I've been reading the articles posted on the website and been thinking about the whole thing. I really like the ideas you're exposing.
First to clarify a few things: I'm a consultant for banks and governments and have been in hotels for 5 months so getting any kind of gear is going to be very difficult for me. I can buy it, just can't store it, and would have to throw it away every so often. I also have a degree in electronics and have been doing embedded development for quite some time as a hobby.
Now, for the non-boring, crunchy bit:
- shutter (whatever we're supposed to call you, you sign with a "!c" which comes nowhere close to your nickname), thanks for posting the intervalometer article, it confirmed what I was thinking of. However, I left a comment and it may be better to discuss it here: what are your thoughts about powering the systems when in the field?
- I'm thinking about building a dual-axis stepper-powered system, all controlled from one or more Arduinos (didn't look at the connections available yet). As referenced in one of the article, this would be a Shoot-Move-Shoot (SMS) system, however as it would also be the one firing the camera, from an application perspective there is no issue with knowing when the last shot was fired (and the exposure), when to move and when to shoot again.
- My initial system wouldn't be a shoot-and-move system, quite simply because I don't care too much about my images being overly sharp -- I'm guessing this could be lowered by using an ND filter and lowering the exposure anyway.
Now, as I don't want to be like the new guy who overhauls all the plans and needs to get back in touch with reality, I'd like to quiz you guys about user input. Obviously, recompiling the app just to change the speed isn't going to do, and I don't know how usable the USB interface is on an Arduino (possibility to launch an app using specific parameters and then disconnect USB?) so I was wondering how you guys were planning on doing the user input?
I've seen the User Interface and it looks absolutely brilliant, but I was wondering about what exactly was going to drive that. I do have an N900 and N810 (so USB-host available), but battery life isn't absolutely awesome on that (well, my N810 battery is shot as well, so...) and even though if bad comes to worse I can use that, it just doesn't fit what I'm thinking of. My initial thoughts were to go for a minimalistic implementation, 2x16 display, that wouldn't require any external hardware to function. The form factor would be a remote, which would also contain all the hardware, and maybe 4-6 buttons. I don't see why I'd want to go with a touchscreen-based system. I feel it's overly complicated and overly expensive ($180 for input/output? Seriously) for what it is.
A simple set of menus (shot duration [0.5s-60s], shot interval [1s-72h], rotation direction [cw-ccw], rotation speed [measure tbd], ramp-up %) would probably suffice for an early prototype.
Each axis would be controlled by a stepper motor, in order to keep costs down this will probably be $50 a piece, so a rough estimate would be a 1 or 2 degree stepping motor (no idea about strength), however if cheaper is required 10-15 degree could work too. A small gearbox that has a 360:1 ratio or 180:1 ratio would allow one full turn of the motor to only move the rig 1 degree. Gearbox would ideally be $40 a piece.
So, to recap:
- Arduino: $30
- Arduino LCD shield: $20
- 2x Stepper motor: $50 * 2 = $100
- 2x gearbox: $40 * 2 = $80
- Odds and sods (wires, glue, ghetto style casing): $20
Am I far off?
Again, I'd warmly welcome your opinions.
PS: Unsure where to put this, so move as required.