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 Has anyone tried to motorise one of these 
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:17 am
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Location: Hindmarsh Valley, South Australia
Post Has anyone tried to motorise one of these
Hi all,

I've been wondering about motorising a Manfrotto 400 Deluxe Geared Head. A couple of stepper motors and away you go ???

Any one had any experience with this head to know what sort of torque would be needed ?

Cheers,

Steve R.

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Amongst Myselves - ambient, landscape and space music
Canon 5Dm2, 450D, 17-40mm EF f4, 70-300mm L, 50mm f1.8 EF, Custom Intervalometer (UM9 and UM12) and MOCON, Meade LXD75 SN10


Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:42 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:21 pm
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Location: Yellowknife
Post Re: Has anyone tried to motorise one of these
looks like this guy did

http://www.vimeo.com/13409804


Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:31 am
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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:30 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Has anyone tried to motorise one of these
Hi Steve, I'm that guy.

It seemed a good idea at the time but in hindsight I should of built a 'L" type of head.
IMHO the physical gearing is too exposed to the elements, the gear mechanism has too much backlash/slop for serious registered multi-pass work, and the entire head profile is bulky.

It is excellent for what it was designed for - precise still's camera positioning - I use it a lot for to set up lock-offs during macro/close-up shoots.


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Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:26 pm
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Post Re: Has anyone tried to motorise one of these
That's awesome Matt! I absolutely love your ingenuity.

amongstmyselves wrote:
A couple of stepper motors and away you go ???


I think Mr. B's solution shows it's not all that simple to retrofit motors...


Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:03 am
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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:30 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Has anyone tried to motorise one of these
amongstmyselves wrote:
Any one had any experience with this head to know what sort of torque would be needed ?


Steve, from memory the #400 has a tilt gear ratio of 45, while the pan is about 72.

I used Powermax hybrid steppers (1.8 degree, 5 amp) driven by a Lynx drive box.
(Part of its design specs was that it could handle a stripped down Arri 2C (a small 35mm cine camera) as well.

This particular head requires a fair bit of torque to even get it moving before you even mount any camera so you have to throw serious voltage at it.
As suggested before, I'd advise that an easier solution is to consider some of the other options mentioned elsewhere on this forum.


Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:33 pm
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:17 am
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Location: Hindmarsh Valley, South Australia
Post Re: Has anyone tried to motorise one of these
Thanks for the reply.

That's exactly what I was thinking of doing as I worked for a company in the 90's that did a similar stepper motor mod to an old Arri head. Worked a treat for both live action and timelapse. But lots of umph needed for the motors. No battery option for that one.

Mmm. Onto my second option.

What about putting steppers on the Pan and Tilt head arrangements that Servo City are selling ? GDP785A-BM Pan and the GDT785-8.00A Tilt. Wondering what sort of torque would be needed for these ?
I'm very tempted just to get a setup and see what's needed.

By the way milapse I love the new dolly. Again made me think of the above mentioned company I worked for in the past that did a similar dolly but for full ride on 35mm system. It's great way to do it. In fact I did it myself recently with my UM11 dolly project of which I'm planning the pan/tilt for. All fun hey !

Steve R.

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Amongst Myselves - ambient, landscape and space music
Canon 5Dm2, 450D, 17-40mm EF f4, 70-300mm L, 50mm f1.8 EF, Custom Intervalometer (UM9 and UM12) and MOCON, Meade LXD75 SN10


Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:48 pm
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:50 pm
Posts: 561
Post Re: Has anyone tried to motorise one of these
They are very cheap, but only have about 5:1 reduction ratio - which is suitable for the small servo motors they supply since they are already heavily geared down - though lots of backlash I'd guess.

You would need to re-engineer them a bit - a stepper might just drive it as is, but there might also be too much vibration from motor resonance at this low reduction ratio unless you use a very good micro-step driver and a motor with 0.9 deg per step.

But stick a 5D on the tilt mechanism and it will become unbalanced very soon - so torque may need to be higher. Ideally you would add another stage of gearing or a belt reduction - by the time you do all this - just make your own head...:)


Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:31 pm
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