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Motorized time lapse photography slider

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ChrisDryden

New Member
i am building a time lapse slider but I need help with the electronics side of it.

I want to use a stepper motor to move the camera along a track while the time lapse sequence is running. I also want the controller to open and close the shutter during the stops in the movement. So the camera will move "x" distance, stop for "x" amout of time, take picture then repeat process.

My electronics knowledge is quite limited. I am a machinist by trade. I figure I will need the following items but I do not know what the requirements of each item would be. ( size, volts etc)
1. Stepper motor
The motor will need to be strong enough to move a dsl camera and lens approximately 3 lbs.
2. Motor driver
3. Motor controller.
4. Power source
This is required to be portable and used in remote locations so it would have to be a D/C source.

I don't know if the controller can be used to send a signal to the camera to activate the shutter or not. If not what type of component would I need to control this?

The slider itself will be a drylin w16 linear track. Smooth motion low drag. I am planning on using a timing belt to pull the camera along the track.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. I basically need someone to tell me the correct components I need to accomplish the task.

Thanks in advance,
Chris
 

AnalogKid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
If you don't need to move a precise number of millimeters between frames, a simple DC motor will be much more simple to control. This can be done with a single chip (a CMOS hex inverter) making several pulses in series, plus output drivers for the motor and camera. An alternative circuit might be based on a digital counter, depending on what the timing parameters are.

No microprocessor, no programming, one knob for the motor run time. A solid DC voltage regulator for the motor should assure constant running speed as the battery discharges.

Run the motor for a time. (turn on/wait/turn off)
Wait. (let vibrations die down)
Trigger the camera.
Wait.
Run the motor ...

How fast is the camera moving, or what is the approx time between frames?

How long is the track?

Is running a wire to the camera to trigger it acceptable, or would the wire get tangled up in things surrounding the track?

Where are you located?

ak
 
Last edited:

ChrisDryden

New Member
If you don't need to move a precise number of millimeters between frames, a simple DC motor will be much more simple to control. This can be done with a single chip (a CMOS hex inverter) making several pulses in series, plus output drivers for the motor and camera. An alternative circuit might be based on a digital counter, depending on what the timing parameters are.

No microprocessor, no programming, one knob for the motor run time. A solid DC voltage regulator for the motor should assure constant running speed as the battery discharges.

Run the motor for a time. (turn on/wait/turn off)
Wait. (let vibrations die down)
Trigger the camera.
Wait.
Run the motor ...

How fast is the camera moving, or what is the approx time between frames?

How long is the track?

Is running a wire to the camera to trigger it acceptable, or would the wire get tangled up in things surrounding the track?

Where are you located?

ak
Thank you for the response!

1. Speed can be slow as the distance between each stop will vary from 1/16" to 1/2". I would like to control this variable depending on the needs of each individual time lapse sequence.

2. The track length is 36"

3. Running a wire to the camera is acceptable.

4. I'm located in Missouri about 90 miles north of St. Louis.
 

Misterbenn

Active Member
You can do this using simple plug and play modules like the Arduino platform.
The Ardunio provides a programmable controller with inputs & outputs plus you can also buy a stepper motor driver for the arduino. It is programmed via USB with your computer and there is lots and lots of help to get you started including complete stepper motor drive programs.
triggering your DSLR depends on the make but can most likely be done, a lot just use a switch contact on a 3.5mm jack lead so you can trigger this easily with a transistor or relay. See this link http://bitshift.bplaced.net/en/dslr-remote/hardware/cable-s.htm

Just buy:
- an arduino
- an arduino motor shield (A000079 Arudunio motor shield)
- a stepper motor
- a belt drive of some kind that can connect to the stepper
- a good power supply
 

AnalogKid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
For your time-lapsing, what is the approximate min-max range of times between frames? Some timer circuits do not handle loooong delays well.

Also, do you need a calibrated time or distance between frames, or something approximate that you adjust until you like it?

Also also, what is your longest exposure time?

ak
 

AnalogKid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Is the exposure time set by the camera, or do you want the external timing system to do that as in bulb mode?

ak
 
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