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  • Q&A Using MECHA - Common issues with quick resolve.

    Q0) My issue is not listed here.
    A0) contact for support at mecha(at)nodalninja.com
    The preferred language is English but you can write in other language, if you feel don't know English good enough for this purpose.

    Q1) MECHA seems to rotate more than 360 or less than 360 instead of exactly 360.
    A1) When MECHA is idle, enter these codes on each Controller according with the rotator used :E1, E2 or P1
    23131< to set E1 as preferred rotator
    23132< to set E2 as preferred rotator
    23121< to set P1 as preferred rotator

    Q2) When press [>] then [2] MECHA roates 90° then press [<] then [2] MECHA rotates -90° but do not ends up in the same position.
    A2) Enter in /config a backlash value (around 24-34) then [Apply]
    or execute the backlash compensation calibration procedure
    12321< for backlash compensation calibration.
    After the code is entered, MECHA will turn slowly to right, then power LED will start flashing.
    After that, is need to press [p] (power button) when you see/feel the MECHA starts moving very slightly to left
    You can use the viewfinder, LIVE view with zoom, other devices attached like a laser pointer, so on..
    or simply feel by hand when that small movement begins.
    At the end, the LEDs will show, say, ":24" where 24 is the new calibration factor, is around this value.
    You can repeat the code if you want to do it better or have more precise ways to determine the small movement.
    You can cancel the procedure with any other button when [p] flashing, or press power button right after it starts flashing to have no compensation at all or it will time-out in 5 minutes if no buttons are pressed.

    Q3) The rotator seems to have a play, it moves very easy by hand.
    A3) For E1 and E2, tighten this little screw just enough until the play is reduced, do not over-tighten:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	silver-screw.jpg Views:	2 Size:	30.8 KB ID:	33088


    Q4) MECHA seems to not be precise enough
    A4) Follow the steps A1, A2, A3, provided above, for increased precision use uStep without "+" like 16, 32, 64, 128, they have increased precision than 16+128, 16+64.. for current FW

    Q5) At powering up, MECHA moves a bit forward and back.
    A5)This is normal when the backlash compensation value is set, if it doesn't moves, then is a sign that the value is not set and is better to set it as described in (Q2). This is valid only for the E1 or E2 rotator.

    Q6) I don't like the Sound FX MECHA has at starting up.
    A6) That is not a Sound FX, is the sound caused by movement MECHA does for compensating the backlash for E1 and E2

    Here is a simplified and exaggerated representation of backlash.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	bkls_01_a.png Views:	0 Size:	36.1 KB ID:	33090

    To rotate your camera you need to touch it, unless you're Jedi or use MECHA.
    In the same way, the motor needs to be in touch with camera part to rotate it.

    So the ideal situations will be the follows
    Click image for larger version  Name:	bkls_02_a.png Views:	0 Size:	35.5 KB ID:	33091

    Click image for larger version  Name:	bkls_03_a.png Views:	0 Size:	35.2 KB ID:	33092

    The green arrow is the value of backlash compensation known by MECHA, so it knows, when the direction is changed, the extra movement needed, as big as the green arrow, to be able to rotate the camera.
    E.g. for 1 deg. of rotation, when the direction is changed, MECHA needs to rotate "green value" + 1 deg.
    For better precision, the green value is in steps of the motor.

    The initial movement made by MECHA at starting up is in order to exit from a possible situation with unknown "red arrows", situation which can be created by handling or mounting when moving the gear on field.

    Of course the camera part need to stay in place when motor is not moving, that is the purpose of the friction ring (Q3), so it should be tightened enough to not allow play even when pressing the MECHA's buttons, and the later is for:
    a) comfort, if MECHA has play when pressing the buttons, the movement in opposite direction will feel un-pleasant, like a jump
    b) prevent some camera movement when pressing the buttons of the camera itself.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	bkls_04_a.png Views:	0 Size:	19.6 KB ID:	33093

    About touch due gravity.

    If no friction ring is used for vertical uses of E1 and E2, the gravity will keep the motor in touch but still will allow some play at Zenith and Nadir, or even can cause some extra movement if the weight of the grip pulls the camera over the Zenith a bit.
    Is good to understand this first to see what solutions are suitable, one is to use Nadir at -85 instead of -90.
    If no friction ring is used for vertical applications, the backlash value can be set to 0 for that particular E1 or E2 rotator.

    to be continued..
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    3. Mecha team up.

