Motorized lens controller mk2 updates

It has been a while since zoom lens controller v1 was discontinued. The reason was very simple and happens to the best of us – the manufacturer made critical part outdated. Half a year ago swept all available stock and manufactured the last batch. An updated version was in development, but only internal use sample was assembled (see controller at the middle).

After casual redesign made a lot of changes and Atmega328 was finally replaced with STM32 Cortex CPU. This saved a lot of footprint space and module emerged.

There were some unforeseen things with a new controller like delivery time after purchasing 1k+ units more than 20 weeks (thanks guys from Arrow Europe for speeding things up!), documentation availability only after signing NDA, completely redesigned chip topology with tricky registers and no application notes (thanks to engineers from ON Semiconductor for support). Fast forward few experimental boards, revisions, and SCF4-M FIZ+ (Focus/Iris/Zoom and more) controller is here.

A short list of features and highlights:

  • Can control 3 stepper motors, 1 voice coil (automated day/night filter)
  • Each motor supports up to 1024 micro-stepping
  • Adjustable power for voice coil
  • 4 user GPIO (ADC, IN, OUT)
  • Dual independent control interface: USB, USART/I2C
  • Module dimensions: 23x16mm
  • Can be powered from USB 5V
  • Max stepper motor current: 200mA

Controller shape and form changes were done in order to allow greater flexibility and faster integration into the final product. Module SCF4-M is tailored for high integration projects and SCF4-EVB (Evaluation Board) is direct mk1 controller replacement with some extra features.

Of course, a new post-production flash / functional test fixture had to build. It will be offered for integrators and distributors to update/replace firmware before soldering into a product if needed.

Just for reference – here is a huge pile of assorted motorized zoom lenses for testing and parameter tuning. Unfortunately, all of them have different pinout and optical mounts so evaluation board will support an only limited number of these goodies. It’s hard to list all firmware features while it is in development (should be released soon) but most likely there will be few branches:

  • Dedicated firmware for Evaluation Board
  • Advanced firmware to allow tweaking more parameters
  • Performance firmware adapter for object tracking
  • PELCO compatible firmware (over USART / RS485)
  • Custom firmware (if a feature is not in the main branch and is considered project critical there is always an option to make customizations)

Some lenses accept C1, C1 PRO, C1 MICRO CS-mount, some direct PCB mount, some have completely different mount options and ordered just for testing. Zoom range and also varies greatly.

Comments ( 7 )

  1. Mitch
    Are early beta units available to help test? where can I find lens? Thanks, Mitch
    • saulius
      Hi Mitch, controllers and evaluation boards will be available soon, stay tuned for updates. Also there will be some selection of lenses along with EVB.
  2. Phil Mongoose
    Can you say something about the contraption holding the board. It looks interesting.
    • saulius
      It's a test/flash/post-production fixture Phil. What exactly do you want to know?
  3. Motorized Lens Controller Techs Up Your Webcam – Hack A Day
    […] If you’re familiar with the DSLR camera market, you’d know that modern lenses are works of technological art. Crammed full of motors and delicate electronic assemblies, they’re bursting with features such as autofocus, optical stabilization and zoom. [Saulius Lukse] has been experimenting with motorized lenses for webcam applications, and has built a controller to make working with them a snap. […]
  4. dan
    Great work Saulius, will it the lense be compatible with the C920, Brio and C1 Camera Sensor Module?
    • saulius
      Hi Dan, evaluation board is designed for two lens types, D14 (like it used in v1 revision) - with D14 to CS-mount adapter it can be used with all cameras. However 5-100mm lens has different lens mount by design and should be mounted directly on PCB and compatible with stripped C1 / C1 PRO / C1 MICRO cameras.

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