Split Cameras

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Dustin Lobner

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I missed all the converter discussion above. Mine ran just fine on two 9V in parallel (9V, double the current capacity) with an Eggtimer Quantum connected as well. Courtesy of the tree it got hung in, it ran for about an hour just fine.

One thing I noticed is that the camera doesn't like "twitchy" power. My original plan was to do the twist two wires together method for turning it on. The Runcam only turned on about 20% of the time that way. Otherwise it would sit there off, with power applied.

The way around that was to cut the positive side of the battery lead and install another 9V snap there. When the snap was shorted, it made the connection. I took yet another snap and soldered the two wires together. My on "switch" was to take that loose 9V snap with the wires connected and snap it to the loose snap on the positive side of the battery line.

It made a nice, quick, solid connection without any fluttering voltage from wrapping two wires together. Runcam always turned on in that situation.
 

FMarvinS

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Mike,

Thank you for posting the video. The results are not bad for a $26 camera. Also, thanks for the info on camera dimensions. Given the small size, I may buy one for use in a 54mm MD rocket currently under construction.

Regards,
Fred
 

rklapp

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I’m looking for a mini cam under $50 (I live next to the ocean) and 1080p with at least 60fps and under 20g. I’ve been told the Astrocam films in 60fps but not willing to buy the starter kit for the cam.
 

Pete.D

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The Astrocam records at 60fps at medium resolution, or 30fps at HD resolution; pretty good pictures except for the mediocre brightness control. It's tiny; it's actually a thumb drive with a built-in camera and battery that's good for several hours of recording on its internal memory. Yes you have to buy the whole package with the kid-stuff starter kit and crappy ez-build rocket, but the best thing about it is how the camera mount is molded into the 1" plastic nose cone. If only you could buy just the nose cone and camera...

The camera is probably sold by itself somewhere on the internet, made in China of course. It can't cost Estes more than $5 or $10 in quantity.

Actually even the rocket is not so bad: you can bend the cheap plastic fin-can assembly to achieve a decently slow roll-rate.
 

rklapp

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The Astrocam records at 60fps at medium resolution, or 30fps at HD resolution; pretty good pictures except for the mediocre brightness control. It's tiny; it's actually a thumb drive with a built-in camera and battery that's good for several hours of recording on its internal memory. Yes you have to buy the whole package with the kid-stuff starter kit and crappy ez-build rocket, but the best thing about it is how the camera mount is molded into the 1" plastic nose cone. If only you could buy just the nose cone and camera...

The camera is probably sold by itself somewhere on the internet, made in China of course. It can't cost Estes more than $5 or $10 in quantity.

Actually even the rocket is not so bad: you can bend the cheap plastic fin-can assembly to achieve a decently slow roll-rate.
Medium as in less than 720p?
 

Pete.D

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I think that "medium" resolution was stated at 720; I haven't tried it (maximum resolution was more important to me). The "footage" I got on my flights was 1920x1080 at 30fps. A 15:40 file was 2.09GB in MOV format. The only time that 30fps seemed jerky to me was right after the rocket left the pad.
 

Richard Dierking

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Has anyone ordered the Firefly Mini?
Here's the link from the first post:
https://www.fireflycameras.com/prod...c-low-latency-tv-output-for-rc-drone-airplane
I ordered one about 10 days ago and have not received any shipment info back. Also, my email message to them was kicked back as failed.

Also, wondering if anyone has encountered interference with GPS using a BEC? I recall someone mentioning they were going to evaluate this with a Featherweight GPS. This is the same system I intend to use.
 

rocketace

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Also, wondering if anyone has encountered interference with GPS using a BEC? I recall someone mentioning they were going to evaluate this with a Featherweight GPS. This is the same system I intend to use.
I also have the FW GPS. I plan to ground test this with in the next few weeks with two different BECs that I have.
 

rklapp

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I think that "medium" resolution was stated at 720; I haven't tried it (maximum resolution was more important to me). The "footage" I got on my flights was 1920x1080 at 30fps. A 15:40 file was 2.09GB in MOV format. The only time that 30fps seemed jerky to me was right after the rocket left the pad.
Cool. This is what my video looks like on a cube camera (SQ) at 1080p/30fps and slowed to 50%. It's a bit choppy when slowed down. I'm curious what it would look like at 60fps but not willing to buy the starter kit. Are there any distinguishing marks on the Astrocam that would indicate where it came from?

