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Anybody Doing Lowpower Video Rockets?

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rokitflite

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Hi,
I've been messing with some of the wireless mini video cameras on ebay and was just wondering if anyone else has done some experimenting with them in rockets. I've seen a couple up on ebay but one of the guys making them can't seem to build a rocket longer than 16" and they always look too short & fat.

-Scott
 

powderburner

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We are happy to have you join us, rokitflite!

There are old threads (try the search button) on pencams and other stuff that give lots of details. Hopefully some of those guys who actually did this stuff will notice your qstn and jump in here with more specific links.
 

WiK

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Hi there :)

I have one of those! Ive been messing around with it in R\C cars and stuff like that, and I'm gonna try and put it in a rocket this year... The only concern is the amount of equipment requiered. If you happen to have a DV Cam or Camcorder with a video in plug, then you can just plug the reciever in there. If you dont have one (like me) , then you'll have to take a VCR or something to the launch to record it with.


Welcome to the forum!! We like people to post lots of pictures, by the way ;)


Phil
 

rokitflite

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Wow, thanks for the quick replies! I looked at the pen cams a while back and the cost kinda scared me away but I will hunt down some of the old posts. I have been to the clay brothers site several times, they have some incredible footage! As a matter of fact they gave me the idea of putting the camera in a pod up front looking straight down so the rocket is centered in the field of view. The only thing that gets me about their site is that they use the X-10 camera which has a range of a few hundred feet outdoors at best. They have some flights on there that look like they have gone at least half a mile high with no loss of signal. They say something in there about modifying the antenna on the transmitter, but they don't say how they did it. Lord knows I can't figure that one out without some help!
I have been using these Ebay 800mw cameras in rc cars as well! Its fun to sit inside and watch the screen while driving up and down the street (especially the neighbor's faces). I use a TV VCR combo to receive the pictures from the ground when I am out at the field. I bought a power inverter off of ebay for $20 that powers everything from the cigarette lighter very nicely. I had one flight where the rocket got caught in a tree. Now I know what a rocket sees during this unfortunate event! I got it back though, the dead tree lost out to the sharp saw!

-Scott
 

rokitflite

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Oh, by the way Phil, I'll post some pictures as soon as I figure out how to do it on this site, otherwise I will just post an link to a site. Thanks!

-Scott
 

WiK

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LoL... You can post Pics in a .JPG format by using the attatch file feature. You'll find it underneath the the Options section when posting a new message :)

Also, the other disadvantage with pencams are that they are recording on board the rocket, so if you have a CATO or you loose the rocket, the footage has gone too :eek: And an onboard video of a CATO would be pretty cool!

What sort of antenna do you have on your reciever? Mine is about 5" (13cm) long, which I don't think is big enough... I think I might buy a new one from http://www.rf-video.com/products/ant900.asp#PN-900S or somewhere simmilar.

How far away from the reciever has your camera got? Outside with a clear LOS (line of sight) I think it has got around 700 feet.
Theres nothing funnier than driving a remote control car at 40mph past another (real) car with a camera on board...

What sort of rockets have you flown it in?


Phil
 

rokitflite

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On the ground in RC cars I get about 500-700 feet. I think the range is MUCH better in the air. As far as antenna length goes, I am told that this is the length that the receiver is tuned to. I don't think that longer is better (in this case at least) but I do believe that you can get a better receiver for these cameras. I had bought a very overpriced camera system from www.supercircuits.com and it came with a receiver that picked up the signal from one of the 200 mw Ebay cameras and the range was 4 times better with the same length antenna. I've built about 5 different variations of rockets/nose cones that use these cameras. I am going to attempt to attach a picture of one of them thats next to an Omega/Cineroc for size comparison. The camera on it is mounted in the forward pod looking straight back. If it does not work I'll post a link later this evening that you can go to. Lets see if this works now...
 

Mike

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Originally posted by rokitflite
They say something in there about modifying the antenna on the transmitter, but they don't say how they did it.
Just a word of warning...I read somewhere that it was illegal to modify the transmitter. I think that was relating to the UK but it would be worth seeing if there's any issues in the states.

All the best
 

BlueNinja

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Pencams aren't that expensive. I got mine for 10 bucks on ebay.
 

rokitflite

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$10? I guess they have gone down a bit from when I was trying! I'll keep looking, Thanks!

