Saturday, 20 October 2012

Heath Robinson Meets Arduino

For a while I have wanted a slow rotating platform to film small objects. The one I built at least a year ago had the disadvantage that the stepper motor made large jumps for each step and was only suitable for taking a series of stills which then had to be put together to make a video.

Recently I spotted  some very cheap 5V stepper motors which are often sold complete with the driver board. These motors are small and have a step angle of only 5.625 degrees. That means it will take 64 steps to rotate a full circle. All it needed was wiring to an Arduino Nano (any model of Arduino will work) and loading the sketch (program instructions) which was freely available on the web.

Here is the setup:
Left to right: 5V power regulator  -  driver board  -  Arduino Nano


Upturned turntable cut from a spare piece of uPVC window ledge showing the stepper motor:


A hastily rigged up Heath Robinson set up to test whether it was any use for making videos:


The first results filmed using a Panasonic SDR-H80. The most difficult part was having to use manual focus which is hard to judge on the small LCD screen.

Now it needs tidying up and mounting in a framework.

As for the other project - rain gauge - I've been giving the latest real time clock a 'soak' test and am pleased to see that it seems to be keeping good time. When I programmed it it was 1 second fast (hard to get it exact as you have to guess how long it takes for the program to compile on the computer and download to the Nano) and it is still only 1 second fast.


  1. Now that is indeed getting a 'round tuit'! Great results ~ :)

  2. Excellent......I'm glad the new clock is working.

    1. I'm pleased I have a reasonably accurate clock at last Adrian.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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