Cheesycam DIY Auto Reverse Polarity Motorized Video Slider – Update

A short while back I shared a simple way of wiring up a motorized slider to move back and forth continuously (original article found here). No fancy software or programming, just a basic electro-mechanical system. There are many benefits to having this 'auto-looping' feature. One benefit is that a 'B' camera can continuously slide back and forth without the need for an additional operator, and another benefit is for TimeLapse projects that can continue to capture footage without stopping at the end of a rail.

Throw a few of these around an event and you'll have some great Dynamic Camera Movement footage to cut to without hiring additional crew.

I decided to update the project because some people couldn't quite figure out the circuit. With these new instructions using a numbered socket block, anyone should be able to follow this build, even without understanding the circuit. Hopefully this clears things up for some of you out there, and for those who may have been initially intimidated by the wiring.

Looping-circuit-auto-reverse-polarity_01 copy
Color coded wiring diagram - Click for larger view

I would set this up in a test scenario (loose parts on a table), and once you have it figured out, you can start attaching things to your actual motorized slider. Remember that this is all based on a very specific DPDT Relay + Socket Base Kit (found here).

Step by step Check List for you to follow on building an 'Auto Reverse Polarity Circuit'.
#1 Wire connects to 'NC' on Switch A
#2 Wire connects to one side of the Motor
#2 Wire (also) LOOPS back to Terminal #3
#3 Wire LOOPS back to Terminal #2
#4 Wire LOOPS back to Terminal #7
#5 Wire connects to 'NC' of Switch B
#5 Wire (also) connects to NEGATIVE on Battery
#6 Wire connects to POSITIVE on Battery
#6 Wire (also) connects to 'NO' on Switch A
#7 Wire LOOPS back to Terminal #4
#7 Wire connects to 'C' on Switch A
#7 Wire connects to one side of the Motor
#8 Wire connects to 'C' on Switch B

Troubleshooting
Remember to start this build by having parts loose on a table. You should know exactly what side your switches should be (left/right) so that the Slider is bouncing back and forth properly. If it's still not working correctly, try swapping the wires on your motor. If you have it swapped it will turn in the opposite direction. This circuit is designed specifically for the motor to turn a certain way.

Hopefully this has been helpful for those struggling with this project...

How It Works:
Two 3 Pin NO+NC Momentary Micro Switches (as found here) at each end reverse the polarity of the motor each time they are triggered.

DIY Slider micro switch 3 pin NO NC
Example of 3 pin NC/NO Momentary Micro Switch

A 12V DPDT Relay (as found here) is either 'Always ON' until the slider reaches the opposite switch which drops power to the relay.

12V DPDT Relay DIY Slider Motion Control
12V DPDT Relay with Socket Base

In one direction, the relay is technically 'STUCK ON' by way of a tricky little feedback loop in the circuit. To turn the entire slider on or off, i'm just using the switch from the battery. In this example, i'm not using a speed controller, but one can easily be added.

Additional Parts Suggested for this Build.

5.5 2.5 DC Male Plug Tip
DC Tip 2.5 5.5
12V-CCTV-Battery
12V Super battery

 62 Comments





62 thoughts on “Cheesycam DIY Auto Reverse Polarity Motorized Video Slider – Update

  1. Ron DIYer

    I really appreciate all the work you post helping the whole community of DIY camera world! I also followed this and got my speed controls from Servo City and got it working. Problem that was stated earlier about low current not triggering the solenoid in the relay switch. I found it to be more responsive if you modify the spring to a real soft extension spring. Makes it more responsive to lower voltages. Still it's tricky with the speed controller. But it move slow enough for 140 seconds over 24 inch travel and trigger the reverse switch. Great help from your website to get this far on my project. Thank you so much!!

  2. Tom40422

    Thank you Mr CheesyCam!
    I used your directions and setup worked great the first time I tried it. Like one of the other comments, I would like to try using a timer relay and be able to have a controllable pause at each end of the slider. I found this Omron H3Y-2 device with 0-60 secs of delay. When I plugged it into the existing relay socket, it didn't work. Of course! Ha! I contacted Omron to see of they can help.
    DPDT Relay on Amazon I am using: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00843IV06/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Omron H3y-2 Timer Relay: http://www.ia.omron.com/products/family/196/feature.html
    If you have time to help, I would really appreciate it. Maybe one of the other people who commented can help, too.
    Thanks again for the great tutorial.

  3. BRANDEN

    I solved your problem Josh. You are using too low of a voltage source. Try using a 9 volt or higher and the circuit will work. This is not a great design for a low voltage circuit. It is perfect for what I am wanting though. I used a 3 volt battery at first and the switch B only stopped the circuit. Got pissed off and then tried the 9 volt battery. The 9v Battey made the circuit work perfectly!

