increase speed of Skywatcher - Acuter MERLIN Multi-Functional Mount  

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diogo
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increase speed of Skywatcher - Acuter MERLIN Multi-Functional Mount

by diogo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:15 pm

Hello! I am new here and I might be posting a question that has been discussed before.
I just bought and Merlin head.
here: http://www.apm-telescopes.de/en/Mounts-Tripods/Alt-Azimuth-Mounts/Skywatcher-Acuter-MERLIN-Multi-Functional-Mount.html
I aim to use it for video (with a video camera). I think that the maximum speed for pan and tilt is too slow and I would like to know if it is possible to increase the speed for this equipment.
Is there anything I can do?
I read that is possible to increase the speed inf I update the firmware, but I not know which version of the firmware I have.
I work in a Windows 7 64bit computer. How can I connect the PC to the Merlin head?
Any help is much appreciated.
Thank you
Filmmaker & Videographer. Motion Designer & Digital Colourist. Multimedia Producer. Instructor.
site: www.diogo-andrade.com

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mediavets
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by mediavets » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:28 pm

Wekcome to the forum...

diogo wrote:Hello! I am new here and I might be posting a question that has been discussed before.
I just bought and Merlin head.
here: http://www.apm-telescopes.de/en/Mounts-Tripods/Alt-Azimuth-Mounts/Skywatcher-Acuter-MERLIN-Multi-Functional-Mount.html
I aim to use it for video (with a video camera). I think that the maximum speed for pan and tilt is too slow and I would like to know if it is possible to increase the speed for this equipment.
Is there anything I can do?

Not under full program control using Papywizard - the original handset has a faster mode I think if you just want to manually slwe the head, Papywizard can also do that but only when using the arrow 'keys' to move the head.
I read that is possible to increase the speed inf I update the firmware, but I not know which version of the firmware I have.

Don't bother I don't think you see a significant difference.
I work in a Windows 7 64bit computer. How can I connect the PC to the Merlin head?
Any help is much appreciated.
Thank you

You can have a wired serial connection (via conventional serial port or USB on the PC) or a Bluetooth wireless connection. In both cases you need addittional hardware so if you let us know which type of connection you wish to use we can offer more specific information and advice.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by diogo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:00 pm

Hi! thanks for the response.
So basicly you are saying that I can't speed up it more (via firmware upgrade) than the speed it already achives?
Is there any way to increase the voltage to the DC motors in a safe way so it does not damage the motors?
I would like to try to connect it to my pc. Any port is ok, I just do not know which one is the better / cost effective. I mean, what do you recomend?
Cheers,
Last edited by diogo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by mediavets » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:06 pm

diogo wrote:Hi! thanks for the response.
So basicly you are saying that I can't speed up it more (via firmware upgrade) than the speed it already achives?

As I recall the standard hand controller has a high(er) speed mode - did you find that and is it too slow for your purposes?

I don't really understand how you want to use the Merlin for shooting video - what software did you plan to use to control the Merlin mount from your PC for shootyiny video?

Regarding speed - don't forget the Melin mount was designed for use with astrotelescopes - this applcation doesn't demand speed.

Given its relatively low cost, it is considered 'fast enough' for many panoramic photography applications.

Video is something else.

Is there any way to increase the voltage to the DC motors in a safe way so it does not damage the motors?
I alwys use a 12v external power supply. I believe it's OK to go up to 15v, but don't take my word for it.

I would like to try to connect it to my pc. Any port is ok, I just do not know which one is the better / cost effective. I mean, what do you recomend?
Cheers,

If you have particular control software in mind it may demand a particular type of connection.

I use a wireless Bluetooth connection with the Papywizard software running on Windows Pcs, and on Nokia N800 and N810 Internet Tablets.

I use the Deltawave PapyMerlin Bluetooth adapter on the Merlin mount, which was specially desigend for this purpose.

You can get it here:
http://www.papymerlin.com/interface-%C3%A9lectronique/

Or from Kolor:
http://www.kolor.com/buy/photo-hardware/accessories/recepteur-bluetooth.html#.UM9eTqxFDE4

Or from SkiVR:
http://magasin.skivr.com/materiel/rotules/panogear/accessoires-panogear/module-bt-panogear.html

I use a cheap generic Bluetooth USB adapter on the PC; the Nokia Internet Tablets have built-in Bluetooth transceivers.

There is no off-the-shelf wired serial connection kit, you would have to make one using various components. If you wish to do this we can provide more information.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by diogo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:42 pm

Hi! Once again thank you so much for the responses.
Here is an example of what I intend to do.
https://vimeo.com/54156608

In this video is not easy to understand the speed of the Merlin head. But After I purchased it I think it is slow for this purpose. That is why I want to find a way to increase the speed.
For shooting video I will be using it with the Hand Control.
although I would like to connect it to a PC just for testing the software and may later I buy a wireless device. But for now I just want to connect to the computer using a not expensive solution. If I like it, then I will look at the wireless solutions.
Best regards
Filmmaker & Videographer. Motion Designer & Digital Colourist. Multimedia Producer. Instructor.
site: www.diogo-andrade.com

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by fma38 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:54 pm

The speed is limited by the internal electronic. Motors are driven using PWM, with a speed feedback, which means that whatever the power supply is, they dont get more voltage than what is defined internally.

If I remember, they get arround 5-6V...

