Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
Post Reply
Deal
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 1:01 am
Contact:

Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by Deal » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:02 pm

I am building a camera mechanism to fly lightweight disposable camera with a kite. Any suggestions on how to trigger the shutter? Distance probably 200 ft. My neighbor has an RC airplane controller, so some lightweight servo trigger might work. First phase is single shot, and then maybe a camera wind servo. Mechanical one-shot timer suggestions welcome too. Thanks

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 2948
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by haklesup » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:27 pm

A single shot using the RC servo seems like the easiest first try. Put an eccentric cam on the servo shaft such that when it rotates, the wide part of the cam presses on the shutter button.<p>Winding will me more difficult since the torque on the winding knob can be pretty high, I doubt an RC servo could turn it relably. <p>You may be able to rig up a coil spring such that when you trigger the shutter, the tension on the spring is allowed to uncoil and wind the camera a frame. Probably only get 2 to 4 shots this way and you can use an old toy or clock spring (though that vintage is approaching antique status). Thats a start but I cannot picture anything reliable coming from it.<p>For multiple shots, look for a real cheap (used) digital camera. I have a VGA res model that cost less than $35 and weighs only a few ounces (less than a disposable by far). Winding would not be an issue with one of these.

User avatar
jwax
Posts: 2151
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:01 am
Location: NY
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by jwax » Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:55 pm

Walmart- $19.95 for a digital Vivitar 3350. 640X480, 26 shots hi-res, or 104 lo-res. Even has a "continuous capture" mode- 6 shots/sec video.
John

Deal
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 1:01 am
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by Deal » Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:33 pm

thanks Haklesup and Jwax. Its a suprise that you can buy a digital camera for 19 dollars. Everybody appreciates good clean ideas and Hahlesup's design of energy pendulum spring to wind and shoot is cool. Very nice original idea. One shutter timer I'm testing is a small frozen ice column that melts enough in five minutes to trigger a small ice column that releases spring-loaded leveraged shutter arm.

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4426
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by dacflyer » Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:14 pm

i had a R/C plane..it looked like hell but it flew great...i had a spare channel and an idea of aerial fotos...basically i took a servo and a 2-3" lever...the spare channel was supposed to be for the langing gear...or such... anyway...a flip of a switch would actuate the servo and snap the disposable camera...but the bad part was landing to rewind the cam for next foto....but the 20.00 digi cam sounds like a cool deal...is it downloadable or do you have to take in to be processed...eitherway...sounds cool...

User avatar
jollyrgr
Posts: 1289
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Northern Illinois
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by jollyrgr » Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:34 pm

If you don't mind "hacking" a bit, you can get a 1.3 Megapixel camera for about $11. The Wolf/Ritz camera people sell a digital camera called the "Dakota" that is supposed to be a "one time use" camera. This is not some film camera that develops film then they print a CD off a negative. This is a real DIGITAL camera. The pictures are not that great. But they beat many digital cameras that were high end a few years ago. Their idea was that people would "rent" this camera for $11 and take 25 pictures. They would then return the camera to Ritz/Wolf and spend another $10 or so to have a CD and prints made from the camera. Enterprising experimenters soon learned the actual interface connector was the only real modification. The electronics was standard USB. So basically all you needed to do was align the connections in the camera to the four wires of a USB connector and you had the physical part done. <p>Most of the work is done now in the hacking of this camera. You need to make your own USB cable to fit the installed interface. This involves modification of a PALM III cable (for the camera side) and installing a standard USB cable in place of the serial cable. This took me about half an hour to open the connector end, file down the "head", and solder a USB cable in place of the serial. The software has been written as well for Linux, MAC, and PC. Nothing fancy. It allows you to scan the camera, download the pictures from memory and reset the counter/clear the memor for the pictures back to zero. <p>In either case it is much easier to work with a digital camera than with a film camera. With a digital camera you can use simple relays or semiconductor equivalents, to control the camera. One to turn on the power, another to trigger the shutter. If you got real clever you could find some spot inside the camera that was LIVE when the power was on. Once the camera did its auto-shutoff it could be fixed to automatically turn back on. Then all you would need to do is to trigger the "shutter".<p>If you want to use a film camera, all is not lost. You would need a motor drive to wind the film and a mechanical means (either motor or solenoid) to trigger the shutter. But let me make this suggestion. Instead of using a disposable camera, why not use a motorized "discount" 35mm film camera? Then 99% of the work is done for you. Depending on the camera the shutter switch may even be electrical. Thus all you need is a relay or optically coupled isolator. I've seen these cameras for less than $20 new for the low end models. You can even get them cheaper at rummage sales. <p>As for the remote control section. N&V has a great article on using remote control cars as a "donor" for robotics. Since basically you are wanting to create a "robot", this is a good start. What you do is take the generic mini racer cars (like the ZIP ZAPS at Radio Shack) and scrounge the circuit board out of one of the cars. If you are real lucky, you might be able to fix the micro circuitry from the car inside the camera. Even better you can even POWER it from the camera batteries. Then you can "go fly a kite." <p>(Sorry, I couldn't resist).<p>
P.S. Ever consider flying a wireless video camera like the X10 series?
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

