Camera Axe Motor Sensor Contest

With this competition I’m focusing community attention on getting better motor controller support into the Camera Axe 5 sooner, while rewarding the winner with some free hardware. I now have a working Camera Axe motor sensor prototype and I’m looking for help making it more useful for photographers. Why would you want to connect one or two motors to the Camera Axe? Well, this would let you control a pan/tilt head and automate taking very high resolution panoramas, or you could put your camera on a rail and take very cool time-lapse photos. Those are just two ideas out of a very very flexible tool.

The person who gives what I judge to be the most help contribution related to the Camera Axe motor sensor will win two motor sensors with motors from the Camera Axe store when they are released, or $100 credit to buy whatever you want on the store.

Here are some examples of what I’d consider a helpful contribution:

  • Mechanical designs for pan/tilt head to be controlled by motors or a rail system
  • Help finding individuals or companies willing to make these mechanical systems for our store
  • Ideas for new uses of the motor sensor
  • Help writing the Camera Axe software or laying out motor sensor menus

Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking so don’t let that limit your thinking. One limitation is the current design only allows one motor per sensor port on the Camera Axe so at most you can have 2 motors.

To register your idea for a chance to win put it (or link if you want to host the contribution on a different site) on one of these four places (there is no advantage to posting to more than one so please don’t):

Here is a link to the eagle files for the Motor Sensor and here is the Camera Axe software with the code I used test the motor sensor.

The end of this competition is September 15th 2011.


  1. Eric said,

    August 13, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    For the pan and tilt you should check with the guys over at They have a YouTube channel showing some of their servo-based pan & tilts,

  2. Blaise - Wedding Photographer said,

    August 16, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    Hi Maurice,

    I use Bescor’s MP101 Pan tilt head. It comes with a wired remote control, 7 pins. I believe the remote control itself has no battery, so it’s just a matter of mapping the pins correctly and you could control the MP101 with the arduino.

    I would be happy to test this; any ideas on how I should do the mapping? Should I simply try connecting the pins 2 by 2 until something happens on the pan/tilt? Or test resistance on the remote control between 2 pins as I press a key (probably safer, but without a battery in the remote maybe not productive!)


  3. Maurice Ribble said,

    August 16, 2011 @ 11:51 am

    Blaise, that’s an interesting idea of using a unit like that. I think to figure out how to control it you’d need to take the remote apart and see how it works. You might also get hints by looking at the control lines with a scope/dmm.

  4. YvesT said,

    August 17, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

    I was interested in doing something just like that, but for a single unipolar stepper and using a uln2003 driver.

    If you are using bipolar stepper, have a look at the easystepper. These allow to microstep, so if your specific application requires more precision, that should help.

    For the software side of thing, have a look at the AccelStepper ( library, I’ve experimented a little with it and it look really nice.

    Have fun!


  5. Ersu said,

    September 13, 2011 @ 5:24 am

    I bought one of these recently to attach a stepper motor to it. The unit is two independant sliders so you could use them with a single stepper motor for single axis control, or you could used them together x and y, not really good for gigapan photos, but great for focus stacking.

    I’ve got the camera axe v4, and it’s great but sometimes I wish I could have a smaller unit for a single function, something simple that’s just controlled by a couple of switches. I was thinking of doing a simple motion sensor unit, with a variable resister to control the strength, and a simple on/off that triggers the camera when it motion sensor is broken. (I bet you could design one better 🙂

  6. Maurice Ribble said,

    September 19, 2011 @ 7:10 am

    The winner is Ric. Congratulations! I will be contacting him about his prize.

  7. 8086 Microprocessor Tutorial said,

    March 15, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    What type of motor is inside the picture? i am also interested in doing the same

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