Camera Axe 5 Contest

For those not familiar with the Camera Axe or what it does check out CameraAxe.com.

In the past I’ve always designed a product and then released it as open source when it’s done. While this seems to be the more common model for open source hardware, it obviously isn’t ideal since the community feedback won’t have an impact until the next version. This time I’m publishing an early rough version of the new Camera Axe hardware and having this contest to see if we can improve it before I finalize the design.

I’m planning to give away one of the new Camera Axes when their done to the winner. If the winner would rather have $100 credit on my store to buy sensors today I will allow that substitution. The winner will be chosen by me based on who I think gave the most helpful information. My decision is final. This could be a fix in my board design, a suggestion on how to save costs, a better part recommendation, a new feature, or anything else that helps me. To enter the contest you can either leave a comment at the end of this post, or you can also email me (ribblem ‘at’ yahoo.com). If an idea shows up more than once the first person to suggest it will get credit. After the contest is done I’ll contact the winner via email. If you leave a comment below as admin I can see your email you enter so make sure you use the correct email. If I can’t reach the winner in 3 days I’ll try to contact whoever I thought was the next most helpful.

Here are the alpha PCB files for this new version of the Camera Axe.

If you have questions ask them below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Have fun and lets make the best Camera Axe possible!

Here’s a list of some of the big changes in this design since the previous version of the Camera Axe. These areas of the circuit would be the areas that most likely have bugs or could be improved.

  • Started using surface mount parts. The plan is all the surface mount parts will be pre-soldered even for the kits. This will make the kits easier to assemble. I needed to do this because the board is much more complex and some parts where only available as surface mount.
  • USB port is now included and an FT232 chip so no special FTDI programming cable is required. The USB port will also power the device.
  • Reworked the battery system to use a more efficient boost converter instead of a linear regulator. This also let me reduce the batteries from 6 AA to 2 AA.
  • Various other power efficiency improvements (Mosfet, better resistor choices, …).
  • Included an ICSP programmer header.
  • Added an LCD constant current source to more efficiently power the backlight. This will reduce power usage by more than half.
  • Added some 1M resistors to ground on the sensor ports. Hopefully this will fix the floating sensor pins when no sensor is plugged into a port.
  • Filter caps moved closer to pins they are filtering to reduce noise.
  • Added IO protection to the sensor pins.
  • Reworked Sensor1/2 pins so they should be more flexible for future sensors while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing sensors. These changes should allow IC2 sensors or a stepper motor controller per sensor port.
  • Lots of other little improvements.

This contest will be open through at least February 20th, 2011. I will update this post when it is officially closed.

I’m sure people will ask when this version will be done. The answer is that I’m not sure, but I hope to have it done in four months or less.

Update 1

Here is a list of changes I’m seriously considering. Basically I have added these to my PCB files and will only remove them again if I have a good reason to do so.

  • Integrated to a new and better boost converter to create 5V.
  • Added an Lithium battery charging circuit and plan to include a rechargable battery. This will increase cost a little, but get rid of the many problems mentioned about not having a battery compartment.
  • Added dedicated buttons to trigger camera/flash ports
  • Switched to a two color LED that connects directly to the shutter/focus pins on camera ports 1/2.
  • Added a battery charging LED.
  • Reworked a lot of the part layout to get filter caps closer to the pins that need them.
  • Added an internal header on the board for an optional real-time-clock board from sparkfun. This will require lots of code changes and I’m still unsure if I’ll support yet.

Update 2

And we have a winner. Congrats PTB! I’ve contacted him and he said that his version 4 is serving him well so he’s wants to wait for version 5.

While this officially ends the competition feel free to leave other ideas you have in the comments or post them to the Camera Axe forums. Ideas are always appreciated!