User avatar
jwax
Posts: 2151
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:01 am
Location: NY
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by jwax » Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:34 pm

The $19 Wally World Wonder comes with software on a CD, USB cable, and even two AAA batteries! Download pics on your laptop in the field!
Only prob I see with this camera is it shuts power off after 30 seconds of no activity. So, you'd have to push the power button, then the shutter button, within 20-30 seconds.
UNLESS, you put on your magnifying glassed and attack the microcircuitry to disable auto-off.

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 2948
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by haklesup » Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:40 pm

Melting ice, Spring loaded trigger arms. I think you might be a fan of Rube Goldberg machines also (A.K.A Kinetic Art). A design worthy of Wyle Coyote (of Road Runner fame)<p>The coil spring winder is not that original. It was a feature on some old instamatic (110 or 126 cartrage film) cameras.<p>Ice would be an unpredictable timer since weather conditions from day to day and from ground level to kite level can vary greatly. A smaller amount of ice in a semi-insulated container would be more predictable.<p>For a more elegant solution which capitalizes on the plentiful wind around a kite. Some kind of tiny windmill that turns a small jack screw which eventually pushes the shutter release.

User avatar
jwax
Posts: 2151
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:01 am
Location: NY
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by jwax » Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:43 pm

Jolly! We posted at the same moment!
I like your idea of using a wireless video camera!
What range are they good for? 100 ft? Maybe a scrounged TV satellite dish (2 GHz) would provide enough receiver gain to get way more range! Ideas?

mojorizing
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:01 am
Location: northern california
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by mojorizing » Thu Jun 03, 2004 7:40 am

Hi Deal,<p>Check out this site about R/C photography:<p>web page

Deal
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 1:01 am
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by Deal » Thu Jun 03, 2004 3:19 pm

Great ideas and posts. JWAX, though I'm averse to Walmarts, I have to see this $19 Vivitar camera. First phase is to get a camera airborn under kite power. Disp camera weighs 4 OZ so wright is priority. Battery driven solenoids or motors will be a heavy challenge. Sends me back to the 'rube' ice cube. I have experimented with soda straw ice columns and with basic insulation are controllable. I read every post carefully and intend to look at JRoger's camera for this and other projects. Majorizing's R/C site good ; suprising the weight gliders are able to carry. I indend to send results of first experiments to you where Emails available.

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 2948
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Re: Kite Camera Shutter Trigger

Post by haklesup » Thu Jun 03, 2004 6:22 pm

As I understand it, A kite can lift quite a bit also. I've heard of military reconnasance models that can lift a man (not that they do, but they can)<p>Tie a weight to the end of the string and see how much force you can muster, I bet it is at least 5-10 pounds even for a toy kite. I see balancing the load so that you can point the camera and maintain stability as the greater challenge.<p>What kind of kite are you using?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests