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Crystal sync motors for Russian cameras


aapo lettinen
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Thanks! It is so nice to finally get something finished and out of the lab so that I can concentrate on developing the next systems like the CP16R and at some point after Summer, an improved 2.0 version of the 15epss controller. 

I will probably build couple pieces of this first 1.0 version 15epss controller between January and February. I will need to finish the one for my own use and after that I can build couple of extra ones if someone wants to have their motor updated 🙂 

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a short video of me testing the Konvas 1m at 64fps and 48fps Crystal Sync with the controller.

The sound of the camera is a bit scary at 64fps but my test didn't break anything so I am sure that the 64fps real crystal sync option finds use in movie projects easily 🙂    Pretty good for a camera body which was originally made for about 32fps maximum speed.

I will personally probably use the 48fps and 50fps crystal sync presets pretty often when doing arts stuff.

About 30v battery is need for the maximum framerates.

 

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The price of the Crystal Control box and the modification of the 15epss motor is around 800 USD + shipping. I should have a couple of these assembled in January or February which I can sell.

If one wants a system which only has the 12 Custom Speeds and the Variable Speed and the display but no Quick Selector then it will be a little bit cheaper because I can save two circuit boards from the assembly. This is a modular hybrid system which is customisable (different speed preset are possible too as a special order) and it is possible to make it a little bit smaller if leaving the display out. 

Personally I love the Quick Selector feature so I recommend it for most devices 🙂 

custom batteries and power cables for the system are available too. One xlr cable is included in the price and cables are easy to make so they are affordable

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  • 2 weeks later...

More videos!  Here I am testing most of the functions of the system including the most used Crystal Speeds, showing how the Variable Speed mode works, the footage counters, and so on. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCzQguQMv8o 

One gets pretty good overview of how the Crystal Controller works and why the user interface is made that way (for example the ability to change from Crystal Sync to Varispeed in the middle of the take when the camera is running... one can for example set Varispeed to approximately 24fps, then start the take with 24fps crystal but change to Varispeed 24fps in the middle of the take and make a speed ramp from there up to 64fps. Or changing from 24fps crystal to 48fps crystal in an instant even in the middle of the take if needed. Or loading for example 8fps to the Custom Speed section and changing from 30fps Crystal to 8fps Crystal by using the Quick Selector)

Edited by aapo lettinen
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/2/2021 at 3:20 AM, aapo lettinen said:

The price of the Crystal Control box and the modification of the 15epss motor is around 800 USD + shipping. I should have a couple of these assembled in January or February which I can sell.

If one wants a system which only has the 12 Custom Speeds and the Variable Speed and the display but no Quick Selector then it will be a little bit cheaper because I can save two circuit boards from the assembly. This is a modular hybrid system which is customisable (different speed preset are possible too as a special order) and it is possible to make it a little bit smaller if leaving the display out. 

Personally I love the Quick Selector feature so I recommend it for most devices 🙂 

custom batteries and power cables for the system are available too. One xlr cable is included in the price and cables are easy to make so they are affordable

I will have one 15epss crystal control box ready for shipping at the end of January. 

If anyone is interested in purchasing it, please DM me before Jan 15th so that it is possible to discuss about the customisation options before I am finishing the electronics and the front panel of it (after which nothing can be changed on that particular controller and one needs to live with the framerate choices I have selected for it) .  After Jan15th I have to start finishing it and lock the front panel markings which means that one needs to live with the framerate choices I made if no one has spoken up in time to discuss about the customisation 🙂

I should have another box available in February. Will see after I have sold the first one and gotten more aluminium boxes to make more of the housings, the boxes are pretty difficult to get but should be able to get more of them in February 🙂

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/29/2021 at 9:54 PM, aapo lettinen said:

I will have one 15epss crystal control box ready for shipping at the end of January. 

If anyone is interested in purchasing it, please DM me before Jan 15th so that it is possible to discuss about the customisation options before I am finishing the electronics and the front panel of it (after which nothing can be changed on that particular controller and one needs to live with the framerate choices I have selected for it) .  After Jan15th I have to start finishing it and lock the front panel markings which means that one needs to live with the framerate choices I made if no one has spoken up in time to discuss about the customisation 🙂

I should have another box available in February. Will see after I have sold the first one and gotten more aluminium boxes to make more of the housings, the boxes are pretty difficult to get but should be able to get more of them in February 🙂

I am writing updated firmware for it at the moment and the new version is inluded in this control box I am selling in January.

The new firmware has the possibility to manually save footage counter data to the internal memory and automatically recall it on startup so that they counters don't reset when the power is lost. This makes it easier to change batteries because the settings and counters can be saved before powering down.

There is another experimental features like the possibility to set predetermined maximum lengths for individual takes so that the Crystal Box stops the camera automatically when the determined take length is reached. This allows saving film if shooting insert shots or single test shots: one can set the maximum take to be for example 12ft and then one does not need to count seconds or keep an eye on the counters to determine when the planned take length is reached.

I removed some of the less used display modes.  The counters are still in ft and they update for every 4ft of film shot.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Design locked for the one control box I am finishing this month and which will be available for purchase in February.

it will have the same framerate presets than the v1.0 seen in the photos and videos I posted but in the place of the 40.00fps preset there will be a 33.333fps preset. The Quick Select speeds will be the same (varispeed, 22.01fps, 24.00fps, 30.00fps, 48.00fps) and the firmware updated to the v1.2 version which has the possibility to save counters to the internal memory so that they are automatically called on startup and which has the possibility to set predetermine take lengths after which the camera will automatically stop (for example for shooting exactly 16ft or 20ft takes all the time if needed to save film in situations where one needs approximately fixed length shots) .

