Sunday, April 20, 2014

eMotimo TB3 Rover Testing

The motor on my custom DIY eMotimo TB3 time lapse rover was replaced with a 14:1 stepper that has a good combination of torque and speed. (Speed relative to the original 27:1 motor)  I did some testing over the weekend and headed down to Lake Geneva.  This series stretched 30 feet with 845 images over 70 minutes.  Outside building a ridiculously long slider, this type of time lapse wouldn't have been possible without the DIY Rover.  I have some ideas to try a time lapse sequence where the rover travels over 100 feet!

I did try another sequence at the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, the path I had to work with wasn't exactly straight.  The problem with the rover as it's currently designed is the inability to steer the rover while it's in motion.  I'm able to make manual changes to its direction, for example, like when it gets too close to the grass on the sidewalk.  However, this changes the angle of the camera along the way.  Ideally, the Rover would be set correctly before starting, with not adjustments needed.  Here is the first half of the sequence.  The full sequence, the rover drives over 80 feet in about 2.5 hours.  

I also attached a GoPro HD Hero 3 to the front of the rover during this sequence, and set the camera to capture every 10 seconds.  You can definitely see when the rover's direction is altered, as the GoPro is mounted to the front axle.  Interesting perspective, without needing a dSLR.  I certainly get better image quality out of my Canon, but the GoPro is a great addition.  What I learned from this session is that I need to be very precise in setting the angle of the rover axle, or I need to find locations where I'm not limited to a 4 foot sidewalk.

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