Making the Arduino Motorized Slider Project – Part 3 – The Hardware!

//Making the Arduino Motorized Slider Project – Part 3 – The Hardware!
TUTORIAL


A look at the Hardware used to Make the Arduino Camera Slider

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OVERVIEW

In Part 1 and Part 2 of the Arduino Camera Slider Project we finished putting everything together and testing it out.

Now in part 3 will have a look at all the hardware I used to make it happen.

This of course is not the only way to create something like this, but I hope it gives you some ideas if you ever want to build your own!

In the next and final part of this project we will look at the creation of the graphics on the LCD and the Arduino programming that makes it all work.

Don’t forget to watch the tutorial video and I’ve put links to the parts I used at the bottom of this page.

The Enclosure

To create the enclosure I used my old (3 to 4 years old) Dremel 3D printer, which still works fine but is starting to show its age.

Btw I just got a new 3D Printer in the workshop: the “Sindoh 3Dworks 1”, but I didn’t have it yet, at the time of this project.

I’ve done some testing with this new one and I can say that 3D Printers have gotten a LOT better compared to my old Dremel 3D!

3D printers are great tools if you like making stuff since they can create pretty much anything you dream of.

Of course the end finish might not be the best (layer lines etc…), but for one-off personal projects like this one, you really can’t beat them in term of speed and ease of use.

*note: My new Sindoh printer produces a lot better finish on the parts compared to my old Dremel ūüôā

The Power Solution

I didn’t want to have to plug in to an outlet every time I wanted to use the slider, so I could move it to different locations without worrying about power.

So I decided to use a Sony NPF battery.  I have many of those available since NPF batteries are used in many different things, like LED studio lights to name one.

NPF batteries have a voltage of 7.2-7.4 volts.

The parts used in this project are:

  • Arduino Nano (7-12 volts)
  • Easy Driver (6-30 volts)
  • Nextion LCD (5 volts ONLY)

So as you can see the Arduino Nano and the Easy Driver can be powered directly with the NPF battery, but the Nextion screen cannot since it can only accept 5 volts, more than that and you can fry it.

So instead of putting a separate voltage regulator to drop the voltage of the NPF battery, I used the built in regulator of the Arduino Nano.

You see the Arduino Nano has a 5 volts regulated output pin that can supply up to 500mA of current.

Since the Nextion 3.2″ lcd will draw a maximum of 85mA (at full brightness) we can power the screen from the Arduino Nano 5 volts output.

Here’s a quick diagram of the power connections.

To attach the NPF battery to the enclosure I used an inexpensive battery plate that has a 2.1×5.5mm output.

I also used one of those “magic arms” to attach the battery plate to the enclosure and ¬†both of them to the slider itself.

The PCB

To make the PCB I could have used my X-Carve milling machine to Mill a custom PCB, but the number of connections needed in this project are very minimal so I decided to use these instead:

These Solderable PCB kinda mimic a regular breadboard, so if you prototype to start on a standard breadboard with your components with jumper wires, then it’s very easy to make the transition to one of those solderable PCB.

They come in different sizes and I really like these for one-off projects like this one, and now I always keep some on hand in my workshop.

The Components

This project uses four main components:

  • Arduino Nano
  • Easy Driver
  • Nextion LCD screen
  • Nema 17 Stepper Motor 4-wires

I chose the Arduino Nano for its small size and ease of programming.

The Easy Driver again is very small and works great to control smaller stepper motors like the Nema 17 stepper motor I’m using for this.

The Nextion LCD screen is perfect for a project like this, it relatively inexpensive, doesn’t require a lot of pin to use, keeping the number of connections on the PCB to a minimum.

And last is a regular Nema 17 4 wires Stepper Motor.

Here’s the full connection diagram:

The Camera

A camera slider is cool and all, but you still need an Actual Camera to go with it.

The one I decided to use is the DJI Osmo Pocket?!

Yeah I know it sounds weird but this miniature camera works great on a slider here’s why.

The Osmo Pocket is basically a small camera on a gimbal, kinda like the ones you see on drones.

That makes it very stable and absorb some of the vibrations if any.

It can shoot 4k up to 60fps and it has pretty good depth of field to get those nice blurry backgrounds.

But the coolest thing it has, since DJI updated the firmware, is “Active Tracking”!

What is Active Tracking?

Well when paired to a smartphone with the DJI app, you can select an object in the frame and the Osmo Pocket will track it, keeping it in the frame using the gimbal.

Using this, you don’t have to move the camera right or left while moving the slider, the Osmo Pocket does it for you!

Check out the tutorial video below to see how that works.

Conclusion

Don’t miss Part 4 of this project (coming next week) where I will be explaining ¬†the Arduino Code and creating the graphics on the Nextion LCD screen.

I hope you are enjoying this project, and don’t forget to watch the tutorial video to get more information and see it in action!

TUTORIAL VIDEO
By | 2019-09-13T14:17:43-04:00 September 13th, 2019|Tutorials|

2 Comments

  1. Jim Warakois September 13, 2019 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Yvan, you’ve done it again! (The retro-reflective works very well.) Now you’ve hit the slider on the nose. (I’ve been watching <100 entries, non address the smoothness of motion).
    What's the heaviest camera you've tried on it? Well off to my over-stocked junk box for parts. Jim

    • brainy-bits September 13, 2019 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Jim, thanks for taking the time to comment, great to hear that the retro-reflective works for you, I know I wouldn’t go back to a green fabric or paper that’s for sure! At the moment I’ve tried the Osmo Pocket of course like I said in the video, but I also tried a Sony 6300 and had no problems. Of course you can always upgrade the stepper motor for a bigger camera as long as the slider you’re using can support it. I’m working on finishing the Arduino Code now, and should have the last part of this project posted next Monday or Tuesday this week… Thanks again and take care!

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