Jump to content

Making new Crystal Sync electronics for CP16R


aapo lettinen
 Share

Recommended Posts

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.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Edited by aapo lettinen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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 😄

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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 🙂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there a likelyhood that the new control circuitry could fit within the crystasound amplifier enclosure of CP16 cameras with suitable holes drilled for control knob shafts? There may be enough workspace available when the existing amplifier electronics are removed. Is your prototype running off the 20VDC camera battery power or its own source? The CP16R I have in mind is for 24FPS sync. Australia is a long way from you for shipping a heavy beast in these difficult times for reliable shipping. Is there a likelyhood, that the system might become available for skilled end-user fitment, perhaps within the crystasound amplifier enclosure. With no mag striped film available any more, the internal recorders will never again be used. 

Cheers. 

Edited by Robert Hart
error
Link to comment
Share on other sites

43 minutes ago, Robert Hart said:

Is there a likelyhood that the new control circuitry could fit within the crystasound amplifier enclosure of CP16 cameras with suitable holes drilled for control knob shafts? There may be enough workspace available when the existing amplifier electronics are removed. Is your prototype running off the 20VDC camera battery power or its own source? The CP16R I have in mind is for 24FPS sync. Australia is a long way from you for shipping a heavy beast in these difficult times for reliable shipping. Is there a likelyhood, that the system might become available for skilled end-user fitment, perhaps within the crystasound amplifier enclosure. With no mag striped film available any more, the internal recorders will never again be used. 

Cheers. 

yes it is possible to fit the boards inside a Crystalsound amplifier housing but it makes the modification more expensive because it needs more machining and I may need to redesign one of the circuit boards. One would still need to ship the Crystasound amplifier part to me for the conversion.

All the conversions take power from the original battery but they have an additional XLR connector to use external power if needed. Both can be connected at the same time, it will automatically take the power from the higher voltage source.

One would need an oscilloscope to install it reliably to the camera and it is not a 15min operation to install it, more like a half day or a full day work for the user I think. 

If you are interested in this option, it should be something like 850 to 900 + shipping to build the external box electronics inside the Crystasound amplifier and supply the sensors, connectors etc. for you to complete the installation. You would need some tools to install it and an oscilloscope to verify it is working correctly. You would probably manage with a cheap oscilloscope from about 50 to 100usd range.

Edited by aapo lettinen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

THIS IS THE MOCKUP OF THE FINAL USER INTERFACE LAYOUT OF THE CP16R EXTERNAL CONTROLLER.

I moved the start-stop switch to different position and added the footage counter selector which controls the film end warning and counters. One resets the film end warning by moving the selector to "0" position and then choosing the new roll length for the next magazine.

51862351137_ff9aea488b_b.jpg

There is a 9-pin D connector which outputs display data in 9600baud serial data form so that the user can easily make a external display to show the most important information and the film counters. Making one's own display is very easy and affordable, I will provide the instructions and the Arduino code for the purpose so no code writing is needed, just some basic parts and uploading the readily made code into the user's Arduino to get the display running 🙂  I can, of course, make suitable displays too if needed but it will be more expensive (from about 100usd) than the users making the displays by themselves (a diy display costs from about 15usd upwards)

51863639809_4752e4d8eb_b.jpg

51838678976_b7d757fcb9_b.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The plans for the CP16R updates are as follows:

1. I will wait until getting at least 5 of the external box controllers v1.0 (the design in the previous post) sold and installed to cameras before proceeding any further. If selling only one or two, then the v1.0 external controller will be the final design for the CP16R and no future updates will be designed. The current price for the v1.0 external controller is 500usd+shipping and it may go up sometime later this year depending on the cost of parts and workflow. I calculated that the "real price" of the v1.0 controller is around 650usd + shipping so it is probable that the price will rise to 650usd after about April 2022. The v1.0 controller can be user installed if needed.

2. If I get at least 5 of the v1.0 external controllers sold, then I may make a updated v2.0 version of the external box controller with a graphical oled display, shutter parking, unlimited framerate options, phase correction, better electric inching, etc. advanced features. This v2.0 version will only happen if I get enough of the v1.0 version sold so that I can gain enough resources for the development work. The estimated price for the v2.0 external controller is about 1000usd + shipping and it can be user installed if needed. If the user's camera already has the v1.0 controller installed, it is very simple to update the camera internals to support the v2.0 controller.