    4. ..

  • #2
    Q7) I'm using MECHA DAC with a wide angle lens and parts of controller are visible in frame.
    A7) If using MECHA with controller toward the lens, is easy to fix by using MECHA with the controller toward camera instead.



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    • #3
      Q8) I cannot update MECHA FW beyond C1E_01485.
      A8) As update from C1E_01485 to next C1E_02NNN (the 2nd generation of FW) is done with formatting of the internal storage, in order to double it, MECHA wants to be sure that you did a back-up of data first.
      However, if you did that and/or don't know to do that, or it seems that it didn't work as expected,
      please send a message to mecha(at)nodalninja.com,
      as there are ways to force the update remotely regardless of the back-up being done or not.
      1. Mecha it possible.
      2. Mecha it easy.
      3. Mecha team up.

      4. ..

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      • #4
        Q9) I can force the rotator in one direction only, to cancel the backlash thus I can have then a loose friction ring. Right?
        A9) Wrong. Here is why. The backlash value needs to be as close as possible to the green arrow, when the direction is changed MECHA to compensate the best and to cancel the backlash.

        However, the friction ring has a purpose which helps in dealing with backlash regardless of the direction is changed or not.

        Beside the purpose of keeping MECHA steady when the motor is not moving, purpose mentioned earlier, the friction ring needs also to stop MECHA from keeping moving on its own when the the motor is slowing down before stop completely.

        For horizontal applications, with no gravity to work strongly against the movement, without or with loose friction ring, when the motor slows down, nothing but friction will slow down MECHA as the red arrows starts to grow in 1st uS after the motor starts to slow down, so the friction ring is responsible for main friction.

        E.g. with one direction only, MECHA needs to stop at 0, 5, 10, 15.. deg.
        with proper tension friction ring will be indeed 0, 5, 10, 15
        with no or a loose one instead, might be 0, 5.2, 11, 15.3.. that's because the friction from ring being low,
        three elements play a role in variations (but there are others, will not mention):

        a) the small component of gravity (rig not perfectly level) can play a role in variations, though the component is to weak to cancel the backlash, but can produce variations,
        b) friction from moving parts of gear, which varies, hence the variable noise you can hear.
        c) the rotation speed
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        • #5
          Q10) I read that with proper tightening and correct value for backlash compensation MECHA can have 0.1° or even better precision. I'm using a wide lens. Do I need such precision?
          A10) With a wide lens, the overlap allow good covering in panorama, however, having increased precision helps in better use of the stitching templates, regardless of focal length used.
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          • #6
            Q11) I want the best precision/repeatability my MECHA can offer, to use my stitching templates. What else can further improve that?
            A11) For stitching template the repeatability is important, as exaggeration, a template with 0, 5.5, 11, 15.3 .. is good for 5° apart if MECHA always produces 0, 5.5, 11, 15.3 .. positions at every run.
            To understand what else can help, think in this way:
            At every 360° turn, the relevant internal moving parts (last two big gears, for E2) are in the same position.



            For E1 even if only the last gear is in the same position after 360°, having the same start will result in better repeatability



            Thus having the same start position for MECHA relative to tripod will help in canceling out any small variation from the perfections of those internal gears which can affect the use of the template.
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            3. Mecha team up.

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            • #7
              Q12) What's the difference between Custom Shots 50mm and 50mm2?
              A12) When enter at Custom Shots: 50mm
              MECHA will compute a shooting pattern for 50mm rectilinear lens 50 mm (FF equiv)
              using script in MSS format form which is easy to modify and adapt for your needs.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	50mm.png Views:	0 Size:	36.8 KB ID:	33129

              When enter 50mm2 instead
              MECHA will compute a shooting pattern for 50mm rectilinear lens 50 mm (FF equiv)
              using Repeat feature with a list of angles and positions for each repeeat, in this case the panorama is technically made of many panoramas repeated for each row.
              While it can be modified, is not as easy as for MSS, and because it uses the Repeat feature, the whole panorama cannot be repeated automatically.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	50mm2.png Views:	0 Size:	44.0 KB ID:	33130





              The coverage of the sphere is the same, regardless of mm or mm2 used.


