tom,

    I have posted a video of the connector assembly 'process' here:

    can't figger out how to post video here for the life of me.

  • SueSue
    edited March 2015
    In looking for a right angle uc-e6 plug or adaptor (for Ricoh GR and Pentax W90) so I can use the video downlink on the Ricoh as it's just a little bit too narrow for it. Any one ever seen one. I can't find any at all. Maybe they don't make them.
    (I'm sure I bought a mini USB right angle adaptor but I can't find it anywhere.)

    Fly High

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