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Why do 808 cameras hate me so?

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ActingLikeAKid

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Unless someone chimes in with a "Hey, stupid. You've been doing it wrong!", I may be done with 808 cameras. I don't know what the solution is, but I'm frustrated.

Over Father's Day weekend, I had two launches. One went well; one didn't. The success and failure of the launches is a different topic, but what frustrated me was that on BOTH occasions, my 808 camera (acquired from Amazon) failed to record.

Here's what happened.

Sitting on the ground:
-Press the power button. Yellow light comes on.
-Hold the shutter button until yellow light goes off. Yellow light blinks. Say "Testing" into camera.
-press the shutter button again.
-Connect camera to computer. Verify that movie was recorded. Power off camera.

On the pad:
-Press the power button. Yellow light comes on.
-Hold the shutter button until yellow light goes off. Yellow light blinks.
-Launch rocket
-Pick up rocket.
-Press shutter button again.
-Connect camera to computer. Nothing recorded.

So my questions are:
1. Am I making some sort of stupid mistake with my camera?
2. Are the more expensive cameras like the Mobius more reliable?
 

djs

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-Connect camera to computer. Nothing recorded.
I've had this happen, and while I don't have any answers, I do have some theories

1. Operator error.. I'm pretty dumb and do a lot of dumb things. Maybe I didn't turn the camera on right

2. Camera battery fail- battery was dead/dying, and didn't work well enough to record video

3. Gforces from the flight/shock from landing caused camera to malfunction.

2+3 could explain as to why it works on ground testing, but not in flight.

As related to #2 above, I bought a Mobius camera that worked once, and never worked properly again. I took it apart to see if it was a loose connection or whatever, emailed the person I got it from, no progress. I did get another Mobius camera for my liquid fyre shroud, which I'm hoping will shield the camera better and hopefully last more than one flight! Granted- this is anecdotal, and like mentioned above, I'm pretty dumb, and do a lot of dumb things. :)
 

djs

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Edit to my point 2 above.. I have had the LiPO batteries fail on the cameras where they would work for a 30 second video, but fail on a launch. I could keep the camera on a charger for about 2 hours, but it never actually "charged" other than a very small charge (for a 30 second test video).
 

ActingLikeAKid

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I'm also hurrying when I'm getting a rocket ready for launch - and also prone to dumb decisions, so operator error is totally a possibility for me too :/ I wish someone would come up with a small form-factor (like the 808) camera that was reliable and well-made. I did a little searching on adafruit and sparkfun - I'd be willing to do a little soldering if that's what it took - but came up with nothing.
 

djs

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I got one of those U8 cameras to try out, as it's design makes it easier to tape to a rocket. First try worked out ok (with so-so video quality), but time will tell if it is robust enough. Definitely the instructions that came with it are the worst case of "Engrish" that I've ever seen.
 

woferry

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the worst case of "Engrish" that I've ever seen.
I hope I'll run across it some day, loooong ago I had a videotape rewinder whose manual was a hoot. Included lines like "Rewinderly in a forwardly direction. And entirely." I don't remember the U8 I bought even coming with directions. :p

Back to the thread, I'm pretty sure if the Mobius runs low on battery it at least saves what it recorded up to then. I wonder if the 808 drops the recording entirely (or perhaps it's on the drive but the metadata wasn't updated)? Perhaps some Windows file recovery tools could find the missing clip (provided you run it before trying anything else that modifies the drive)? Just a thought.
 

Rocketjunkie

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The cheap key fob, 808, U8, etc cameras have no battery protection circuitry. Leave them plugged into a USB port too long (or not very long if battery is already charged) and the battery overcharges and dies. Even with careful use, I only get a few uses before the battery fails. It will hold enough charge for a couple minutes but then dies.
 

Cabernut

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I've had the exact same thing happen. Test at home, OK, then on the rocket it was recording but after retrieval, nothing.

I'll add that(especially the cheap models) it's possible that vibration or shock could jar the SD card enough for a split second to separate the contacts and interrupt recording.

They have something like 150-180mAh lipos so they don't last long if not fully charged. In my case it's either been battery running low and didn't save the file, or an SD card contacts glitch due to vibration.
 

gna

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When you attached the camera to your computer, did you get nothing, or a blank video with static sound? If the latter, try a different computer. My computer has trouble with the .avi format. I have to bring the camera to work, drag the video onto windows movie maker, save as MP 4 on a thumb drive, then bring it home.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I've found the 808 cameras to be a pain in the butt. I would like something with more intuitive controls and a better indication of the current status --- power on/off, recording on/off. It would be nice to have an easier way to set the other settings, such as video quality. And I'd like an easier way to download the video. Longer battery life and more memory would be nice too. Some people enjoy the challenge of crappy interfaces and garbage human factors, like some kind of intricate puzzle, but I really hate it. I like consumer-friendly electronics.
 