              Q13) When to use 50mm and when to use 50mm2?
              A13) In the large majority of cases mm is recommended, as MSS is easier to understand and easy to modify.
              The mm2 way has some advantages in the case of panorama made from very large number of position for a panorama,
              in case of a 50mm lens, the number of positions is small and mm is the recommended way.

              For over 200 mm the mm2, MECHA will have better performance if the preset needs to be exported as MAP, or Template.
              For over 1000 mm MECHA will force the mm2 format in the FW current at the time of posting this.

              To sum this up, up to 200 mm the simplest and recommended way is mm format.

              As a note, the difference of performance will be reduced in future FW updates.

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              3. Mecha team up.

              4. ..

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              • #8
                Q14) Can I use my own computed shooting pattern with 85mm on FF?
                A14) Say, you use your favorite panoramic calculator and it says

                -----8<-------------------------------
                Pan = 8 degrees
                Tilt = 12 degrees
                Columns = 5
                Rows = 2
                Total number of Photos = 10
                -----8<-------------------------------

                When 85mm is entered at custom (like in Q12 above ),
                MECHA will compute a shooting pattern for a full sphere.
                You can edit the script produced by MECHA and adapt for your needs,

                Considering the pattern above, it says
                every shooting position is at 8 deg apart and there are two rows at 12 deg tilt apart,
                say, the rows will be at 6 deg and -6 deg of tilt.

                In MECHA this can be scripted as

                SL,6x5^8,-6x5^8

                which means
                SL, Start Level
                6x5^8, at 6 deg tilt do 5 positions each at 8 deg apart one from the next
                -6x5^8 at -6 deg tilt do 5 positions each at 8 deg apart one from the next




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                3. Mecha team up.

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                • #9
                  Q15) I cannot connect with my smartphone to MECHA sometimes.
                  A15) As MECHA is on market for a while, its default Wi-Fi password may be easy to guess or find on Internet.
                  It is highly recommended to access
                  192.168.8.1/config
                  user:admin
                  pass:Mecha
                  then at
                  SSID Password
                  change the current password with a new numeric password made of 8 numbers,
                  say, 32122127, (use own numbers this is just an example)
                  please note this on paper just in case you forget it.
                  then click/tap on [Apply], wait 5 seconds and turn OFF then ON MECHA
                  from then on the Wi-Fi password required to connect with the phone to MECHA will be
                  32122127, less chances to be known by others
                  Note that in the instructions or guidance about MECHA you'll still find references to 12345678 password,
                  you need to use 32122127 instead, when follow those instructions.

                  In case of DAC, you'll need to change the password after pairing with [1] and [2] buttons
                  You need to change it only in H-MECHA, by the same procedure described above.
                  However, if the new password doesn't work you can use the default one,
                  as is possible that you paired MECHAs again with [1] and [2] buttons, for whatever reason, and it reverted to default password in process,
                  then change the password to the new one.
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                  2. Mecha it easy.
                  3. Mecha team up.

                  4. ..

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                  • #10
                    Q16) I updated MECHA after long time (or by mistake) then either:
                    a) I find out that my phone can handle the new features added.
                    b) So many changes and I don't have time to learn them.
                    c) Simply the oldest FW just works better for what I need.
                    d) I'm positive that the particular FW is what I'll ever need on my MECHAs, I'll never want to update from it.

                    I possible to revert to (or to keep indefinitely) the old FW?


                    A16) Yes, is possible, please contact mecha(at)nodalninja.com
                    There will be need for some proof of ownership of that MECHA then that particular MECHA can be taken out from update procedure,
                    or set that the next update procedure will bring an old FW and will stay there.
                    1. Mecha it possible.
                    2. Mecha it easy.
                    3. Mecha team up.

                    4. ..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Q17) ..a basic feature that should be the easiest to implement if you
                      forget about the spherical panoramas.
                      A rectangular grid without considering where zenith or horizon is.


                      A17) MECHA has grid support implemented already.
                      .
                      About ignoring where zenith or horizon is
                      It depends on application:

                      a) If you have a DAC or C2 which controls two rotators which moves two rails, you can ignore the horizon so you can have an infinite grid, as the rotations are converted in translations by the rails.

                      b) if the rotations are on two axis of a panoramic head, like is the most common case, then the rotations remain rotations and the panoramic head rotates through an axis which goes through zenith and the horizontal rotation is parallel with the panoramic head's horizon.

