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rahtware
06-18-2006, 12:11 AM
Hey all

After reading about what the hackers are doing to the CVS/RiteAid returnable camcorders I was interested... After viewing a couple of videos taken with them and posted on Putfile I was sold!

(Check out ForestCams threads, "My first AP video" and "My second AP video" shot with a converted CVS camcorder.)

But then came the bad news, I'm about 3 months too late as the days of simply patching into one and downloading a free ops sys are all but gone...

The good news is, Pure Digital, makers of the returnables has released an upgraded version as the PD Point and Shoot. This is a fully functional digital camcorder that gives a decent 30 minutes of 640 X 480 videos in a 4.8oz (+ 2AAs) package.

http://www.puredigitalinc.com/products/pandsvideo/index.html

For $129 (not including the $20 rebate on their website)...

http://www.puredigitalinc.com/images/products/pandsvideo/P_S_20Rebate.pdf

I got a simple to use (strap it to the plane, push the start button, take off!) camcorder that has its USB plug built in. Heck, it even has the software installed in memory so all I had to do the have the camera talk to my 'puter is plug the two together. I have to add that I have tried other inexpensive camcorders and took them back due to the unacceptable quality of the videos... Not the case with the Point N Shoot.

I won't be able to attach it to a plane for about a week (vacation), but will post vids when I do.

Frodo
06-18-2006, 12:34 AM
Thank you so much for this info! This is just what I need!

qban_flyer
06-18-2006, 01:16 AM
YUP!

I am late as well.

You saved me quite a bit of footwork RW.

THXS! :D

rahtware
06-25-2006, 04:24 PM
Back from vacation and got in one flight yesterday.

As I didn't need a control system for the camcorder, attaching it to my Slow Stick took all of 1/2 hour! By the time I took off the wind had died and the sun was at a nice angle so I had all but perfect conditions for my first test.

The lens is offset in the camera and as I was shooting through the LG the camera ended up offset to the left. This caused a minor trim problem, but worked OK.

The two real problems I encountered were the motor and waves in the recorded video. I am still running a stock motor/gear drive and it was barely able to climb carrying the camera. The complete 4 1/2 minute flight was at full power and I don't think it got over 200' above the ground. The waves are minor enough that the video is viewable so I'm not going to mess with shielding until I settle on a new motor or build an AP dedicated plane.

I tried to download the video, but as I am on dial-up at this house it didn't turn out very well. I will be down in Sonoma on the weekend and will have access to HS cable so will download a good copy then.

So far I consider this a great success.

An unexpected bonus is how much I used this CC on vacation… I have a good Canon camera that also shoots great videos, but hardly used it as it was so much easier to carry this little camcorder with me.

ForestCam
06-25-2006, 05:36 PM
I've found out the waves have nothing to do with interference from the motor or radio.

From what I hear any camera with a CMOS imaging chip will get them.

rahtware
06-26-2006, 12:10 AM
FC

Thanks for the input. My problem with this is that video that I shot out of a moving boat (about 7mph) has no waves in it, but the SS video does??? Sometime today I will shoot out of the window of the car and see if I can duplicate the problem away from the SS.

ForestCam
06-26-2006, 02:36 AM
Problem is when doing AP everything moves, you have no stable background so every frame is an entirely new image whereas when shooting just about anything else you have a stable background that doesn't change much frame to frame.


BTW how did you shoot from a boat and get no waves?:p

rahtware
06-26-2006, 07:00 AM
I guess I left myself open to that one...:D

rahtware
06-26-2006, 07:18 AM
Shots of my verrrrrry simple camera mount.

13328

13329

13330

All held together with CA and double sided tape. The mount is attached to the SS body tube with DS tape and electricians tape!

rahtware
06-26-2006, 05:38 PM
2nd flight this AM. Changed out the power system with one that came with my Flat Out plane. After doing this I charged the battery... I forgot that the NiMh pack that I use with my SS gives a false full to the charger that I was using. I restarted the charger and the batt took another 700mah (1100mah batt)! That might have been the problem with power yesterday, not the motor.