ActingLikeAKid

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No file at all. I'm pretty good at futzing with files with a messed-up format ... I actually cleared everything out of the folder where it dumps the movies so it would be easy and obvious to see if it recorded anything :( And making matters worse is I want to double-check the SD card but it's packed in a box somewhere... I can't wait for this move to be over! I'm going to have a real rocket workshop in the basement!
 

ActingLikeAKid

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I've found the 808 cameras to be a pain in the butt. I would like something with more intuitive controls and a better indication of the current status --- power on/off, recording on/off. It would be nice to have an easier way to set the other settings, such as video quality. And I'd like an easier way to download the video. Longer battery life and more memory would be nice too. Some people enjoy the challenge of crappy interfaces and garbage human factors, like some kind of intricate puzzle, but I really hate it. I like consumer-friendly electronics.
Agree 100%!!! I actually did a little looking at adafruit and sparkfun to see if there were any inexpensive kits one could put together but ... nothing.
I think this is a ripe market opportunity.
 

scsager

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Some good info in this thread... here's my advice. :2:

- I have several inexpensive 808 cameras. they work "OK" and produce "OK" video.
- Don't overcharge them. Overcharged batteries get hot - heat is the enemy.
- Make sure you know exactly how your works. Write instructions on a 3x5 card and bring instructions to the launch.
- Test several times at home to see how long the battery lasts.
- Don't expect "Go-Pro" quality out of a $10- $20 camera. 720p HD usually starts at about $40.

The higher the price, the nicer the nice. Full 1080p HD (Mobius or equivalent) Around $70 and yes it's more user friendly. I have 2 Mobius cameras.

This on-board (Video Below) was shot with a RunCam2. ($80) 1080p HD @ 60 FPS with wifi - so I can make sure the camera is on and recording (I can see it on my phone at the pad! ) :cool:

[YOUTUBE]cA_Dtd0Lyv0&t[/YOUTUBE]
 

ActingLikeAKid

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I really like the looks of the RunCam - and I particularly like the whole 'yes it's really working" thing. How did you attach that to the rocket?
 

scsager

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I really like the looks of the RunCam - and I particularly like the whole 'yes it's really working" thing. How did you attach that to the rocket?
Attaching the camera to the rocket. My very low-tech method - about 3 wraps of regular vinyl electrical tape.
 

woferry

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I've found the 808 cameras to be a pain in the butt. I would like something with more intuitive controls and a better indication of the current status --- power on/off, recording on/off. It would be nice to have an easier way to set the other settings, such as video quality. And I'd like an easier way to download the video. Longer battery life and more memory would be nice too. Some people enjoy the challenge of crappy interfaces and garbage human factors, like some kind of intricate puzzle, but I really hate it. I like consumer-friendly electronics.
You might want to check out the Hawkeye Firefly Q6. It has a small LCD screen on it, doesn't offer any sort of preview unfortunately, but it is used to indicate the record mode/time as well as all of the settings (no apps to mess with, you do it all on the device including setting the time). The display doesn't quote remaining battery time but it does have a basic fuel-gauge indicator. It also has LEDs at every corner, the back ones indicate power and all 4 can flash during recording (or you can disable this I think in case the front LEDs would interfere with the recording or I guess to save a bit of power). I had posted some videos I took here where it was just electrical-taped to the side of my 4" FG Nike Smoke. Here's a side-by-side shot with a Mobius for comparison. It is longer, a little bit taller and a little bit narrower than the Mobius. My Q6 is 1.45g heavier than the Mobius in the picture, 43.45g vs. 42.0g.

P6280004.jpg
 
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Ravenex

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As a distibutor of the genuine 808 and the Mobius, and having flown 808's in all of my flights, (3 808 cameras in my rocket expac), I feel the need to chime in. The problem most people have with the 808 camera is that they aren't using genuine 808 cameras, they are using cheap 808 knock-offs. The genuine 808 is the #16 variant, and is made by the same company that makes the Mobius. If you searched amazon or e-bay and bought your 808 for less than $45 or so, it's not real. Before becoming a distributor I even bought 2 off a member of this forum, and they we knock-offs, I gave them away.

The real 808 camera will interface to the configuration software and does not have the problems being discussed. I typically get 50+ minutes on a charge, I have left my cameras connected to a USB charger for days, and stored them for 6-8 months in various charge states, no battery issues. The only time I didn't get a recording was operator error, I have since set my cameras to automatically record on power up (not an option with the knock offs) and now I am confident if it is on it is recording. The genuine 808 also has options for the yellow LED to blink to indicate recording.
 