I’m going to finalize the PCB design and send for a few to be made. Then based on experience I’ll need to do at least 1 respin on a board this complex. Then I need to verify the final board version and hopefully the new software will be written. Then I know to get quantities of some of the parts is 8 weeks of lead time. Basically I think best case it will be 4 months before I have everything ready for a release, and it could be significantly more time. We’ll see how close this prediction is…

50 Comments

  1. Matt said,

    February 6, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

    A pre and post exposure trigger for controlling room lights would be useful. This way, the operator wouldn’t need to turn room lights on to set up a shot, then off to take the shot.

  2. Roland Reiss said,

    February 6, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

    Hi Maurice,

    here are my ideas for CA5:

    - replace buttons with rotary encoder. Saves cost, space and makes entering values more intuitive.
    - add a potentiometer (there is a free analog port) which allows to modify delays (valve i.e.) on the fly.
    - add a photo transistor to main board which allows to measure shutter delays through flash triggered by camera or could be used as a simple flash trigger, photo gate etc.
    - add a buzzer for audible feedback.

    I guess I’ll have more ideas after I received my CA4.

    Regards
    Roland

  3. Roland Reiss said,

    February 6, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

    some more:

    - move USB port to opposite side and use a mini USB. This would unclutter external cabling a bit.
    - integrate LiPo battery with dedicated charger circuit.
    - use a case with externally accessible battery compartment. Battery swapping without screw driver.

  4. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 6, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

    Thanks for getting things going Matt and Roland. I’ve considered may of the things on your lists and let me address them:

    * You could setup a Pre and Post trigger in the General settings menus already and the valve sensor also effectively has this in Camera/Flash1 since it is setup for bulb mode. I don’t really promote this since it means interfacing with mains power and that’s dangerous for people who aren’t experience with it. Maybe you could find a relay driven lamp that would reduce the risk significantly.

    * I’m not sure the encoder would make it easier. Do you have a suggested part that would work within the height restrictions of my other parts?

    * Moving USB to the other side wouldn’t work with a single board because you couldn’t put the board into the case. The case walls are too think for mini-usb plugs.

    * The problem with LiPo is that I’d need to handle powering it in many different countries with many different power plugs. About half the camera axes go outside the US. The LiPo battery would also add a significant cost.

    * I’d love to use a case with an externally accessible battery compartment, but the options for this are pretty limited and then finding someone to cheaply cut the holes I need makes it even more difficult. Ideally I’d go to injection molding and design exactly what I want. But this requires really large quantities to justify the cost of the mold. If anyone has suggestions on a case and milling company to try for 500-ish quantities let me know. I currently use polycase for both the case and the milling.

  5. Ernie Hatt said,

    February 6, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    Hi Maurice, I am sure that your past experience with the CameraAxe is quite sufficient to work out what is needed, and as you say to many additions would just raise the cost beyond quite a few potential buyers.
    That said, during my experiments I have very often thought how one extra digital port would be an asset. What you are suggesting so far sound good. Ernie

  6. Ernie Hatt said,

    February 6, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

    I forgot to add, that I would like to be able to keep the laser,s seperate, the extra port would do that for me. Ernie

  7. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 7, 2011 @ 5:53 am

    I’m happy with lots of responses, but I’m hoping for some more thought out suggestions. Ideas are good, but having detailed descriptions of how to integrate the ideas into the Camera Axe would be better. Part suggestions, descriptions of how the new menus would look, or more details on how it would be implemented would really help me understand how to make these changes.

  8. Roland Reiss said,

    February 7, 2011 @ 6:02 am

    Got your valid points about USB and case.

    A LiPo charger is described here:

    http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10161. Charging through USB should be working globally. In the future in Europe cell phones must use USB for charging, in order to reduce the number of charger models.

    Rotary encoders:
    http://www.watterott.com/download/PEC12-1.pdf
    http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/330536.pdf

    especially the latter one is fancy ;-) but they are probably too high.

    Switching AC power could be done through a Solid State Relay. There are many types available and interfacing to the Camera Axe is similar to the valve sensor. This would rather be a new “sensor” type. I actually plan to build such a device myself.