 

Pete.D

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Great video; better than mine.

Mine doesn't show as much detail at the site after launch (it's a farm field, and the rocket was spinning faster), but my distant details at apogee looked similar to yours. My videos are much longer because it's always many minutes between the time I start the recording and the launch (which was controlled by the club, not me), and then I typically have to wait until the range is safe before I can recover the rocket.

I haven't figured out how to edit it for length yet, nor have I a good way of embedding it into this forum: I can't post on YouTube; I can only click on a link like you posted.
 

rklapp

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Great video; better than mine.

Mine doesn't show as much detail at the site after launch (it's a farm field, and the rocket was spinning faster), but my distant details at apogee looked similar to yours. My videos are much longer because it's always many minutes between the time I start the recording and the launch (which was controlled by the club, not me), and then I typically have to wait until the range is safe before I can recover the rocket.

I haven't figured out how to edit it for length yet, nor have I a good way of embedding it into this forum: I can't post on YouTube; I can only click on a link like you posted.
I use the free Microsoft Video Editor but only renders in 30fps so I also use a paid software for 60fps.

There is a video upload button in this forum but videos have to be small, maybe 10-20 seconds. Vimeo is another upload option.
 

shockie

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Power Input:
DC 5-20V (Non-direct power supply from battery,
Powered direcly with battery will generate surges and burn
the camera.)

any comments?
 

rocketace

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Power Input:
DC 5-20V (Non-direct power supply from battery,
Powered direcly with battery will generate surges and burn
the camera.)
any comments?
RunCam recommends NOT running the camera directly from the battery. Others and myself have tested it and it "might" be ok as long as the battery is only running the camera. However, I still plan to use a voltage regulator as discussed in earlier posts as long as it doesn't affect run time too much.


Can to comment on the connection specifics to the TV? an up close and personal photo would suffice. TIA
I had an old component cable (Red/White/Yellow) that I cut up to use. The center wire connects to the video feed on the camera board and the ground wire connects to the black ground for the camera. Then plug cable to the yellow component cable connection on any TV (a lot of new flat screens do not have this any more). Then turn on the battery. There is a picture of my set up in a previous post.
 

shockie

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Has anyone noticed how HOT the recording board gets? Hot enough where I cannot touch it bare handed. I emailed RunCam and they said the 4K version does get hot and that heat dissipation is up to the end user.

Since it will be inside a rocket during the Texas summers, I think I am going to find away to put a heat sink on the board to help.
use cpu paste and a small heatsink or
RunCam recommends NOT running the camera directly from the battery. Others and myself have tested it and it "might" be ok as long as the battery is only running the camera. However, I still plan to use a voltage regulator as discussed in earlier posts as long as it doesn't affect run time too much.




I had an old component cable (Red/White/Yellow) that I cut up to use. The center wire connects to the video feed on the camera board and the ground wire connects to the black ground for the camera. Then plug cable to the yellow component cable connection on any TV (a lot of new flat screens do not have this any more). Then turn on the battery. There is a picture of my set up in a previous post.
The voltage regulator is in the bec? When you get through testing please post your results. Good luck
 

rocketace

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I have run a few test on the Split 4 at 4k. I tried using a combination for direct power, eggtimer mini wifi switch, BEC fixed, BEC adjustable (set to 5.5V), and battery size. Tests were done with battery fully charged to 8.4V and tests were stopped when the battery reached 6.9V.

