Mechanical Design wants Brainstorm

Mechanical design discussions

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Postby keith » Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:20 am

I want membrane switches and lots of weatherproofing :)
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Postby sesh » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:37 am

I think that making this this as weatherproof as possible is really important - but you can always get your hands on a specialised case for that if you want (or design + sell them to other strobists).

I'm part of the crowd that would be happy with just replicating the features of the eBay triggers, with better reliability of course, so I'm inherently anti-LCD screen. That said, does anyone have any idea's about how you could configure multiple flashes from a 4*12 character LCD? We should definitely look into how the SB-800 works when configuring multiple flashes, perhaps get some design cues from there?
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Postby MQ » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:05 am

Size on the receiver is not too much of a problem,
as long as they stack nicely in the camera bag or flightcase.
If you are not part of the solution,
you are part of the problem.
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Postby philtulju » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:49 am

I think a cool mechanical design can add a lot of value to this project - even if it is not completely tied to the board design.

To tool up hard tooling for plastic can be ~10-50K, but prototypes can be made, and people with access to CNC machines and skills can even make soft tools out of aluminum that are good for 1000 shots or so.

I think most of the solutions available now are too big. The electronics can be much smaller, and even now the PWs and even the gadget infinities are mostly empty space.

I agree with the value of having AAs for power - it is nice to have only one or two kinds of batteries to haul around. Unfortunately, this also limits the size of the device.

This is an EE as well, but you could use a single AA cell and boost it up to the higher voltage your TX amp might want.

One other factor limiting size is the antenna - if we go UHF or lower (300-400MHz, e.g.) you need it to be decently sized for good performance

ME may not be the right forum, but I like the idea of the TX and RX modules sharing a common case. Or, even better, they could be one and the same!

One hot shoe connector on bottom, one on top. Can sit on top of your camera, or on the bottom of your flash, or both at the same time!

I am imagining a fork like device wedged between the hot shoe and the on-camera fill flash. 2 AA batteries are on either side of the viewfinder prism bulge, pointing straight forward.

If I take it off the camera, it is a stand for my flash!

philtulju
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Postby MQ » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:57 am

philtulju wrote:I think a cool mechanical design can add a lot of value to this project - even if it is not completely tied to the board design.


Definitely. Let's say it is a reference implementation.
As far as that goes, many people are from Missouri.
(The "show me"-state). They won't buy if they have
doubts about what it can look like.

To tool up hard tooling for plastic can be ~10-50K,


That is not much money on a business scale.
Look at the number of feedbacks cactus has only on
ebay US - more than 33.000, and there are a lot
more regional dealers and national ebay implementations.

Say this will make a dollar apiece - acceptable.

I think most of the solutions available now are too big.


As far as receivers are concerned - no. At least that is not
a problem for me. What *is* a problem is the mounting.
Image

As you can see in the above image, the poverty wizard
is velcroed to the flash. The sides are too small to reliably
hold with velcro, and since the PC connector is on the backside
I can't just tape it to the flash. Also I rather have a rugged
battery lid on a solid box than a flimsy thing that's designed
to die in weeks.

Image
This is a typical setup with the flash (blue light) being
mounted to the wall. The cable with the dangling 1/4" jack
plug has been torn down not for the first time, and the velcro
occasionally comes loose from the bass.

Stuff like this
http://www.flickr.com/photos/37808569@N ... 708633455/
shows that others have the same problem.

Same with the transmitter. In the club shot above I have
a shoe mount flash to fill from the front. Obviously this occupies
the hot shoe, and forces me to plug the transmitter into
the PC connector. Which also means that I have to attach
the transmitter to the camera - somehow.

Ends up with a bracket with a hotshoe adapter and comes
loose every five seconds when plowing through the crowd.

Also, because of the need for more reach I added a wire
antenna to my poverty wizards, which I tape to the side of
my camera in order to break it off only every 3 out of 10 times.

A design that would enable me to mount it under the camera
like autowinders of the olden days would be perfect.

And then it must be big enough to hold a frame antenna to
avoid poking my eye with the antenna or breaking it off.

I agree with the value of having AAs for power - it is nice to
have only one or two kinds of batteries to haul around.
Unfortunately, this also limits the size of the device.


As I said - that would be no problem for me. Anything between
Pocket wizards (without protruding antenna) and poverty wizards
would be okay for me.

ME may not be the right forum, but I like the idea of the TX and
RX modules sharing a common case. Or, even better, they could
be one and the same!


Could be done modular as well. Center with thumbscrew to
match camera tripod mount and ends with exchangeable
modules for trigger input and output and programming
or mounting means.

I am imagining a fork like device wedged between the hot shoe and the on-camera fill flash. 2 AA batteries are on either side of the viewfinder prism bulge, pointing straight forward.

If I take it off the camera, it is a stand for my flash!


No bad idea, but useless with potato masher flashes, studio
flash systems and anything that is not hot shoe mountable.
If you are not part of the solution,
you are part of the problem.
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Postby seaton » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:25 am

Really if you allow for an LCD of some sort (I'm leaning towards graphics based over character based) and a couple of buttons, and a I love the thumbwheel idea, so if you add that then really you can implement any UI in software.

So imagine you are holding the unit in your right hand (sorry no flaming here about right or left hand) have thumbwheel on one side where your thumb is, and the two buttons (could even be one button) on the other side right where your index finger is, on the screen is a list of your remote units you can use the thumbweel to select through list of flashes, select with button, thumbwheel to select the power level, save with click of button again, not that hard and fairly intuitive any non geek could use - just look at the IPODS.

And in reality this unit does not have to be connected to either your camera or flash, but could be a spare unit you have for just this purpose (same hardware could be used on your camera or on your flash in the event of a failure).

Stephen...
Last edited by seaton on Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JonSenior » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:00 am

seaton wrote:Really if you allow for an LCD of some sort (I'm leaning towards graphics based over character based) and a couple of buttons, and a I love the thumbwheel idea, so if you add that then really you can implement any UI in software.


Got slightly geeked-out looking at Sparkfun's website last night. They have a colour LCD (Cheap chinese copy of one of Nokia's) with all the advantages that a built-for-mobile technology entails for a whopping $20!

Character based offers the advantage of a standardised interface (to the processor) which means less coding for more support.

That said... It's cheaper to buy that Nokia knock-off than to buy a 4x20 character one. And it's in colour!

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Postby thenickboy » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:28 pm

I'm not a big fan of sparkfun - they make good electronics, but they strike me as too expensive..
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