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Making new Crystal Sync electronics for CP16R


aapo lettinen
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On 1/7/2022 at 11:51 PM, aapo lettinen said:

I AM MAKING A SIMPLE 12-SPEED EXTERNAL BOX CRYSTAL CONTROLLER FOR THE CP16R in January to test various camera functions for the much more complex final crystal update which has all the bells and whistles like displays and so on.

This is a great opportunity for budget shooters to get their non-working CP16R updated to working crystal sync because the final update with a display costs from 1000usd to 1200usd + shipping but I can do these simple external box modifications for as little as 500 USD + shipping.  

When I have the final more advanced controller available, this simple external box modification is not offered anymore. I am planning only doing a single batch of these in February to get more cameras circulating and to get enough resources to finish the more advanced final update sometime this year. It would be optimal to get about 4 cameras for this simple modification in February.

Specs of the simple modification with a external crystal control box for camera speed adjustment:

- 12 internal speeds, all crystal:

3fps  (works as a inching speed)

8fps

12fps

16fps

20fps

22.01fps

23.976fps

24.00fps

25fps

29.976fps

33.333fps

40fps

- Variable non-crystal speed from 5fps to 40fps

- Start-stop button on the control box and possibility to use external wired start button which is included

- No shutter parking but you can use the 3fps inching speed to run the camera forward in steps to reach correct mirror position

- No indicator lights in the viewfinder

- I will test an audible film end warning when getting the prototype working this month. the film end warning may or may not be included depending on how it works in the prototype

- Power input via 3-pin xlr.  I can wire the original onboard battery plate to work with the system as well so that the camera has dual power inputs (it automatically takes the power from the highest voltage source available whether it being the XLR or the original onboard battery

- the control box is small and lightweight enough to be mounted on top of the camera using a normal monitor arm

------------

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN JANUARY IF YOU ARE INTERESTED ORDERING THIS MODIFICATION FOR YOUR CAMERA. I will most likely only do a single small batch of these and it is much easier to arrange everything and easier and quicker to modify the cameras if I'll know beforehand how many orders there will be in total.

Ordering this simpler more affordable modifications supports me finishing the final update much sooner and helps making the final update better. This simpler external crystal box uses some of the modules from my Konvas 15epss Crystal Controller which is why it is much faster and easier for me to make them because I already have most of the parts available and I mostly need to charge for the actual work for modifying the camera body itself.

Here is the first MOCKUP VERSION of the simple controller's front panel. Please note that this is just a mockup used to test the user interface layout and the final markings will be professionally made and will thus be different looking, high quality prints and on slightly different positions.

51815315297_ac1ee5bbbc_b.jpg

This mockup version box is about 120mm x 80mm x 65mm and will have a cheeseplate on the backside for mounting just like on my Konvas 15EPSS controller.

Again, this is a mockup and the final front panel will have high quality printed markings. But you can see the approximate user interface from this mockup which is why I wanted to post it on this early stage.

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it would be possible to make a separate exposure compensation device which connects to the accessory port of the controller. this would be a later add-on in any case and could even be a 3rd party accessory because it is easy to extract the crystal reference signal from the accessory port to see the current crystal speed setting or the varispeed framerate setting.

I don't know how useful a handcrank feature would be in the CP16R. the camera has a relatively large flywheel and relatively small motor to enable stable operation by default and unevenly running motor controlled by the handcrank would cause strain to the belt and gears even when the flywheel would stabilise these variations later in the mechanical path so that they would most likely not even show in the final image at all. so it would probably be unnecessary stress to the camera mechanics without any real benefit in the final image I think....   the Varispeed knob could be used to simulate uneven framerate of the handcrank by altering the varispeed setting during the take and this would cause less stress to the mechanics for the motor speed variations being smoother. the rapid fluctuations would not show anyway so I would avoid introducing them to save the mechanics

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On 1/7/2022 at 11:51 PM, aapo lettinen said:

I AM MAKING A SIMPLE 12-SPEED EXTERNAL BOX CRYSTAL CONTROLLER FOR THE CP16R in January to test various camera functions for the much more complex final crystal update which has all the bells and whistles like displays and so on.

This is a great opportunity for budget shooters to get their non-working CP16R updated to working crystal sync because the final update with a display costs from 1000usd to 1200usd + shipping but I can do these simple external box modifications for as little as 500 USD + shipping.  

When I have the final more advanced controller available, this simple external box modification is not offered anymore. I am planning only doing a single batch of these in February to get more cameras circulating and to get enough resources to finish the more advanced final update sometime this year. It would be optimal to get about 4 cameras for this simple modification in February.

Specs of the simple modification with a external crystal control box for camera speed adjustment:

- 12 internal speeds, all crystal:

3fps  (works as a inching speed)

8fps

12fps

16fps

20fps

22.01fps

23.976fps

24.00fps

25fps

29.976fps

33.333fps

40fps

- Variable non-crystal speed from 5fps to 40fps

- Start-stop button on the control box and possibility to use external wired start button which is included

- No shutter parking but you can use the 3fps inching speed to run the camera forward in steps to reach correct mirror position

- No indicator lights in the viewfinder

- I will test an audible film end warning when getting the prototype working this month. the film end warning may or may not be included depending on how it works in the prototype

- Power input via 3-pin xlr.  I can wire the original onboard battery plate to work with the system as well so that the camera has dual power inputs (it automatically takes the power from the highest voltage source available whether it being the XLR or the original onboard battery

- the control box is small and lightweight enough to be mounted on top of the camera using a normal monitor arm

------------

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN JANUARY IF YOU ARE INTERESTED ORDERING THIS MODIFICATION FOR YOUR CAMERA. I will most likely only do a single small batch of these and it is much easier to arrange everything and easier and quicker to modify the cameras if I'll know beforehand how many orders there will be in total.

