Camera Pan and Tilt

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Bbaine, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. Bbaine

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 21, 2014
    I put together a camera panning unit with a spring loaded egg timer. It works great for a Gopro camera. I use it to do time-lapse videos. Now I want to build a panning unit to do the same thing with a 4 or 5 pound thirty five mm camera like Canon 7D. I would like the unit to travel 180 degrees in about 30 minutes like the egg timer. The advice I need is what kind of motor to use, a stepper, a servo, or just a dc motor. I will be operating this with a battery in the outdoors. Bescor sells a unit that is a tripod mount pan and tilt. It has a reasonable price but out of the box it does not go slow enough for the time-lapse. Camranger makes an addon to the Bescor that will do what I want and a lot more but it is too expensive for this 72 year old with a hobby of taking nature pictures. Advice on the motor and where to buy it, thanks. I will try to find the appropriate circuit.
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    In general..any motor will work or can be made to work.. Its the mechanical design that makes it work for the weight/cycle time,etc...

    But of course a high RPM motor will require significant gearing to achieve your cycle time..
    While a cheap hobby servo motor might not have the torque required to move the weight without the proper mechanical advantage.

    There are tons of tutorials on making pan/tilt camera gear all over the internet..

    Personally I would whip one up with an Arduino microcontroller, a hobby RC servo and have some way to adjust the cycle time so its not fixed at 30 minutes at all.
    Bbaine likes this.
  3. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    An RC servo can be jerky for very slow movement.

    I would use a stepper motor and some gearing, you can buy tiny steppers with built in gearboxes, commonly used in (surprise) camera pan/tilt heads. :)
  4. Bbaine

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 21, 2014
    I took your suggestion of searching for a tutorial and I found some useful information. One was the use of a telescope mount. The one I found "used" for $50 will pan and tilt at just about any speed. All I have to do is build a mounting plate and trash the telescope. It was listed on a local classified 13 days ago. I hope I can buy it.
  5. williamj

    Active Member

    Sep 3, 2009
    I don't think it needs to be very complicated to work properly.

    A control circuit (for on/off cycling), a geared motor (if too fast add more gearing) and a timer circuit (for the time lapse imaging).

    Start panning cycle

    Turn the circuit on, the motor and timer begin their cycles
    As the camera turns the timer snaps pictures at the timer's set points
    Camera rotates 180° trips limit and is returned 180° to original position (trips second limit)

    Ends panning cycle

    Ready for next cycle.
  6. Bbaine

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 21, 2014
    Simple is what I want. Flip a switch and the motor runs and I turn it off after 20 to 30 minutes. I did order a stepper motor driver board. I found a circuit diagram that has a couple 555 timer chips and a 7474 chip to drive the stepper. Where can you find the gears and the stepper motor? I watched several videos on the Arduino board. That looks like a fun way to go. Does the Arduino board have some non-volatile memory to store the program. I wouldn't want to loose power and the program be gone.
  7. Sensacell

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    A closed-loop speed control on a DC motor with a large gear ratio would allow you to achieve smooth movements over a wide, controllable speed range- along with low power consumption for filming in areas devoid of AC power.