  4. BRANDEN

    I have the same problem Josh has. Switch b does nothing and switch A only stops the car and does not relay reverse the motion as designed. I strongly believe this diagram to be innaccurate at some point.

  5. kenny west

    Just wanted to say thank you for posting the instructions, etc.! I was able to use yours and modify to control a linear actuator where it retracted, waited 20 seconds and then expanded again. Using as a remote trunk unlock with two Directed Electronics 528T relays (they are DPDT relays with an adjustable timer which can be set to either send + or - for a prescribed time or pause before sending + or -.

    THANKS!!

  6. Fred

    Great tutorial, my diy rig works perfectly. Only waiting on an update on how to wire the speed controller to the rig.

  7. Josh Witt

    Still no luck. Everything same as diagram but when micro switch is hit motor just stops while switch is on then starts upon release in same direction. Only thing different is I'm using a different motor. Any ideas?

  8. Ricky Vargad

    I have to say that this tutorial was great
    Good job!
    I have a quick question. Can you tell me how to
    Connect a PIR sensor to this circuit.
    The sensor has 3leads , vcc,output and ground.
    Thanks again for your help.
    Ricky v.

  9. Josh

    Hi I just built this as per diagram (triple checked!) but am having a problem. The motor starts then when the microswitch is triggered the motor stops (while holding switch down) and once released the motor continues in the same direction. Then once the other microswitch is triggered that does nothing at all. For the life of me I cannot figure it out. I'm only using a small hobby motor in the slider I've made so not sure if this is the problem. (http://www.ebay.com.au/ulk/itm/252222994233 )
    Any ideas would be great!!! I've tried swapping positive and negative to the motor and change microswitch positions with no luck. Checked connections also.

    Thanks

  10. Dave

    Hello, I think this is great. The question I have is what type of motor can be used. I need something a bit smaller, and would you be able to power it with any kind of regular battery setup? I am an amateur with electronics. Also, what is the belt called or could you link to it? Any links or advise would be appreciated.

  11. Frankie31

    No THis servo goes 360. is how it was made. where would the controller go in? With the Motor? Thanks

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Frankie31 - Servos are different than DC motors. Most servos don't rotate a full 360, but some do. This requires a different way of controlling it though, so this may now work.

  13. Frankie31

    Using a Servo Motor, does this change how the set up? I'm using the servo wiring connections and can you show how to set up with the controller?
    Awesome video and thanks for the hard work behind giving this to us.
    I'm have to electronics background to this is all new to me. Using parts left from my brother's setup, but since he passed, I have no explanation on the setup
    Thanks again.
    Frankie(girl)

  14. Any update on getting the Servo City Speed Controller to work? Sounds like @steve got it to work, but @jerry wasn't able to replicate. I'm waiting for my relay to arrive, and hoped someone could clarify/verify the wiring changes needed to make it work?

  15. Jerry Wickham

    Sorry that was meant to say, wiring the MOTOR to 1 and 2. the controller is on 5 and 6.

  16. Jerry Wickham

    Steve!!
    You say you got this to work with a controller? WHICH controller are you using? I tried to use the Servo City one, wiring it to 1 and 2 as you suggested, but still nothing.
    Can ANYONE who has been successful doing this with a controller please respond?

  17. Jerry Wickham

    Hey Emm,
    Can you tell me how long that battery you have run while ping-ponging back and forth? I know there are lots of variables, but given the setup you have there, how long?

    Thanks!!

  18. Please can anybody help me? I ordered the parts as mentioned above and did all install like the drawing only for me it does not work. It is meant to be for a little geared DC 12v motor. When powered up the motor turns in one direction but by making contact with the left micro switch it stops. Clicking the right micro switch, it stops also. What am I doing wrong? Please can some one help me in the good direction with this? I would very much appreciate your help. P.Drummen ( drum.men@live.nl )

  19. Dear sir, I`ve build this like your drawing on top, but there is a problem. For me this has to auto reverse a geared 12v motor but it only turns in one direction and by contact of the left micro switch no revers is happening. touching the right switch, stops the motor. So yours truly, is doing something very wrong. Electronics is like Russian speaking for me, I do know very little about this.I hope you can give me a hint in the right direction and I will be in your debt for ever. Best regards, P.Drummen.

  20. Videoskip

    Any updates on a speed controller that will work with this set-up, emm?
    Works great, but I still need speed control.
    Any suggested parts for this? Thanks! Great project!

  21. hello. i'm just wondering how can you control the speed of the motor. because i'm doing a project of automation the movement are the same with your project, but my motor is to fast so can i handle that thing .. how can i control the speed of the motor . thank you in advance for your response .