  9. Roland Reiss said,

    February 7, 2011 @ 6:13 am

    AC switching interface (Europe only):

    http://www.elv.de/output/controller.aspx?cid=74&detail=10&detail2=24333&flv=1

    Sorry, it’s German but it switches up to 16A at 230VAC, plugs straight into a mains outlet and has an 3.5mm miniphone jack. Absolutely safe also for inexperienced users.

    That problem is solved for me.

  10. PTB said,

    February 7, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    Time for my crazy ideas.

    Hardware

    1. A shoot now button. One for each Camera/Flash Port. Maybe you could press LED 1 or 2 and it
    would trigger corresponding port.
    2. Buttons backlight
    3. Daughterboard connection for optional expansion modules which could include…
    a) Wireless communication board for handheld remote terminal. Maybe even iphone app.
    b) realtime clock. (Suggested by someone else)
    c) sd card storage for sensor values vs time logging.
    4. Method of mounting to tripod. Must be elegant so as not to spoil the look of the axe.

    Software
    1. Once activated, axe could show current sensor value and trigger value.
    2. Once activated, axe could show number of shots taken since activation.
    3. An extra menu page showing owner details incase of loss.
    4. An extra menu page for pre-programmed favourite settings.
    On selection automatically then go to relevant mode / menu with those settings in place.

    I think that’ll do. ;)

    Cheers

    PTB

  11. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 7, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    PTB here are some comments:

    Hardware:
    A lack of IO pins and trying to keep costs down limits some of these. Do you have an hardware suggestions for these (like a backlight button that fits our formfactor)?

    Software:
    1 and 2) This would have a huge impact on trigger performance (ie make it 100x slower).

  12. Ernie Hatt said,

    February 7, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    Maurice, re the battery compartment mentioned earlier, why not an extra plug so the battery can be plug in when needed, no software change needed. This Is something I am already doing, it’s a big pain opening the case to change batteries. Ernie

  13. PTB said,

    February 8, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    Hi Maurice,

    Hardware:

    For buttons backlight I was just thinking some smd LEDs near the switches where the light could bleed
    through the small gap between case and buttons and could be activated as part of same circuit that
    backlights the lcd.

    For the led/shoot now idea I was thinking led tactiles.
    Been trolling the net and can’t find anything thats a good fit.

    They are either too small heightwise =>
    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/4pc-12×12-Tactile-Push-Button-Switch-Momentary-Tact-LED-/270703121145?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f0729d2f9

    or too high (Page 7 – 2nd from the top)
    http://www.rapidonline.com/netalogue/specs/78-2251e.pdf

    or too wide
    http://www.altronics.com.au/index.asp?area=item&id=S1171

    so …. no…. I don’t have a specific one in mind.
    Hard to find anything that matches with the elegant form factor of the v4 axe.

    Software:
    Better definately scratch those 2 ideas then. ;)

    Cheers

    PTB

  14. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 8, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    Ernie, you can run this new version with an external power via the USB plug. It does mean you’ll need something that regulates the power to 5V, but I plan to have something that will do this or you could make your own. I don’t want three different ways of powering the Camera Axe so I don’t want another dedicated power plug.

    PTB, thanks for looking. I’ll spend some time looking around for some LED buttons. What if I put regular buttons next to the LEDs that would do the triggering?

  15. Morten said,

    February 8, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

    Still in the beginning of using my CA4, I’d suggest a box with the connectors going up, so you don’t need holes in side and face to match.
    Sometimes I experience buttons are a little uncertain in operation.
    I like the USB, maybe it can control the camera too, at least the Canon comes with a USB connector for computer remote control, maybe it demands more of the software, than what is possible.
    If possible, it could control HDR in a different way.
    Separate battery would be fine with me too, I don’t like leaving them in the box over time and use a
    PS anyway. I did drill the external PS plug hole up to ø11mm, as the plug I had was not long enough to pass through the sidewall and make connection.

  16. PTB said,

    February 9, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    Maurice,

    Buttons beside works for me. I’ll keep scouting a bit as well.

