View Full Version : Home Made Video Game Trail Camera Project
03-11-2001, 03:17 PM
This will be the start of the home made video game trail camera thread. Gizz has made one already and will be posting his work here shortly. Also, the Texas Bowhunters will help out on the video end and how to load it for internet viewing. They also have experience on filming hunts.
Everyone is welcome to post where they got their parts, schematics and any helpful tips on this subject. The more the merrier.
Ok, Let's get this ball rollin!
Here is a pic of my videocam. I will have some more showing inside of unit once I get the palmcorder back from being cleaned. I have a red lense for on the light and also have been messing around with wrapping the whole light housing with camo mesh. Next is to figure out how to post movies.
You can click the album link to see the other 4 pictures of the videocam. If you do you'll notice up under the little roof some holes for the sound to pass through. Screen is on the inside to keep the bugs out.
The housing is stainless steel and has a locking latch and hinge for the top. Eyelets were welded on for hooking chain and lock. Also added was some aluminum "teeth" on the back for keeping the cam solid against the tree.(the whole thing is kinda heavy)
Link to album:
(Edited by gizz at 11:20 pm on Mar. 15, 2001)
Here is what makes up most of the "guts"
MS20 PIR - $9 (I also removed R26 on this board and put in a 100K to give a little longer time before the MS20 resets)
2 RS 12V (1-SPDT, 1-SPST) relays - $6
Marty's board - About $8
Enclosure - Free(scrap Stainless)!
Light - $14
1.2A 12volt battery - $8
12A 12volt battery - $35
Miscl parts - hinge,eyebolts,switch,etc -$20
Camera - Ummm $600 about 7 years ago, but...they can be bought on ebay sometimes for about $100. There are a lot of these older VHS-C's around just have to ask. I used the small remote that came with mine to hook into the relay to turn the cam on/off.
Don't go buying all this yet as I still have to put it through the paces to see if it's all gonna work!! It works in the house but...
Total is about $100 w/out the camera.
The whole unit still needs put through the paces.
Anyone else doin this kinda stuff?
03-12-2001, 03:07 AM
Gizz, ### looks very nice. ### Can't wait to see your first video. ###I use "Dazzle" software for real video and to take stills of the video. ###Works pretty good.
Blackwater - What do I need to do this? Will it work with VHS-C? I know very little about this kinda stuff so I need elementary help!
Is this "Dazzle" software all I need?
Maybe you could just briefly post the steps necessary from camera to PC, that would help me a lot.
03-12-2001, 08:16 AM
As usual, great stuff Jesse!
Gizz, that's great. ###Thanks for taking the lead on this. ###My hunting buddy, Casey, and I put out his Jessecam this past weekend to test. ###It worked great (when we remembered to turn on the flash!). ###We need to make a few modifications to prevent the flash from bleeding, but we got some good pics of deer and a coon. ###We've been discussing how to make a video trail camera. ###We've got some ideas that should work, but there are a few things we've yet to overcome. ###With this forum, we should be able to resolve those issues and get some video trail cams out there in the woods!
There are some guys over at my site, TexasBowhunter.com, that are pretty handy and should have some ideas as well. ###I'll post some of our ideas and obstacles later. ###
03-12-2001, 09:55 AM
Great site, Jesse!
I want to rig up my Sony 520 as a motion video camera, but I don't know anything about electronics. I do not want to wire into the camera. I would only use a solenoid to activate the camera. Unlike most video cameras, the Sony 520 will "wake up" and record by pressing the record button. Most others require you to turn them off then back on to record if it has been over 5 minutes since you recorded something. It does take about 7 seconds from the time you press record for it to "wake up" and actually record. That shouldn't be a problem set up at a feeder, the way I plan to use it. Anyone have any ideas about rigging a solenoid to press the button? ###
The video camera can also take still photos to a "memory stick". To do that you press a different button. It does not go to sleep when in the still camera mode. The good thing about the photos is with a 16meg memory stick, I think I can take 200+ photos. Then, since they are digital photos, I can delete any photos I donít want without spending an arm and a leg to develop all the film. The camera has the ďnight shotĒ which uses infrared light to film in total darkness. There wonít be a flash to spook the deer at night!
03-12-2001, 11:31 AM
Sorry for the duplication Keith, but I'm going to cut/paste this from the discussion on TexasBowhunter.com over here to get more folks working on it:
The solenoid should work fine to "wake up" and begin recording on the Sony. Glenn has a regular Sony 8mm and it performs the same way. The biggest problem is that once the solenoid depresses the start button to begin recording, the next motion picked up by the sensor will again press the button to stop the recording. There needs to be some kind of timer that prevents this from happening. I'd like to figure out a way to make it record for a set period, ie one minute or so, and then turn itself off. To do this, the solenoid would have to be disabled for during that time and then reactivated to stop the recording, and then reset to activate the camera when triggered again by motion. ### Any ideas?
03-12-2001, 11:40 AM
Wouldn't one of the timer's that we have been using for the regular cam's work for the video cam?
I built one out of Forrest Mim's book and get a 2 min. delay between pics. Timer cost less than $6 to build.
Elk Bowhunter- I thought the shutdown was gonna be a problem on my videocam as mine would shut down after 5 minutes but to my surprise the little mini-remote that comes with the camcorder automatically turns the cam on/off and wakes up the camera after auto shutdown. Nice thing about this is I didn't have to tear into the camera!
Michael - What type of sensor are you using?
With the MS20 I used a SPDT relay instead of the SPST normally used for the Camera only units. I wired this into a board that only allows a single short pulse to the on/off/rec switch each time the board receives a short. With the SPDT relay when the sensor trips, a short ###"pulse" turns the cam on. When the MS20 resets the second throw on the SPDT relays sends another pulse to turn it off. All this is wired to a single on/off record switch on the remote.
Hope this isn't too confusing! It never comes out as clear as it is in the mind.
Hopefully I can post some pics of the "guts" soon enough. I do believe this would solve your problem.
03-12-2001, 03:13 PM
With "Dazzle" it came with a USB connecter unit that connects to computer and then ###your video cam plugs into external unit. ###Then with the enclosed software you can save in fdifferent formats and break out stills. ###
Dazzle also makes one with a board that you install inside of computer, but I prefer the external unit, so I can use with other computers. ###There are different ones other than Dazzle and I have tried a few of them, so far for me Dazzle best one.
for more info tha anybody needs.
03-12-2001, 06:05 PM
I think the timer would work. ###
Gizz, what format is your camcorder? ###I think you mentioned VHS-C. ###You'll have to figure out some way to digitize your analog images to import into your system. ###You can buy a card, such as the Dazzle that BlackWater mentioned and it should work fine. ###
We use Digital8 Camcorders and have a firewire (i.link) card to import the video into the PC. ###Because it's already digitized, and because the firewire ieee1394 is much faster than even USB, I would think it is much quicker than the other methods. ###Also, I would guess the quality would be a little better. ###
One thing to remember about importing video, especially for web usage, is that it takes a lot of space. ###I try to limit my video clips to around 2 megs or less, with a few exceptions. ###That only gives me about 15-20 seconds of footage with standard mpeg compression. ###
If anybody has some video that they want to post in the meantime, you can send me a copy of the tape and I'll digitize and post it. ###Remember, short clips! ###email me at email@example.com if you want me to post your video.
I intend to use a regular 8mm for the camera, at least initially. ###I don't want to use my expensive D8 for a trail cam until I make sure it's weather proof and steal proof! ###I can use my regular 8mm to capture the footage, and then use it as a scouting tool in an area where I'm not hunting. ###Then, I can insert my 8mm tape into my D8 and import video into the computer for internet usage.
Michael - Thanks for the tips. I went ahead with Blackwater's lead and ordered the Dazzle DVC-80. Its around $56 bucks on egghead and sounds like it'll do the trick. I'm assuming the quality won't be as good but should be "good enough" to be able to share with you guys. I'll always have the original VHS Tape to use in the VCR for myself.
Also, where do you guys have some of these movies on the web? I'd like to see what I'm getting into!
03-13-2001, 07:27 AM
here's one of my favs. ###You'll need to make sure you have Windows Media Player 7 or higher to open it. ###(I played some tricks to get the file size smaller!) ###Anyway, check it out at
TexasBowhunter.com Turkey Video (http://users.ev1.net/~mmiddleton/Video/2kturkey.mpg)
03-13-2001, 10:23 AM
Where can I find the timer you mention? That's pretty inexpensive, $6. I've thought about buying one from Canada as mentioned on Jesse's cam site, but they are expensive. I'm definitely not an expert in electronics, so I don't want to build something complicated. I've managed to build a deercam, but lack a timer that will limit repetitive pics.
Thanks for the help.
