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Old Sep 23, 2007, 10:33 PM
Sky good, Earth bad!
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EStarter Camera Plane

After sitting in my closet for over a year I put together my GWS EStarter plane. I had originally bought it for as a advanced trainer plane to make my leap to ailerons aircraft. I forgot about it when I started building FFF planes and jets.
I picked up a CVS Camcorder and mod'd it up to fly on the EStarter.
The Mods that I did were as follows:
- Removed the circuit board from the camera housing
- Removed the LCD screen from the board to save weight
- Soldered a Micro Dean 4 pin connector to the board
- Made two cables, a USB cable to download movies and another that powered the camera from the receiver (5v) using the male deans connector.

Things were working well until I tried to download movies from the camera. I was able to unlock and download from the camera before I mod'd it. So after tinkering with it, I found out that the camera only seemed to work with the LCD attached. The next problem was that the camera would power down after flying around for a minute or two. It shouldn't do that since it was it powered by the USB connection. I think I have cured that problem by using LIPO batteries with a higher C rating.

Attached below are the fruits of my labor flying around my neighborhood.
Videos: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=747248


New Entry - 28 Sep 07
After several test flights and hooking the camera up to my computer it seems that my problem with downloading with the LCD screen off maybe more my computers problem then the camera's. I'm still unsure as to why my computer is having problems but it "is" having problems not related to this so I may have a bad motherboard that needs replacing.

Later today I'm going to shrink wrap the Cameras circuit board and add a small rubber bead to the push pad for the record feature. The new configuration makes the camera less bulking and I think that I can throw this on my profile FFF 3D planes. I may have to look into a way to mount a small mirror onto the lens so that I can lay the board down flat on a wing.

I have to say the hard part about this project is learning how to fly with the camera. Not so much from the standpoint of it changing the flight characterization of the plane but flying level, straight, slow and turning about a point. You also have to think about where the sun is so that you don't "blind" the camera. I missed a great opportunity last night by not flying while the full moon was coming up over the snow covered mountains! If it would have come out it would have been an amazing shot! Oh well, just as well I need to get Nav lights on the EStarter so I can tell which way it is flying.

For now I deem this experiment a success and I need to paint my plane. Hmm... I need to paint it so that I can tell which side the camera is on, maybe I should just paint under the wings a different florescent color as well as the rudder?
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Last edited by Dakrat; Sep 30, 2007 at 10:15 AM.
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