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Old Jul 13, 2002, 01:17 PM
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Smallest, lightest radio transmitting color still/video camera?

The title says it all... I'm looking for the lightest, smallest video camera (or digital still camera) that can be mounted onto a submicro RC plane (like the Skeeter or Microtaxi). It will need to transmit by RF and ideally to have a receiver that can interface either with a laptop or with an NTSC video processor. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
David
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Old Jul 15, 2002, 09:27 AM
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Sorry I could not find the link but emailthis guy. Ben [bendelta@netvigator.com]

He sells a nifty little system for $100
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Old Jul 16, 2002, 06:04 PM
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Also check out BlackWidow AV

(The 50mW unit)
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Old Jul 18, 2002, 11:43 PM
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And when you are ready to fly the plane by RPV, joemi can hook you up with some video glasses.

I bought a pair from him and fly my Wingo via RPV. A total rush

Bill
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Old Jul 19, 2002, 04:37 AM
Sticky Shepherd
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Oxford/England
Joined May 2001
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I can vouch for the 50mW blackwidow AV tx and the receiver they work great. I have built a dc-dc that weights 0.3g and provides easily enough current to run the camera and tx. Using this with one of my 140mA lithium poly batteries means the pack weight is just 3.9g less wires.

Cheers,

Graham
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Old Jul 19, 2002, 08:44 AM
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wow

Graham,

Would it be possible for me to purchase the DC-DC converter from you? Which components exactly did you use from Black Widow? (I assume the 50 mw TX, camera, and RX; if so how much is the total weight of the LiPoly, your DC-DC converter, and the camera?)

Thanks,
David
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Old Jul 19, 2002, 10:20 AM
Sticky Shepherd
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David, I'm hoping to make the converter available for sale in the near future, but I'm sure I can build you a one off. I have the blackwidow 50mW transmitter and receiver but I already had a camera so I'm using that. I think from memory of the website the transmitter is 15g but I don't know about the camera. To be honest if you want to carry a camera in a lil skeeter then would would probably need a smaller tx. I then think you would need to modify the camera, removing all the unessesary plastic. The cameras are basically a circuit board with a cmos/ccd detector array on top, then there is a lens in front of that to image what you want to see onto the sensor. So to make it light you would take out the sensor pcb (Very carefully) and make a very light weight assembly to hold the lens a given distance from it, probably found by experimentation, i.e. move it until it's in focus. This procedure is probably not fot the faint hearted.

For bigger models such as servo based slow/park flyers I think a straight camera would be ok, especially with the light weight battery pack.

I bought my equipment to go in a slope soarer but you have got me thinking.

Graham
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Old Jul 19, 2002, 01:01 PM
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Thanks Graham

My Holy Grail has been modified to include aerial videography (now living room aerobatic flyer with live video camera), so I may take you up on that offer. My back of the envelopes put the total weight of the (unmodified) TX, battery, and camera at 20-30 grams, so I agree for sub-micro videography we would need to strip down the TX and camera. Perhaps I'll try this once I work out a good bi/tri-plane version of the skeeter and do some model experiments by loading up the bi/tri plane with up to 30 grams of weight.

-David
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Old Jul 20, 2002, 01:38 PM
Sticky Shepherd
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look what you made me do

I decided to see if anything I had said was actually true.

I stripped down my camera, here are the weights:

Lens assembly: 5g
case: 3g
circuitboard/cmos sensor: 1.3g
lens cover: 0.3g

So if you loose everything but the board and add a light weight plastic lens assembly. You loose about 8.1g in weight. I reckon you could get the camera working at under 2g.

Here's a pic of the bits
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Old Jul 20, 2002, 01:39 PM
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here is the sensor board, sensor side
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Old Jul 20, 2002, 01:40 PM
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and the back
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Old Jul 20, 2002, 01:46 PM
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Wow Graham; that's great work. I'm not sure I have the technical expertise to be able to do as you suggest, but I will try it if I get that far in my Quest.

As a related aside, it occurs to me that if someone with a lot of expertise at micro RC and an electrical engineering in general (say you, for example) were to create a minimum-weight camera and TX from stripped down components, you could probably a) sell them for some profit, and b) make a lot of micro plane enthusiasts very happy

-David
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Old Jul 20, 2002, 01:49 PM
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Here is my high tech zero calculation lens anaylsis system. The square drawn on the piece of card is the same size of the sensor. The lens (from a dead camcorder) is held by bluetak and moved until an image of the backgardn can be seen on the card. You can also see a fairly nice image of my angle poise lamp. This lens aint the right one obviously as the image is pretty big compared with the sensor size. Might need two lens, the experiments will continue.

Graham
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Old Jul 20, 2002, 02:02 PM
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nice work

If you can get that system down to sub-micro/LiPoly-compatible weight (say 10-20 grams for camera and TX), I'll be first in line

Do you have a way of manufacturing (in small batches) plastic housing parts?

-David
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Old Jul 20, 2002, 03:10 PM
Sticky Shepherd
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Oxford/England
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would be nice to make a system like that, the main problem is the transmitter, the effort involved in the design would be considerable. If I could get hold of the smallest type sometimes seen mounted directly to the back of the camera it might be possible to lighten it. Probably by making a light weight case that still has a metallic layer to prevent interference. Aluminised mylar bag?

As for lightweight housing, I did buy a book on making a homemade injection moulding machine a while back but never got any further with it.

Need to think about how to do it, hmm....

Graham
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