03-13-2001, 10:39 AM
I picked up the Forrest Mims book from Radio Shack, I think the title is Timers, Op Amps Optoelectronics or something to that effect. I'm at work right now, but will post correct book name and page this evening.
I'm no electronics wizz either, just a telephone repairman turned engineer. It took me awhile to figure the timer out being the bonehead I am, but it works great now.
03-15-2001, 05:11 AM
KsBowhunter & Smokin barrel: ###The book is entitled "Timer, Op Amp & Optoelectronic Circuits & Projects" and it's written by Forrest Mims, III. ###I have used this book to learn about 555's and the like.
Gizz, thanks for the wonderful compliments on my pirogue on the waterfowl thread. ###I've been meaning to tell you that I am most impressed with your video cam. ###That thing looks great, and I bet it works great too!
Trust me, if you can build something like that video cam, a pirogue would be no problem!
Welby - Thanks, Actually I "think" it'll work OK as it did in the house. The picture on playback was kinda "jerky" so I took it to a local repair shop and they said it probably needed a good cleanin. Well, after they got inside they found a "post" that needed reset and this was messing up the tracking. They said $90 total to do it. Should be done Tomorrow I hope. I will then immediately place it into the woods this weekend. The "dazzle" package for converting to digital should be here early next week. This is like 8 years old and waiting for XMAS!
03-15-2001, 04:17 PM
Gizz, you got one ###good deal if you got the Dazzle software ###& hardware for $56.00. ###My set up from Dazzle was approx. $250.00 for my other computer.
I just got this new computer with "fire wire installed" and video software installed, just now need to get a Digital Video Cam instead of analog.
DVC 80 is what I ordered. USB hardware and software inluded. There were a lot more other products but I thought they may include a bunch of other stuff that I probably don't need. This is advertised as a Digital Video Creator. Did I get the wrong product? I can always re-order a different product and send this one back. Please advise if you can. Thanks for the Heads Up, As you can probably tell I know very little about this product. Maybe cheaper isn't better in this case.
(Edited by gizz at 8:46 pm on Mar. 15, 2001)
03-17-2001, 02:12 PM
I set up a webpage to post all your work and any other info or pics people have The page is at http://www.jesseshuntingpage.com/hb-video.html
Also, if you have the camcorder model number and any schematics drawn up yet I can post them too. I've been pimping this project so we should see some new peeps in here with a bunch of questions and hopefully some with their own designs and ideas.
03-17-2001, 02:17 PM
Gizz, all I can say is Congrats, thats the same as I have. Like most tech. products, when you buy first you pay high, wait a few years and it gets lot cheaper. ###You'll have fun making the movies.
Blackwater - Thanks, that's good to know. I didn't want to have to get an RMA, reorder, etc. I'm not really looking at getting too fancy with this stuff, just want to be able to post some short clips.
Spectr - I just got the camera back from the repair shop on friday and need to get the unit out in the field to test it. I'll work on some type of Detailed plans/parts this week and should have something for you before next weekend. Should I just email it to you?
I'm having one small problem with the unit. I have the mini remote wired to Marty's board. It seems that when the "charge" from the board closes the circuit for the remote to turn the cam on/off, the charge stays locked in the remote's circuitry and the remote stays on (like the button is pushed and never released). I did a test and grounded one of the leads that goes to the remote from marty's board back to the negative on the battery and it seems to work OK. Does this make any sense? Maybe I'll make up a drawing and post it here to explain the problem a little better.
The odd thing about all this is that when I'm holding the remote between my fingers and touch any of the metallic on the remote with my fingers the problem in not present. When I lay the remote on the table and test it the problem is present. The remote stays on until I touch the metallic with my finger.
(Edited by gizz at 9:46 am on Mar. 18, 2001)
03-18-2001, 06:29 PM
There has been a death at TNDEER. The trail camera thread has died. The trail lead to here.
03-18-2001, 09:15 PM
yeah i noticed that too....lol
it was kinda like tracking a wounded deer to find where it went....hehehe
we might have to do a head count to see who made it over the crik
Big problem with my videocam. Seems my SPDT relay is not working anymore. When the MS20 PIR is tripped the "mini remote" is turning the cam on but when the PIR resets the cam is not turning off. All was working great before I sent the cam in for cleaning/repair. The only thing I did was replace R26 on the MS20 board with a higher resistor to get a few more seconds in test mode. By looking through the viewfinder at the remote I can see the remote "pulse" when the PIR is tripped but nothing when the PIR resets. This whole thing is starting to get the best of me.
I've been having intermittant problems with this setup since day one. I may start with a new MS20, relay, and timer board. Thanks for listening to me babble - I feel better now.
Success again, maybe..
After testing till the sun came up I think I finally have this thing nailed. Instead of using a single timer board to turn the cam on/off, I've wired in a second board - one for each throw on the spdt relay. Seems the time between closure from one relay contact to the other was too quick and the results were intermittant. I'll put this throught the paces and see if it'll work. I'm gaining more and more respect for those original pioneers of the homebrew cam. There sure is a lot of I think I've got it, well maybe, well darn, OK now I've got it, Umm well, maybe.
Anyone else out there messing with this stuff? How about you guys from the Texas board?
03-20-2001, 07:04 PM
We're still lurking! ###We're just waiting to see what kind of results you're getting first! ###hehehe! ###You lead the way, we'll follow. ###
That's good, just wanted to make sure someone was following the saga. This WILL work, hopefully sooner than later.
BTW, the "dazzle" hardware/software came today. Now if I can just get some video...
(Edited by gizz at 10:14 pm on Mar. 20, 2001)
For anyone following, the hombrew videocam is out on watch for the first time tonight. I ran into some problems with the old MS20/timer setup and built one the Welby/Tinhorn models. Instead of using the MS20 to close the timer circuit, I had to control power instead. The timer was too sensitive to the MS20 SPDT relay closure but had no problems with cutting the power. Finished the assembly yesterday and put the cam out today. Fingers crossed!!
03-25-2001, 07:28 PM
Waiting and hoping right along with ya!
Well the first night was fairly successful. I had about 30 minutes of 10 to 15 second clips. Alot of the cycles were out of focus but I believe this may have been from the cold temps affecting the camcorder. I clipped a couple of the better ones and emailed them to spectr. They are in Windows Media Player format V7.0 or higher. I just downloaded an AVI to MPEG encoder but the movies are a little larger. These are very short clips but it should give you a good idea of the results. I'm going to test it again this week after it warms up a bit. Temps in the Low teens aren't very good for camcorders sitting out all night. Hopefully Spectr can put these on the video webpage so you can download them. They are fairly small. I'm currently looking for a place to store them on the net. I tried Xdrive but it seems to corrupt them. ###
05-04-2001, 08:46 AM
I want to start working on my homemade video trail cam. Any new ideas, yet. I want to use a Sony 8mm (or Hi-8 or Digital-8) with the night shot feature, so that I can video at night. I am planning on using a solenoid to press the record button and I would like to add a timer to stop the recording in about 1-minute. (I would like to be able to adjust the recording time) If there were movement again, I would like to record again, with a delay of a minute or two between recordings. I will use the camera mostly at a feeder, so there could be a long period of time with game at the feeder. The camera I have will "wake up" from standby just by pressing the record button, so that shouldn't be a problem. Do any of you electronic geneses out there have any ideas? All help would be appreciated.
05-17-2001, 11:48 PM
If not too much trouble, would you please email a copy of the Word document outlining your instructions for building one of these video cam units? ###Thanks!
05-18-2001, 03:01 PM
I am awaiting my Panasonic PV-IQ405 (which I recently got over at flea-bay), but Tinhorn was kind enough to send me a schematic for a 3-timer setup which I then added a 4th 555 to and breadboarded it and it works fine. ###With it, you can set the time to prevent re-triggering and it will send an on signal followed by the amt of time you want to record video, followed by a signal to turn the recording off. ###Once I get the camcorder, I will report back how this works in actual testing. ###I plan to use the camcorder over bear baits, and don't want more than about 30 secs of video at a time and don't want the PIR to re-trigger the camcorder more than every 5 minutes or so. ###Most bears will hang around a bait for at least 5 mins, some will hang around for up to an hour. ###I know, I've used up lots of film on my Owl PF. ###Anyway, maybe Tinhorn will post his schematic here. ###Thanks for all the help Tinhorn.
IdyHo - Sorry I didn't see your original request for the document. I believe Spectr17 has has it posted on his webpage but I can email it to you if you want. Does the 405 have the little remote? I believe it does but was checking. I have to post a few pics of that part yet but it is relatively easy to wire up. I sure am interested in a picture with parts of that timer setup. I'm not real smart at figuring out these circuit boards but have managed to get something to work from by piecemealing all the different ideas from everybody else. Sounds like the timer setup would be a lot more foolproof than what I'm doing now. Please keep us updated.