Ordering this simpler more affordable modifications supports me finishing the final update much sooner and helps making the final update better. This simpler external crystal box uses some of the modules from my Konvas 15epss Crystal Controller which is why it is much faster and easier for me to make them because I already have most of the parts available and I mostly need to charge for the actual work for modifying the camera body itself.

The current design of the external box system includes a simple footage counter which gives a warning signal when the predetermined footage length has been shot.  The current design has the open collector output for persons who want to control external devices with the system.

Additionally I am investigating the possibility to add a 9600 baud serial output to the film counter circuit so that it would be possible to read the film counter values from the accessory output connector using an Arduino or a usb to serial adapter. This is dependent on how much I have spare program memory in the film counter microcontroller to include serial data functions but because the film counter code uses eeprom for saving values, I need to use serial connection in the developing phase anyway to verify it is using the memory correctly and if I have enough memory for it, I don't have to turn the serial out off when the code developing is finished, I can just leave it on and route it to the accessory connector so that it could be used for external devices like connecting a purchased or DIY film counter with a display to the system later or reading the counter values from a computer, even continuously when the camera is running

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The current design of the CP16R external box controller has a film end warning system which gives an audible warning when the preset film amount runs out. The film amount is selected using a 12-position rotary switch (just a coincidence because they are the only switches I have available at the moment).

This gives the possibility to select the film amount in 10 meter intervals so that it is easy to use short ends with the system.

Turning the film amount selector to "0" position resets the counter so that one can change the magazine and choose a different film amount for it.

I will add a 9-pin accessory connector to the control box so that it is possible to output the following signals from it to external devices to add lots of extra functions if needed:

- crystal reference frequency (shows the exact framerate preset the system is set on at the moment)

- serial output 9600 baud if I get it working correctly (the serial data contains film counter information and can be used for extrenal footage counters, reading it using a computer, etc.)

- motor encoder signal (speed sensor signal) output (shows the exact framerate the motor is currently running )

- open collector output to control audio recorder start-stop etc. devices when the camera is started. Comparable to a switch which closes momentarily when the camera motor is started or stopped

- start-stop switch connection to add more start-stop switches if needed (one can control the start-stop with electrical devices like Arduino too if taking the time to figure it out)

- unregulated power output for external devices which consume very little power and which have their own voltage regulator. Couple of hundred mA can be taken out from the connector. (It is easy to cause damage to the system if making a wrong connection to this pin so extreme care is needed when using this)

The accessory port signals are extremely useful for persons who want to develop their own accessories for the system or if wanting to add a display or other accessories later (I can develop accessories too if needed). There is a catch though: it is relatively easy to cause a short circuit and destroy something if making a wrong connection to the accessory port so extreme care is required when tinkering with this extra connector and I recommend using correct metering and oscilloscope to double check the connections before using them 🙂

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AND like mentioned before, I will wait to get at least 4 of these external CP16R controllers sold before making any further designs for the CP16R. 

It is kind of a market test as well:   I will need to see how well this simpler controller is accepted before continuing the much more complicated and expensive internal modifications for the camera. If it does not go as planned, I am perfectly happy using the external box version with my own cameras and in that case I would have saved lots of money and time from the further modifications in the case no one would have ordered them anyway and they would have gone to waste 😄

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This is simulated serial data output from the CP16R controller. The exact detail may change but it will include the battery voltage and counter information like you see in the image.

The controller itself does not have any display but it has a simple Arduino compatible Serial Data output and one can easily program an Arduino to view the data even if never having previously used Arduinos. 

I am providing the necessary Arduino code for this application free of charge so the user does not have to code anything, just get an Arduino and a suitable oled display and load the code to the Arduino, then connect the display to it and connect the Arduino to the Crystal Controller 's data output using a 9-pin d-connector and two wires (data and ground wires) between the Arduino and the Crystal Controller.

If necessary, I can purchase a suitable Arduino and display for you and upload the code to the Arduino so that you only have to connect the wires and power to the Arduino to get it working and showing information. You can get suitable Arduino compatible boards for very cheap, I think the cheapest working complete solution would be less than 20 USD total including the board, display, wires and connectors.

51838678976_b7d757fcb9_b.jpg

 

The reason for leaving the display out from the CP16R Crystal Controller Box was because it needs lots more coding and machining and an additional microcontroller to run the display and a separate circuit board if the display needs to be built in inside the Controller box (additionally having the issue of fitting the extra board inside the already small control box). This would have made the controller way too expensive which would have been very counterintuitive because the whole idea of this External Controller is to be readily available and affordable.

But it is good to know that you can very easily add your own display to the CP16R external control box if you will need it! Just get an Arduino, upload the readily made code to it and connect the wires and you should get it working right away 🙂

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