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Servo City ABS SPT-50, SPT-100, SPT-200 Pan and Tilt Systems Review

Servo City has a Pan and Tilt system for just about any application, and with the correct servos and you can easily mount the pan and tilt just about anywhere on the aircraft.

Splash

Introduction

Servo City, right here in the Midwest, has been offering up great products since 2001. They have wide range of servos for just about any application and also distribute radios, gearboxes, wiring, connectors, and batteries from within their huge selection that they ship internationally. A really nice feature of their website is detailed diagrams of all servos including dimensions, full specification tables and servo arm movement.

This review will introduce their light load lifters in the SPT-50, SPT-100 and SPT-200 complete packages. Some of Servo Citys Pan/Tilt systems can lift a camera well over ten pounds. I guarantee that one of theses will meet even the most critical requirements of your aircraft or, for that matter, your car.

<b>Available From:</b>  <a href=http://servocity.com/>Servo City</a>
Available From: Servo City

Weight STP-50:1.0oz./(28g) including servos
Servo Type SPT-50-:HitecRCD HS-55
Website SPT-50:SPT-50
Measurement:2.25T x 1.25W x 1.25D
Price:$19.99

Weight STP-100:4.5oz./(128g) including servos
Servo Type SPT-100-:HitecRCD HS-645 or similar Futaba
Website SPT-100:SPT-100
Measurement:3.75T x 1.75W x 1.25D
Price:$19.99

Weight STP-200:7.8oz./(221g) including servos
Servo Type SPT-200-:HitecRCD HS-645 or similar Futaba
Website SPT-50:SPT-200
Measurement:5.10T x 3.15W x 2.0D
Price:$45.9

Kit Content SPT-50

Assembly

Of the three, this is the easiest to complete. The SPT-50 is designed for use with very small cameras like a flycam or smaller, but it will handle a GoPro as well. With the SPT-50, and for that matter all pan and tilt systems, it is not the power and torque needed not to rotate the camera, but rather to lift or tilt the camera back up.

Before you begin, make sure you plug in your servos to the receiver and center each one. Otherwise, you might bind and strip gears very quickly. Use your transmitter to adjust the center point, and if you have capability, you should adjust the end points too.

You will need a quality Phillips head screwdriver, some thread lock, and to complete the system, some double stick tape.

HS-55 or HS-55MG are used for the SPT-50. Other similar servos may work, but the spline of the servo has to match the drive gear.

The tilt arm is attached to the other servo's splined shaft .

I attached the tilt servo to the pan plate with double stick tape (or glue or hot glue). Because this is the last connection to your camera, you might want to attach a thin piece of monofilament or Kevlar thread as a fail-safe should the camera pop off.

This can be mounted in just about any configuration. I have found the better mounts are ones that allow the servo to recess down into a solid mount to avoid any sloppy movement.

Kit Content SPT-100

Assembly

You will quickly realize how much more strength the SPT-100 has over the SPT-50. It is almost 5x heavier, but can handle cameras in the weight of 10 ounces. I used the HS 845HB servos so I could have a camera capacity of near 10 ounces. An HS-645MG would provide more in the area of 6 ounces. The SPT-100 is available in both Hitec and Futaba configuration.

 These Hitec servos are an excellent choice.
These Hitec servos are an excellent choice.
 Enlarge to see the specs
Enlarge to see the specs
 This is the tilt servo and plate.
This is the tilt servo and plate.

 The Hitec servo arm is well secured.
The Hitec servo arm is well secured.
 This is the pan plate assembly.
This is the pan plate assembly.
 Note the servo arm only goes on one way.
Note the servo arm only goes on one way.

 The screws provide a very secure attachment.
The screws provide a very secure attachment.
 Your servo arm screw or bolt will attach the pan plate to the servo.
Your servo arm screw or bolt will attach the pan plate to the servo.
 Note the mounting holes for the other servo.
Note the mounting holes for the other servo.

Just another reminder to make sure your servos are centered. If not, remove the pan and tilt plates and get them corrected to center.

 Both servos joined
Both servos joined
 View II
View II
 View III
View III

 View III
View III
 View IV
View IV
 View V
View V

Kit Content SPT-200

Assembly

The SPT-200 is a heavy duty pan and tilt system capable of lifting 5.5 ounces using ABS plastic and a ball bearing tilt mount system. The large tilt plate on the top has holes for easily mounting a larger camera. Hitec HS-645 servo work well up to one pound, and HS-985MG or HS-7950TH servo really boost the possibilities with loads up to two pounds. I used HS 845HB servos.

