Archive for March, 2011

Motor Sensor

I’m working on a new stepper motor controller sensor for the Camera Axe. As you cans see I’ve decided to go for a really full featured stepper controller and put controls for 3 stepper motors and a microcontroller on the sensor. The camera axe will talk to this board via the IC2 protocol. This was the best way I could figure out to control more than 2 stepper motors with the camera axe, and even if you only need two stepper motors (three is really nice for some uses cases) this design has advantages. Some of those are being able to power off the stepper motors to save power, and using less program space/cpu cycles in the Camera Axe’s main controller. The only disadvantage is a slightly more expensive sensor board.

There are a lot of use cases such as:

  • Panoramic and/or rail timelapse
  • Gigapixel images
  • Interfacing with a microscope to do focus stacking and micro-gigapixel type images
  • Focus stacking and gigapixel type images for macro images
  • Lots more

The biggest unknown I have about this board is if I really need a separate 5V power source instead of taking it from the batteries powering the motors. I have some experience of this sort of setup (same power source) working fine, but I have read that sometimes it can lead to flakiness. I wonder if that’s true or if people didn’t put enough filter caps in their design.

If anyone wants to help with the mechanical designs for some of these use cases let me know.

Comments are about the design or the use cases are always welcome.

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MultiFlash device

Based on the feedback from this poll it looks like a multi-flash add on for the Camera Axe and a timelapse panoramic sensor are top on this list. The timelapse panoramic sensor is more work and I’m working on it, but the multi-flash device is easier so I’m doing that first.

My current plan is to make this run on 3 AA batteries, and have it plug into one of the Camera/Flash ports on the Camera Axe. It will control up to 4 flashes. For those who need more than 4 flashes these can be daisy chained together to support even more flashes. If anyone has ideas on how to make this better, let me know.

Here is the current circuit. I plan to finalize the design during the next few days. If anyone has suggestions on how to make it better let me know.

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