From left to right: 600mAh Li-Ion 7.4v // 300mAh LiPo 7.4v // BEC Adjustable // BEC Fixed (5V) // Eggtimer Mini Wifi
IMG_7807.jpg


Split 4@4k // 300mAh // WifiSwitch // BEC Adjustable :: 1hr
Split 4@4k // 300mAh // WifiSwitch // BEC Fixed :: 1hr
Split 4@4k // 300mAh // Direct to battery :: 1.2hr
Split 4@4k // 600mAh // Direct to battery :: 2.2hr

Overall there was a small difference in time by running straight from the battery but each test the board was HOT. I will definitely be getting a small copper heat sink and heat sink epoxy before running it in a rocket during summer. I will soon do some testing to see if it runs cooler if I drop the resolution to 2.7k.
 

FMarvinS

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Mike, interesting and apparently very affordable. Would you kindly post some video showing camera performance in flight. Can the inherent movement switch be used to automatically turn on during take off and stop upon landing? If positioned horizontally with lens section (facing downward) and placed outside via a hole in the body tube, how big a hole would be needed and approximately what dimensions of an external camera shroud would be needed for protection and aerodynamics?
Thanks,
Fred, L2
Mike,
Thanks for showing the video, it looks decent. If the camera is mounted internally, can you press the on button (via a screw driver through a hole in the body tube) from outside the rocket. Or do you need to turn it on before flight and then position the camera inside the rocket and then reclose the bulkheads? Alternatively, can you use an external battery within the rocket) to power the camera and turn the external battery on with either a magnetic switch or the eggtimer mini wifi switch?
Thanks and Regards,
Fred
 

AllDigital

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If the camera is mounted internally, can you press the on button (via a screw driver through a hole in the body tube) from outside the rocket.
Fred, the on/off button is not ideal. The light indicators are also not intuitive, until you've played with it for a while. It has a single button on the side. Press once for two seconds to turn on and then press again for 2 seconds to turn off. In theory, you could drill another hole and pop a screwdriver in to press the button, but the lights are not easily visible (the are on top). For my needs, I opened up the camera, soldered two lead wire to the switch and I can have an external button and/or my flight controller has a remote relay -- I'm not familiar with the EggTimer wifi, but that sounds similar. You could also rig a mag switch. The trick is to turn it on only once.
 

Evolvant

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And here is one that uses a mobius mini for a 54mm eBay.
@BryRocket I'm super impressed with your orange and blue camera bay set ups! On the blue one, the tab that has the 2 screws on it, what angle forward did you use? I'm assuming this is angled slightly forward, then you "bend" it back when inserting into airframe? Spring behind it like the orange one to keep positive pressure? Any chance you'd share your STL's with me so I could borrow, steal, modify for my own use?

Thanks!
 

Evolvant

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This is a great thread. Thanks everyone.

So what's the final verdict? BEC/BUCK or no? Seems to me the camera should only draw what it wants from the battery and inclusion of a BEC is if it's the battery is also powering other devices.

Anyone find a good heat sink setup yet?

Cheers,
Paul
 

Dustin Lobner

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I've run a couple times now without a BEC on a 9V battery. Zero issues to report, just make sure your switching mechanism is solid, I had problems with twisted wires working.

I popped a heat sink off of my (broken) 3D printer board. I don't want to pay for the thermally conductive epoxy, so I'm going to put a dab of "normal" heat sink thermal material, and then epoxy on the corners.
 

rocketace

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I finally got to take my split camera to a launch. This time, and the next few, will only be for a pad camera. I didn't have enough time to make a nice box and tripod mount, so I just stuck it in a box with a wifi switch.

IMG_7867.jpg
IMG_7868.jpg


The video was good, but I put the camera way too far from the pad. I will adjust for next time. The below video I have full speed and slowed down. Since the 4K is at 30fps the slowed down is not smooth. The other video is 240fps on my iPhone from the flight line.
Poof H999 - YouTube

Also, I have started the 3D mock up of the camera in a 54mm airframe. Ill use this to design the 3D printed mount. This is with the camera lenses, recording board, 600mAh battery, and the wifi switch. Someday I will also do a design with the camera lens outside the airframe.
IMG_7866.jpg
 

Evolvant

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@BryRocket I'm super impressed with your orange and blue camera bay set ups! On the blue one, the tab that has the 2 screws on it, what angle forward did you use? I'm assuming this is angled slightly forward, then you "bend" it back when inserting into airframe? Spring behind it like the orange one to keep positive pressure? Any chance you'd share your STL's with me so I could borrow, steal, modify for my own use?

