The Device

The device I have developed to capture timelapse footage has involved a great deal of design and testing. At the core of the device is an ATmega168 AVR microcontroller. This controller operates at 16 Mhz and has 16 KB of flash memory and 1 KB of SRAM. This makes it very fast, probably overkill for its application here. It draws very little power but can provide up to 40 mA on any of its 14 digital outputs. The device could easily be programmed with a computer but for field work the two button interface allows the user to input various parameters for the timelapse sequnce. These parameters include total frames, interval and degrees of rotation. The user interacts with a 2 by 16 charecter line alpha numeric display. The display was choosen becasue it is easy to interact with and its two lines gives me enough space to make the interface clear to the user. Here the user uses the 3 button interface to set the interval. The user needs only to give 2 of the following; interval, duraton, or frames. The last field will be calculated automatically.

set interval

The user can also select the number of degrees to rotate:

set degrees

The user can plug in his camera here. The device supports any camera with a shutter trigger:

camera shutter plug

Here the user can plug in the step motor control module:

motor control port

The motor is a very precise 1.8 degree per step motor coupled with a reduction gear to give a precision of .08 degrees:

motor and gears

The user can check the status of their timelapse through a live display. It shows the seconds until next frame, total frames remaining, minutes remaining, and degrees rotated.
status display


The device is compact and as a result construction was rather difficult. All componets barely make it into the enclosure.
status display
status display


In the future I would like to add a more advanced interface with more features and functions. One main aspect about the design currently is its scalability. The device can be reprogrammed very quickly to have more features. Currentlly the AVR program memory is only half full, so expanding the current software is very easy.