Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

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mso
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Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by mso » Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:30 am

Years ago my mother started getting little christmas houses for christmas. Well she kept getting them to the point where they now fill our entire front hallway (30 feet long, 15 feet wide, 15 feet high). I have a radio contoled railroad set and last year I took the top off of the rear car and strapped my camcorder to it with elastics. Got some interesting shots, but I couldn't keep on. This time I'd like to put a small camara into the engineers compartment, maybe the cargo container and the rear car.
In the engineers car I have 3 inches by 1 inches of space. In the cargo car I have 2 inches by 3 inches of space (that is only through the doors, if I take the top part of the cargo car off I have about 5 inches long by 3 inches wide. Foer the rear car I ahve 6 inches 3 inches by 3 inches. What I'd like to do this year is to have small wireless cameras that can fit into one or more of the cars. Everyone was delighted with the pictures last year, and this year I'd like to set up a whole web sight. I'd use sensors on the tracks to keep a moving map of where the train is, with the cameras being chosen by the person at the computer. It's involved and I should have started before this, but I was busy this summer.<p> Can anyone advise me on a good video camera? The focal length will have to be either infinity or very short.<p>Mark

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Chris Smith
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by Chris Smith » Sun Sep 28, 2003 1:20 pm

X10 sells for about 50 bucks,[on sale?] Color camera, Transmitter, and a reciever unit, that you can strip down for size savings and run it off 4 AA batteries. It even comes with a buck boost step up unit for the batteries, to achieve the 12v running level of the unit. OR, 12 volts worth of AA can be made using two 4 battery pack holders.

sundancer87
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by sundancer87 » Sun Sep 28, 2003 7:58 pm

Chris, if you take a good look at the X10's power cord you will see a stereo plug at the end.
At that stereo plug are two different 12volt legs.
MSO will have to use the booster in order to come up with these two voltages.
:p

hp
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by hp » Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:18 pm

The reason why X-10 used the stereo plug approach was so they could make money off of the instant on X-10 camera. The instant on only switched the transmitter on and off while it left on the camera so there would be no turn on delay. The regular xcam would switch on and off the camera and the transmitter at the same time, which caused a bit of a delay when turning on the camera. One of the legs on the stereo plug powers the transmitter and the other leg powers the camera. One day I opened up the camera so I could see what was in it. Inside the 'camera' there was a 2.4ghz transmitter with onboard 8 volt voltage regulator. I believe the cmos camera also has a regulator. So this means you wont need exactly 12 volts and the voltage can be from the same battery pack.<p>Hope this helps,
Harrison

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Chris Smith
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by Chris Smith » Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:33 pm

My camera comes with a buck boost voltage doubler unit built in to the base of the camera, detachable and all, to run off the 12 volts from the transformer or the booster and batteries built in to the bottom or base, both supplied.<p>It can act as a stand alone or back up battery supply.

sundancer87
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by sundancer87 » Mon Sep 29, 2003 2:57 pm

I didn't open my X10 but I did try and wire up a single 12volt supply to both legs of the stereo plug. This seemed simple, however, the camera/transmitter didn't like the single source.
After I noticed my jumper wires melting I disconnected the battery and reconnected the X10 the way is was intended. It didn't work anymore so I sent it back to X10. They sent me notification that a new camera has arrived at my PO Box.
What I did do in order to fulfill the separate voltage legs and to keep the battery base original was to wire in a LM7805 voltage regulator. The 5volt output goes into the battery base, replacing the AAs, goes through the boost and comes out on the stero plug as intended. I can run my camera from a 12volt source and not have to replace AA batteries every 6 or so hours. The camera and transmitter do suck some current so I used a heat sink on the 7805.
;)

mso
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by mso » Mon Sep 29, 2003 3:09 pm

I checked the x10 web sight, is this<p>http://www.x10.com/products/x10_vk45ac.htm<p>the camera you mentioned? The camera part looks small enough, but I'm worried about the antenna. it might be difficult to cram in, is there a problem if you detached the antenna and move it a away from the transmitter, leaving only the wires? It should only be about five to ten inches or so.<p>Mark

hp
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by hp » Mon Sep 29, 2003 4:22 pm

Hello,<p>You might try looking at www.rc-cam.com for your x-10 cam modifications. That website has plans for making a half wave antenna for the camera. I have done this for mine and it works great. I mounted my camera on a small remote controled car and the signal quality is great.<p>Harrison

sundancer87
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by sundancer87 » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:43 pm

MSO, that's the camera I am speaking about. If you sign up for X10's notices, you will see those cameras on sale all the time. Sometimes there are three of those babies and three receivers at a good price. Thanks to hp for the web site. Those rc guys can mount cameras to almost anything so that would be the next stop in your project. Hold off as long as you can before buying the camera, they will go on sale again.
:)

mso
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Re: Best camera recomendation for xmas train?

Post by mso » Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:45 pm

I will, thanks. That is the type of project that will be fun to do and get a lot of ohhhs.. and ahhs... from the reletives (one of the prime reasons I do this sort of thing :) .<p>Now all I have to do is build some really long track, only 8 feet came with the set, but the tracks are merely guides, not power feeds so that won't be hard. <p>In case anyone is interested I've seen this same train set going for fourty dollars at KB toys.<p>Mark

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