-Scott
 

Micromeister

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Rokitflite:
The X-10's indoor "advertised" range is 150' that's thru walls furniture etc. the actual range Outdoors unobstructed is almost a mile. I have the set up just haven't had the time to stick it in a rocket yet. Actually looking for a smaller/lighter battery pack/ or capatitor package to run it for about two minutes;) The only modifications required involves the camera mounted antenna plate.
Hope this helps.
 

havoc821

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I fly low power vieo rockets. More stuff later but I have to get off internet now. More later.
 

RocketboyG80

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I too have some questions relating to this. I was wondering how you guys trigger pencams to continuously take pics after it leaves the pad. I know you must use a timer of some kind, but I don't know the specifics. Can someone fill me in? A schematic perhaps?
 

rokitflite

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Hi Micromister!
I find that hard to believe with the X-10! A friend of mine in AZ says he tried his outside and only got a few hundred feet. Another guy in the local model airplane club flies his in a plane and the picture is marginal at best beyond 600 feet. The cameras I have been buying off of ebay will do 100 feet through walls and other obstacles easily indoors, and outside in the air I would guess about 900-1000. I have attached a picture of another one I built into an Estes Mean Machine nose cone. I actually plan to sell this one on Ebay to try and raise the standard of custom built video rockets being sold there now! And no, it is no mistake that it resembles a Cineroc/Omega combo!
 

Micromeister

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don't know what to tell ya! I've seen the video of a 2 stagged model flighing on AP motors to well over 2000' said to have been filmed with an X-10 .. I'm not sure but I may have also see something similar on this site early last year. I didn't pay that much attention as the HOW To was also published in Sport Rocketry. Based on the Vid I saw I purchased the X10 and will be converting it sometime in the near future, likely after completing my BT-101 Bomarc:D
From what I remember (very little...CRS takes it's toll:) the trick was to get the reciever under the directional cone transmitted from the rocket antenna. I'm sure someone out here will remember that most impressive flight video and or the issue of sport rocketry.
 

vjp

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I've never experimented with an X-10 or video rocketry, but here's something worth considering - replacing the stock receiver antenna with a high-gain Yagi design. There are plans available on the web for all sorts of Yagis for just about any popular frequency. I think the X-10's operate on about 1 GHz, a Yagi for this frequency could be very small (less that 2 ft. long) and offer a lot of gain vs. a 1/4 wave omni or bow-tie type antenna.

Since you're not modifying the xmitter or boosting the output in any way, this mod is totally FCC legal.

Materials? Some wood for the boom, copper rods for the elements, a bit of coax and a some solder. Total cost, just a few $.
 

rokitflite

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Micromister!!!
A BT-101 Bomarc!!! Glad to hear it! I was seriously getting worried about you at the last club meeting. Given all of those micro maxx projects I would have expected a BT-1 Bomarc! Now will it glide like the older citation Bomarc? If nothing else you will be able to store all of your micro maxx rockets INSIDE of it!

-Scott
 

rokitflite

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Vjp,
I've heard alot about the Yagi antennas. The ones I have seen for sale in catalogs have been rather expensive. I will look into that though. That MUST be what they are using for those X-10s. Thanks, I will look around the net for some plans! Oh, by the way, I LOVE that Vostok you built!!! I hope you will bring it to a future club meeting!

-Scott
 

Micromeister

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LOL ! this is Soooo far off topic...

What's my screen name? Of coarse I've got a batch of Micro's in the works, Should be finishing 7 Scale micros in the next week or so:)

The 8.888 Scale Bomarc is something I've been planning/toying with for several years. I'm pretty raw new to RC but I'm planning on not only haveing it glide but be a 5 D12 clusted, pod ejecting, RC/BG. It will be awhile before shes a reality. I though I showed you my Micro Bomarc! if not here it is. this one is 1 : 124.55 scale.. as small as I could go and still get a motor in it:D

To attempt to get this thread back on topic, I'd really like to see any info you come up with on the Yogi antenna, Sounds like something we can Make:)
 

rokitflite

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Well,
I went to several sites on making a Yagi antenna. The styles seem to vary widely! From the type you used to see on the roof of every house to one made out of a pringles can! In every case, enough technical terms were used so that I felt so dumb its a wonder I can type now! The parts and the overall assembly were comprehendable, but some of the calculations on wave size were over my head. I am going to send a friend of mine who is into that stuff to the websites and then have him help me with the calculations and construction.

Nice baby Bomarc! I'll expect to see you with an RC one THAT sized soon!!!

-Scott
 

vjp

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Scott - I tried some searching too, came up with little to nothing directly pertinent to the X-10, BUT - I found out that the X-10 video camera works on 2.4GHz, the same frequency used by 802.11b wireless networking - so doing some searching there might pay off. I'll look into it more myself.

p.s. thanks for the kind words on the Vostok; I don't know if we've met at any NARHAMS launches (I never make it to the meetings) but I may be at this weekend's launch if the weather isn't too bad.
 

