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Old Aug 08, 2010, 08:38 PM
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JetGun's Avatar
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New Product
Panasonic GP-CX161 Camera Settings I2C Adjustment Tool

I have finished working on the I2C interface and software that can adjust the image settings on the Panasonic GP-CX161 cameras. My goal was to keep it simple and close to free. I came up with a very simple and easy to build parallel port interface, that should cost about $5 if you don't already have the parts.

I wrote the software and I'm providing that free to use. I know most late model PC's don't ship with parallel ports any longer, but it was the only port to use and keep the cost low and the circuit simple. The software will run on Win98SE (that's as far back as I tested), so even an old laptop or PC will work. If you don't have a system with a parallel port, the add-in parallel port cards can be had for less than $15. Buying a parallel card and the interface parts would still be the lowest cost solution.



There's not much to it, 4 resisters and 2 transistors. The schematic is embedded in the GPCX161 I2C Tool program. The software can be downloaded at my site: http://cctvohio.com/ and there's more info there too.

The 161's have an impressive array of functions for a micro board camera that retailed in the $150 range. Some of the settings that can be adjusted are listed below. There are about 46 settings in all so far. The complete list is on the website: http://cctvohio.com/ and is also in the GPCX161 I2C Tool software package.

Brightness
Contrast Level
Mirror Image (Horizontal Flip)
Black(Dark) Level
Chroma (Color)
Nega-Posi (Negative - Positive Image)
Pedestal Adjustment
Sharpness
ELC Window H-Start
ELC Window H-End
ELC Window V-Start
ELC Window V-End
ELC Window V-End
H-Start
H-End
V-Start
V-End
AGC (Automatic Gain Control)
AGC (Max Gain)
BLC (Back Light Compensation)
Shutter Speed Control (ELC)
ALC (Automatic Light Control)
ALC Target Level (Light Level)
White Balance
Extended White Balance
ATW Lock (Auto Tracking White Balance Lock)
Knee
Knee Point
Gamma Correction
Y (Luminance) Level
R-Burst Level Adjustment
B-Burst Level Adjustment
SYNC Level Adjustment
Horizontal Phase
Frequency Adjustment
High Clip Adjustment
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Old Aug 08, 2010, 10:02 PM
WHEN IN DOUBT FLOOR IT!!!
G-unit's Avatar
AZ
Joined May 2006
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Man,
That is some nice work!!
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Old Aug 08, 2010, 10:45 PM
Flying FPV from the lab.
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Canada, AB, Lethbridge
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jetgun...
I know you're the man when it comes to these cams... I had really bad luck with one of these cams, with the 1.9mm lens. I had really GOOD luck with an older one with the 2.8mm lens.

Heres an example from the cam I am having trouble with. I've been told the lens element has separated inside this cam? It was never in an accident.
Buzz the Bridge (3 min 10 sec)

I have played with focus to no end - do you suppose there is a setting that is off or could be adjusted to make this better?

I cannot find a replacement lens for it - its kinda proprietary as far as I can tell. Even the 2.8mm cam has a different housing over the CCD.

Aaron
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Joined May 2009
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I have had a problem with the sun in the FOV with this camera. Check out 00:55 in the video below, and you will see the cam darkens a lot! Unfortunatly I do most my flying in the early morning, in a field that faces East.

Is there an adjustment to help this, or any other suggestions? Other than this one thing, I am extremely satisfied with this camera.

*Mine is the 1.9 mm version

FPV 005 T-28 Trojan over SPSU Sports Fields (4 min 5 sec)
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron_gx View Post
jetgun...
I know you're the man when it comes to these cams... I had really bad luck with one of these cams, with the 1.9mm lens. I had really GOOD luck with an older one with the 2.8mm lens...
Aaron
Thanks G-unit!
--------------------

Hey Aaron, I watched all your videos and really enjoyed them (Zeppelin was a nice touch)! I think part of your antenna landed over here in Ohio. When you say "It was never in an accident", do you mean you never accidentally crashed?

I don't see it in the video, but the video is pretty intense. Looks like RTX glitches, like when you go under the steel bridge (and that's a bummer man, need more TX power!). 1st; I would take the lens out and see if it rattles. There are 2 lens elements, the upper you can see on the outside, the lower one could be loose. 2nd; I would swap the lenses between the 2 boards. The instructions are here on how to do the swap: http://cctvohio.com/pages/161info.html You take off the whole lens holder and switch them between the electronics boards. See if the problem goes with the lens.
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek_S View Post
I have had a problem with the sun in the FOV with this camera. Check out 00:55 in the video below, and you will see the cam darkens a lot! Unfortunatly I do most my flying in the early morning, in a field that faces East.

Is there an adjustment to help this, or any other suggestions? Other than this one thing, I am extremely satisfied with this camera...
The sun is always going to be a problem with any camera, it's a really bright light! That said, I think the Knee and Knee point settings, along with some of the other settings will help. The color 161's have a blue glass IR Cut/UV filter on the imager which already helps some. I haven't had a chance to setup outside and test different settings with the camera pointed at the sun. I'll give it a shot soon. It's a fine line making the imager/DSP close or not close the iris (so to speak) to the sun's extremely bright light, but react to normal intensity light normally. In the GPCX161 I2C Tool program you can save the EEPROM and DSP settings. So anytime anyone comes up with a "SET" of good settings (and saves it), we can share the SET.
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 04:40 PM
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Seattle
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Fantastic! Looks like I need to make a trip to radioshack, hopefully they'll have everything

Thanks for this, I may need to order another cam from you if this works out well! My only gripe with the camera is the ground getting too dark when facing a bright sky / sun as others are complaining about. This should be able to be fixed now
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 05:16 PM
Flying FPV from the lab.
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Canada, AB, Lethbridge
Joined Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetGun View Post
Thanks G-unit!
--------------------

Hey Aaron, I watched all your videos and really enjoyed them (Zeppelin was a nice touch)! I think part of your antenna landed over here in Ohio. When you say "It was never in an accident", do you mean you never accidentally crashed?