Thanks!
@BryRocket, Pretty please? Does that help? :)
 

profmason

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Had bad luck with the Caddx baby turtle. The cable was fragile. I nicked the first one during an install. The replacement cable came torn......

Love the runcam 2 nano. It is an in production gopro session clone. Has done tumble recovery and was good to go. Fits in 54mm bay... barely.
 

Arpak

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Just noticed this thread, I made one the other day about my implementation of a Runcam Split (first gen) in my nosecone.

 

FMarvinS

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Patrick,

I enjoyed your discussion and video. Pretty advanced for a L1. One day you may want to get a ham license, then you can transmit on 2 meters or 70cm bands which will provide greater propagation. Also, you can use more than 500 mw. The only downside is that video receivers on the ham bands are hard to find.
How well has the WIFI on the Runcam worked for you, can it be reliably used to turn the camera on and off when placed in the nose cone? I've got more experience with the mobius (original) and I plan to play with an Eggfinder WIFI integrated with an external Lipo for easy on/off functioning. I'd be interested in any updates/video samples you produce in the future.

Fred, L2
ICBM, Camden, S.C.
KG4YGP
 

Arpak

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Patrick,

I enjoyed your discussion and video. Pretty advanced for a L1. One day you may want to get a ham license, then you can transmit on 2 meters or 70cm bands which will provide greater propagation. Also, you can use more than 500 mw. The only downside is that video receivers on the ham bands are hard to find.
How well has the WIFI on the Runcam worked for you, can it be reliably used to turn the camera on and off when placed in the nose cone? I've got more experience with the mobius (original) and I plan to play with an Eggfinder WIFI integrated with an external Lipo for easy on/off functioning. I'd be interested in any updates/video samples you produce in the future.

Fred, L2
ICBM, Camden, S.C.
KG4YGP
Glad to hear you liked it! I've toyed with upping the transmission strength but it was really just a bonus of me using a split. Granted after doing it I got the giddy feeling so I think I will work towards making it better :D. The 600MW transmitter was chosen mostly because its cheap and available everywhere.

I personally didn't use the wifi on the split, I can't speak for the newer ones but the first gen had it as an optional extra that made its footprint much larger and I didn't have the module handy. I opted instead for an externally accessible screw switch and setting it up to automatically start recording on power up. I think an eggtimer wifi switch would work with it beautifully, but granted I would still have an external switch just so the wifi switch isn't draining your battery while sitting around doing nothing. ALTHOUGH, after my last flight my 3S lipo barely had a dent in the charge, so who knows?

I'll definitely keep posting footage from the system, I'm actually planning on shooting for my L2 on March 6th with this one, fingers crossed!
 

shockie

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I have run a few test on the Split 4 at 4k. I tried using a combination for direct power, eggtimer mini wifi switch, BEC fixed, BEC adjustable (set to 5.5V), and battery size. Tests were done with battery fully charged to 8.4V and tests were stopped when the battery reached 6.9V.

From left to right: 600mAh Li-Ion 7.4v // 300mAh LiPo 7.4v // BEC Adjustable // BEC Fixed (5V) // Eggtimer Mini Wifi
View attachment 447767

Split 4@4k // 300mAh // WifiSwitch // BEC Adjustable :: 1hr
Split 4@4k // 300mAh // WifiSwitch // BEC Fixed :: 1hr
Split 4@4k // 300mAh // Direct to battery :: 1.2hr
Split 4@4k // 600mAh // Direct to battery :: 2.2hr

Overall there was a small difference in time by running straight from the battery but each test the board was HOT. I will definitely be getting a small copper heat sink and heat sink epoxy before running it in a rocket during summer. I will soon do some testing to see if it runs cooler if I drop the resolution to 2.7k.
jason:

Could you draw a little diagram showing the hookup points on the fixed or adjustable BEC direct to the cam and batteries....I'm electronically challenged
 

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