# pencams

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#### Stymye

##### Well-Known Member
a few questions about using a pencam in a midpower rocket

I purchased a pencam trio from ebay, how much video time can I capture?
and do I have to use a controller?

I won't have it for annother week so I'm gathering more info

thanks

#### solrules

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by stymye
a few questions about using a pencam in a midpower rocket

I purchased a pencam trio from ebay, how much video time can I capture?
and do I have to use a controller?

I won't have it for annother week so I'm gathering more info

thanks
Check out the specs.

The pain in the butt is the 30 second timer-power-off 'feature'

#### Stymye

ebay still has one left(new) for $15 buy it now price if anyone else is looking for one. I suspect I'll need a controller to get around the 30 sec off mode? #### solrules ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by stymye thanks for the link solrules..I downloaded the manual and driver at the bottom. ebay still has one left(new) for$15 buy it now price if anyone else is looking for one.

I suspect I'll need a controller to get around the 30 sec off mode?
I'm not sure a controller would work in your case. The controller would have to sense liftoff, then complete a circut to the power switch, then with a suitable power-on delay, it would have to activate the video start switch (if it even has one). I would be willing to bet that your rocket would already be coasting by the time the video actually started because of the time lag from the camera's firmware.

I think your best bet would be to make an external switch that would turn the power on. Then you could activate another switch (screw terminal, pull-pin, etc.) to start the recording. Make sure to launch this at your home, or alert the RSO/LCO that they need to launch the rocket IMMIDEATLY. After you run back to a safe distance with ~90 seconds of video recording time left, have them press the launch button.

Make sure that you get the software as well as the link cable to the computer. If you don't, you will not be able to retrive the data!

Also, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE FULL BATTERIES!!! I can't stress this enough. These pencams run off of volitale memory, so if the batteries run out or get disconnected from the G-force, all your data will be lost. You also have to find your rocket fast so the batteries do not run too low. Don't wait 'till the next day to download the video!

I learned the battery problem the hard way....I frogot to replace my batteries on my second flight of my starvid at LDRS 23. The batteries ran out halfway up, and rendered the video unretrieavable. I used an Aiptek 1.3MP pencam SD with a 128mb SD card. Recording on the SD card makes life much better, as the data is non-volatile, so the batteries can run out after the video was done recording without losing any data (plus, I get around 13 minutes of recording time! Almost as long as the batteries will last!). Unfortunatley, this does not help the fact that the camera will die if you have near dead batteries.......

#### RocketboyG80

Did you take a look at AYUCR yet? All you have to know how to do is solder a simple circuit board. It doesn't get mush easier than this setup. I have an Aiptek pencam, (also purchased from eBay for about fifteen dollars) I just have to get around to ordering an AYUCR timer one of these days. I'm not sure what to make of that $59.99 price on the link. Even fifteen dollars is a little higher than the average asking price on eBay. For sixty dollars it better come with a wad of cash stuffed in the battery compartment. #### solrules ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by RocketboyG80 Did you take a look at AYUCR yet? All you have to know how to do is solder a simple circuit board. It doesn't get mush easier than this setup. I have an Aiptek pencam, (also purchased from eBay for about fifteen dollars) I just have to get around to ordering an AYUCR timer one of these days. I'm not sure what to make of that$59.99 price on the link. Even fifteen dollars is a little higher than the average asking price on eBay. For sixty dollars it better come with a wad of cash stuffed in the battery compartment.
Yes, you can even use the AYUCR made for the Aiptek pencam line here . However, you still have to worry about the 30 second power-off feature.

#### havoc821

##### Well-Known Member
You don't need a timer for these cameras. I replace the shutter button with a simple on off switch. I would press the power button on, press it again to set to video, then slide the switch and the video will start (make sure you set camera to low res unless you only only want a 3 sec video with high res compared to the 13 sec with low res) I then run away and yell out launch. It has always worked out great with me in the past. I have never had a mess up other than human error after ~15 videos. At a club launch I did the same thing except I would run away to a safe distance and the LCO would give a quick 3sec count and launch. This camera is great for begginner video camera rockets. If I can get enough of those cameras cheap, I will make some kits of video camera rockets and sell them. Depending on how much I have to pay for the camera, they would fall in the $40-$50 range. It would include rocket, parachute, camera, software, USB cable, MMT, centering rings, shock cord, launch lug, etc. Everything except paint, building suppl;ies, motors, and launch supplies. It is pretty much a Estes kit with a payload bay with a camera in it.

#### SwingWing

##### Well-Known Member
I have my pencam hooked up to a simple timer circuit. The timer is started via a pull pin. The launch of the rocket starts the sequence. My pull pin is a simple 1/16 plywood tab that holds a normally closed microswitch open. upon launch, a kevlar cord, attached to the pad, yanks out the tab, starting the timer. I have the timer set to take pics faiely quickly, (3/second) so most of the 26 images are of boost, apogee and ejection.
The timer is based on the circuit attached

#### stevem

##### Well-Known Member
The pain in the butt is the 30 second timer-power-off 'feature'

the AYUCR unit has a function to keep the camera from going to sleep after 30 seconds.

I have taken quite a few digital stills with my AYUCR pencam rocket and it works great! I have never tried to do video with it tho.

#### havoc821

##### Well-Known Member
How do you "override" the 30sec cut off feature and how long will it stay on with the AYUCR thing? Thanks!

#### FredT

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by havoc821
How do you "override" the 30sec cut off feature and how long will it stay on with the AYUCR thing? Thanks!
The AYUCR Timer controls the shutter and mode buttons. The lastest version keeps the pencam awake by cycling through all modes just before the camera falls asleep. You have to correctly set two parameters, the number of modes to cycle through and how often to start the cycle.

...Fred

#### SwingWing

##### Well-Known Member
The AYUCR will hold it on indefinately. The original way to do this was to hold the mode button with a relay. Then, Aiptek changed their pencams to sleep immeadiately when the mode button is held. For a while, AYUCR didn't have an answer for this (they do now). That is the time frame that I built my camera rocket. I would have used Rob's AYUCR circuit otherwise.
I wired the mode button to a momentary contact switch that is mounted in the bulkhead. I push the button, and then have 30 seconds to launch. This has always been plenty of time. At a club launch, I just have to tell the LCO I need to turn on the camera and launch within 30 seconds. Never been a problem.