05-18-2001, 07:08 PM
IdyHo or Tinhorn, I'd love to see that schematic. ###Can you post it here or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org?
05-18-2001, 10:40 PM
If someone knows how to post a jpeg to this forum, let me know and I'll send you the Tinhorn 3-timer schematic.
05-19-2001, 02:00 PM
Tinhorn - I know you've been through this with me way back but the MS20 trigger would be the 10K resistor? Also on that setup I can remove the old D1 Diode? and Relay? then replace the D1 with the 10K resistor?
This looks much more "buildable" to me today than it did 5 months ago.
05-20-2001, 10:22 PM
The trigger comes off the 10 k resistor. ###I posted a pix of the MS20 board with this resistor installed a couple weeks ago but don't know what page it's on
One question for clarity..Will this setup, once triggered, activate the start/stop button then give a "certain" time before the same start/stop button is activated again-once for on/once for off? Also, what will happen if the trigger is being activated due to movement still taking place and the time limit expires? ###
I'd like to try this setup for the videocam since it would really make the cam much more error free.
I haven't had the cam out much lately due to turkey season and all the hunter's that might be tempted to "claim" it. Season is over this weekend and I'll be able to get it out there.
05-21-2001, 07:28 AM
This setup will ignore all incoming triggers from the Motion Sensor till it times out. ###(any additional triggers from the sensor won't reset the timer, they are ignored, until the middle stage times out)
The sequence is:
when Motion is sensed it immediately triggers the 1st stage which simultaneously pulls in the Start Relay for 2 or 3 seconds and triggers the 2nd stage.
The 2nd stage sets the Camcorders "ON" time. ###if R5 = 1M then the Camcorder On time would be 2 min's, etc
Once the middle stage times out, it triggers the 3rd stage which pulls in the STOP relay for 2 seconds.
So, the timer starts the camera, it films for 2 min's, then stops the camera and is then ready for another Motion Sensor Trigger....
IdyHo mentioned to me that he likes a 30 sec "ON" time which means R5 is about 270K. ###He also added a 4th stage, so his setup waits 4 mins before it can be triggered again. ###Ask him about that if u're interested.
Thanks Tinhorn, you're a genious, honestly!
I found the MS20 Picture with the huge 10K resistor on it. Nothing can be more clearer than that pic.
I'm gonna go rip into it.
Tinhorn - Could the 2 start/stop timers operate the same Diode and relay instead of having 2 seperate one's?
05-21-2001, 04:08 PM
Remove the wire from the 1st stage pin 3 to the Start Relay and replace with a 1 amp diode with the Cathode (band end) facing the relay.
The Output (pin 3) of the 3rd stage would then connect to the relay (where the Diode Cathode is)
what might happen is the middle stage would get triggered again, like a dog chasing his tail, and just trigger itself over and over, but with any luck the extra diode "Might" prevent that....
I have never built this circuit and can't experiment with it to see if that would work..
Tinhorn - I decided to build this one as you have drawn - better safe than sorry. If this works I'll hook another up via breadboard and try. The first one is in the tank as I type. Hope I got enough ink on the copper.
05-21-2001, 04:17 PM
Gizz (or others):
Just got my PV-IQ405 and would really like to know how to crack open the tiny remote without ruining it. ###Also, I noticed that after 30 mins, the camcorder turns itself off, requiring one to switch it off and back on to "camera" again. ###Any workarounds for this problem? ###(Might have to build a timer that sends a brief "record" signal every 30 mins just to keep it awake). ###Otherwise, I think Tinhorn's 3 stage (or my Tinhorn modified 4stage) timer will work fine with these cams.
IdyHo - The camera does shut down but the little remote should wake it back up. That is why I opted to wire the little remote rather than the camera. Try This to see if your is the same.
Turn the camer on and make sure it is in camera mode with a tape in. Then just let it on without recording anything. After it goes to sleep try pressing the "REC" button on the little remote to wake it back up. Report your findings once you try it.
I will hack into the second remote that I have this week so I can get you some pics. The other is mounted inside the original unit and I don't want to tear it down. I'm currently building the above timer and may use this in place of all the other junk from the original design. You may want to hold off building anything until we see how this timer works out.
05-21-2001, 04:50 PM
I'm afraid mine does not wake up if left on for more than 30 mins. ###The little remote does not wake it up. ###I'll have to add a timer that does a quick "rec" and then "pause" every 29 mins to keep it from shutting down completely. ###So how do I open up this little bugger??
Idyho - Are you sure?? I have a model IQ403 and IQ505 and they both will wake up when the REMOTE Record start/stop button is pushed. Make sure your batteries are fully charged or the 'corder will not wake up. Also make sure the little remote battery is good so that it's sending a signal. I'd replace it. I'm not trying to insult you so don't take it the wrong way but the little remote should wake up the cam. Of course I don't have that model so I'm not 100% sure.
To tear apart the little remote you'll need the smallest darn phillips head you've ever seen. If you got that here goes:
Gently lift the edge of the "plastic" film that has the writing on it. It's about as thick as a piece of paper so make sure your not reefing on too much. You'll just kinda work the "plastic paper" off of the remote. This will expose the board - see pic below.
Next you should see the 3 phillips head screws. They are very very small. Unscrew them. This will release the board from the enclosure. Keep track of how things come apart so you can put them back together. Flip the board over and you should see the good stuff. See pic below. Everything should look like the pic minus the wires of course. The white wire is soldered to the 3rd pin on that...well..that square thing. The red is soldered to the little circle labeled "T2". You better be real careful soldering to that "thing" because those pins are mighty small.
You can test by looking through the view finder at the remote "emitter". If you touch the two wires together you'll see the little emitter emit a couple flashes. You can't see it with your naked eye - I have no idea why ### Come to think of it you might want to try this before tearing yours apart so you know that your remote is working.
Have fun and fire away with any questions.
This pic is after the plastic cover is removed:
This one is with the board removed and flipped over and the wires soldered in place:
(Edited by gizz at 8:31 pm on May 21, 2001)
05-21-2001, 10:02 PM
Thanks, great post! ###The manual shows the 405 and 505 as one and the same except for the fact that the 505 has a color viewfinder vs. the B/W for the 405. ###Mine was made in 1995 and was never used before, so the batteries are still the originals. ###I will definitely change them tomorrow. ###The manual does state that the cam goes into power saving standby mode in 5 mins and if it's been "longer than 30 minutes before you resume recording, set the POWER switch to OFF and then CAMERA" (page 21). ###My testing verifies the need to do this if more than 30 mins elapses. ###I will definitely try new batteries nonetheless. ###Thank you so much for the great pics and instructions for tearing into the remote. ###I would not have figured this out by myself.
Idyho - That's exactly what my cam manual says and mine were also built around that time. I believe you'll find that the remote battery is dead and once you replace it and the camcorder batteries fully charged the little remote will wake up the camcorder.
I have to pick up a few things today to finish building the timer board listed above. i'll keep the group posted.
Tinhorn - I'm having trouble locating the .0047 Cap's for the timer. Can I use .047 or do I have to keep looking?
05-22-2001, 07:36 AM
The .047 will work but if there is a RS in your area, their part number for the .0047 is 272-130 ###
Tinhorn ### ### ###
Thanks Tinhorn! I was at the shack today at lunch time and the smallest they had was .01 I'll see if they can order a few based on that part no.
I got one of those breadboard kits and am going to try the whole thing out as soon as I get a chance. The board I made last night....well..some of the ink was etched off along with the copper that was supposed to remain underneath it. I got some of that laser iron on paper stuff and am gonna maybe give that a try.
Hey Idyho - Howd ya make out testing that little remote?
05-22-2001, 04:28 PM
Afraid to say that even with brand new CR2025 batteries for the little remote and the camcorder, it still won't work past 30 mins idle time. ###I tried both a new 6volt battery (freshly charged) as well as hooking it up to the AC/DC 6volt power supply. ###Within the 1st 30 mins, the remote will wake the cam back up and start recording. ###After 30 mins, I'm SOL. ###Tinhorn: ###any suggestions for an auxillary timer that will constantly send a refresh on and off signal every 29 mins? ###I think I might be able to figure one out, but you are the expert and would appreciate your input. ###Gizz: ###I have the cam set for the default settings (H.S.S. on, no EIS). ###What have you been setting yours for that works? ###Thanks again. ###I'm sure I'll get this to work in time.
(Edited by IdyHo at 4:33 pm on May 22, 2001)
Idyho - That's a real bummer deal on the wake up thing. I'm curious about something with your shutdown - Does your cam shut down after 5 minutes? If so does it completely power off?
Maybe we can get some info from Panasonic on the schematics of this thing. I'll send them an email asking for some help - Worth a shot?