3. If everything goes well and I get enough v2.0 controllers sold, I can gain enough resources to make a internally installed modification for the CP16R. It will have all the features of the v2.0 controller but it will have both audible and visual film end warnings (leds in the viewfinder) and it will be much more compact because installed fully inside the camera. Oled display with graphical user interface, unlimited framerate possibilities, phase correction, etc etc. Price range of the update is estimated to be from 1200 to 1500usd + shipping and it cannot be user installed, the camera needs to be sent to me for modification.

 

If there will only be a limited amount of interest towards the CP16R updates, then the final design will be the v1.0 so that I can save resources for developing other crystal controllers for other camera models. If the v1.0 CP16R controller sells well, then I can develop additional more advanced controllers for the CP16R.

This is in part to make sure that I don't waste resources and will have at least SOMETHING available for the CP16R, meaning that I will be able to write the user manuals too, shoot and edit video tutorials for the controller and be able to spend the additional time to make it possible to user install the v1.0 system if needed (including making lots of additional tutorials and more extensive manuals).

The v1.0 external box controller is available for order for the CP16R and the current lower price for the controllers in the first batch is 500usd + shipping (in the future they would cost more, probably around 650usd a piece + shipping). Delivery of the first batch orders is possible in March or April depending on the availability of parts and how many orders I can get collected to streamline the assembly of the controllers .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Due to the possible war in Europe between Russia and Ukraine, I will need to postpone the CP16R external controller for about  2 months. This is partially due to the current economical instability and partially due to the influences to the supply chains and prices and to the availability of parts and materials.

I should receive the circuit board blanks in about one week and will start to assembly the prototype then.

You can still send me orders in the meantime and I will try to raise more interest by getting the prototype up and running this month. As said this system can be user installed so it is possible to order one and install it to the camera by yourself if needed (takes about half a day to do and you need about 50usd worth of measuring equipment to do that).

The new delivery time for the final system is in late April / mid May 2022.  Please let me know if wanting to order one for your camera 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Due to the long delay for the CP16R controller because of the Russia - Ukraine war , I started to work on making it the FINAL DESIGN for the CP16R camera. in the current economic situation it does not make sense for me to do multiple intermediate versions of this design so I will make only one final design for this camera and scrap the rest of the plans including the internally installed design which was too difficult to user install and which thus did not make any sense to finish (shipping cameras back and forth seems to be a dealbreaker because it adds lots of shipping costs)

This means huge changes to the design:

- new delivery time:  June or July 2022

- new price:  750 euros + shipping 

- built-in small OLED display which shows the film counters, battery voltage etc. and helps to setup the film end warnings etc.

- includes shutter parking by default

- phase correction possibility and electrical inching knob (can confirm when tested the new function with the camera)

- user installable system. no need to ship the camera to me for the modification (I can install the system to the camera if needed for a small additional fee). The reason the crystal controller is built into a external box is to make it much simpler to install by the user and thus it is NOT possible to get a built-into-the-camera-body version of this controller (well it is but you would need to order 10 or more).  If you have multiple camera bodies it is possible to order more camera body conversion kits than control boxes and swap the control box between the camera bodies if needed to for example use the same control box with 2 different camera bodies so the external box design makes it very economic if you have more than 1 camera body.

 

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

Other features are like in the 1.0 version so the serial data output etc. features work like before.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

the previous controller plans had the "gear type" of the camera permanently set to the controller.

However, I added a new feature which allows the USER TO CHANGE THE GEAR TYPE SETTING EASILY so there will be only one model of the external controller which fits ALL the cp16r cameras.

It is possible to order more conversion kits to the camera bodies than external control boxes and use the same control box with multiple camera bodies (for example having a main camera body and a spare body which both have the "base conversion kit" installed into them. Then having ONE external control box which can be changed between the camera bodies whenever needed. )   It does not even matter if the camera bodies have different type of mechanical gears (one having 25fps gears and another has 24fps gears ) because the user can change the setting from the control box very quickly to fit the controller to different gear type

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Aapo, I'd be very happy to propose writing about the process of developing this, to some editors if that's of interest. Do you have a final finished version to show yet?

Great!  I should have a finished prototype in late June / early July . 

