My Camera Rig for 2010

I finished my camera rig in time for the new year. I hang it from my kite and now mount it on my pole to take pictures. It has an auto controller to drive the servos for pan and tilt. I added a Pololu 4 servo multiplexer. Now I can switch from the auto controller to RC control and back during use.

I need to work on the pole mount, need to get the bounce out of it. Still I think this will be fun taking pictures.

I’m not a electronic tech person, more of a plug and play person. To add the multiplexer was not hard and learned a lot working on the rig.

Youtube video here.


My camera rig 1 day later. The weather was nice this afternoon, sunny and 52F. Went to a local school yard to try the camera rig. The wind was to lite for a kite. Put the rig on a 15’ telescoping pole strapped to a tripod. This was the 2nd time to try this pole set up.

The camera rig worked great. It is cool to switch the servo multiplexer from auto to RC and back. Got about 200 pictures. Working panorama pictures.

Like I said, only the 2nd time to use this pole set up. Made a lot of newbie mistakes. Long story short, the pole laid down. Full impact on the rig from 15’. I picked up the pieces and packed up the Jeep. I got the camera working about 45 minutes after I got home. The camera rig is going to take some more time. Checked out the electronics and they all seam to work fine.

Pictures of the rig after and before can be seen on my flickr photo stream.


Hello, Mike.

Thanks for sharing. Too bad about the damage; I hope it wasn’t too bad.

It looks like you’re counting on the input select channel’s hysteresis to toggle between inputs, which might not be so reliable. It looks like your transmitter has a toggle switch on the upper left; do you have a fifth channel on your receiver that you could use with that switch? Alternatively, you might use the throttle channel as the input select control and use the right stick for positioning the servos.

- Jan

Hey jan,

Thanks for your reply. I was hoping someone would let me know if it was going to work or have some issues. I had to look up the word hysteresis, still not sure if I understand what it means, I will take your word on it.

The TX only has 4 channels. I am thinking about repackaging the TX, something like Scott Haefner has done.

Do you think that will solve the hysteresis issue? I know it will be better as a belt so my hands are free.


Hysteresis allows the threshold to be different depending on state. If there were no hysteresis, the switch might switch back and forth right around the threshold of 1.6ms; with the hysteresis, you have to go all the way to 1.7ms to trip the switch one way and then come back down to 1.5 to trip the other way. You probably have the trim on your select channel set so that the pulse width is 1.6ms when the stick is in the middle. That’s not necessarily a problem, especially if your system is one where you can easily tell if it’s not in the state you expect. However, it does mean that you can’t just look down at your transmitter and know what state the switch is in, and a relatively small movement could change the state.

If you use something like a two-position switch or the throttle channel (without the centering springs), you can easily set the channel to one of two extremes and leave it there, making it easier to instantly tell what state you’re in and requiring a more substantial movement to change states.

- Jan

Hey jan,

Thank you for the reply. The way you explained Hysteresis I can understand with my camera rig. Wikipedia was way over my head and did not understand how it applied to my camera rig.

The switch was changing back and forth until I moved the trimmer all the way to the right, as you said. Yes, just just a small tap on the switch would change the state with out me knowing it, just as you said. That is not a problem when the rig is on a pole that is hardwired to my 2.5" monitor, I can see what controller is moving the camera. When the rig will be on a kite and out of eye sight, that was one of my issues, not knowing what controller was in use. I now understand what you are talking about now about a two position switch verses self-center stick. I will see about removing the spring as you suggested. Something to think about if I repackage the R/C TX.

I will keep you updated. The rebuild of the rig is going good, just taking my time and making some small changes.


Hey All,

The camera rig has been rebuilt and is working fine. Did make 2 little changes. I also removed the spring from the joystick on my R/C TX as Jan suggested. Now I can move the trimmer back center and I can tell for sure if it is in master or slave mode.

Hope to get out and test on my pole this week to work out some SDM issues with my Canon Camera.