  22. steve

    I have got speed controller conected!All works!U have to conect speed controler to battery the other end of speed controler to 5 and 6!your motor conects to 1 and 2!All works difrent speed and switches both ways!Hope it helps

  23. SteveC

    The only way I could slow down the speed of the motor was with some resistors after the relay output voltage going to the motor. The relay needs 12 volts to operate, decreasing voltage here will prevent the relay from working.
    Works on Kessler motors and or Servo city motors on Kessler sliders. Next up to put in silent magnetic switches as the micro switches make a clicking sound.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/121237867855?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

  24. Steve

    Perfect... This can't be hard for you but I need it to stop on each end and wait for a timer before going back .. Can you modify this with timers to trip the back and forth. Thank much

  25. Emm

    Post author

    @Don - I have not tried adding a speed controller into the circuit, but yes I believe it will take more equipment. When I have time i'll try to do it.

  26. Don

    Hi. Your video and drawing are a really good explanation for auto reversing any dc motor set up. But, like many others i would like to control the speed of the motor. I dont think a contoller would go in this set up because the reverse polarity would not work with the dc pos/neg once the polarity is reversed. I would only assume a way to connect the speed control using a separate relay, but have no idea how it would be wired into this relay with the speed control attached. Did you ever get it to work with speed controller?

  27. Emm

    Post author

    @Jesus - I see many people are still trying to figure that part out. I haven't had time to sit back down with this schematic lately, but when I do i'll repost. Subscribe to my channels to stay updated.

  28. Thank you very Much for this Set-Up Video it help me a lot
    one more question how do you use the Speed Controller with the same Set-up
    i like to use for some Time-lapse
    Thank you very much

  29. Emm

    Post author

    @Corduroy Panda - It's not going to be inserted so easily as the Servo City controller has 'reverse polarity protection'. The diagram is designed for 'auto reverse polarity'. In order to add a controller, you would need one without this protection feature, or may need to add in another relay. Still something I have to get back to working on.

  30. Any idea on where to insert the motor controller?

    I'm trying to rig my servo city controller (green box with one knob), but have no idea where into the diagram to insert it. I'm guessing somewhere close to the motor?

    Thanks.

  31. Hi Steve, which motor did you use? I don't know which motor should I go for. I want to use it for a speed that is overall safe in most regards.
    Specifically looking to get a 3rd / 4th angle for wedding entrance.

  32. Emm

    Post author

    @Josh - It's possible, but that plug would have to have an adapter that uses 12V DC output.

  33. Josh

    Excellent tutorial and idea.

    My question - would there be a way to eliminate the battery and use a plug instead for long term use?

  34. Emm

    Post author

    @Eugene - I ordered a few I think would be easy to wire in. Haven't received them yet. Overseas stuff can be a few weeks sometimes.

  35. Emm

    Post author

    @John Hales - I'll have to test this out, to make sure it works. When I do i'll update this information.

  36. John Hales

    Emm could you modify your wire drawing to show where the motor controller would fit in? I assume 5 & 6 between the battery and the block.

  37. Emm

    Post author

    @SteveC - I can't speak for the speed controller, but this setup should work directly with the stepper motors to reverse the polarity.

  38. EdU

    Very good project. I'm doing something.
    I have one question: how to connect the drive controller?
    I tried with a PWM controller in the feed, but I do not work correctly.
    Thank you.

  39. Gary

    I am so up for trying this with my cheapo manual slider. Just got a couple of questions.

    Any update on the motor that was used and the update with the speed controller connected?

    I'm in the UK so will be looking to buy the materials on eBay more than likely.

  40. Emm

    Post author

    @Anthony - This IGUS slider is a prototype from them. I don't have the list of parts right now. As soon as they work on finalizing the right assembly, i'll get the parts list.

  41. Hey Em,
    Couple of questions.
    1: Could you use the 4 Servo Recorder from Servo City to control it? It would allow you to do a nice ramp down/up at the ends. Then you could just put in Loop Mode and let it play back your commands.

    2: Any chance of showing us the parts you used from ServoCity to mount the rig to your Igus rail?

  42. Tom

    Is that the battery you recommend, Emm??

    I was just gonna use a 8 x AA carriage and make a little housing for it.

  43. Personally, I am completely intimidated by any DIY project, but I have a couple of Igus rails, so who knows, I might be tempted to give it a go. Thanks for putting such a detailed description of the entire project. This would work wonders for landscape shooting, but it might be getting off center quickly, if you wanted to shoot an interview with this setup. How difficult would it be to have a setup like Kessler's where they have a mechanical wheel of some sort under the head that makes the tripod head that sits on the carriage rotate towards a center point (which would be where the subject of an interview would be) as the carriage goes left to right?

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