I'm working on another brand sync sound camera motor at the moment which is already paid for so all the other projects are shifted more towards Summer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Robino Jones said:

Could this go below 12fps? I sometime need 1~3 fps..  and also do single frame for stop motion? (in animation someone would need to cap the shutter manually)

 

the current framerate plan for the controller is for Crystal Speeds:

3fps

8fps

12fps

16fps

20fps

22.01fps

23.976fps

24fps

25fps

29.976fps

33.333fps

40fps

---------

Variable Non-Crystal speed is adjustable using a knob and it has a range of from about 5fps to about 40fps, speed ramps easily done using the knob when the camera is running.

-----------

The 3fps Crystal Sync speed is the lowest I am sure the camera should run pretty OK with good enough accuracy to be usable. Though I am only able to fully test it when the controller is finished and I can do film tests with it.   IF it would not work well, I would raise the lowest Crystal preset to 4fps or 5fps but I am pretty sure the 3fps would work well enough.

 

These motors and cameras are not very good at extremely low framerates and I am confident that "time lapse style" speeds like 1fps would not work with the CP16R body without changing the motor to a different one (which would NOT be possible for any practical user situation even if the motor would be user changeable).     There is some tricks one could try with the shutter sensor feedback to try to run the original motor reliably at exactly one turn intervals stopping it always reliably but it would cause pretty signifiant exposure variations and thus I don't see the timelapse function as a good add-on for the current Crystal Sync controller design.

----------

If you do lots of timelapse and would specifically want to use the CP16R for them instead of a Bolex or similar "animation ready camera", then I would recommend having another "time-lapse camera body" consisting of a CP16R which is permanently fitted with a stepper motor or a small brushed dc motor which has additional reduction gears and a freely adjustable motor speed which can go very very low . Maybe the top speed being about 2fps and the lowest speed being maybe about 0.04fps to 0.08fps or lower with the same shutter angle than on normal operation (constantly same motor speed) .   Alternatively it would be possible to create a more advanced time lapse controller which allows adjusting the exposure time independent of the framerate (meaning that the motor speed varies independent of the framerate to allow exposure adjustments and the motor starts and stops between frames instead of running at low stable speed) .  

A capping shutter output would be possible to add to this type of controller easily and custom capping shutters could be manufactured too.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I should have time to build two CP16R controller kits in July so that they would be available for sale in August 2022.

Controllers are available as special order items so please contact me in May or June if you are interested in ordering one from the first batch 🙂  the second batch will probably be possible to assemble in October or November and available in December 2022

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Thanks! 🙂

It looks like that I need to collect more resources to be able to finish the CP16R controller. I have all the circuit boards ready now and most of the software too, but finishing the parts to be installed inside the CP16R camera body and making the new back panel for it requires more money and time. Testing would need some resources too as well as finishing the front panel of the controller.

So the project will be delayed until I will be able to collect more money to finish it. Probably will take less than a year or if lucky, about half a year if it goes well, making it available in Spring 2023 earliest. I already have the circuit boards and most of the software ready so completing it will be pretty quick when being able to find the rest of the money for finishing and testing.

I will let you know how it goes 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/15/2022 at 4:19 PM, Phil Rhodes said:

Following along with interest, not that I'm a 16mm user but do let me know when you're accepting orders and I'll see about writing it up.

technically it would be already possible to order these controllers but I would need to charge about half of the price beforehand and the delivery time for the first one is about 3 - 4 months. The next ones can be delivered in about 3 weeks or so from purchasing. 

It is often an issue with these prototypes that the buildup and finishing is delayed multiple times due to budget restrictions and I have to categorise them to "lower priority class" whenever having a better change of getting money back faster from some other project. One successful project has to pay for the costs of 5 other ones which create loss and I have to delay or abandon 10 other ones because there is no money to pursue them further.

But I will continue the project as soon as having possibility to get more funding for it.

btw if someone would need crystal-stabilized 4-speed stroboscope lights for testing movie camera running speeds, I developed one for my own use and have some extra ones assembled and for sale. Purchasing them would help financing this CP16R project too so if anyone would need this type of testing tool, just DM me or leave a note here 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/20/2022 at 12:19 AM, aapo lettinen said:

btw if someone would need crystal-stabilized 4-speed stroboscope lights for testing movie camera running speeds, I developed one for my own use and have some extra ones assembled and for sale. Purchasing them would help financing this CP16R project too so if anyone would need this type of testing tool, just DM me or leave a note here 🙂

I am selling 4-speed crystal stabilized stroboscope lights to help support this CP16R project as well as other crystal sync projects I am working on

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...