    Cheers

    PTB

  17. Roland Reiss said,

    February 11, 2011 @ 6:13 am

    A comment to the device LEDs. I think it’s a waste of resources to use separate ports just to turn on the LEDs next to the device connectors and it takes extra time as well.

    Suggestion: connect LEDs with resistors straight to the focus and shutter port pins. Using 2-color-LEDs (red=shutter, green=focus) this would not even require a mechanical re-design. This would free two valuable ports and give real HW monitoring of the device signals.

    It happens that the LED ports are the Tx and Rx serial port pins. Maybe these could be used for serial communication to another Axe, Arduino or serial device.

    Another thing in this context:

    Some cameras (KoMi 5D, 7D i.e.) require the focus signal to be active prior to asserting the shutter signal. With only the shutter signal, the camera won’t fire. A pre-time of approx. 250ms is sufficient. This is important i.e. for the valve menu. If focus and shutter are asserted in parallel the shutter lag is much longer (200ms instead of <100ms). Sony Alpha cameras might show similar behaviour. Canon EOS 1D cameras also benefit from the pre-activation of the focus signal.

  18. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 11, 2011 @ 6:54 am

    That’s a good idea about the two colored LEDs.

    The general sensor menu already has a pre-focus like you described. The valve sensor works by triggering the flash to capture a droplet not the camera. If you optionally have the camera attached it will trigger it more than 250ms before the flash goes off.

  19. Jijil said,

    February 12, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    Hello,

    I’m also thinking about an alternative battery compartment. I can live with actual system but I suggest a battery holder plugged in the external power plug. Or at least screw threads in metal rather than plastic (=> longer lasting).

    For the buttons, I’d be interested by a flat panel touch board, like the one you find in pocket calculators or computer keyboards. This could help CameraAxe becoming more water resistant. If holes are well made, this can also allow backlighting of the keyboard. To my knowledge, this could be “not too expensive”…

    About the sensors, I suggest an “ambient light” sensor that could help determine an exposure time in timelapse mode. It could also be used to take thunderstorms pictures. Or be used to transform CameraAxe as a flash slave trigger.

  20. Jijil said,

    February 12, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    I forgot to add: a flat wide backlit touchboard would help using cameraaxe with gloves. This would really be useful when the night is cold or during rainy days.

  21. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 12, 2011 @ 10:42 am

    Jijil, do you have any links to examples of these flat touch board? I did a little searching and only found touch screens. I know I’ve seen these touch boards before, but I can’t find them. I’m also not sure how you would draw the buttons onto a touch board. These are normally capacitive, right? So you wouldn’t be able to stick a sticker with the buttons on it.

    There is a light sensor that could work for your described purposes. Currently people use it to take picture of lightning, but it would need software changes to work as an ambient light sensor. I’m also not sure that makes sense since there is already a light meter in the the camera that takes care of all the complexities like ISO, F-stop, shutter speed.

  22. Jijil said,

    February 13, 2011 @ 8:19 am

    Hello Maurice!

    I’m not really skilled in that domain, sorry. I was thinking of this kind of technology:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_technology
    and in particular, this kind of capacitive layer:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Keyboard_Construction_Button_Press.JPG
    I’ve never looked for any manufacturer yet, sorry…
    As this layer is translucent, some kind of backlight would be easy to add. For the backlight, a timer before switching off the backlight would also keep battery life.
    A light sensitive switch may be problematic if Camera Axe is put in a pocket.
    Mine is in a small pocket bag, attached to my tripod head.
    Otherwise, a strap attachment on the cameraaxe box would be nice to attach it quickly, anywhere.

    I understand that an ambient light sensor would be of limited interest, as the camera meters light. But it’s rather difficult for any camera to expose correctly for deep night as well as sunny day. I did not think that an external trigger would be erratic with very short exposure time and the camera set in manual mode.

  23. Chris said,

    February 13, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    My 2 cents…

    I would like to see multiple event timers/windows, i.e.trigger shots at specific date/times..for example take xx images on a specific date/time. Also multiple event windows (i.e. 0235 to 0255 on 01/12/2011, and 0315 to 0245 on 01/13/2011…..) so whenever a sensor detects during this window the camera would fire. Having a date/time on the intervalometer menu would be cool as well.