It would be nice to be able to hard wire the palmcorder eliminating alot of the problem areas.
I only ever tested the IQ403 for extended periods of time(over an hour and it still would wake up). The 505 was not tested the same way although I've used it inside the cam housing with the remote from the the IQ403 and it worked all night long so I suppose that answers that question. I'm starting to wonder if the remote from the IQ403 is different from some of the newer one's (405, 505 etc). I will do some testing....
05-22-2001, 09:15 PM
My 405 goes to "sleep" after 5 mins. ###The viewfinder blanks out and the cam becomes dead silent. ###Pushing the rec/pause on the remote wakes it up and the viewfinder comes to life. ###But if I wait for more than 30 mins after it goes to sleep, it will not wake up without switching the front switch to off and then back to camera. ###If you get anywhere with Panasonic, that would be great. ###I doubt that they would do anything about mine if I were to send it in, since the manual even states that after 30 mins, it needs to be reset to get it to work again. ###Could have something to do with your older remote sending a slightly different signal. ###Does your 403 manual say anything like the 405/505 does regarding the 30 min shutdown?
05-22-2001, 11:16 PM
hey guys i just bought a panasonic palmcprder IQ PV-D426 anyone know anything about this camera. ###Im playing with it as we speak. ###it has no remote but does have a built in motion detector, it is on and says standby on the screen, if i move my hand in front of the sensor it will film for approx. 20-30 seconds then go back to the standby mode. ###Now this mode doen't put the camera asleep, not yet anyway and its been nearly 30 minutes. ###After this test i will try just the regular pause and see if it goes to sleep and will also check to see it the recored will wake back up. ###I will keep you informed, also any info would be great on this camera. ###if it is worthy i might began construction. ###hookingbull
Idyho - I have no idea where the manual for the 403 is. I also don't have one for the 505 either. I tested both cams last night with the 403 remote and after 3 1/2 hours they both would turn back on. It may be something with the 403 remote. I need to tear into the 505 remote and see if I can tell if anything is different.
Tinhorn - I finished my first run at the 3 stage timer from this thread and it "kinda" is working. I didn't get much time to trace all the parts to make sure I don't have something obviously wrong but here's what I seem to be getting.
The trigger starts stage 1 and the cam turns on. While the 30 seconds (I used 270k resistor) is timing out all is fine(circuit open). Once the 30 seconds times out the second relay clicks and is help closed forever. This of course "holds in" the RECORD button on the remote constantly. I think I'm close, the only thing I'm a little unsure of is the transistor. I bought a pack of 15 RS276-1617, but they all seem to be slightly different from one another(different numbers with none of them showing 2N3904. The E,B,C posts are correct though.
I'm using the same 275-005 9v SPDT relays that we've used on the homebrews with the one post cut off - Maybe I've got this part messed up??
Tinhorn - What it looks like is happening is that the stop relay is "closing" after the 30 seconds but never "opening" back up. After I unhook the battery I can here it click.
Also, when the MS20 is re-triggered then the second relay will open back up. The first relay seens ti be working properly. Any clues?
(Edited by gizz at 10:15 am on May 23, 2001)
05-23-2001, 07:29 AM
One thing that may be happening is the cap between the 2 and 3rd stage is staying charged, holding pin 2 volts low. ###(Pin 2 can only be a momentary low for the timer to work. ###if it stays low, it never times out) ###A larger cap retains a charge longer so changing your .047 to .001 are greater may fix it but try this 1st:
connect a 47K resistor between pin 2 of the 3rd stage and Battery (+) ###(maybe pin 4 or 8 if it's is convenient) ###Value not real critical but should be over 10k I think. ###This resistor may be required even if a .001 or .0047 cap is used BTW
This resistor can stay, even if you discover a wiring problem, which is the other possibility.....
You can check the stages individually by connecting a temp wire to battery (-) and momentarily touching pin 2 of each stage (starting with the 3rd stage and working backwards) ###You should see the LED's light then time out or, if there is no LED's, see the volts on pin 3 go up almost to batt (+) then time out and volts return to 0
Idyho, your circuit worked as expected right?
(Edited by Tinhorn at 9:36 am on May 23, 2001)
Tinhorn - That was exactly the problem!! Right on Dude!
I left the .047 Caps in and added the 47k resistor at pin2 of the 3rd timer to the bat+ and now all is working fine. Should I replace the caps or am I good to go by adding this resistor?
This is a little embarrasing but here are a couple pics of the finished board. Some stuff (wires,transistor) are underneatch. The second one matches the schematic as tinhorn drew it left to right.
Thanks for the help Tinhorn, I gotta get to work now, I'll check in when I get back.
05-23-2001, 08:55 AM
Yes, the breadboarded circuit based on your schematic worked just fine. ###I used components as listed on the schematic, except for using variable resistors to adjust the times. ###I did not test it with the 12v reed relays, but used leds to show pin 3 outputs and the "stop" timer worked as expected. ###I did add the additional timer ahead of your three since I wanted a "prevent re-triggering" timer.
05-23-2001, 10:03 AM
Elk Bowhunter, thanks for the reply. ###This camera is a VHS C. It doesn't have a infra-red system, the only way to film at night is with the light on. ###It does that an auto light feature, if it is on motion and movement is detected the light will cut on and the camera will begin to film. ###After testing it last night, i discovered that if it is left on the motion detector mode that it will stay on the entire time, if it is on the normal filming mode and pause has been added, it will go to sleep after about 5 minutes and the record button does not wake it back up. ###I will do more research on the distance and housing enclosure, will keep you posted. ###again thanks for your responce. ### Hookingbull
05-23-2001, 10:34 PM
I think your ok the way it is and wouldn't worry about changing the .047 cap
Idyho, the resistor (47K, pin 2 to Batt + on stage 3) would be added insurance for that stage if it's convenient to install one but I know you have other problems to think about right now (Cam Shutdown)
I really hate to ask but any clues on how to hook in the light? Can I add a 3rd relay that stays "closed" during the second stage?
05-24-2001, 09:23 AM
Sounds good to me Gizz, don't forget the Protection Diode!
05-24-2001, 01:46 PM
What is everyone using for a waterproof case? I can't afford to have one custom made. I was hoping to use a GI 50mm ammo case, but it isn't big enough. Any ideas for a cheap, strong, waterproof case?
Elk - Are you making a videocam or photocam?
If your making a videocam the best thing to do would be to kinda wire everything up on the bench first then see what you'll need for a case.
I got lucky and a freind who works for a Natural gas pipeline was removing outdoor stainless steel enclosures that protected small valves from the weather and freezing. He gave me 2 of them and they are almost made for the job, I just customized it a little.
Before this I thought about buying a couple feet of PVC Well Casing. This stuff is like 6" to 9" in diameter( i believe you can get different sizes). You could buy end caps and cut your holes for everything into them then attach them with small galv screws or something like that. It would be very waterproof and also very strong. Make sure if you check out this option that you get Heavy duty stuff - not that thin sewer pipe stuff. I believe I may have a very small piece somewhere in the barn - I'll see if I can find it although it would be big enough for your cam I could check the dimensions and see if my camera will fit in there. ###
Other than that just keep your eyes open for something that may work.
(Edited by gizz at 6:35 pm on May 24, 2001)
I know I sure do post a lot on here but when I get going on a new modification I can't stop so....
Tinhorn - I added the 3rd relay and everything, i thought, was working great except one thing...the first stage keeps closing the "start" relay which keeps sending a on/off signal to the remote if motion is detected while the 30 seconds is elapsing. I guess in a nutshell i need a way to disable the 1st stage from receiving any new triggers until the whole 3rd stage is completed otherwise the cam can get out of sequence with the on/off very quickly. I'm wondering if there is way to ignore the incoming signal with this setup or will I have to add another 2-3 sec one-shot timer to the first stage. Did I say thanks yet for all the help?
05-24-2001, 08:02 PM
Oh Shoot Gizz, don't hit me!!!
I didn't think about that.......here is a cure, easy on paper but now you will have to get another transistor, the same type as between stage 1 and 2, and a 8.2K resistor and a 1k to 10K resistor to fix my mistake.....
if Pin 4 is held LOW (zero volts) then that stage is turned off.....when the 2st stage is timing, it will use the added transistor to turn off the 1st stage. ###Everything else remains the same except you will have to cut the trace that goes from pin 4 to batt (+) of stage 1 and add the resistor.....
05-24-2001, 08:02 PM
Your latest post describes the reason I added another timer ahead of Tinhorn's 3 timers. ###I have mine set to be adjustable in time and it does prevent retriggering. I also think I have the "shutdown in 30 min" problem solved by adding a separate timer circuit which sends an on and then off refresh signal every 27 mins but is automatically reset if it detects a signal from the PIR. ###If anyone else is interested, it is based on the "Missing Pulse Detector" schematic on page 16 of Forrest Mims' Timer, Op Amp, etc. book. ###I used 3.3M resister for R2 and a 470uF cap for C1. ###
Tinhorn, yes I did add a 47K resistor to the last stage between pin 2 and +. ###Thanks for the tip.
