Monday, April 7, 2014

Testing the eMotimo Rover: First Run.

Spring seems to finally be here.  I needed to spend some much needed time cleaning up the garage, so I decided to put the new DIY time lapse rover to the test and let it run while I was busy doing other things.  I really wanted to test this thing outside, and snow sort of put a damper on that until recently.  The amazing thing about this custom rover, is that you're not limited to short distances like you would be with a slider.  This test footage was captured over about a 30 foot stretch of sidewalk for 1.5 hours taking a picture every 8 seconds.  The destination is outside my house, and not very exciting, but keep in mind that this is a only a test.

The great thing about the eMotimo TB3 is that you just drive the rover from the start point to the end point, and it does all the calculations for you.  You set the ramp up time, number of exposures, interval, etc.  The bad thing is that I currently have the slower (27:1) stepper motor on the rover.  Since you have to drive the rover from the start to finish, and then it has to drive it back to the start point, it takes a bit of time to get set up for a long distance time lapse.

eMotimo only offers 2 options for 3rd-axis stepper motors on their website, the (5:1) for faster moves needed for video and the (27:1) which offers more torque but slower speeds for time lapse.  Unlike my Dynamic Perception slider dolly with quick release mount, it takes a bit of time to get the motor mounted to the rover.  So, I've ordered and installed a permanent (14:1) stepper motor specifically for the rover, and hopefully, it will have a good combination of speed and torque and I'll never have to take it off.  Special thanks to Gunther at LRTimelapse for posting the proper wiring instructions.

This initial test, I set up the rover to go in pretty much a straight line down the sidewalk.  Since the sidewalk wasn't completely level, the rover did drift a bit.  I look forward to setting up a time lapse using a circle or arc, which wouldn't be possible with a slider.  I used Actobotics parts from ServoCity to build the rover, and it allows me to set the angle of the front tires.  Each time there is a break in the sidewalk, the rover dips when each of the wheels traverses the crack, causing a bump in the video footage.  I'll need to keep this in mind when finding suitable locations for the rover, and try and get as smooth of a surface as possible.  I'm not sure if there is a limitation to the distance the eMotimo can handle, but I plan on creating something this summer that is at least a couple hundred feet.

Headed to Las Vegas for a business trip this week.  Just need to decide whether to bring the rover to capture a time lapse of the Vegas lights, or stop by the NAB show!

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