The FCE Winchcam system is equipment to be used to suspend and move a video camera platform above the ground using four cables. The system consists of four servo-controlled winch units, a microprocessor-based System Controller, the cables, and a hand-held control box. The Exhibit will display several pieces of the equipment designed and built for the System.
The WinchCam project is in a development stage. Movement of the payload object has been accomplished in three dimensions through coordinated operation of the four winches. A payload assembly consisting of a gimbal, a TV camera, and a sway stabilizer has been assembled and operated.
Each of the winches is operated as a automatic feedback -controlled DC-motor servo system. Each winch includes a winch controller electronics assembly with associated software. The winch controller assemblies are custom built and programmed. The computing power for each winch controller is supplied by a manufactured microprocessor circuit board intended for project development. Circuit boards from STMicroelectronics and from CCS Info are used.
A System Controller computer assembly takes in payload-movement commands from the system's human operator and translates those commands into length-change commands for each winch. Those commands are transmitted to the four winches. Each winch then precisely turns it drum in order to take in or let out its supporting cable. When the length change commands are well coordinated, the result is that the camera payload package moves smoothly according to the wishes of the system operator: up-down, left-right, and near-far.
The winches and the system controller have been designed, fabricated, and tested by Tom Smith of Fern Creek Electronics Inc. (FCE. )
Fern Creek Electronics Inc. is a one-man company concerned with designing and building electronic projects for industrial applications. These projects also may include mechanical and software design. The projects often involve control of motors with servo control loops. Projects may be in response to requests from customers or they may be company-funded development projects.
Fern Creek Electronics Inc. is a Florida “S” corporation, established in 2000. Tom Smith is the owner and sole employee. He is an electronic engineer who graduated from University of Tennessee in 1970. When there was only the Knoxville campus. He has worked for large corporations in the military surveillance-systems business before starting his own company.