 The servo arm has to be installed.  Make sure you pay attention to the alignment of the screw holes.
The servo arm has to be installed. Make sure you pay attention to the alignment of the screw holes.
 One of the side ball bearing mounts. The bearing may have to be pressed in using a vise or bearing press to avoid any damage.
One of the side ball bearing mounts. The bearing may have to be pressed in using a vise or bearing press to avoid any damage.
 The pan rotation shaft
The pan rotation shaft

The tilt head is a sequential build that you need to pay attention to or you will end up doing it again. This is especially true if your servos are not centered.

 The tilt servo mounts in one of two places that will house the servos between the frames.
The tilt servo mounts in one of two places that will house the servos between the frames.
 Here is where the tilt will attach.
Here is where the tilt will attach.
 Now both halves are installed to enclose the tilt servos very securely.
Now both halves are installed to enclose the tilt servos very securely.

 The left edge of the mount shows the interlocking pan plate mounted into the tilt plate
The left edge of the mount shows the interlocking pan plate mounted into the tilt plate
 The pan plate servo clamp shows here
The pan plate servo clamp shows here
 One more view
One more view

To complete the tilt system you have to install the tilt plate to the top of the tilt servo mount. This will require you to slip the aluminum shaft through the bearing on one end and then attach the other side to the servo. The large tilt plate has crews through the top to hold the two halves together.

The last procedure requires the preparation of the pan servo to the bottom of the pan and tilt frame. Make sure your servo is centered.

 Aluminum servo mounting posts are bolted to the servo and eventually the pan and tilt frame.
Aluminum servo mounting posts are bolted to the servo and eventually the pan and tilt frame.
 Here is the  pan shaft that will slip in to the aluminum clamp.
Here is the pan shaft that will slip in to the aluminum clamp.
 The shaft has matching splines for Hitec servo or Futaba servos.
The shaft has matching splines for Hitec servo or Futaba servos.

 This mount is for ultimately securely mounting the whole system within your aircraft.
This mount is for ultimately securely mounting the whole system within your aircraft.
 The side view shows it well.
The side view shows it well.
 The kit includes a long bolt and screw so if you can accommodate either a plastic or metal gear servo.
The kit includes a long bolt and screw so if you can accommodate either a plastic or metal gear servo.

You will slip the lower pan servo shaft into the clamp attached to the tilt frame and tighten the clamp. This completes the SPT-200 build.

 All buttoned up and ready to go
All buttoned up and ready to go
 View II
View II
 View III
View III

 View IV
View IV
 View V
View V
In use
In use

Servo Stretcher

There is the possibility that you do not have a way to adjust your end points with you transmitter. One way around this is a servo stretcher also available from Servo City Servo Stretcher. With this you can adjust the servo to a full 180 degrees instead of the 90 degrees normally provided on a analog servo The stretcher is only useable for analog servos. The unit weighs in at 0.5oz and measures 2.4"L x .86"D x .47"T.

Radio Installation

You will need a radio with the ability to actually rotate the servos. While you could place the two servos on switches, you will have a great deal of limitation in the use of the pan and tilt system. I used my Futaba 9 Cap Super and programmed it so that I have the use of two of the three potentiometers. Mark the transmitter so you know where center is located, and then you can either tilt or rotate the camera making for a really cool aerial video.

Completion

I installed a SPT-100 into my Ogar SZD-45 because the plane can handle extreme loads. The forward portion of the fuselage accommodates just about anything you want to put up there. Weight and CG were no problem. I also overlaid the existing fuselage platform with a piece of lite-ply so I could screw the pan servo into place. To make sure I had enough movement I used one of Servo City's Servo Stretchers to get a full 180 degree rotation on the pan. This was a blast to fly, and even though wind resistance is obvious, I had plenty of power and stability to use the SPT-100.

Is This For a Beginner?

This is all about having fun for anyone that can fly or race that wants to get a different view. I can also see this as the go-to system for FPV flyers.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

The need for more that one pan and tilt is likely obvious; as you migrate to larger cameras, the larger SPT 100 and 200 are needed. Where you place the system is important. The closer to the CG the more weight you can hold to a point. The SPT-50 is small enough to be placed under the fuselage and between the mains. It can also be mounted on top of the wing or if wanted you can put it inside the fuselage and under the canopy. The larger SPT-100 and SPT-200 will need a much bigger plane. The really nice thing about these mounts is that they resolve the need to make your own system. The ABS plastic is strong and durable. All the materials are first class.

The Good

  • Excellent materials and workmanship
  • Selection
  • Functional and dynamic

The bad

  • Nothing I could find
Last edited by Angela H; Jun 28, 2012 at 04:54 PM..

