Mechanical Design wants Brainstorm

Mechanical design discussions

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Mechanical Design wants Brainstorm

Postby thenickboy » Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:46 am

These are some things from the form factor that I would like with the design of this project.

Please keep open-minds, positive feedback, constructive criticism and limited to mechanical ideas.

Here's my wants:

-small form factor (similar or smaller size than PWs)
-prefer similar form factor (housings) with the xcvr units
-folding/telescoping antenna
-PC cable connectors (with covers)
-AA or replaceable re-chargeable batteries
-dark plastic housing
-recessed buttons
-recessed mechanical power switch or press-hold on-off switch
-metal hot-shoe (debatable, i see the need for plastic as well)
-easily accessible transmitter module to change for travelling to different countries (?) -diff countries, diff freqs


I also believe that there should be one lead from each group to talk to the Electrical, Mechanical and SW groups to discuss designs changes and such.
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Postby mattsteg » Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:11 am

Other than aiming for relatively compact size for the final product, I don't care too much about mechanical design at this point. One thing that I'd like to mention though is that integrating a display of some sort might be pretty important when more advanced features start to be implemented in the triggers and the transmitter. Since we're looking small, that takes up a non-trivial amount of space and needs to be accounted for right from the get go. AA power sounds good to me, and the rest sounds like a decent starting point.

I guess my view is that there can't be too much mechanical design until the hardware is rolling in prototype form. The first task needs to be figuring out what hardware platform(s) look like they're worth exploring and offer the potential to meet or exceed our needs at modest cost and implement basic functionality. Once that's done the mechanical and software design can really get going, along with any needed hardware tweaking. At this point it's really almost all about the electronics (as long as we keep these sorts of final goals/restrictions in mind when selecting components of course)
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Postby thenickboy » Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:29 am

I agree - but I'm pushing for some basic things that I like.

We're still in blue sky phase and I'll ask for it to run on solar power right now!

We can nail the details down later.

Nick
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Postby mattsteg » Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:12 pm

thenickboy wrote:I agree - but I'm pushing for some basic things that I like.

We're still in blue sky phase and I'll ask for it to run on solar power right now!

We can nail the details down later.

Nick
Yeah, definitely need to get these things down op paper so 1) we can design around any that are potentially limiting (i.e. size, power, etc) and 2) remember the rest when it's time to get serious about mechanical design.
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Postby pinhead » Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:58 pm

i would prefer locking phono connectors over PC connects. PC connects are always failing, phono is far more robust. the ability to have a phono click in and lock is also great for this app in my opinion.

once there is some idea for how much board needs to go in, we should just shop for a premade case with battery holder.

i also want a sturdy lanyard ring and a belt loop type attachment for straps.

the other option is to just sell the board as a kit and let people case it them selves to suit their usage. then people might just build it into their equipment.
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Postby mattsteg » Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:55 pm

pinhead wrote:the other option is to just sell the board as a kit and let people case it them selves to suit their usage. then people might just build it into their equipment.
Yeah, there's no reason to force people into buying preassembled hardware, especially when the design is freely available anyway. If "official" people don't sell such boards, someone will (unless the whole thing is a failure)
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Postby brittonphotography » Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:18 pm

Size: as small as possible containing all required equiptment
Power: AA is good, some transceivers take 3.3-5.5v so that would require something different?

Shouldn't be too hard to have a PC synch or Phono connector options for different kits if we can design around each for the common case.

We should design and plan to manufacture case in bulk (or modify or purchase in bulk).
Offer it for sale as part of the kit, if people want to buy cheap radioshack cases then they can, but most will probably go for the well-designed solution available to them.
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Postby brittonphotography » Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:22 pm

Although it would be cool to Have LCD display,
I assume it costs much more than some buttons and leds.
wouldn't we just need LEDs to tell us if we are in normal, TTL or manual mode, and maybe a slider to adjust power in manual mode...
is LCD necessary?

also is telescoping /folding antenna necessary... PW antennas are not that intrusive.
I have found that ever antenna that is telescoping or folding tends to break..
Solid antenna would be more robust.
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Postby mattsteg » Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:50 pm

brittonphotography wrote:Size: as small as possible containing all required equiptment
Power: AA is good, some transceivers take 3.3-5.5v so that would require something different?
4AAs
brittonphotography wrote:We should design and plan to manufacture case in bulk (or modify or purchase in bulk).
Offer it for sale as part of the kit, if people want to buy cheap radioshack cases then they can, but most will probably go for the well-designed solution available to them.
A well-designed case purchased in bulk will likely be cheaper than radioshack stuff.
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Postby mattsteg » Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:52 pm

brittonphotography wrote:Although it would be cool to Have LCD display,
I assume it costs much more than some buttons and leds.
wouldn't we just need LEDs to tell us if we are in normal, TTL or manual mode, and maybe a slider to adjust power in manual mode...
is LCD necessary?
Assuming we're talking about setting power on the transmitter, one slider doesn't get very far. You'd want multiple ones to control multiple channels. LCDs purchased in quantity are not bad in price at all. (ie http://www.crystalfontz.com/cgi-bin/pri ... duct=0802a ) Once you get to even 10 units you have a substantial price break.
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Postby brittonphotography » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:26 pm

If I have to scroll through LCD menus to change the power for each flash, i would rather just walk over to them, it would probably take just as long...
that is probably a discussion for another area in the forum though...

