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RAM Controller Upgrade Instructions

The RAM controller upgrade adds programmable interval control, and automatic reversing to the RAM system. You will still use the standard RAM controller to power the motor and control the motor speed and direction.

what's included RAM controller upgrade

Included with the upgrade kit is the upgrade itself, which is the 'brains' of the unit. This will allow the use of the reverse switches, and the interval timer. You can use either feature by themselves, or both of them together.

Mounting The Upgrade:

The upgrade unit will mount directly to the RAM controller. Use the included screw to attach the controller to the threaded hole on the back of the RAM controller. The extra threaded hole on the upgrade unit can now be used to mount the controller to your rig using a friction arm. 

 Mounting the Reverse Switch Kit:

The reverse switch kit mounts to the RAM motor mount directly onto the silver 'idler pins'. Use the screwdriver that was included in your RAM system (the one used to access the battery tray). First, remove the 2 small screws on the switch kit. Second, place the switch kit over the idler pins. Third, use the screws to clamp the assembly onto the idler pins. You can leave this on permanently and tuck the cord out of the way when not in use. 

The switches need a place to contact at each side of the track in order to activate the switch and reverse the direction of the motor. The 'Switch Contact Blocks" clamp directly to the timing belt and give the switches something to hit. You can place the at each end of the belt, or closer together for a shorter run.

Plug Diagram:

PROGRAMMING THE INTERVAL TIMER:

You will use the included intervalometer (interval timer) to control the interval features of the unit. The settings on the intervalometer will trigger the camera shutter, and will also turn the motor off for each exposure. This way, the motor is not moving during the exposure and there is no chance to introduce motion blur into the image when doing long exposures.

The timer will also control the overall delay in between motor movements. This way we can plan out the number of images that will be in our timelapse, and the total length of time that it will take for the motorized system to travel across the rail/tracks.

The intervalometer has a few settings, which will be described below. The two settings that matter for our purposes are "LONG" and "INTERVAL" (INTVL).

DELAY: This setting sets a delay before the intervalometer begins taking photos. For our purposes, this can be set to 0.

LONG: This is the most important setting for our purposes. This will determine the overall delay in between each shot, and this is the time during which the shutter fires and the camera takes a photo.

The first thing you want to do is determine what shutter speed (exposure length) you will be using for your timelapse. Take a sample photo, and determine your exposure length. The "LONG" setting on the intervalometer must be equal to or greater than your shutter speed. (example- If the shutter speed is 10 seconds, the LONG setting should be 11 seconds or more to allow for the exposure plus 1-2 seconds for the camera to process the image).

Second, you want to determine how long you want your timelapse to be. This is the total elapsed time of the timelapse in minutes. Consult the charts below for details on settings for desired timelapse duration, etc. . The minumum LONG setting will be your exposure length, and you can add seconds from that point in order to make the total timelapse duration longer. For example if you want your timelapse to last 30 minutes, just set the LONG setting to 11 seconds (with standard motor at full speed).

INTERVAL (INTVL): The interval setting is the RAM motor run time in between each exposure (time that the motor turns ON). For use with the RAM system (and when using the charts below) this setting should always remain at 1 second. This is because we can control the speed of the motor using the speed knob on the RAM controller. In this way, we can control the distance that the motor moves for each 1 second interval.

The actual motor speed (set using the RAM controller speed knob), will determine how many intervals will occur while moving across the slider. The number of intervals (and number of photos taken) will determine the length of your edited timelapse clip. The standard timelapse clip is edited at 24 frames per second. So, if the camera takes 150 photos, your timelapse clip will be 6 seconds long.

N (NUMBER): On the timer, this is the number of photos the timer will take before turning off. For our purposes, we can set this to infinite. This is designated by "--", and can be accessed by going one click below "1" on the N setting. 

INTERVAL CHARTS:

The intervals, delays, and resulting timelapse clip are all determined by the setting on the timer remote as described above. Below we will list the number of photos and the elapsed time that will result when different setting are used.

Each chart is based on the settings when the STANDARD RAM motor is used at a certain speed. The speed can be set using the blue speed knob on the RAM controller unit.

STANDARD MOTOR AT FULL SPEED -

The standard motor when run at full speed will take 150 photos along the length of the 1 meter slider. 150 photos will result in a 6 second timelapse clip.

LONG

(motor delay time)

INTERVAL

Number of photos

Elapsed Time

(minutes)

1

1

150

5 minutes

2

1

150

7.5 minutes

3

1

150

10 minutes

5

1

150

15 minutes

11

1

150

30 minutes

19

1

150

50 minutes

28

1

150

90 minutes

 With the standard motor at full speed, every 1 second increase in the motor delay time ("LONG") setting adds approximately 2.5 minutes to the total timelapse duration.

 

STANDARD MOTOR AT HALF SPEED-

The standard motor when run at full speed will take 250 photos along the length of the 1 meter slider. 250 photos will result in a 10 second timelapse clip.

LONG

(motor delay time)

INTERVAL

Number of photos

Elapsed Time

 (minutes)

1

1

250

8 minutes

2

1

250

12 minutes

3

1

250

16 minutes

4

1

250

20 minutes

5

1

250

24 minutes

10

1

250

44 minutes

20

1

250

84 minutes

30

1

250

124 minutes

40

1

250

164 minutes

With the standard motor at half speed, every  1 second increase in the motor delay time ("LONG") setting adds approximately 4 minutes to the total timelapse duration.

 

EXAMPLE TIMELAPSE SITUATIONS & SETTINGS:

1. Subject type: Moving Traffic, Drivelapse, Fast Clouds-

Shutter speed: Under 1 second. LONG: 1-2 seconds. Motor speed (# of photos): your choice depending on how long you want the clip to be.

 

2. Subject type: Clouds across sky, sunset

Shutter speed: Under 1 second. LONG: 2-6 seconds. Motor speed (# of photos): your choice depending on how long you want the clip to be. 

 

3. Subject type: Moving shadows, milky way (stars), ocean tide

Shutter speed: 1 second to 30 seconds depending on scene. LONG: 10-30 seconds. (note: LONG setting must be at least as long as shutter speed. Extra seconds here will add to delay in between photos). Motor speed (# of photos): your choice depending on how long you want the clip to be.