I don't see it in the video, but the video is pretty intense. Looks like RTX glitches, like when you go under the steel bridge (and that's a bummer man, need more TX power!). 1st; I would take the lens out and see if it rattles. There are 2 lens elements, the upper you can see on the outside, the lower one could be loose. 2nd; I would swap the lenses between the 2 boards. The instructions are here on how to do the swap: http://cctvohio.com/pages/161info.html You take off the whole lens holder and switch them between the electronics boards. See if the problem goes with the lens.
Yeah, 200mW isnt enough for what I like to do. I have since changed the camera out for a 420tvl board cam that works wonders.

Sorry, should have said the camera had this problem BEFORE I had an accident with it The cam works like a champ, but is blurry as heck. I will try changing the lenses. The ccd-housing looks different from my older 2.8mm cx161 vs. my newer 1.9mm. Do I just change the whole housing?

Thanks,
Aaron
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by aaron_gx View Post
Yeah, 200mW isnt enough for what I like to do. I have since changed the camera out for a 420tvl board cam that works wonders.

Sorry, should have said the camera had this problem BEFORE I had an accident with it The cam works like a champ, but is blurry as heck. I will try changing the lenses. The ccd-housing looks different from my older 2.8mm cx161 vs. my newer 1.9mm. Do I just change the whole housing?

Thanks,
Aaron

Yes you can just change the whole lens holder. The boards (electronics) are all the same. So, lets see some more rolls under that bridge man! (A loop would be good too!)
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaguar_5 View Post
Fantastic! Looks like I need to make a trip to radioshack, hopefully they'll have everything

Thanks for this, I may need to order another cam from you if this works out well! My only gripe with the camera is the ground getting too dark when facing a bright sky / sun as others are complaining about. This should be able to be fixed now
The Shack carries the parts. I checked last week.
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 09:09 PM
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Seattle
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Any tips on how to remove the camera connector without tugging the wires? Mine seems to be quite stubborn.

Also, any way to request that you carry connector pigtails with some thicker wire? This 32 gauge or whatever it is is just abit too fragile and a pain to work with imo.
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 09:36 PM
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Yeah, something just a little thicker at the end to solder some servo wire to it would definitely make things easier. I have a hard enough time just getting the insulation off without shortening the wire!
JetGun, are you golfraider on e-Bay?
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Old Aug 09, 2010, 11:19 PM
Flying FPV from the lab.
aaron_gx's Avatar
Canada, AB, Lethbridge
Joined Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetGun View Post
Yes you can just change the whole lens holder. The boards (electronics) are all the same. So, lets see some more rolls under that bridge man! (A loop would be good too!)
a trip back to the bridge will be in order very soon. I was thinking about loops over/under the bridge. Inverted passes and maybe a long rip down the train track up top.

No guts no glory. Keep the plane disposable.
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 02:17 AM
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JetGun's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaguar_5 View Post
Any tips on how to remove the camera connector without tugging the wires? Mine seems to be quite stubborn.

Also, any way to request that you carry connector pigtails with some thicker wire? This 32 gauge or whatever it is is just abit too fragile and a pain to work with imo.
Jaguar_5 & healthyfatboy:

Pinch the connector and all the wires right behind the connector and pull it out. You could put a little silicone grease or vaseline on it if it's really tight. It gets a little easier the more you plug & unplug them. I have one on a test jig that is still good, and about a year ago I guessed that it was plugged in & out hundreds of times. You can solder on larger wires, then fold the small wires a couple times and put heat shrink (tubing) over the splice right up to the back of the connector. Try to get a little of the connector too, you need the right size of heat shrink. You can use two sizes of heat shrink. Smaller one up to the connector, and then a larger piece over lapping and heading outward. If you put a dab of epoxy on the back of the connector, and another dab or two further out that the heat shrink will conform too (speed bumps), then the heat shrink will not slide and the wires should be held strong.

I got the quantity of connectors I need with the cameras, and some extra. So I'm not into ordering more because my profit is already tight on these. I heard someone ordered some of these connectors from one of the parts places, but I think they are the same thing, just something like $3 each. I don't think you could get them with much larger wire that would make a difference. They are small.

One good thing about the connectors is they are very very light weight! You can also strip those wires with your finger nails.

healthyfatboy: Yes its me. But keep it quiet, those greedy bastards may send a hit squad after me if they think I'm earning money on my own website.
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by aaron_gx View Post
a trip back to the bridge will be in order very soon. I was thinking about loops over/under the bridge. Inverted passes and maybe a long rip down the train track up top.

No guts no glory. Keep the plane disposable.
I was thinking the exact same thing, but I didn't want to give you a list man. No pressure, but you can do a roll in a loop, right? I wonder what that would look like from a camera pointed down on the belly. You know, with my program you can horizontal flip the camera, so pointed back you get the correct left/right orientation.
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