Also, I have a 50 cal ammo can and the palmcorder seems to fit in it nicely with room for a 12v sealed battery plus timer circuit.
05-24-2001, 08:07 PM
You did tell me you added a 4 min stage but it didnt sink in why, ###sorry, like they said in RoboCop, a small "Glitch"
Gizz even double checked and asked me about Re-triggering and it didn't sink in........
(Edited by Tinhorn at 10:29 pm on May 24, 2001)
Idyho - If you can sketch up a drawing of that missing pulse detector for future reference that'd probably be a good idea, I know I'd be interested in case I find this same problem down the road with maybe another 'corder. I remembered you added another stage and Tinhorn even told me to check with you on that but Oh well, live and learn.
Tinhorn - Don't sweat a thing man, I'll apply the fix. I'm just glad your hangin in there on this, all smiles on this side of the pipe At least there's some interest in this now, heck 3 months ago I felt all alone in here. Anyways, check your messanger for this BBS -- ###paybacks are #@*& ###
Idyho - one more thing, are you gonna put an external light on your unit? If so let me know I have a part no for a nice 12v rubber coated weatherproof lamp that works well. I'm using a PS12120(12V 12Amp gel) powersonic for the light. It holds up real well. I'm also using the 1.2Amp gel for the PIR/timer.
(Edited by gizz at 12:10 am on May 25, 2001)
05-25-2001, 06:46 AM
Well I blew it again, my hasty cure won't work now that I think about it......
that added transistor will shut down stage 1 so fast it won't have time to pull in the Start Relay.
What to do! ###What to do!
Idyho's added stage will work and be pretty energy efficient but wish I could think of an easier way.
The only thing I can think of is to add a 3rd relay (Oh my) if it has a Normally "Closed" contact. ###The new relay would be connected to pin 3 of the 2nd stage, like Gizz's Flood Light, only the contacts would be connected between the Motion Sensor Trigger line and pin 2 of 1 stage. ###(be sure R1 stays connected to pin 2 when these contacts are open)
That way, with the 1st trigger, the contacts are closed and the trigger reaches pin 2 of stage 1 and sets things in motion. ###The relay contacts then open so no more signals can get to pin 2 untill stage 2 times out allowing the contacts to close again....
Idyho's cure is better because of energy efficiency tho, the relays draw quite a bit of current while pulled in.....of course, the current is negligable compared to the flood light's current
Speaking of current, how much does those relays draw, ###TLC 555 can only drive 200 ma's ! ###will driving 2 relays exceed that? (the 2nd relay being the flood light's)
(Edited by Tinhorn at 8:51 am on May 25, 2001)
Think I'm gonna build another setup. No big deal really...since the one I'm currently using is gettin kinda hacked up. Maybe I could get one of you engineers to post up a pic of the timer with the added stage that will disable the trigger? Idyho, are you able to post pics?
You guys are probably startin to curse me..sorry.
(Edited by gizz at 11:01 am on May 25, 2001)
05-25-2001, 09:07 AM
Gizz, you will not ever hear me "curse" you. I really appreciate all your help. I plan to build one of these video trail cameras in another month or two. Hopefully by then all the bugs will be worked out. I know absolutely nothing about electronics, but everything I know I learned from you. Thanks to everyone for all your hard work. It is appreciated.
Gees Elk, Thanks! but I don't deserve that much credit. EVERYTHING i've learned about this stuff came from (i hate to mention names but..) all the users that frequent this place and the old TNdeer.com
Lately i'd be nowhere without the help of Tinhorn, Arch, & Idyho. And without stumbling upon one of Spectr's (jesse) posts somewhere out there I wouldn't be here today. There are a lot of great people working on this stuff and for them to share info is great.
OK nough smoke blowin, just wanted to make sure all the credit get spread around where due.
Here is a scan of the "new" 4 stage timer that will prevent re-triggers. Notice the square relay (RS275-005) in the middle. This controls the external light that runs off of a 12v 12amp gel battery. The 12volt reed relay wouldn't work because the contacts are only rated at 1 amp- I found this out the hard way as I practically melted the reed relay that I originally had in here!!
Oh, is that what that means They smell real bad when they get hot.
BIG THANKS goes to Idyho, Tinhorn for helping me with this timer. (basically you guys did everything but build it for me). This thing is working flawlessly at the moment.
Idyho - I opted for a 470k resistor on the prevent stage which gives me a 30 second wait until a new trigger is accepted.
Last time I was at Radio Shack I saw a little "DIP" switch SPST with 4 switches that could control 4 resistors(or whatever else). I'm thinking of getting two of these for the R1 on the prevent trigger and the R5 on the "movie length" 3rd stage. This would give many time setting that could be altered whenever you want. What do you guys think?
Here is a link to the external light I'm using. You might want to check around on the site because I'm fairly certain they have a similar light that is "Flood" type meaning wider area instead of beam. Although mine seems to work fairly well. Wish I had more specs on this light - all I know is that it is 12v, I have not idea on the draw.
This is a sketch of the 4 stage timer as I received it from Idyho. He added a prevent stage before the "on" stage to prevent re-triggers. This is necessary if you are using the little remote to turn your cam on/off. It's a little hard to see but you can get the part values from the post a on this thread a couple pages ago.
(Edited by gizz at 8:30 pm on May 28, 2001)
05-28-2001, 09:16 PM
You guys are doing nice, neat work.....good job.....
Ok, me again...
I'd like to add something to the board that'll keep the LIGHT relay from closing during the day but I still want the camera to turn on and off, just with no light during the day. Any ideas on what and where to place it? How bout that R22 resistor from the MS20 board?
05-31-2001, 04:41 PM
Gizz, do you think the timer you have now is going to work? If so, I am ready to start purchasing the parts needed and build this thing! I would like to have a varible time to record and between recordings. Do you have a parts list (with the part numbers so I don't make a mistake and buy the wrong thing!) Are you getting everything from Radio Shack? I am not going to use the external light because my Sony has the night-shot feature. I am also planning on using a solenoid to press the record button so I won't have to wire into the camera or remote.
If anyone else has something to add or other ideas, please let me know.
Thanks in advance!
Elk - I believe this setup will work. I've tested over and over and it seems to work as expected. The only thing is to retrofit the new board and sensor into the housing and get it out. I'm going to try and use a DIP switch (SPST) to give me a selectable "on" time and another for selectable "off" time. I should know the results by the end of the weekend and I'll post them here. I'm pretty much getting everything from the "schack". I'll put together a list of parts that I used and post it here. I'll try to do this by tonight so you can round up the parts maybe this weekend. You'll definately need an MS20 sensor.
06-01-2001, 08:23 PM
Thanks Gizz, one thing I have already purchased is the MS20 sensor. I definitely want a way to adjust the times like the DIP switches. It would be really cool to have a dial to adjust the times like some feeders have to vary the motor run time. Do you know of anything like that? The DIP switches would be fine, but I didn't know if you had thought about the dial option or not. BTW, do you have an approximate cost of the parts?
Elk - On the adjustable time with a dial you may be able to use a variable resistor (Potentiometer) at R5 on the drawing if you can find one large enough. I'm not sure on that yet and I'm not sure on the dip switches either. But for the rest here's what i've got.
These are all RadioShack numbers and this is all for the timer board with day/night sensor. Tinhorn sent me a schematic for day/night sensor that I've built on a breadboard and it works great - THANKS AGAIN Tinhorn!
276-1718 TLC555 Timers - 4
275-233 12VDC Reed Relay - 2
275-005A 9VDC Relay (same on on hombrew) - 2
272-1028 100uf Polarized cap - 2
272-1025 10uf Polarized cap - 2
272-130 .0047 Ceramic Disc Caps - 1 Pack of 2
276-1617 NPN transistors (I'm not using these as I previously purchased NPN 2N2222's from all electronics and the seem to work fine)
276-1657 Cadmium photocells 1 pack of 5 (you can probably use the photocell from your MS20 but I painted all mine with nail polish so......
271-283 47K Micro Potentiometer
276-147 General purpose PC board to solder everything too.
271-312 500 piece Carbon film 1/4watt, 5% Resistors
(you dont really need all these but they are inexpensive and if you plan on messing around you'll need them. And you get to learn how to read the color bands! Otherwise look at the schematic and get the one's you need.
** You should be able to get all this at the shack for under $40. Every time I go I gotta get something new to mess with so I don't have an exact price. You could look up the parts on Radioshack.com if you want.