It is theorically possible to increase the speed, by changing the devider of the timer when sending the move command, but only in manual mode. And I don't recommend to do that, as I don't know what is the voltage limit of the motors (I think it is 5V, so they are already over-powered a little bit).
Frédéric

Canon 20D + 17-40/f4 L USM + 70-200/f4 L USM + 50/f1.4 USM
Merlin/Orion panohead + Papywizard on Nokia N800 and HP TC-1100

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by diogo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:25 pm

Thank you so much for making it clear. I will try to find out exacly how much voltage can the motors support.
while searching in google I read that Most DC motors can easily withstand a 50% increase in voltage above their Nameplate Design.
So what I will do is to talk with someone who is an expert in electronics and ask this person can inform me about the voltage of the motor and if it is possible to increase the voltage without damaging the engine. If any one of you knows for sure about the motor characteristics, please let me know.
Meanwhile and until I have trustable information will use the Merlin Head as it came from the store.
Best regards
Filmmaker & Videographer. Motion Designer & Digital Colourist. Multimedia Producer. Instructor.
site: www.diogo-andrade.com

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by fma38 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:46 pm

I never found the motor reference; I think they are designed for Synta...
Frédéric

Canon 20D + 17-40/f4 L USM + 70-200/f4 L USM + 50/f1.4 USM
Merlin/Orion panohead + Papywizard on Nokia N800 and HP TC-1100

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by klausesser » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:32 pm

fma38 wrote:I never found the motor reference; I think they are designed for Synta...

Hey Frédéric!

Wasn´t there somebody who modified a Playstation-joystick for controlling the Merlin for video-camera using something like Arduino?

best to you, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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by claudevh » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:48 pm

Hello Diogo,

In response to you mail ....

If you want to use Papywizard, the only way to increase the Merlin speed is to use a higher voltage then the internal batteries who deliver normally 8 x 1.2V = 9.8 V for NiMh or 8 x 1.5 V = 12 Volts for NiCad.

The maximum tolerance for the Merlin head is 15 volts who can be delivered for instance by:
- Li Ion batteries 4 x 3.6 V = 14.4 V
- NiMh 1 x 9 V and 4 x 1.2 = 13.8 V

Pay attention that I am not speaking of the Merlin head motors but well only of the Merlin power supply !!!

Changing the firmware isn't a good idea, the speed will not increase and you can get serious functional perturbations !!!

But for Video usage, I don't recommand Papywizard ...
I recommand to use a system like the next one :

http://www.kolor.com/forum/t6607-controlling-the-merlin-orion-with-arduino by Guzz

and more info's in his web site:

http://www.gigapixel.nu/info_project.php
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM

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by diogo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:52 pm

Hey Fréderic!
Are you refereng to this?
http://www.briandorey.com/post/Acuter-MerlinOrion-Motorised-AZ-Mount-controlled-by-a-Wii-Nunchuk-with-remote-zoom.aspx
If so, I already talked with the guy. He was the one who told me to increase the voltage. In the last email he told me this

Brian Dorey wrote:If you supply too much voltage it could damage the motor but a small
increase should be ok. If you upgraded the motor to a more powerful and
faster model the control circuit would also need to be updated to supply the
additional power needed. A motor from a RC car may fit into the merlin head.
I don’t have the merlin head now so I cant test a different motor in the
head.
Filmmaker & Videographer. Motion Designer & Digital Colourist. Multimedia Producer. Instructor.
site: www.diogo-andrade.com

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by diogo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:55 pm

Thank you once again claudevh! Good information and nice advise!
Cheers
Filmmaker & Videographer. Motion Designer & Digital Colourist. Multimedia Producer. Instructor.
site: www.diogo-andrade.com

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by klausesser » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:37 pm

diogo wrote:Hey Fréderic!
Are you refereng to this?
http://www.briandorey.com/post/Acuter-MerlinOrion-Motorised-AZ-Mount-controlled-by-a-Wii-Nunchuk-with-remote-zoom.aspx
If so, I already talked with the guy. He was the one who told me to increase the voltage. In the last email he told me this

Brian Dorey wrote:If you supply too much voltage it could damage the motor but a small
increase should be ok. If you upgraded the motor to a more powerful and
faster model the control circuit would also need to be updated to supply the
additional power needed. A motor from a RC car may fit into the merlin head.
I don’t have the merlin head now so I cant test a different motor in the
head.


I´m not Frédéric - but i meant exactly this item.

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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by diogo » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:18 am

Sorry Klaus! I am getting use to this forum.
cheers
Filmmaker & Videographer. Motion Designer & Digital Colourist. Multimedia Producer. Instructor.
site: www.diogo-andrade.com

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by diogo » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:35 am

Hello Claude!
I found this instruction manual. It says that the maximum DC voltage is 16 volts.
here is the link: http://www.papymerlin.com/app/download/1719271916/TeleTrack+9441+Rev+C.pdf?t=1245361296
Is so, maybe I can use a 9 volts battery + 4x1,5 volts batteries.
Do you agree with this?
Best regards,

Diogo
Last edited by diogo on Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by fma38 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:08 am

Frédéric

Canon 20D + 17-40/f4 L USM + 70-200/f4 L USM + 50/f1.4 USM
Merlin/Orion panohead + Papywizard on Nokia N800 and HP TC-1100

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by claudevh » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:21 pm

Diogo wrote:Is so, maybe I can use a 9 volts battery + 4x1,5 volts batteries.
Do you agree with this?

Yes Diogo.
I speak allways of 15 V max for material safety reasons.

I know, by experience, that the peoples want allways to try more and more and more ...
And when the main board is "burned" then everybody crying !!! ;)

P.S.

This possible to attach a 9 V battery in one side of the Merlin battery support and the 4 1.5V in the other side,...
So no modification !!!
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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