    Another suggestion would be to link a sensor to the Intervalometer menu…I would like to have more control over shooting images once a sensor is activated…for example once sound is detected I would like a pause for 3 seconds, then take an image every .5 seconds for a total of 60 images.

    A weather resistant case would be nice…not sure how you would do the sensor inputs and camera outputs however…

    Thx Maurice for your committment to this device..its a heck of a lot of fun!

    -Chris

  24. Ricardo said,

    February 13, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

    Hi Maurice,

    Just a few ideas:

    - Real time clock and additional software functionalities to use it would be great (someone already mentioned it)
    - Use an IR LED to trigger the camera instead of using a cable. This can give more flexibility in some cases
    - A sensor based on a light/frequency converter could be usefull to adapt the shooting conditions to the available light (HDR?)

    Best regards,

    Ricardo

  25. Roland Reiss said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 11:51 am

    There is a precision light sensor from Osram Semi, the SFH 5711, which has a logarithmic output current. The device spans illumination levels from 1 lux to 100,000 lux without switching gain. An application note and datasheet can be found on the Osram web page (http://www.osram-os.com/osram_os/EN/).

  26. Bill Downey said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

    Have you considered turning the case over. If the company you are working with will drill the bottom of the case instead of the face plate, then I think battery replacement is more convenient. Now when you remove the now bottom plate you would have direct access to the battery holder. Since you are no longer handling the circuit board when the lid is removed there is less chance of zapping one of the semiconductors.

  27. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    That’s an interesting sensor Roland.

    Bill, the problem with the case being upside down is the bottom is ugly.

  28. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    Added update1 to the post with the features I now plan to include from the above suggestions and some things I came up on my own.

    The contest is still open for at least 6 more days so keep the ideas coming!

  29. Andrew Morgan said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

    I’m working on code to use the projectile sensor for falling objects. I have this worked out but I still need to clean up the code so I’ll post that to the forum in a few more days. This would be a good software addition to either 4.0 or 5.0.

    My next project will probably be working on a panorama rig so anything done around supporting stepper motors would be a big plus. Configuration of the rig using the arrow keys to set starting and ending points on both axis as well as the overlap and number of shots would be great.

    The 4.0 unit works really well standalone, but anything that can be done to allow it to be controlled/configured using the computer (where a more feature rich UI could be used) would be nice.

    Combining these ideas would be allowing the device to be controlled using a computer to set up the panorama configuration and then disconnecting to allow the sequence to run.

    Andrew

  30. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    I’ll be interested in how using the projectile sensor for drops turns out and I watch the forums closely so that’s an ideal place to post it.

    One of the big reasons for making version 5 is to better support stepper motors which require two pins. I do plan to do some things with stepper motors on version 5. If you want to be involved in those discussions just email me. I have another helping with that and we probably won’t start real development until after version 5 is ready.

    Version 5 will have a USB port making communications with the PC easy. We’d just need to write some simple software.

  31. Brian said,

    February 18, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

    I would like to se a new Valve sensor.
    With 2 different “outputs” so it is possible to send the fist droplet with one colour and the second with another colour.
    In the controller it should be possible to choose, as it is now, the time between droplets, and how big.
    Perhaps even have the possibility to have 2 droplets from each output, and control the sequence from where they should be sent.

  32. PTB said,

    February 19, 2011 @ 5:53 am

    I’m liking the additional Update 1 items. Sounds like a lot of improvements under the hood.

    2 more ideas. And neither of them really apply to v5 axe. One is something for future axes beyond v5 and one is a sensor idea.