Handeman

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The cheap key fob, 808, U8, etc cameras have no battery protection circuitry. Leave them plugged into a USB port too long (or not very long if battery is already charged) and the battery overcharges and dies. Even with careful use, I only get a few uses before the battery fails. It will hold enough charge for a couple minutes but then dies.
++++ That is what happened to me. The battery is very susceptible to over charge and it will die quick. i had one that recorded almost an hour of video. Forgot and left it plugged into the USB for 6 hours. It wouldn't record more than 2 minutes after that.
 

djs

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++++ That is what happened to me. The battery is very susceptible to over charge and it will die quick. i had one that recorded almost an hour of video. Forgot and left it plugged into the USB for 6 hours. It wouldn't record more than 2 minutes after that.
did you replace the battery? if so, with which one? I'm thinking I could resurrect a few of mine
 

ActingLikeAKid

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As a distibutor of the genuine 808 and the Mobius, and having flown 808's in all of my flights, (3 808 cameras in my rocket expac), I feel the need to chime in. The problem most people have with the 808 camera is that they aren't using genuine 808 cameras, they are using cheap 808 knock-offs. The genuine 808 is the #16 variant, and is made by the same company that makes the Mobius. If you searched amazon or e-bay and bought your 808 for less than $45 or so, it's not real. Before becoming a distributor I even bought 2 off a member of this forum, and they we knock-offs, I gave them away.

The real 808 camera will interface to the configuration software and does not have the problems being discussed. I typically get 50+ minutes on a charge, I have left my cameras connected to a USB charger for days, and stored them for 6-8 months in various charge states, no battery issues. The only time I didn't get a recording was operator error, I have since set my cameras to automatically record on power up (not an option with the knock offs) and now I am confident if it is on it is recording. The genuine 808 also has options for the yellow LED to blink to indicate recording.
Wow, good information! Thanks!
And I may be making an order soon :)
 

ActingLikeAKid

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Update: I dug through the card from the rocket and found a couple of pictures of my feet. Looks like I didn't hold down the button long enough. Operator error. But I'll say: Operator error compounded with a cheap knockoff 808 and a lack of positive "YES IT'S REALLY RECORDING" signal.
 

mccordmw

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I had the same problem with knockoff 808s. They all seemed to have different keypress sequences to get the thing to record. I swear my failure rate was about 75%. I eventually bought an 808 Matecam. I liked the wide angle lens it came with. It also has configuration options; the most convenient is the one that starts recording the moment you power it on. Now, all I do is press power, and it's recording. Haven't missed a recording yet.
 

JimJarvis50

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Update: I dug through the card from the rocket and found a couple of pictures of my feet. Looks like I didn't hold down the button long enough. Operator error. But I'll say: Operator error compounded with a cheap knockoff 808 and a lack of positive "YES IT'S REALLY RECORDING" signal.
On the one I have, I changed the configuration so that it would blink when recording. That way, I know that I really turned on the camera and that it is recording.

Jim
 

Glasspack

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I just spent a few minutes on the phone with Brian and am looking forward to refocusing my 808 and getting the shroud into my SA-14 Archer ... !!

Plan on putting the shroud into the avionics bay that I am adding ....... The LVL 1 flight never had one, but after three flights I want to try it !

The shroud assemblies from LiquidFyre-Rocketry are pretty cool.....
 

Ravenex

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I just spent a few minutes on the phone with Brian and am looking forward to refocusing my 808 and getting the shroud into my SA-14 Archer ... !!

Plan on putting the shroud into the avionics bay that I am adding ....... The LVL 1 flight never had one, but after three flights I want to try it !

The shroud assemblies from LiquidFyre-Rocketry are pretty cool.....
Once you have completed your installation please consider posting a review on my website and in this thread:
https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?141291-LiquidFyre-Rocketry-Reviews

Also please post your videos.
 

Glasspack

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I would like to get opinions on this test clip ....... [video=youtube;0I4LH73d1hg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I4LH73d1hg[/video][video=youtube;0I4LH73d1hg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I4LH73d1hg[/video]

Can I get any better color or definition from this 808 #16 Camera ?? Tell me what you think

Thank you
 

Lowpuller

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Please let us know when the $19 version is back in stock!
 

RoyAtl

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I never bother connecting the camera to the computer. I make sure the camera is off, take the MicroSD card out of the camera and put it in the computer. This assumes you have a card reader in the correct size, or at least with an adapter. My computers for the past eight years have all had full size SD slots and I buy MicroSD cards that come with full size adapters.
 
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