To Blynk, or not to Blynk; that is the question. There are pluses and minuses.
The camera slider App provided by many manufacturers is free, but rarely comes with source code. If you want to use Blynk instead like I did for this project, my costs here were an additional $62. What are some reasons to make you want to switch? For many users, the original cellphone App is just fine. But with Blynk, you can custom-tailor the App.
- The manufacturer cellphone App cannot be modified as far as layout, functionality, and usability. On the other hand, the Blynk App allows new widgets (sliders, buttons, joysticks, virtual terminals, LEDs, charts, etc.) to be added, deleted, or reconfigured.
- The manufacturer App allows parameters to be reconfigured (rail length, distance to object, and height to object), but must be re-entered each time you turn the power on. Blynk allows you the ability to set parameters offline in edit mode and lock them, so after each restart you are ready to hit START immediately.
- The manufacturer App works pretty much line-of-sight using BlueTooth or Wifi. Blynk allows you to be in one location and control a slider in the next room, next city, or anywhere in the world for that matter. That’s the IOT (Internet of Things) philosophy; sensor data can be received and re-transmitted to anywhere in the world from the Blynk Cloud.
- One Blynk App can be used with different manufacturer sliders instead of needing a different cellphone App for each one. I have two sliders, and can control either one equally.
- Like any Internet-based server, the Blynk Cloud can get busy every once in awhile; you will see a short lag time between button presses on the Blynk App and the response from the camera slider. Press the WiFi Test blue button on the App; you should see an immediate response (blue LED flash) on the Heltec Blynk board. If it doesn’t come along in a few seconds, then check to see if you are actually offline as indicated in the upper right-hand corner of the Blynk App.
This is not the end of the list of advantages that outweigh the additional cost. I’m sure there are many more. Hit me up with your reasons if you decide to switch to Blynk.