Maybe relative power slider on each receiver and then transmitter varies the relative power on all. keeping ratio the same b/t flashes.


4aas is a lot... starts to get big and heavy.

A premade case purchased in bulk will certainly be cheaper than radioshack,
but a custom case will probably be more expensive.(unless we talk about ordering 10,000) then we can probably get the case for $1 each
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Postby thenickboy » Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:45 am

I would hope that we could get away with 2 AAs. I really don't want to add 4 AAs weight to my camera.

Also, I agree about needing to flip thru menus to change settings. I hope that we could come up with a UI that is intuitive for the amateur as well as the pro. Too many menus drives me nuts.

I'm not a big fan of mechanical switches like sliders. They can be hard for me to switch unless I have fingernails or something. (I'm thinking of the Cactus on switch)

once a mold is made for a case, cost gets driven down depending on how many units you make with them.

I like the idea of selling just the board - that's great I could think of a few places I'd like to fit just the board into.


i would prefer locking phono connectors over PC connects. PC connects are always failing, phono is far more robust. the ability to have a phono click in and lock is also great for this app in my opinion.


I don't think I've ever seen LOCKING phonos. That might drive up the cost per unit for special connectors both on cable and unit. But I'd be worried about damaging the unit if the cord is pulled too hard while jerking the camera around, or if someone trips and the lock prevents it from pulling out. The nice thing about the 1/8 mini connector is that they DO pull out to save your gear.


Nick
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Postby bilmorfoto » Sat Sep 22, 2007 5:27 am

brittonphotography wrote:Although it would be cool to Have LCD display, I assume it costs much more than some buttons and leds. wouldn't we just need LEDs to tell us if we are in normal, TTL or manual mode, and maybe a slider to adjust power in manual mode... is LCD necessary?
mattsteg wrote:Assuming we're talking about setting power on the transmitter, one slider doesn't get very far. You'd want multiple ones to control multiple channels. LCDs purchased in quantity are not bad in price at all. (ie http://www.crystalfontz.com/cgi-bin/pri ... duct=0802a ) Once you get to even 10 units you have a substantial price break.

Glad to see some discussion of UI! I've been mentally sketching various button-and-LED interfaces because I had also been assuming that LCDs would be too expensive. I had no idea how cheap LCDs were in even 50-100 quantities!

We're not talking about a lot of complexity in operation here, so I don't think we'll need nested menus. We definitely want something quick and easy to use. (Or at least I do!) I can certainly help work on UI.

Hardware folks: Are these kind of displays dirt-simple to interface, or do they require a bunch of logic or other glue to talk to a simple controller?

Bill
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Postby seaton » Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:38 pm

bilmorfoto wrote:We're not talking about a lot of complexity in operation here, so I don't think we'll need nested menus. We definitely want something quick and easy to use. (Or at least I do!) I can certainly help work on UI.

Hardware folks: Are these kind of displays dirt-simple to interface, or do they require a bunch of logic or other glue to talk to a simple controller?

Bill


You can get LCD controllers that run on 2 wires for the logic (I2C), + power requirements and contrast control. Fairly straight forward to implement.

I suggest that we have an lcd plus a few function buttons (4?) right under the lcd so these can be programmed and have a menu directly above them on the LCD, if required, or 4 directly above and 4 directly below.
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Postby JonSenior » Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:20 am

bilmorfoto said:
Hardware folks: Are these kind of displays dirt-simple to interface, or do they require a bunch of logic or other glue to talk to a simple controller?


The standard LCD interface is 4 line parallel. It's a true standard (as in... chips are interchangeable). Design for that and the end user can pick which one they want / can get. With a sensible interface design (software), it'd be possible to use 1 - 4 row screens depending on the builder's choice.

The principal reason in favour of an LCD and buttons is that the hardware (and this includes micro interface) does not limit the future capabilities. Put one slider on and you have to come up with a way of dealing with two groups (Motorised sliders are pricey!). Use two? What if we want to add more groups.

As for ease of use. One possibility is to replace two buttons with a rotary switch (continuously rotating). This gives a more analogue feel (and faster dialling in of options), but keeps the interface simple. The important thing is to allow changing at either end. If I my strobe is two feet away I can dial it in by hand. If it's on the other side of a pitch, I can use the remote.

Jon
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