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:
So for this project you would need:
- Bescor MP-101
Get one here
- Arduino Pro Mini 5V or any other small as possible Arduino clone which can provide at least 5 digital I/Os, I used chinese clone, they are cheap and reliable, get one here:
- Small serial Bluetooth module, I used one from CRIUS mainly because of the thin design and connector instead of header to save some space.
But you can use this one as well:
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:
Challenge will be putting Arduino board and Bluetooth module inside of the Bescor Head 🙂 See my video how I did that 🙂
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.