Micromeister

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Darn Vince:
I want to see it also, but alas I've got a bug, so likely won't make the launch, unless it's a lot better the next couple days:(
I'm really interested in the interstage sturts detail, Very very nicely done.
 

rokitflite

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Hi Vince,
Unfortunately I never make any of the launches, especially now that I am having some back problems. Actually I am not going to use the X-10, but rather the ones that will come up if you do a search on ebay for 800mw. They are cheap and very small. I did sic my friend on the project and told him I would build him a video rocket if he would build a couple of the antennas, he went for that. Well, hopefully I will be able to hack out a Vostok of my own, is that book of Peter Alway's that you referenced still available?

-Scott
 

vjp

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Sorry to hear about the cold, John! I was laid up with a nasty bug in January for about 2 weeks, accompanied by the worst and longest sore throat I've ever had, to boot. Hope you're better and attending launches again soon!

Scott - bummer about the back, will NARHAMS soon have to take out a group medical policy just to hold launches? :D Regarding "The Art of Scale Model Rocketry", which is the Peter Alway book with the Vostok plans I started from, I think it's out of print. I would, however, be willing to loan you the book if you want - let me know if you're interested. Good luck with the vidcam project, would love to see it, plus the antenna your friend makes!
 

havoc821

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For my videocam rockets, I use the Dolphin PenCam after I heard about it on info-central. It was $40. I used a rocket that was the BT-55 tubing. This is almost a perfect fit fot the camera, but it needs a little bit of tape to keep it sug in the tube. I would slide the camera into the tube and leave the nosecone off. I took and old estes launch key and epoxied it onto the bottom of the nosecone. When the camera was on and set to video mode, all I had to do was push the nosecone on, pop in the plastic rivets to hold it in place and launch. The key on the nosecone held the shutter button down so it would take video. When the launch was over, I just hooked it up to my computer and downloaded the video. I had and eyebolt attached to the top of the nosecone so the parachute would attach there so when the rocket was coming down, the camera would still be facing the ground, via mirror. Well, the video would always cut off after the ejection charge went off because the parachute would tug on the nosecone a little bit and make it let go of the shutter button. Well, that isn't a problem now. I chose a 7 second delay one day and it was way too long. The rocket came in ballistic and buried itself into the ground, well the nosecone at least. The charge went off a second after the rocket hit the ground. I figured it was a total loss. The payload tube was destroyed, and the top of the camera was shattered. The actual shutter button was ripped off of the circuit board!. Luckily, there was soemone who fixed it for me. Instead of using the button that I had to hold down, I attached a switch so I wouldn't have to hold down the button. Now, all I have to do is turn the camera on, flip the switch and run. I am now able to get video after the charge goes off. The crash was actually for the better! Anyways, here is the picture of the camera.
 

havoc821

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For my videocam rockets, I use the Dolphin PenCam after I heard about it on info-central. It was $40. I used a rocket that was the BT-55 tubing. This is almost a perfect fit fot the camera, but it needs a little bit of tape to keep it sug in the tube. I would slide the camera into the tube and leave the nosecone off. I took and old estes launch key and epoxied it onto the bottom of the nosecone. When the camera was on and set to video mode, all I had to do was push the nosecone on, pop in the plastic rivets to hold it in place and launch. The key on the nosecone held the shutter button down so it would take video. When the launch was over, I just hooked it up to my computer and downloaded the video. I had and eyebolt attached to the top of the nosecone so the parachute would attach there so when the rocket was coming down, the camera would still be facing the ground, via mirror. Well, the video would always cut off after the ejection charge went off because the parachute would tug on the nosecone a little bit and make it let go of the shutter button. Well, that isn't a problem now. I chose a 7 second delay one day and it was way too long. The rocket came in ballistic and buried itself into the ground, well the nosecone at least. The charge went off a second after the rocket hit the ground. I figured it was a total loss. The payload tube was destroyed, and the top of the camera was shattered. The actual shutter button was ripped off of the circuit board!. Luckily, there was soemone who fixed it for me. Instead of using the button that I had to hold down, I attached a switch so I wouldn't have to hold down the button. Now, all I have to do is turn the camera on, flip the switch and run. I am now able to get video after the charge goes off. The crash was actually for the better! Anyways, here is a picture of one of the rockets I use for videocam flights.
 
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