    I’m sure the first one is pretty impractical, but hey, an idea is an idea.
    The idea for future axes is how about an additional brain chip. Be it a co-processor or an additional arduino chip. Dual core arduino ;)

    One could be used to run very lean and thereby fast for triggering and the other could be used to drive displays, communications and whatever else. Both could read sensors but only the lean one does all the triggering.
    Chip 1 could handle all the setup and when activate is pressed, it hands off the basic whats required to happen to chip 2 (triggering). Chip 1 could then be interacted with for other tasks.
    I am sure having 2 programmable chips on a board would be programming nightmare though.

    The second idea is for a daytime panaromic / landscape sensor. It would only really work in daylight.
    A small cmos camera could be fitted to the viewfinder on a Dslr. If the signal from the cmos camera perceives that the scene has changed by a certain amount, it would take a shot. Could be used for cars on roads, planes landing/taking off, people walking by. Anything where the image changes.
    Sort of like how a computer and a webcam can be used to record video only when something is happening. I don’t know if this is even possible. Just putting it out there.

    Cheers

    PTB

  33. Jijil said,

    February 19, 2011 @ 10:03 am

    PTB, you can get this image change sensitive trigger in many (but not all) Canon point & shoot cameras thanks to CHDK firmware and an additionnal script (“multipurpose motion detection”, for example). Maybe it’s possible to trig another camera via USB of the P&S camera, I don’t know. Emitting a flash to trigger the CameraAxe (and therefore your main camera) may be easier.

  34. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 19, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    PTB, I have thought about the duel processor idea before. It doesn’t solve all the problems, but it would free up memory and pins. It would still add a significant delay if you wanted to update the screen while in photo mode (thought this would be many times less impact with duel chips). Other options are going to a more powerful 8 bit atmel chip, or perhaps even to a lower end ARM. These are more like research projects for me right now, but if anyone wants to help out let me know.

    Sparkfun has lots of different camera modules, but in my searching my favorite is this one: http://www.parallax.com/Store/Sensors/ColorLight/tabid/175/CategoryID/50/List/0/SortField/0/Level/a/ProductID/566/Default.aspx

    It has a very limited resolution of 1×256, but it has a much faster refresh rate than any of the camera modules I could find. I’d need to look into this a lot more to figure out feasibility. Hopefully we could find a way to do this without requiring a separate microcontroller on the sensor.

  35. Turk said,

    February 20, 2011 @ 1:37 am

    FYI, I used my axe v3 to trigger the camera and the flash and the the drop sensor. The only issue was to know the shutter lag delay, 59ms for a Canon 450D. The main reason is because it’s nice to trigger everything with 1 button.

    My 3 suggestions:
    Remove the batteries all together, and use a 4 AA battery pack holder via use port, or a usb port based recharger (most of us have these supplied via out phones.) Just need to make sure the battery pack has simple voltage regulator cause you know people will use it to charge their phonese etc. Might be cheaper to order/locate a pre-made one via chinese wholesalers (let me know I might be able to find one)

    Secondly, allow the USB to send trigger controls to the chip, so we can use software to trigger the camera though how much is the delay going to be to do that? using video change to trigger the camera – moves to axe into the security area instead of high speed photos. Alternatively send ardrino display information down the usb port, so we can use the data from the chip on the PC let people do their own GUI’s for Axe.

    Being able to use the intervalometer with the triggers. So when u set the intervalometer to ie 30 sec intervals, it also sets (resets) the triggers. So when doing water drops, I can have the whole thing fire off ever 30 secs and reset and fire off again in 30 secs. A simple software option with the intervalometer to turn and trigger the other sensors depending how u set those up. In the setup turning on the triggers turns sets of the camera and flash it would be cool to automate the whole lot.

  36. PTB said,

    February 21, 2011 @ 7:42 am

    Jijil
    Thats an interesting bit of info. I’ll have to have a muck about with that at some stage thanks. I am kind of thinking about a dedicated axe sensor still.

    Maurice,
    I thought there was a typo when I saw that camera resolution. But thats what it is. Bizzarro.
    I suspect you are right though, and all these camera module ideas would require some kind of
    pre-processing to send a suitable triggering signal to the axe.

    Cheers

    PTB

  37. Maurice Ribble said,

    February 22, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    Added Update #2. Congrats PTB!

