Joystick controller for motorised head and LANC at DVinfo.net

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Old April 20th, 2010, 12:33 AM   #1
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Joystick controller for motorised head and LANC

Hi..

Im interested in trying to build a converter that will use a normal PC joystick to control a motorised tripod head and also use the joysticks buttons to zoom in and out and record start/stop on the camera via LANC.. So when you move the joystick left or right or forward or back it will rotate the head side to side or tilt the tripod head down and up accordingly..

I imagine this would be a really elegant and easy way to operate as you would have the entire control of the camera in one hand.. The motorised head i am looking at is just a cheapie..

B. Hague & Co. Ltd Pan & Tilt Power Heads

The fun part is ive got very little electronics experience and not much coding experience either but im willing to try and learn and give it a go.. I have seen people adapting LANC devices and know the schemantics are out there for this protocol, but i dont think theres any literature on the motorised head to understand what pins are doing what and how to program it..

Would anyone know how i could go about working out how the head works ? Is there a way of plugging in the control pad that comes with it to work out what info its sending out ? If i know what its sending my hope is i could get a little microcontroller converting a PC joystick to the format the head understands and then also convert the joysticks buttons to LANC in the same box..

I think it would make a great controller.. Appreciate any info..
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Old April 20th, 2010, 02:29 AM   #2
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all depends the signal required from your PTZ head.
if you just need contact (open/close), a regular PC joystick should be ok. Most PC joystick today are using switches. Joystick with potentiometer are very hard to find today, and if you need one, it must be top quality, or it is just trouble.
If yo need to control speed or the head require special signals, you can use a small processor (there are many like Arduino) to translate. Usually this kind of device require ramp signal to start and stop smoothly.
just google "pan tilt servo robotic" and you will find tons of website selling parts.
most known for videographer is Servocity
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Old April 20th, 2010, 02:57 AM   #3
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Hi Randy...............

I've got two of those pan/ tilt units, one the limited 180 degree one the other the newer 360 degree.

As far as I can tell, the signals from the 4 way controller are purely analoge voltage, nothing smarter than that. Programming not required, it's straight unadulterated analoge voltage/ current (I'm always prepared to be proved wrong, however).

If you take a multimeter to the output pins of the pan/ tilt head you should be able to get some idea of whether I'm right or wrong.

By my reasoning, the pins on the control connector of the pan/ tilt head are 9/12 volts positive, ground, pan left, pan right, tilt up & tilt down.

Controlling that with a joystick isn't impossible, but sure as hell is gonna take more coding skills that you've admitted to.

As for incorporating Lanc, good luck.

First you need to decide which one, Sony ( the patent holder) or Canon (not sure if anyone else has licensed it) but they're all different.

Then, finding the codes (without significant electronics experience and equipment) could prove a bit of a hurdle, no, make that a mission.

If I was you (which I'm not) I'd settle for a mish mash, use the analogues as analogues and incorporate the guts from a Lanc controller into the setup to do it (the Lanc stuff) for you.

Sorry if that doesn't sound too positive, just trying to be realistic.

Oh, BTW, the heads aren't THAT bloody fantastic to start with, trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear is going to be an uphill struggle.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; April 20th, 2010 at 05:14 AM.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 03:54 AM   #4
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Thanks for your response.. I will give it a bit of a try but if it its really looking too hard i will abort and look at plan B.. Which im not sure what plan B is really but i'll see..

When you say analog voltage, would that mean that as you push the remote button forward it increases voltage on the corresponding pin output which then makes the head tilt ? Would it be as simple as that do you think ? If thats the case it should be capable of being reproduced fairly easily.

I am looking into programming a PIC microcontroller.. If it can interpret another joysticks input and output the movements as voltage then im on my way.. The LANC controller has been done by some other people so im hopeful i could recreate that side..

DIY LANC CONTROLLER

I would use it with Sony cameras..

When you say the hague head isnt that great.. What would be your main criticisms of it ? Does it get stuck or jerky or something ? Those are things i wouldnt be happy with but aside from that Im not expecting anything too amazing since its cheap.. If the results look as good as the footage in the video they provide id be happy enough i think...
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
all depends the signal required from your PTZ head.
if you just need contact (open/close), a regular PC joystick should be ok. Most PC joystick today are using switches. Joystick with potentiometer are very hard to find today, and if you need one, it must be top quality, or it is just trouble.
If yo need to control speed or the head require special signals, you can use a small processor (there are many like Arduino) to translate. Usually this kind of device require ramp signal to start and stop smoothly.
just google "pan tilt servo robotic" and you will find tons of website selling parts.
most known for videographer is Servocity
I think the speed of the tilt and pan on that head are a seperate function.. the remote that comes with it has a seperate variable control which you can use to adjust speed.. I had already looked at a pic microcontroller as an option.. This is all totally new to me so im reading lots but so much of it is going over my head at the moment.. But im going to pursue it until its working.

I have started thinking along the lines of this type of joystick..

https://www.arcadegamingaustralia.co...pshop&Itemid=5

Do you think that would work ?
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #6
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well if you need a joystick with switches, this one should be ok.
just check if you need 4 or 8 switches, seems it is an option.
At servocity they got some PTZ head designed for video and DSLR, and they got a lot of accessories to
build your own solution.
The great thing using servos on PTZ is you can not only move, but positioning is also possible (moving to a particular position) so you can really program remote action.

You could for example slave 2 cameras to a third one with a simple potentiometer mounted on the master tripod.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 08:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for your help.. Once ive bought a few of the components i need i'll start building and see how i go.. Thanks again.
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