Established in 2008

Updated November 25th, 2014

FAQ:

  1. When installing servo controller drivers, you get the error: "The third party INF does not contain digital signature information". Solution: Restart with Driver Signature Enforcement disabled: in Windows 8.1/10 Click Start > Type: "Advanced Startup > Click "Change advanced Startup Options" > Under "Advanced Startup" click "Restart now" > Click "Troubleshoot" > Click "Advanced Options" > Click "Start-up Settings" > Click "Restart" > When presented with a list of options press F7 for "Disable Driver signature enforcement" > After it restarts you can go into device manager, find the Pololu controller, right click on it, select Properties, "Browse for Drivers", navigate to the drivers folder within the Turret Control folder, and click OK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM1MN8QZhnk
  2. Would I be able to install an extremely high res camera? The higher the resolution, the more there is to process and the lower the frame rate will be regardless of the how many frames per second the camera is able to produce.
  3. Problem: When I click the go to center button, the turret is not quite centered. Solution: You can adjust the x and y limited in the settings.txt file which will adjust where center is because it splits the difference.
  4. Problem: I plug the board into the usb to usb mini cable and a amber led blinks that is it. Solution: The USB cable you are trying to use is typically the problem.
  5. How well can it see at night? That totally depends on the camera you are using and the lighting. Most cameras have IR filters in them so IR illumination is not an option unless you remove the filter. Analog security cameras with built in IR illumination can be used but you have to also use a $10 Analog-to-USB converter so that the camera can be using in windows. It is usually best to use your own illumination in the form of LED flood lights though.
  6. Can the system be used to point a flashlight at targets? Not at this time. The flashlight will interfere with targeting.
  7. Can this detect, tract and shoot flying insects? Yes, if you use a camera that is zoomed in a lot and high gear ratio gear boxes for the servos so that the movement is very limited but very precise. Many people have already done this though and found it to be a impractical solution to the problem of killing mosquitoes though.
  8. Can I use larger, 12v servos or stepper motor 'servos'? Steppers will not work because they are open loop. 12v may work. See the 'pololu maestro' servo controller documentation. People typically find though that the problem they were attempting to solve by using larger servos was not a problem after all.
  9. Does the program require internet access to tun? No, it doesn't.
  10. Is there way I can use an electronic trigger? Yes, a ~$10 pololu servo controlled relay can be used.
  11. Would the software support a thermal imaging camera? Yes, if it can be seen as a usb video device in windows.
  12. Will the software work if used on a moving platform? No, the camera must be still.
  13. Do you ship to X country? Yes.
  14. WHat is the cost to ship to X country? The shipping prices are listed on each product page.
  15. I recently ordered the starter kit. Can you tell me when it will arrive? When the label is printed, payapl send an email to you with the tracking information.
  16. Can I use a Raspberry Pi? No, the software isn't written in a language that it supports and the Pi is too slow anyway.
  17. Can I use the pololu controller that I already have and just get the software by itself? No, the pololu controller we use has modified firmware.
  18. Can the Kinect be used? Yes. It doesn't work outdoors very well though because it is blinded by the sun.
  19. Can I use an arduino? No, the pololu controller was picked over the arduino after extensive testing. It performs far better for this task and is also less expensive.
  20. Will the software run on Linux, Android, iOS, or Mac? No, it will not.
  21. After I buy the Starter Kit can you email the software to me? It wouldn't matter if we emailed it to you since it only works with the modified pololu controller that is shipped to you. As soon as you opened it it would complain about the missing controller and would not run.
  22. How much weight can the Heavy Turret hold? About 20lbs.
  23. Can I use stepper motors or open-loop servos? No, open loop motors will not work for this software, or for systems like this in general. In other words, any motor that is told to move a direction instead of a specific position will not work regardless of the use of encoders. The main reason is because the computer is making an assumption of position based on encoder tick counts or elapsed time. Several commonly occurring events make that assumption incorrect. Another problem specific to steppers is that they are generally slow and power-hungry.

 

Compatibility:

This software was tested with Windows XP SP2 & 3 and windows 7 32 & 64bit. It has been reported to work with vista. It runs faster and more smoothly on XP. As an experiment, an Acer Aspire One model D255E with win7 starter was tested for frame rate and then XP Pro was installed (all other variables like hardware and drivers were the same). The result was a significant increase in frame rate and smoothness with XP.

Step 1 (software setup):

Read the readme file and go through the steps in the video below. Make sure the drivers are installed for your camera (Logitec Pro 9000 is recommended) and the there is good lighting.

Step 2 (hardware setup):

Setup the turret hardware and servos using the instructions found here.

Step 3 (calibration) (specific to software version 2.6):

You should now have a video source running and the turret hardware setup so the that the sliders in the turret calibration tab move the servos as expected.