Of course you'll need everything else associated with soldering. Idyho is working on one of these also and I believe his may be a little more energy efficient due to some discussion we've had. Mine will use a Powersonic PS12120 (12v 12amp) battery for the light($45) and an equiv. PS1212(12v 1.2amp) battery for the timer board($7). I really wouldn't hurt to run them both from the 12amp and I may do this if space with the new design becomes a factor.
Is what you was looking for Elk?
(Edited by gizz at 8:59 am on June 2, 2001)
06-02-2001, 08:16 AM
Yes, that is what I am looking for. Thanks a lot. I think I may be able to get some of the adjustable dial timers from Spincast feeders. I had planned to use a 12 volt 1.2 amp hour (I think) battery that I had on a feeder to power the unit. Should I wait for the new unit Idyho is building if I use this battery? I have even thought about adding a solar panel, but I don't plan to leave the unit out more than about 2 or 3 days at a time.
I have a big soldering gun, but I don't have a small soldering pen or a solder sucker. I guess I should also buy those items too, right? If this video trail camera works out, I would like to build a couple of them and also at least 1 or 2 of the 35mm units.
06-02-2001, 12:47 PM
I just returned from Radio Shack where I purchased almost everything I should need to build the circuit board. I'd like to get started on this project pretty soon. One thing I still have to figure out is the adjustable timer. Anyone that has an idea about what to use please let me know! I am sure that Tinhorn, Jesse, Gizz or someone on this site can figure it out, because I need all the help I can get.
Elk - I'm only using the 12amp because of the light. Idyho was gonna look for possibly a smaller light that might not need so much juice.
I believe you'll have no problem with a 1.2A for the timer if leaving it out less than a week. The light is where you'll need more juice. The problem with these cams is probably gonna be the camcorder battery itself. They usually don't last a very long time although I suppose you could get one of real big ones. Thing is they're about $60. I'm gonna stick to what I've got at this point since I'm in a position that I don't have to travel that far to check the cam so going every 3 or 4 days shouldn't be a problem.
On the adjustable on/off delay, I'm gonna mess with the dip switch thing and see what I can find out.
(Edited by gizz at 4:35 pm on June 2, 2001)
06-04-2001, 01:41 PM
Gizz, any luck with the DIP switches? I have just about all the parts now except of a couple that RS was out of. They will have the other parts in on Thursday.
On the MS-20 motion sensor, I want to use it with my 12 volt battery. I didn't have a part number for a 12 volt relay but I bought a "SPDT Miniature PC Relay 12 VDC coil rated 10A at 120VAC/24VDC" RS's part number is 275-248A. Will this relay work? If not, which one do I need? I also go the red LED walk test light today. Once again, thanks for the help.
06-04-2001, 02:44 PM
On the Variable time delay you talked about. ###
You can replace the fixed resistor that connects to pins 6 & 7 to Batt (+) with a Variable Resistor if you want. ###Select the value ###by the following formula:
1st determine the max delay time you want in Seconds.
2nd get the value of the Cap (in uf) that goes from pins 6 & 7 to Batt Ground
Formula to find Variable Resistor (K ohms)
R(k) = (T(sec) * 1000) / (Cap(uf) * 1.1)
or, in other words
R(K) = T(sec) * 1000 ###divide this answer by ###Cap(uf) * 1.1
Max Time to be 2.2 seconds
Cap is 100uf
2.2sec ###* 1000 = 2200
100uf * 1.1 = 110
2200 / 110 ###= 20k resistor
buy the closest thing to the calculated resistor value. ###If the Variable Resistor is a POT (probably) then connect one lead to the center, and the other to either end of the control. ###If the adjustment is in Reverse when you turn the knob, swop the outer wire to the other end of the control. ###You could mark the time increments on the housing the variable resistor is mounted to. ###As you back off the control, the time will be less.
If you use DIP switches, use the above formula to determine the values of the fixed resistors you want to switch in/out of the circuit.
Also, one last thing, you don't want the resistance to get too low because the lower it is, the more current draw there is and the harder it is on the batterys.
I think that relay will work fine, ###don't forget to use the right contacts, you want NO ###(normally Open) not NC (normally closed)
Elk - Listen to Tinhorn, he knows his stuff. I didn't mess with the DIP's but did use the POT- actually learned what they were on Friday from Tinhorn then learned how to use one, again from Tinhorn. They are the way to go I think unless you want large variation of times then I'm not sure - maybe a combination of DIP's and POT's. You could use say a DIP with 4 switches and connect each to a different value POT. Just set the switch to the POT that you want to use and turn the other 3 off. Of course none of this is TESTED by me but sounds like it would work - Tinhorn?. I'm learnin this stuff as I go to.
Tinhorn - Thanks for the formula.
06-05-2001, 06:14 PM
Either I will be attacking this project tomorrow, or it will attack me! I went to another RS and purchased the parts my local RS was out of. I also bought a Universal Breadboard. Maybe I will be able to fix my mistakes before I solder everything in place. Hopefully I have everything I need now. I sent e-mail to Gizz, Tinhorn and IdyHo for some more help. Hopefully with their guidance, and everyone else on this board, I can figure this out.
YOU WILL SUCCEED!. Just remember that building and learning are almost as fun as using them. Oh and bugging Tinhorn all the time is fun too!
Just remember go slow and ask questions if you get stuck. You WILL make some mistakes - I hacked up my first board so bad that after I got everything rigged up I built a nice neat one with all the bells and whistles and it works!
The "New" redesigned videocam is out now. I put it out last evening and had a hard time sleeping last night wondering if someone would find it and mess with it. Fingers are crossed. One thing I thought of while putting it out it maybe adding a meter that I could view from the outside to show how many times the PIR was tripped. This would let me know how many 30 second clips I have. By my calcs(not very scientific mind you) I figured based upon the camcorder battery I should get at least 36 clips before the battery becomes too weak. We'll see.
(Edited by gizz at 8:52 am on June 7, 2001)
06-07-2001, 12:23 PM
Gizz, how did the new cam work? Send me the information on how to add the counter once you get that working.
I purchased Dazzle DV-Editor yesterday at Wal-Mart on clearance for $44.00. If anyone needs that program, you might look there. Regular price at W-M is $89.96.
Ouch!! In my moment of brilliance I turned the camcorder switch to "VCR" instead of "CAMERA". Seems like this kind of stuff always happens with the first use of a new toy. OH well, tonight is another night. Probably only 6 turkeys, 2 bucks in velvet, 8 or 9 doe, 1 coyote, and a bobcat. Wouldn't have been too exciting anyways
06-07-2001, 09:06 PM
Gizz ### - ### ### What did Jimmy Olson used to say, ### Jeepers ! ! ! !
Can't believe you did that....ha ha
06-07-2001, 09:28 PM
LOL, that sounds like something I would do! I'm glad I am not the only one.
Ouch Again!! I have a slight problem with the new timer. Seems the Start Relay pull in time is too long. I'm getting every bit of 3 seconds and when the camera goes to sleep the 3 seconds is starting then stopping the recording during the 3 seconds. Don't have this problem when the cam is "powered up". I did some testing and found that a very quick "push" of the button is all that is needed - say 1 second. Anyone know how to modify the start/stop relays from 2-3 seconds to about 1 second? I sure hope it's and easy fix, I thought I was done looking at this timer board for a while.
Problem above has been solved. Subbed 68k's for the 220k's on pins 6&7 for the start and stop stages. This gives me about a second or less for both stages. Working Well! Thanks Idyho for the help.
I'm gonna put it out this evening and see how it does. Again, fingers crossed.
06-14-2001, 08:26 PM
Gizz ! ! !
Where's the MOVIES ? ? ?
or is it Technical Problems???
It is working perfectly! (Well, as good as I expected). I did get 2 clips of a doe but not very exciting footage so I didn't bother posting. I brought the cam in for a re-charge of the batts and didn't get it back out yet this week. I lost my Hard Drive and decided to upgrade to WIN2K pro so I'm just getting everything back up. Anyways I'll put it out this evening and should hopefully get something for this weekend good enough to post.
I do have 4 owl cam's out right now. They've been out for about a week - there's been a lot of coyote yelping at night around here so I thought i'd plaster the area with cam's. There's an old abandoned house deep in the woods around here and my brother went inside about 2 weeks ago to explore it. He went upstairs and found coyote droppings and a den inside an old cabinet enclosure. I'm thinking of putting a cam in there - do you suppose the owl PF is capable of detecting ghosts?
For those looking for some video clips...Still waiting for something to walk by. I had 3 camera cam's out for about 1 1/2 weeks and yesterday they were all used up. I moved the videocam a little deeper into the forest to see if I can get some results. Maybe they see the size of this thing stuck to the side of a tree and won't come near it. Maybe tomorrow evening?