Let me know if wanting to order this version, I'll have one available in February.

Additionally I have one extra Konvas motor and camera if anyone is interested purchasing a modified motor or a motor with a 1M camera body and mags. The motor and camera have the less common 4-teeth rubber connector on the motor axle.  If selling the motor or motor+camera I would be able to purchase another camera+motor kit from ebay and modify it later in Spring to sell it too fully modified and ready to use (just add lenses). just a thought if anyone is interested in this possibility 🙂

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I am testing the suitable format for the Serial Data output by using an Arduino Micro for transmitting serial data in the same format and Arduino Uno for reading the data and printing it to the small oled display. You can see the two wires connecting the Arduino boards together: the orange one is the data line carrying all the information and the pink is the ground wire.

51838641828_3b0c15b498_b.jpg

It is this easy to read the Serial Data from the Konvas 15EPSS controller and show it on a small Oled display:

Install Arduino IDE to your computer and the two Adafruit libraries which control a 1306 oled display. You will need the Arduino, the 128x64 oled display which uses the 1306 driver and some wires to connect them together. I will provide the basic Arduino code needed to read the serial data and to display it so you don't need to code anything, just upload the program to the Arduino by yourself and that's it. Or if you want, I can purchase a Arduino board here and upload the program to it for you so that you only need to connect the wires to get it working.

there is a 9-pin D-connector on the side of the 15EPSS controller and one needs to connect two wires to it: one to the serial data output and one to the gnd(ground). Connect theses wires to your Arduino board (the GND to the GND pin and the Serial data output to the RX pin on the Arduino).

Power up the 15epss controller and the Arduino (you can use for example a usb power bank to power the Arduino) and it should work correctly, showing this information on the screen. No need to change any code or anything 🙂 

51838641898_a232c078e9_b.jpg

The idea of this data output is that you can get the necessary display information to another display or a computer some distance away using only two wires and very easily without needing to code anything.  As you can see, all the necessary footage counter information is visible as well as the battery voltage and the approximate crystal frequency set 🙂

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  • 3 weeks later...

At the moment the lead time for the Konvas 15epss v1.2 controllers is about 2.5 to 3 months.  Some of the components are challenging to get and relatively expensive which is why I can't stock them at the moment but need to order one at a time. Especially the casing and the cheeseplate are an issue as well as some of the connectors and switches. I recommend contacting me early on if planning on purchasing this product so that it is possible to get it on time for your projects  :) 

the Konvas controllers are very time consuming to build and it is likely that I will discontinue the product line sometime next year, possibly replacing them with something simpler which can still be used with the same motors with minor modifications. The current plan is to build at least 5 and a maximum of 10 pieces of the version v1.2 controllers before discontinuing the current product version. 

So if you are interested in this product, please let me know this year if wanting to order one as I will most likely discontinue the product line at some point in 2023 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Due to the war and everything (availability of parts, the current impossibility for users to either purchase Konvas cameras or get them serviced because both Russia and Ukraine are out of question for shipping to / from anything) which really complicates making the Konvas 15epss controllers, I have decided that THE CURRENT VERSIONS OF THE CONTROLLER WILL BE DISCONTINUED after I have finished the two ones I am building at the moment.

One of them is for my own use and another one is for sale.    One of the additional reasons for this decision is that I want to get rid of the original design which is very well working but way too time consuming and expensive to build. I mean, it is a great design for the end user but it is overly complicated and time consuming for me to build them so I would need to charge way too much per unit if continuing with the current design to make it worth the effort. 

 

I will, however, make another design in Summer which is easier to build and uses more common components which are easier to get. I am probably using roughly the same user interface layout than my CP16R controller uses of which current mockup is here:

51890714236_e89d27a4c4_b.jpg

 

So the next design will probably be a 12-speed model and having a small oled display with roughly similar features than the CP16R controller has. This is for making the assembly and software more standardized between different controllers so that I can use mostly the same components for both the new  v2.0 Konvas controller design and the CP16R controller design.

Note that the new v2.0 controller will not have a quick selector switch but has smaller casing so the new controller will be a bit more compact than the original design. It is possible that I choose to connect the modified 15epss motors permanently to the control box for making the assembly much easier (the 8-pin special connector on the original design is pretty time consuming to solder in place) but we'll see.

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  • 2 months later...

I will discontinue all commercial crystal sync controllers made for Russian cameras including the 12-speed model presented here.

There is various reasons for this but the biggest one is the Russian war in the Ukraine which most likely affects the availability of these cameras for long after the war ends and makes it pretty impossible to get them serviced. I see there is probably going to be a 3 to 5 year period after the war ends during which it is very difficult to get spare parts or lenses or new cameras of the Soviet origin.

if someone, sometime later, would have a urgent need for a crystal controller for the Konvas 15epss motor, I will still keep the old plans and can figure out a custom made solution for your motor. So it is still possible to get a crystal controller custom made if needed. I am just not putting any efford towards finishing the 12-speed controller or building a stock of them because it does not make any sense anymore 😕   A custom made controller would still be possible to make if you need one (typically takes from 3 to 4 months and costs about 1000usd or so) .

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