Anyway, the flight went well and I had enough power to climb as high as I wanted so was able to try different power settings. The waves continued, but I still question if they might be connected to the electronics as they seem to change with power setting. I did a test glide, but forgot that the prop windmills (motor becomes a small generator).

I have a second video and will post both today... I remembered that the local library is a hot spot with high speed hook up.

ForestCam
06-26-2006, 06:27 PM
Not sure how the software works with your version but with mine and OpenOPS you can change the resolution on the camera from 320x240 to 640x480 and the video comes out a lot clearer.

One thing you can do to save a LOT of weight is get rid of the case. You can also power the camera off the reciever by connecting to the 5v USB contacts on the camera. I'm running mine off a spare lipo cell but I may go back to the receiver to save weight and it wasn't the cause of the waves like I thought.

I've gone so far as to enable the brake on my ESC to stop the prop in a glide (always seems to stop in the frame though :rolleyes:) but I still get waves.

aviatordave
06-26-2006, 06:37 PM
Shots of my verrrrrry simple camera mount.

All held together with CA and double sided tape. The mount is attached to the SS body tube with DS tape and electricians tape!

We are in the same club! here is my mount for my 3D glow plane, sometimes simple is best!

This is a hacked CVS cam.

Dave

rahtware
06-26-2006, 11:51 PM
Not sure how the software works with your version but with mine and OpenOPS you can change the resolution on the camera from 320x240 to 640x480 and the video comes out a lot clearer.

One thing you can do to save a LOT of weight is get rid of the case. You can also power the camera off the reciever by connecting to the 5v USB contacts on the camera. I'm running mine off a spare lipo cell but I may go back to the receiver to save weight and it wasn't the cause of the waves like I thought.

I've gone so far as to enable the brake on my ESC to stop the prop in a glide (always seems to stop in the frame though :rolleyes:) but I still get waves.

FC

It comes 640X480... From what I've read about the popular hacks it seems that PD took these into account when they put together the "Point N Shoot".

I hope it isn't true (about the cause of the waves being how the chip sees), but even if it is I am still happy with the results. Let's face it, a year ago most of us didn't even think we could stretch our hobby budget enough to be able to make full flight videos... Let alone one that could be shown full screen on a TV!

rahtware
06-27-2006, 12:18 AM
We are in the same club! here is my mount for my 3D glow plane, sometimes simple is best!

This is a hacked CVS cam.

Dave
Dave

So that is where my paint sticks went.:D

Here is mine mounted on the SS...
13346

13347

Motions
06-28-2006, 01:05 AM
It seems most people would be better off getting the Oregon Scientific camera which has more features including SD card slot and it's half the price. Plus it's rugged.

rahtware
06-28-2006, 05:14 AM
FC

Here is an example of the distortion I was talking about. It's a short clip that starts off with full throttle and the 'waves'... About half way through I reduced the throttle and the waves go away. I left in the sound track so you can hear the transition.

http://media.putfile.com/radiodistortion

aviatordave
06-28-2006, 05:18 AM
Dave

So that is where my paint sticks went.:D



Ha ha...Kosh gave me the tip on the Menards Paint sticks.......I feel guilty asking for the sticks when I really didnt buy any paint...:o

Foamaholic
06-28-2006, 06:04 AM
I have the Oregon Scientific helmetcam and it does a pretty good job.
Here is a video with it on a hazy day and I saved it smaller than the original.

http://media.putfile.com/Easystar-Onboard-Video-7-2

rca
06-28-2006, 06:17 AM
FC

Here is an example of the distortion I was talking about. It's a short clip that starts off with full throttle and the 'waves'... About half way through I reduced the throttle and the waves go away. I left in the sound track so you can hear the transition.

http://media.putfile.com/radiodistortion

I have to agree with you Larry, it definitely went away when you reduced throttle. Nice and clear without the waves.

ron

rahtware
06-28-2006, 06:27 AM
Thanks for the reply Ron. Sorry about the size, I'm still learning.

rahtware
06-28-2006, 06:37 AM
I have the Oregon Scientific helmetcam and it does a pretty good job.
Here is a video with it on a hazy day and I saved it smaller than the original.

http://media.putfile.com/Easystar-Onboard-Video-7-2
Great vid!