06-18-2001, 05:47 PM
you need one of them goofy french berets on your head to be a director, Oui?
Good luck on your new location. A coyote den in an old house? Can you et a pic of it, never seen one like that.
I have one of the homebrews set up outside of the old house right now. I aimed it at an old basement window that looks like it's being used as an entrance to the old house. That old place gives me the "woolies". If I don't get any results I'll try and get the courage up and go inside to place the cam in the upstairs room where my brother says they are "hanging out". I won't do it alone though!
I will be using this house for some setups all summer as there seems to be a lot of "activity" around it. I'll get a few farther out shots for you guys so you can see what I'm dealing with. I'm telling you this place is "spooky" with weeds and trees growing all around it, old junk cars all around, appliances, you name it - it's there!
06-18-2001, 06:23 PM
I have not worked on the board in about a week, but it is finished except for the reed relays. I used variable resistors for the prevent stage and record times, and they seem to work but will need a little tweaking. I just sent an e-mail to Tinhorn and Gizz for some more assistance. (I hope they don't get tired of me bugging them!) I have discovered that the Sony cameras will only "wake up" from the record button on the camera, not from the remote. I may be forced to use a solenoid to press the button on the camera. I will post again when everything is working, if I ever get to that point!
06-21-2001, 06:08 PM
I need help to wire the circuit board so I can use a solenoid to press the record button on the camera. My camera will not wake up after if goes to sleep by pressing the remote, only by pressing record on the camera. Could someone recommend a solenoid to use (please include the source and part number) and any other parts I will need. I understand that I will have to fabricate a bracket to hold the solenoid in the right place. Where do I wire it into the board? Looking at the 35mm trail cam instructions, it shows a second battery for just the solenoid. Is that necessary, or can I run it from the same battery as the circuit board?
Thanks for the help; y'all are great!
BTW, I have modified my MS-20 by removing the relay and other 8 items that were recommended by Tinhorn. If anyone knows how to wire into the Sony cameras, I might consider that.
07-09-2001, 05:06 PM
I am almost finished, but am having a problem.
I haven't figured out how the solenoid is going to work to start and stop the camera. It starts fine with about a 1 second pulse, but the stop is always on once the first 3 timers have timed out. I tied the solenoid to both reed relays, but of course it won't work like that with the last timer always powered after the other 3 have timed out. Is that how I am supposed to hook up the solenoid (to both reed relays)? Any idea about the constant on 4th relay (once the others time out)?
### ###I used a 200V, 1A micromini silicon diode on the solenoid and it seems to be working, although I have not done much testing yet. I also used a 220 cap across my + and - leads as instructed.
### ###I am sure I will come up with something else, but I am getting very close to having this thing working as planned!! Well, back to the trouble shooting.
07-09-2001, 09:11 PM
I don't know if this will help, but an AOL ad had a remote camera, vcr controller, and some other goodies that might help make an easy video game trail camera. ###Check out the website: http://www.x10.com/home/offer.cgi?!FCL2,../fastclick1f.htm ###It says it has only one day left on "the special offer", but it has said that for a couple of weeks. ###If you can figure out the battery situation (with the addition of some solar chargers?) maybe this stuff will work. Using a 12 volt vcr instead of a camcorder may keep the cost way down.
07-19-2001, 06:42 AM
I have the camera working and in the woods for the first official test right now. It has been working great at home.
I would like to give Gizz, Tinhorn and Archilochus a big public ďthanks!Ē for all their help. There is no way I could have figured this out on my own. There are a few modifications that I would like to make in another week or two. They are 1) a daylight/nighttime sensor that will turn on the nightshot feature of the Sony camera only at night. 2) A way to power and operate an external infrared light for more range of the nightshot- only at night.
I am having one problem right now. The sensor will not pick me up when I walk in front of it until I get about 6 feet away or closer. This is in Texas and itís about 100 degrees outside. I think it has a lot to do with there not being much difference between body temp and air temperature, but I am not sure. The range is better in my house, but it still is only around 20 feet max. Anyone have any ideas?
07-19-2001, 07:14 AM
I checked out a friends Sony cam with the "Night-Shot" feature. ###I tried to get the cam housing apart - without the owner seeing! - so I could figure out how that clunky Night-Shot ON/OFF switch worked. ###Could not get the cam apart enough to get at the switch. ###To have the Night-Shot turn on and off with varying light conditions would require ###some funky mechanicals to physically move the switch.
I'd go with an external IR illuminator and have it enabled / disabled by a light sensor.
A possible problem.... ###The camera might need to be switched to Night-Shot mode not only to enable the IR illuminator, but also to change the way the camera sensor behaves (exposure values, etc) ###If you can get hold of an IR illuminator, maybe you could do some testing to see if an external IR source will work when the cam is NOT switched to Night-Shot mode.
Sensor sensitvity will decrease as subject and ambient temperature become closer. ###Try your sensor in an air-conditioned room just to make sure it's actually working properly.
07-19-2001, 07:55 AM
Thanks for the reply, Archilochus. In my house, with the A/C going, the sensor would pick me up at about 20 feet, but that's is the best is has done. Would RS's 9 volt sensor work any better? I have one more MS20 sensor that I may modify to see if it picks up better than the one I am using now.
07-19-2001, 01:40 PM
I picked up the camera this morning. I got 4 deer at once and a few more singles. I have quite a few raccoons coming to the feeder also. It worked pretty well, except that the infrared light wasn't strong enough to see very far at night. I had to leave it in the nightshot mode, so I could film at night. I am working on adding an external infrared light, but for this weekend, I guess I will just have to turn it on and leave it. It will really eat up the batteries that way, but at least I will be able to see for a little while.
That's great Elk, glad it's coming around. I know you've spent a lot of time with it. That first video - no matter what it is - is priceless. I'm going to get mine out soon and see what I can get.
07-27-2001, 08:30 AM
I put the camera out last Saturday from about 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM. I went it at 8:00 and changed out the tape and battery, and put it on night-shot so it would film in the dark. I left it out until about 11:00 Sunday morning.
On the first tape, I had over 2 1/2 hours of tape recorded, but there wasn't any deer on it. I saw a few birds, but that's about it. It was pretty windy and a high temperature of 107. I think the limbs blowing in the wind triggered the camera.
The next tape had a couple of does right at last light. Then it triggered again 3 times in the middle of the night, but there was just enough tall grass in front of the camera that the night-shot light reflected off the grass and blinded the camera. I can see the white of a deerís ear a few times, but can't tell if it was a buck or doe. There were 3 more deer that walked by around sunrise. At least I didn't have the false triggering at night.
I am going to change the resistors so I can shorten the record times. That way, if I do have false triggers, it will not record for very long and waste the battery and tape. If it is an animal, it will trigger again in just a minute or two. I also need to figure out how to turn the night-shot on at night and off in the daylight.
Elkbow- A little more tinkering than the 35mm monitors but with a tweak here and tweak there you'll get it going! I went through the same process.
07-27-2001, 11:34 AM
I toyed with Sony's optional IR light on my TRV-10 mini Dv camcorder. The specs say it works out to 60 feet but it only worked good out to about 35 feet. They sell for about $60.00 if I remember right. The optional IR light is better (maybe 2x the distance) than the onboard IR light.
There may be some cheaper alternatives than buying Sony's IR light. You can do this by simply buying an IR filter and putting it over a flashlight. There are several options for filters. ###Some are more expensive than others. ###Photo shops carry filters or can order them. ###They might also be able to suggest other options.
For a real IR filter, you can look for Wratten 87, 87c, and 89b. Some info on these filters can be found at
### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### http://www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/ir.htm
### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### http://www.cocam.co.uk/CoCamWS/Infrared/INFRARED.HTM
If you want a really cheap alternative, take a minimag flashlight and cover the lens with two layers of unexposed, developed, E6 film. ###It apparently has about the same transmission spectrum as the Wratten filters mentioned. ###You can find out more about this option at
### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### http://www.rit.edu/~andpph/text-infrared-filter.html
08-09-2001, 07:58 AM
I have a couple of circuits for daylight/dark acitivation that ya'll might be interested in. ###They will give you a logic one or zero depending on light or dark outside. ###They will need to be tweeked for the exact time you want them to trigger. ###I have been using both and they work well. ###Also, the nighshot on the Sony camera does two things. ###One it activates a switch that tells the electronics to go into night mode and the other is that it moves a infrared sensitive lens in front of the aperture inside the camera. ###The only way to activate both features is by manipulating the nightshot switch. ###I have done this two ways. ###Solenoids and servo. ###I drilled a small hole through the nightshot switch and put a #4-40 screw through it. ###To the screw I attach a home made coupling with a hole in the center for the screw and two holes at 90 degrees for the solenoids to push/pull the switch depending on when the camera was on and daylight or dark. ###Works great. ###I am currently working on the servo idea. ###The servo would activate the switch back and forth with ease compared to the solenoid. ###Servos need PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) to move so i am working on this circuit now. ###They have a large amount of torque which will be helpful in moving the switch from odd angle. ###This would work on the same principle as the remote control airplanes moving rutters or remote control cars steering. ###Also, I have bought an infrared lens that goes over a Q-beam. ###This gives plenty of light for the camera to focus. ###My best results have been while testing at home at about 30 yards. ###It will work out to 40 or 50 but you are not guaranteed that the camera will focus. ###I will have to play with it to make sure. ###The Q-beam draws 5.5 Amps so I use a deep cycle trolling motor battery to power it. ###The sony infrared emitter will work but there is not very much light with those. ###I use radio control to separate the infrared sensor and the camera so the camera and battery can be put up in a tree away from sight. ###I then remove the ladder and lock the assembly to the tree. So far I still have my system. ###Keep in mind I started this project last year and fought the nighshot problem for a while until I figured out the above problem with lens. ###I still have not put it out in the woods but at home it works like a champ. ###I have daylight video from last year over a corn pile that turned out great.