  38. Morten Kjaer said,

    February 22, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    Some days ago, Bill suggested turning the case upside down, You replied: “bottom is ugly”. However If you place the display so cutout removes the inlet point on the cast, rearrange the pushbuttons so “activate” is f.x. alone in the upper left corner. Let the sensor and trigger connectors go through the sidewall on the long side, all holes in one wall to keep manufacturing costs down. Triggers and sensors could sit with a distance, so mistakes are less likely to happen. Silkscreen print would conceal the surface and the bottom (lid) would instead have the nice rough leather texture
    I´ll work on a CAD render. I put a clear plastic sheet over the display when assembling, to avoid scratching the glass.

  39. PTB said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 4:56 am

    Just wanted to add a public thanks to Maurice for the competition and the whole site.
    Its an awesome project and the community involvement is outstanding.
    Frankly…. The whole thing’s brilliant.

    Thanks!

    PTB

  40. Bill Downey said,

    March 1, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    Congratulations PTB. Well desired!!

  41. Ernie Hatt said,

    March 2, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    Well deserved PTB, and Maurice what is the final outcome, what can we now expect from CA5. Ernie

  42. Maurice Ribble said,

    March 5, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    CA5 is going to be close to what I said above. I want to keep a few surprises for the release :-)

    I just got back the first revision of the CA5 PCB. I’m very happy with the progress I’m making with this board. It booted up on the first try and I was able to program it via the USB plug. I have a list of 10 or so minor tweaks I want to make on the next board and 2 significant bugs I need to fix. I’m hopeful I’ll only need two versions of the board, but it’s certainly possible I’ll need a third which will delay things by an extra month or so.

    One thing I’ve been very happy with is power usage. The new version uses a fraction of the power that the old version used (28 mA with backlight on from the 3.4V battery vs 90 mA from a 7V battery). That’s about 1/6th the power!

  43. Ernie Hatt said,

    March 15, 2011 @ 5:36 am

    Sounds Good Maurice, Thanks Ernie

  44. PTB said,

    April 4, 2011 @ 7:00 am

    I’ve had another crazy idea. (CA6 ?)
    It would probably require the real time module to sync it but what about a data logger for custom
    Camera Axe EXIF data.
    Lots of times I’ve had a good shot and can’t remember what CA settings I used to get it.

    Fields could include, time of trigger, camera axe mode, and relevant settings.
    It would write this after triggering sequences so there is no delay.

    This data file could be fed through something like exiftool to Tag all the photos with this information.
    The CA Time and the Camera Time would be the key for data-photo matching like in Geotaggers.

    Maybe an addon device via I2C or USB.

    Even just keeping the text file for reference would be handy tool.

    Cheers

    PTB

  45. PTB said,

    April 15, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

    Actually scratch the idea above. I don’t think you can add custom tags.
    Just custom Keywords. Need to do some more research.
    Best ignore this distraction.

    Cheers

    PTB

  46. Anonymous said,

    May 17, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    Any details as to when the Camera Axe 5 will be available, in either kit form or Assembled?

    Many thanks

  47. Kent said,

    May 27, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    It’s been a while since this was updated. I’m just curious on the progress with CA5 over the last three months.

  48. Maurice Ribble said,

    May 27, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    I got an initial prototype working a few months ago. I fixed a bunch of bugs and ordered a second version. Then I had to change a bunch of parts since certain parts were hard to find in the market, and I had to change other parts to make manufacturing easier. I just got this third version back and will be testing it this weekend. If everything works perfectly and I don’t need any additional board versions it will probably take another 3 months before everything is ready for release, but it could take longer.

  49. Albert ADDERLEY said,

    July 14, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    Hi what’s happening about the mention of stepper motor control for the axe as this is the most interesting bit to me
    Albert

  50. Maurice Ribble said,

    July 16, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    Hi Albert, I’ve spend some time on the motor controller, but there is still a ton of work to do there before it’s ready to be released. I have no estimate on when it will be ready.

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