                      You can see more easy the difference if you compare a flatbed scanner's moves with a panoramic head rotations, when trying to cover a grid.

                      The panoramic head has a "cross" + with its middle point on its horizon, in order to widen the angle of the lens you use, with a help of a panoramic head, by making a, say, 4x4 grid, you have two possibilities:

                      b1) keep the panoramic head's horizon the same as the scene horizon, the panoramic head will cover the sphere as usual and you have to place the grid in such way to have your area of interest covered by that grid.
                      real case application better suited by (b1) : A city vista with its reflection in water.

                      b2) you can tilt the whole panoramic head, (not only the upper rail), like on a ball head and place the "cross" on the middle of the area of interest.
                      real case application better suited by (b2) : Milky Way panorama

                      So in both (b1) and (b2) cases you need to consider where the horizon of the panoramic head is, then also consider where the area of interest is and whether or not the area needs to be on panoramic horizon.
                      the differences from (b1) and (b2) depends on both focal length you use and where the area of interest is related to panoramic head's horizon, extreme cases: c1) on horizon or c2) on Zenith
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                      3. Mecha team up.

                      4. ..

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                      • #12
                        Q18) I need 2D navigation (in web UI). A simple approach is adding a toggle button
                        for changing the rotator.


                        A18) Why is MECHA 2 axis as it is now regarding the second rotator?
                        Let's think about how dual axis is
                        We have
                        a) left-right rotations
                        and
                        b) up-down rotations
                        if we look at (a) and (b) regarding of the Camera+Lens combo (C+L) related to their safety we can conclude:
                        (a) is way more safer than (b)
                        you can rotate (a) infinitely, nothing bad happens, in standard configuration.
                        (b) OTOH, has increased risk of damaging the (C+L) , you can easily see the cable(s) to controller and lens's physical length and body dimensions, while allowing unrestricted (a), can have restricted (b) freedom. in some cases.

                        For (b) reasons, the up-down are mainly designed to be done by controller's buttons or NN IR with high recommendation to have the panoramic head in sight and for large intervals even need to press two buttons, like [up] and [2]
                        Even for presets and scripting, user needs to be sure* that the Level or Parked position must match with the preset settings**

                        *with the upcoming SF, MECHA will ask for a confirmation if the movement looks to extreme
                        ** E2,P1 and even E1 will have "level" sense soon which will allow to self adjust the position with the presets requirements, again with some confirmations.


                        Q19) Will be 2D navigation (in web UI) easier in future?

                        A19) Definitely, the upcoming FW updates will make this more easy while keeping the safety at reasonable level.
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                        3. Mecha team up.

                        4. ..

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                        • #13
                          Q20) Why the videos are with 3D renderings and not with real product and real person?

                          A20) It is a matter of choice.
                          The videos are for passing the info about using a small controller, as is expected for videos to be watched on screens ranging from few inches (phones) to big TV-like size, we chose to have a rendering with highlight of the button needed to be pressed instead a real product with finger over buttons.
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                          • #14
                            Q21) Why there is Ring and Row pages? they are very close and confuses me.

                            A21) The Ring page is there especially for Ring type panoramic heads like R1/R10 and for users who actually use the R1/R10 for production.



                            Ring looks close to Row, but in time will be more different, having the settings hard codded for R1/R10 .
                            While Is highly recommended to use it with NN R1 or R10 will be still flexible to be used with other ring type panoramic heads.

                            There is an option in /config to open the web UI in either Ring or Row, depending on main use of MECHA.

                            Click image for larger version  Name:	start_as.png Views:	0 Size:	7.9 KB ID:	33954

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                            • #15
                              Q22) .. it's not easy on mobile. In particular, there is an inconvenience of having to take off your gloves when using it in winter.

                              A22) This answer goes for any use of the mobile in winter, not MECHA specifically. Never take the gloves off.

                              solution 1) use a good touch-pen. if you also have a camera with touch screen find the kind one which works for both mobile and camera, have it wrist attached, to not lose nor need to take care of it, personally this is my favorite solution used in ten of thousands of situations.

                              solution 2) use touch enabled gloves, or Touchscreen Gloves, you can even DIY them but better to find ready-made.
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                              2. Mecha it easy.
                              3. Mecha team up.

                              4. ..

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