Discussion

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Old Sep 08, 2011, 10:52 AM
AMA 667982 KG7NKY
starcad's Avatar
Tucson, AZ, USA
Joined Sep 2000
1,989 Posts
Thanks for the review as I have been looking for a good inexpensive pan-tilt for several months now for my GoPro, Sky Walker. Looks like one of these fits the bill.
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 08:59 PM
Registered User
RootCanalGuy's Avatar
Joined Aug 2010
88 Posts
good pan tilt for skywalker

Starcad: here is a good option for your Skywalker:

http://www.readymaderc.com/store/ind...roducts_id=295 -Includes custom POD

http://www.readymaderc.com/store/ind...roducts_id=226 -Includes Hitec Servos

Good Luck,

AND Dave78 thank you very much for the review I think I will order a few and check them out.

R.C. Guy
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Last edited by RootCanalGuy; Sep 11, 2011 at 09:10 PM.
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Old Sep 12, 2011, 11:28 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,316 Posts
Folks, sorry my old brain got SPT and STP backawards in a few places. We are talking about the SPT pan and tilt units. Also please keep in mind that while the SPT-50 handles some loads, the GoPro might be just a little heavy. With the SPT-100 keep take of the ounces for your servo selvo selection. The HS-485HB might lift 10 ounces where the HS-645MG would be more like 6 ounces.
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Old Sep 14, 2011, 02:17 PM
T.ing to put on air 100 models
chiloschista's Avatar
Switzerland
Joined Feb 2008
655 Posts
Hi,

I really would like to buy a couple of pan / tilt turrets from Servocity.
I asked for a shipping quote and ... surprise : for about 90$ products, shipping quote was 40$ !
Unbelievable, when I asked for a more reasonable quote, seen that the wanted products probably will slip inside a padded envelope, they answered that this is not possible, this is their politic.

Sorry to say then that my politic prevents me to pay 40$ in shipping costs for 90$ hardware.
Seems I have to continue with my DIY turrets.

Best regards,

Ric
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Old Sep 14, 2011, 02:39 PM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Joined Aug 2002
28,483 Posts
All of those style P&T mounts are great for stripping tilt servos. Learned from hard experience.
Any time you put the weight of the camera at the end of the servo arm
you risk stripping the servo on a hard landing simply from the weight of the camera
swinging forward, or any direct impact to the camera (bush landing, or the plane
flipping over on the ground).

A proper tilt mount puts the pivot axis behind the CG of the camera+tilt servo
to take the load off the servo at high G's.

The heavy duty P&T is useful for ground based antenna trackers and that's about it.
I'd love to see Servo City develop a proper P&T mount.

ian
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Old Sep 14, 2011, 04:57 PM
ServoCity's Avatar
United States, KS, Winfield
Joined Jun 2011
369 Posts
ServoCity International Distributors

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiloschista View Post
Hi,

I really would like to buy a couple of pan / tilt turrets from Servocity.
I asked for a shipping quote and ... surprise : for about 90$ products, shipping quote was 40$ !
Unbelievable, when I asked for a more reasonable quote, seen that the wanted products probably will slip inside a padded envelope, they answered that this is not possible, this is their politic.

Sorry to say then that my politic prevents me to pay 40$ in shipping costs for 90$ hardware.
Seems I have to continue with my DIY turrets.

Best regards,

Ric
Hi Ric,
We understand that shipping costs are a big factor for international customers. That is one reason we have several international distributors that carry our products - including the pan and tilt systems you are interested in. Check out our international distributor link at: http://www.servocity.com/html/distributors.html

Since you are located in Switzerland, your best bet will probably be RobotShop. Here is the link to the SPT200 reviewed in this article. http://www.robotshop.com/eu/servocit...-pan-tilt.html
Thanks for your interest in our products. I hope this helps!
ServoCity
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Last edited by ServoCity; Sep 14, 2011 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Incorrect location listed....sorry!
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Old Sep 19, 2011, 02:46 PM
T.ing to put on air 100 models
chiloschista's Avatar
Switzerland
Joined Feb 2008
655 Posts
Hi,

thank you very much for your answer.

It seems that shipping costs will be really more reasonable by RobotShop (~8$).
This could definitely let me order something from your nice stock.

I still don't understand why you can't do the same (ok, ok, politic etc ...).

Anyway thanks again,

Ric


Quote:
Originally Posted by ServoCity View Post
Hi Ric,
We understand that shipping costs are a big factor for international customers. That is one reason we have several international distributors that carry our products - including the pan and tilt systems you are interested in. Check out our international distributor link at: http://www.servocity.com/html/distributors.html

Since you are located in Switzerland, your best bet will probably be RobotShop. Here is the link to the SPT200 reviewed in this article. http://www.robotshop.com/eu/servocit...-pan-tilt.html
Thanks for your interest in our products. I hope this helps!
ServoCity
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