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Standard USB Pan Tilt Controller

The version of the Pan Tilt Controller without LANC is no longer available, however the PanTilt + LANC Controller does everything it did and more.

Please see PanTilt + LANC


Uses for the PanTilt Controller

I bought a pan/tilt head because I was using a camera with a USB connection and remote capture software to photographs some birds nesting on the outside of my house. It was a nuisance to have to run back and forth between the camera and the computer while trying to align it, and it disturbed the birds. The pan/tilt head made it easier to align the camera but I still couldn't sit at my computer and control where the camera was pointing. So I designed the USB PanTilt Controller.

In conjunction with a USB extender I can now have the camera up to 50m away from my computer and still control where it is pointing, the focal length of the lens and everything about the exposure. Better still, using Zone Trigger I can automatically trigger the camera to take a photo whenever something moves in the field of view. The photo above was taken early in the morning when the sun was low in the sky: I got up early and set up the camera and then went back to bed, leaving the computer to do the patient work of waiting for the mother bird to arrive!

The screenshot above shows the full software suite. On the left is Breeze Systems remote capture software displaying the camera settings and last captured image. Top middle is the camera's live viewfinder display. Bottom middle is the PanTilt Controller interface. On the right is the ZoneTrigger motion detection software which will trigger the camera when someone opens the white door at the centre of the cross hairs.

The photo above shows the camera and the USB PanTilt Controller connected to a four port USB extender hub. The blue cable is ordinary Cat 5 ethernet cable and goes to the other half of the USB extender which can be up to 50m away. The USB extender is plugged into a single USB port on my computer. On the computer I can then run the camera's remote capture software (Breeze Systems provide more useable applications than the ones that come free from the camera manufactures), motion detection and USB PanTilt Controller. One source in the UK for a suitable USB Extender is Combined Precision Components, just search for "USB Extender". Another source in several countries is Lindy, they sell the four port hub/extender pictured above and suitable cable.

Another USB extension method that I know to work is this networked USB hub from Belkin (Belkin #FL009), it allows you access USB devices across a wired network.

Please note that because the PanTilt Controller uses bulk mode transfers, it is not compatible with some wireless USB extenders.