I don't know which Point N Shoot camera you saw, but they only cost $129 with a $20 rebate. Also, no need to buy an extra card as the PNS comes with a half a gig internal memory... 30 minutes of 640 X 480 at a good quality...

I have to add that I like the HelmCams shape better then the PNS.

Motions
06-28-2006, 10:49 AM
The helmet cam is just a lot easy to mount in my opinion. It does have internal memory but only 6 min or so. I picked mine up at Best Buy for $59.

Foamaholic
06-28-2006, 06:51 PM
Right, it is easier to mount. I put a 1 gig card in mine and use rechargable AAA batteries from walmart.

rahtware
07-01-2006, 12:21 AM
It's been a few days/flights and I have concluded that most, if not all of the 'waves' are due to radio/motor interference. I even did a test (and I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier) holding the plane while changing throttle settings.... The waves responded to the throttle changes. I figure the Slow Stick is a contributing factor, it's metal body tube and motor/radio setup has to be part of the problem. I have now decided to build a plane around the PnS. My new plane will have no metal of carbon fiber in the body, and it will be a pusher with the camera mounted on the front, this to get the camera as far away from the motor/radio as possible. More after the 4th....

ForestCam
07-01-2006, 01:50 AM
Just for giggles try wraping the camera in some tinfoil as a shield, I would with mine but being it's stripped down I'd probably short it out.:eek:

If it works then maybe a bag made of of silver mylar would do the trick.

aviatordave
07-01-2006, 02:14 AM
It's been a few days/flights and I have concluded that most, if not all of the 'waves' are due to radio/motor interference. I even did a test (and I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier) holding the plane while changing throttle settings.... The waves responded to the throttle changes. I figure the Slow Stick is a contributing factor, it's metal body tube and motor/radio setup has to be part of the problem. I have now decided to build a plane around the PnS. My new plane will have no metal of carbon fiber in the body, and it will be a pusher with the camera mounted on the front, this to get the camera as far away from the motor/radio as possible. More after the 4th....

Did you try it with a brushless motor?

rahtware
07-01-2006, 09:48 PM
Did you try it with a brushless motor?

Yup!

Here's the latest... I tried a different mount made out of stryo-foam, still waves. So I took the camera off the plane and held it next to the plane. I had trouble holding the pland (-wing), radio and camera, but I couldn't see any waves! Could the whole problem be caused by vibration???

Foamaholic
07-01-2006, 09:54 PM
You could try banancing the prop to make the plane vibrate less. I'll bet it is the vibration. Could you wrap the camera in something like the foam they use to protect receivers from vibration?

rahtware
07-02-2006, 01:48 AM
You could try banancing the prop to make the plane vibrate less. I'll bet it is the vibration. Could you wrap the camera in something like the foam they use to protect receivers from vibration?

These are some of the things I am thinking of trying... Plus, starting from scratch with a new plane, installing the camera in my E-Cub (balsa flies better!) packed in insulating foam as you suggested or give up on the whole project and spend the rest of the holiday weekend in the pub!:D

rahtware
07-03-2006, 03:38 AM
Balanced the prop and the motor bell for the BP-21. I love this little motor because of it's high power/dollar ratio, but it does vibrate... Even without the prop! I wasn't able to get rid of all the vibration so am going back to the Flat-Outs motor/gearbox and see if I can do any better with it. Problem is I won't be able to spare any time until next weekend so this project is on hold for a week.

Have fun on the Forth, be safe out there!