    Initial calibration must be done before the system is used for the very first time and any time a new/different camera is installed. It does not need to be done when swapping paintball/airsoft guns. Instead, an adjustable offset value is used to line the new gun up to the existing calibration map. A popular method with the portable turrets is to calibrate the system against a large wall whose distance from the system is equal to the average distance you expect targets to appear.   

    There should also be a laser on the paintball gun which is helpful to indicate exactly where the gun is aiming. Be aware that the laser will be very difficult to see outdoors in daylight. It may be best to do calibration at night for this reason.

Use the default calibration mode (leave 'alternate calibration mode' and '360 mode' unchecked).

  1. Look at the image labeled Calibration Example in the turret control folder to get an idea of the general concept.
  2. Put the software in Calibration mode and select a target area with the 'Set Target Area' button.
  3. Select the Turret Calibration tab and click the 'Start Calibration' button.
  4. Move the turret with the X and Y sliders while using the laser on the pb gun as a guide (or the video feed from the zoom camera if there is one) to where the turret is aiming. Aim the turret with the slider so that the you can see the laser dot near the bottom left edge of the target area in the software as illustrated in the example picture.
  5. Move your mouse pointer to where the laser dot is on the screen and click it. Now the first point is set. ( You do all of the other points the same way using the calibration example image as a guide.)
  6. When the 9th point is set you are done. Click the calculate button.

Step 4 (calibration verification with mouse aiming):

Mouse Aiming mode should now be used to test calibration accuracy. If, as you slowly move the mouse, the turret moves in the opposite direction, click the appropriate 'reverse axis' checkbox, click the calculate button again, and retest. Do not expect the laser to be an accurate indicator of where the pb/airsoft gun will actually shoot since the paintball/BB will drop a little depending on distance. Because of this, after calibration, you will likely need to use offsets to align the pb/airsoft gun. To do this, use mouse aiming mode and fire test shots. Adjust the offsets until the shots land where the mouse it pointed.

Step 5 (auto aim settings):

The default setting are pretty good for most scenarios but the settings on this system are so flexible that it can easily be set up to perform poorly if not adjusted correctly. If the settings were dumbed down and simplified, the system wouldn't have the flexibility to operate correctly in such a wide variety of scenarios. The pop-up tool-tips that appear as you hover your mouse over each setting should be very helpful. The combination of those and about a week of experimentation should teach you what you need to know to set it up correctly. We're always available to answer questions over email.

Other Info:

Object Recognition: 

The object recognition features in this software are very flexible. In general the software compares each new target to images in the Reference Targets folder. Then based on user settings, accepts or reject them as a match. Keep the images relatively small and remove target images that are not going to be needed or used. Too many images or images that are very large may slow the software down.

 sentry gun turret sentry ptz camera targeting software paintball airsoftsentry gun turret sentry ptz camera targeting software paintball airsoft

How to add/remove more object recognition images:

To add more reference images: while in auto targeting mode, simply click the target as it's being tracked. The software will find the target closest to your click point, create a new folder labeled "[date] Motion Image", and save the motion image to that folder as a time stamped bmp file. Then you need to rename it with a description followed by a 2 digit number and move it to the Reference Targets folder. A list of example file names would be Person01.bmp, Person02.bmp, Dog01.bmp, etc. Once you're finished you would click Update Reference Image List (or restart the program) and the new object will be added to the list. From there you can select how and if you want to filter them.

To remove reference images: The program will need to be closed first. then you can move them out of that folder to another one in case you may want to use them again later. When the program is started up again it will add whatever images are in the Reference Targets folder.

 

Sound Files: 

There are 2 categories of sound files, the ones played when a target is found and when a target is lost.

You can replace the mp3s with whatever you want but they have to conform to the file names already there. there are 15 for when a target is found (i.e. a1.mp3) and 10 for when it is lost (i.e. b1.mp3).  For example, if you want it to randomly select from 4 mp3s when a target is found you will need to duplicate the files until there are 15 of them and then rename them a1.mp3 - a15.mp3. (Do not do this while the program is running.)


Manual Aiming:

Manual Aiming is done by selecting Mouse Aim in the mode selector and simply hovering the mouse where you want the turret to aim. Firing is done with the left mouse button. It was built into the system to verify calibration.

 

Auto Aim:

    Auto Aim is the primary mode of this system. When Auto Fire is enabled along with Auto Aim the system will automatically track, anticipate and engage targets based on the system settings. It's performance and accuracy is largely dependent on correct calibration and on how well the settings are adjusted.

 

Auto Fire:

    Auto Fire has 3 main modes, Full Auto, Semi-Auto and Camcorder mode. In full auto the system will hold the trigger while a valid target is present. In semi-auto it will pull and release the trigger at a user specified interval and count down rounds as it fires. When rounds remaining equal zero it will cease fire. In camcorder mode it will press the record button on the camcorder when a target is first detected and press it again to stop the recording after no activity has been detected for a short amount of time.