Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 11, 2013.

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Do you need to mount your Raspberry Pi-Camera and control it's position? Pi-Pan is a solution for you.

Pi-Pan is Pan-Tilt mechanism for your Raspberry Pi Camera.

How does Pi-Pan work?

Pi-Pan provides Pan and tilt movements for your Raspberry Pi Camera. It uses two servos for X and Y axis movements. It can pan 180 degrees (from left to right) and tilt 110 degrees (top to bottom). 

Prototype of Pi-Pan Servo Assembly
Prototype of Pi-Pan Servo Assembly
Prototype of Pi-Camera mount
Prototype of Pi-Camera mount

Pi-Pan Controller

Servo movements are controlled by a controller board which attaches to your Raspberry Pi on GPIO pins.

Prorotype of Pi-Pan Controller board
Prorotype of Pi-Pan Controller board

Pi-Light: Light source for your Pi-Camera

Pi-Light is designed to be the light source for your Pi-Camera.It mounts on your Pi-Pan in front of the camera, and turns in the direction camera is looking.  Pi-Light is optional and not required for the Pi-Pan to function.  It just provides light in case the ambient light is low for Pi-Camera.

Prototype of Pi-Light
Prototype of Pi-Light

Pi Case

Below is a prototype of Pi Case, to give you idea of how it will look like.

It's not required for Pi-Pan, but you might need it, in case you don't have one. On the production cases you will be able to mount the Pi-Pan right above the case, and the case will also have ports to pull all the required cables.

Prototype of Pi-Case
Prototype of Pi-Case

We are experimenting with different materials and designs for Pi-Case, (as you can see in the video, there is a transparent case!), by end of this month, we will select the best choice based on robustness, esthetics, and ease of assembly.

Programming Pi-Pan

You can program Pi-Pan using Python APIs. We are working on refining the Python API's for the PWM control of the Pi-Pan servos, and to turn the Pi-Light ON and OFF.  All the software will be available free for download.

Sample Python Program (this is the program used in the video above)
Sample Python Program (this is the program used in the video above)

How Pi-Pan got here

We started with an idea of safe power filter circuit for Raspberry Pi. It was needed to drive servos without causing any resets to the Raspberry Pi. Below is original diagram of the circuit from our engineer's notebook.  

Pan-Tilt power filter circuit for Raspberry Pi
Pan-Tilt power filter circuit for Raspberry Pi

This filter was then built on a development board. for Pi-Pan we used standard mini-servos. The controller board is designed to operate at 5 volts and works well at 1.2 amps, without causing any spikes to Raspberry Pi.

Early development of Pi-Pan controller board
Early development of Pi-Pan controller board

The servos are mounted with a compact assembly of plastic pieces, below is a picture of our prototype mountings.

Early development of Pi-Pan mounts
Early development of Pi-Pan mounts

We also designed a case to go with it, so that users can conveniently mount the Pi-Pan on top of the Raspberry Pi case.

Prototype of Pi-Case pieces
Prototype of Pi-Case pieces

(In fact, you could mount Pi-Pan on any case by fastening the servo horn screws to the case).

Our Next Steps

While our designers are working on refining the design, we are getting quotes from suppliers for plastic parts and assembly houses for PCB manufacturing.

A timeline of our tasks as follows -

8/12/13 Alpha design test for the Pan-Tilt are in progress now

8/26/13 Order the materials to be purchased

8/30/13 Complete design of controller boards, and mounting mechanisms

8/30/13 Finalize the PCB assembly house

9/10/13 Begin Fabrication of beta boards, mountings and cases

9/13/13 First beta fabricated and tested

9/16/13 First beta shipments to beta testers and beta kickstarter supporters

10/2/13 Incorporate beta feedback and prepare for first production run

10/10/13 First production run approval

10/17/13 First production run, tested and ready for shipment

10/21/13 First production shipments to Kickstarter supporters

Your help will go a long way to pay for the tooling and setup costs for the first production run.

Our engineers are working on refining the software for Pan-Tilt control and light On/OFF. Which should be ready by early-September.

Shipping

We have been shipping all over the world from our websites: openelectrons.com and mindsensors.com, and we will go through the same shipping system to send your reward to you.

About Rewards

Except for the Diamond Level Supporters, rewards do not include the Raspberry-Pi/SD card or Pi-Camera.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

OpenElectrons.com has designed several Arduino and LEGO Mindstorms products in the past and based on that experience, we are confident to deliver a quality product.

There is a large community of Raspberry Pi and Pi-Camera users, we are creating a product for them that is fairly new and our main challenge is to educate the users on how to use it.

There is also a chance of manufacturing delays beyond our control, to mitigate that, we have added time for contingency.

FAQ

  • Servo voltages can be high and while they operate they could generate spikes, Pi-Pan Controller Board filters out power for servo, so your Raspberry Pi does not brownout.
    Also Raspberry Pi operates at 3.3 volts, whereas servos can be anywhere above 4.5 volts, the Pi-Pan Controller Board has built in level translator for protection.

    Last updated:
  • The Pi-Pan has two major parts, software and hardware.

    For software, it uses ServoBlaster - https://github.com/richardghirst/PiBits. We will release the software as soon as it's ready, it will be a source code patch file with any enhancements that our engineers are working on.
    We will also have a pre-compiled download to simplify installation.

    Hardware is extensible by design. To start with it will have two servo headers (for Pan and Tilt servos), but the board has provision for 6 servos. By soldering additional pins on the board, you will be able to add more servos, (You can use the board for things other than just Pan-Tilt).

    The board will also have I2C pins, (where Pi-Light connects).
    You can simply connect Pi-Light on it, or use that I2C interface for other smart devices!

    The hardware design is still being worked on (the actual production board will be slightly smaller than the prototype version we have currently). We will be releasing the schematic on our website when it's finalized.

    Last updated:
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    A big thank you for your support. We will add your name to our 'Thank you' webpage for our supporters, at: http://www.openelectrons.com/Pi-Pan

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    EARLY BETA RELEASE! One Pi-Pan kit (Pi-Pan kit includes the pan-tilt controller board, 2 servos, the mounting hardware and assembly instructions.) We will ship this by mid-September from Richmond VA. This will be a beta release and everything may not be perfect, we will work with you to get it right, and include your feedback in production release.

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    One Pi-Pan kit (Pi-Pan kit includes the pan-tilt controller board, 2 servos, the mounting hardware and assembly instructions.) We will ship this by late October from Richmond VA.

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    One Pi-Pan kit and Pi-Case. This Case is designed to fit Pi-Pan and allow for its cables.

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    30 backers

    One Pi-Pan kit and Pi-Light. (We are adding this reward based on messages from some of the backers, thank you for your support!)

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    One Pi-Pan kit, Pi-Case and Pi-Light. Pi-Light fits on Pi-Pan, in front of Pi-Camera to provide light for Pi-Camera.

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    1 backer

    SILVER LEVEL SUPPORTER: One Pi-Pan kit, Pi-Light and Pi-Case. Your Name will be engraved on the Pi-Case, thanking you for your support!

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    GOLD LEVEL SUPPORTER! One Pi-Pan kit, Pi-Light and Pi-Case. Your name, along with a message of your choice will be engraved on the case.

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    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    DIAMOND LEVEL SUPPORTER! One Pi-Pan kit, Pi-Light, Pi-Case, Raspberry-Pi and Pi-Camera. Everything included! Including SD card with pre-installed software. Your Name will be engraved on the case, along with a message of your choice.

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Funding period

- (30 days)