Bluetooth controlled Bescor MP-101 Pan Tilt Head modification

Bescor MP-101 Pan and Tilt head was very useful addition to my photography equipment which allow me to photograph things remotely, but it had one big limitation, well 20ft limitation – extension cord, yes exactly it was remotely controlled with 20ft or upgradable to 50′ piece of wire. It was very clunky and unmanageable, imagine coiling and uncoiling 50ft of cable?! So I tasked myself with noble challenge to get rid of cable and make control of the Bescor MP-101 completely wireless! In this article I will show you how it is done.

Obvious choices Adruino and Bluetooth! I have quite a lot of experience and success with Bluetooth SPP and decided this will be my goto solution for wireless control. Well Arduino pick is no brainer 🙂

See full video here explaining how it works:

 

Hardware:

So for this project you would need:

  • Bescor MP-101
  • Arduino Pro Mini or any other small as possible Arduino clone which can provide at least 5 digital I/Os, I used ebay clone
    ARDUINO-PRO-MINI-CLONE
  • Small serial Bluetooth module, I used one from CRIUS mainly because of the thin design and connector instead of header to save some space.

CRIUS-BT-MODULE

Arduino uses the power from the main controller board, Bluetooth module powered via Arduino

Arduino connected essentially to the pins of the DIN connector ( Bescor remote control connector) on the main controller board. All features of the original Bescor head remains, nothing is removed, you still can connect wire remote.

 

Here are image illustration how Arduino wired to the Bescor controller board, I think it is pretty straightforward:

Bluetooth controlled Bescor MP-101 Pan tilt head modification

Overall look of the wiring

 

Bluetooth controlled Bescor MP-101 Pan tilt head modification

Overall look of the wiring

 

Bluetooth controlled Bescor MP-101 Pan tilt head modification

Numbers are used digital pins on Arduino Pro Mini.

Bluetooth controlled Bescor MP-101 Pan tilt head modification

Wiring between Arduino and Bescor, Numbers are digital pins on Arduino Pro Mini.

Challenge will be putting Arduino  board and Bluetooth module inside of the Bescor Head 🙂 See my video how I did that 🙂

Software:

Software consist of 2 pieces, Arduino code and Remote code,

Arduino code is very simple reads commands from the serial port and sets appropriate pins to LOW or HIGH

Remote Code is a QT Application which theoretically can be run as Native app on Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, I tried only on  Android. But I believe if you laptop has BT it just should work !

Application is super simple just to have job done.

Both can be obtained from github: https://github.com/riahut-dot-com/btremote
sharing and modification welcomed

Notes: Arduino sketch should be uploaded only via USB-to-Serial before connecting to BT and putting all together, Via Bluetooth it usually pain in the ass 🙂

Trigger wires can be used to trigger different things with TTL levels.

About the Author
Love to tinker all day long
  1. Murathan Araz Reply

    Hello, superb DIY! Thank you very much first of all.

    http://bit.ly/28UMrvx

    http://bit.ly/28TRL1W

    Are these ok for this project? And another question is, arduino is 3.3v. Is there a proper voltage inside the Bescor? I might think about to making an external remote adapter which will be plugged to the remote control 9 pin port.

    Many thanks in advance…

    • Misha Reply

      Thank you!
      I would use 5V version of Arduino in this case, I think Bescor is 5V oriented

  2. patholio Reply

    I took mine apart recently to see how the connectors on the internals were wired up. The angle sensor board is quite simple and only really senses to each 30deg segment. I hope these pics are useful to anybody else – https://imgur.com/a/DSZNT

    • Misha Reply

      hi! Thank you this is very helpful, I had suspicion it will be pretty simple ! Now I have few ideas how to improve it !

  3. Shawn Reply

    Wondering if you could build one for me. I am disabled . I would certainly pay you.

    • Misha Reply

      Hi Shawn,
      Sorry for long reply, I can build you one, but I need Bescor MO-101 for the modification, do you have one?

  4. Elvin Caldwell Reply

    Hello We have a Bescor MO-101 that we use to record our football games. Can we get you to build us one with the BT capability Misha.

    Thanks
    Elvin

    • Misha Reply

      Sure I can build one for you. Where are you located?

      • Greg Reply

        Hi can you build one for me I have bescor 101

        • Misha Reply

          Sure! Can you send me one and I rebuild it for you ?

      • Randy Narciso Reply

        Hi Misha,

        Can you build one for me as well? I just don’t have the technical skills to do so.

        Thanks,
        Randy

        • Misha Reply

          Sure I can, do you have Bescor pan tilt head?

  5. Andrea Reply

    Any schematic? it looks like spaghetti bolognese

    • Misha Reply

      Yummy! 😀
      I don’t have schematic for the Bescor! Would be nice to get one… connection to Arduino is pretty simple 🙂

  6. Pingback: Bluetooth controlled Bescor MP-101 Pan Tilt Head modification - ... • Aaron Parecki

  7. Dat Reply

    Some one Please show me how to program CRIUS MWC Multiwii SE Naza32 CC3D FC Bluetooth Module and Arduino Pro Mini Atmega168 Module 5V 16M. Thanks

    • Misha Reply

      Super simple: need a FTDI USB to Serial TTL Converter, And then use Arduino IDE to Program Pro Mega. You cannot re-program Bluetooth Module, why would you need that ?

      If you want to Use ProMini with Bluetooth module, you can just use my Arduino sketch code from here….

  8. Sailesh Reply

    What would change to build one for me and what app would I need?
    I already have the Bescor 101

  9. Sailesh Reply

    Charge – all I need is the boards programmed – I can solder them to the board or to a cable to the 7 pin DIN connecter cable –

    • Misha Reply

      Hi, do you have an Arduino and Bluetiith Dongle already ?
      App and sources for board available on github.
      I can make APK available for download but you would have to figure out how to sideload it on you phone.

  10. Sailesh Reply

    Have the Arduino and know how to program – waiting on dongle.
    I need to know how to program the dongle and with which app as many files under remoteapp

    As for sidloading – I think I can figure that out.
    Thanking you in advance.

  11. Sailesh Reply

    Misha – I have it all ready – just need an APK or load an app to control the bescor via an app.

  12. Anthony Reply

    Hi Misha,
    Great video! I do not need wireless but how would I slow the pan down using the remote? Is there a simple way to do that?

    By the way, the remote will work with three of the 20 footer cables daisy chained together.

    Anthony

    • Misha Reply

      Hi Anthony, I dont think you can, It either slow down the motor by lowering voltage on it, or PWM the motor controls via Arduino, or changing gears in the motor 🙂
      But this gave me some food for thoughts!

  13. Chris lamb Reply

    I live in Australia if I was to send you this unit and a smart phone can you BT itfor me
    What sort of cost can you do it for
    Thanking you
    Chris

    • Misha Reply

      Hi Chris,
      I didn’t think about this, lets me see what would it cost.
      Also please check shipping cost to Ottawa, ON if it not to crazy.
      And I have an idea of improvement over initial design.

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