If I can help let me know. ###I can't guarantee I will be able to but you never know. ###I got married in Feb. this year so my play time is limited now.
08-09-2001, 08:39 AM
Many thanks for the useful info!! ###I was trying to get info about what exactly the night shot switch did - now I know. ###I figured that it did more than just enable the IR illuminator. ###I'd love to get a peek at your servo circuits when you get them done - please keep us updated on your project!!
08-09-2001, 02:22 PM
Brian sent me some pics of his camcorder and digital camera setups. Left to right:
Video Camcorder Box, Remote Transmitter box, Digital Elph S100 camera, Canon Owl PF 35 mm camera.
That's real cool Brian! Definately sounds like your on top of your game. (no pun intended)
I've built one with an older VHS-C palmcorder and I utilized the little mini remote to turn the recording on/off for a period of 30 seconds at a time. I also added a 12Volt light that will turn on when the cam starts recording. The whole thing is controlled by special timer board(thanks for the help tinhorn) and the light comes on only at night thanks to a photoresistor. I'd like to share some videos but geocities kicked me and I don't have my new site up yet but I will very soon.
08-13-2001, 12:24 PM
Great job guys! ###I have learned alot but I have a few questions. ###Is anyone beside Brian working on the infrared angle, I am looking at building one of these for my Privite Investigation business and this sounds like something I could use. ###Does anyone have recommendations as to which camcorders would work or will these sonys "wake up" with a remote control? Or do they "time out" and have to be restarted by toggling the switch on the camera?
Thanks in advance
08-14-2001, 06:15 AM
I wire directly into the Sony camera so I don't know about the remote. ###The camera will shutdown after 5 minutes if you are not recording but have the camera powered up. ###If you are recording it will run until the battery runs out or the tape. ###I am not sure if it shuts down after the tape is full. ###I ususally record in 5 to 1 minute intervals so I have never tested other avenues.
08-14-2001, 09:08 PM
It's good to see you here on the site. I have seen some pics of his camera setups, and he does some neat work. He has given me some great ideas to use on my own video trail cam. He definitely knows what he is doing. You will be a great asset to the site. Be sure to check back often. I have been working a lot lately, and haven touched my camera in weeks, but hopefully I can find time to work on making the night-shot operate only at night pretty soon.
None of the 3 Sony's video cameras I have will ###wake up from the remote. All require you to press the record button, that is why I had to use a solenoid on mine.
08-15-2001, 07:18 AM
I completely renovated my video camera control circuit over the last couple of days and finally finished making everything work. ###I did notice that if you use a photo transister for your daylight/dark sensor it is sensitive to infrared light as well. ###When I turned on the nightshot Q-beam the Q-beam let out enough light that if if was pointed in the field of view of the phototransistor it would switch to daylight mode and shut the nightshot off and then it would think it was night again and switch to night mode and it turned into a cyclic mess. ###So be sure if you use something that puts out a lot of infrared like a Q-beam that you adjust the sensor to its max setting for night sensitivity. ###This means that you get a solid logic one for your trigger volts. ###Otherwise, your system will oscillate like mine. ###IF you are using a CDS cell instead of a photocell you shouldn't have as much of a problem.
Just some food for thought.
08-17-2001, 06:03 AM
Complete Camera system is going out this weekend. ###Everything seems to work fine.
Good Luck Brian! If'n you get any good vids I can convert them to mpeg's and post em if you can't.
Let us know how it turns out. I remember the first night my VHS videocam was out. I was like an 8 year old the night before xmas! The next morning i ran up to the hill to get it and was pleasantly surprised to get some good clips! I had em posted here for awhile but geocities "kicked" me for this (violation) and took my sight down the next time I did it.:grrr
I am working on a site, very slowly, that'll give me 500mb of space for this kind of stuff. I'll be anxiously awaiting your results.
08-18-2001, 07:34 AM
I put one of these out last year and I have a whole tape of deer but all of it is in the daytime. ###I couldn't figure out why the infrared portion was not working. ###I put it on hold for hunting season and started back on it this year. ###I found out the problem with moving the lens inside and fixed that now out it goes in the woods. ###I also found the lens for the Q-beam to add to it. ###Hopefully, now it will take good nightshot video as well.
I will need help putting it into an AVI file. ###I don't have the means to do that yet.
08-21-2001, 05:37 AM
I have some great video in the daylight of three does and a fawn eating corn. ###I ending up with about 25 minutes of tape of several different does coming in through the day. ###I forgot to turn the date and time on before I left the camera so the only way I can tell what time it is. ###Is by looking at the direction of their shadows. ###I had the camera positioned wrong in the box so the solenoids did not push the nighshot on. ###The Q-beam came on and the video camera worked fine but you can't see because the nighshot did not come on. ###I moved the camera in hopes that it will work this time but it seems to be to picky with the solenoids. ###They have a core that has to be pushed inside to get maximum strength and it is hard to get it in the right place twenty-five feet up in the air hanging off a ladder. ###I am working on the servo circuits and hopefully this will stop all the problems with the nighshot. ###The servo has like 49 OZ/IN of torque and a swivel like ball system so the angle should not matter either.
I get a distinct hum from the camera running in the ammo can. ###You can hear things outside the camera but the hum is annoying. ###The video camera does not have an audio outlet to connect a mic. ###I was wondering if ya'll had had this problem too and was able to fix it without opening the camera to the weather.
Way to go Brian - a fairly successful first run!
I get the annoying hum as well - it's worse in cold weather. Haven't found a way to damper this noise as of yet. I've tried isolating the built in mic with foam but no luck yet. I do have a little roof over the glass/sensor and drilled little hole up and under the roof in front of the built in mic. I can hear leave crunching and wind blowing but still get the hum.
08-21-2001, 11:19 AM
I may crack into the camera again and see if I can physically replace the mic inside with wires and put an external mic in its place. ###Can't hurt at this point the humming drives me crazy.
I'll let you know if it works.
08-21-2001, 09:02 PM
It hums because it don't know the works......
The Mike circuit has a built in Automatic Volume Control type thing, ###when it don't hear any noise, it turns up the gain, trying to get any voices, etc that's being filmed in the distance. ###It eventually gets so sensitive, it picks up the motors, etc
could leave a Boom Box there, blaring, this would keep the gain down and won't pickup the hum
08-22-2001, 05:22 AM
I took the camera back apart last night and found that the mic connects to a board by two wires red and black. ###It bolts onto the front face by two screws. ###I didn't take it completely apart last night but I will. ###I am thinking about diconnecting the two wires and removing the electric condensor mic and putting it in a housing outside the camera box. ###The only problem would be the resistance introduced by the length of the wires. ###Hopefully, that will be negligible. ###I will also have to come up with a way to keep the mic from getting wet and still let it be sensitive enough to pick up sound.
08-22-2001, 09:23 AM
I don't own one of these video cams, so I'm just guessing here..... Doesn't the cam have a jack for an external mic? ###Usually when you plug in the external mic the internal one is cut off. ###Most every video cam I've ever used had an external mic jack.
08-22-2001, 12:36 PM
You are correct that most cameras do have the external jack but this model doesn't. TRV818
Since this one does not I will have to rig something up. ###The only one that seemed to have this plug was the digital ones for $650 bucks.
08-22-2001, 12:47 PM
Most consumer camcorders have motor noise on the recordings from the onboard ###tape drive motor. My Sony TRV-10 isn't too bad but some are horrendous. Motor hum is definitely one thing to check out if you're looking to buy a camcorder. Record a few minutes in a quiet area and play it back with headphones on to hear just how bad it is. Mounting an external mic with some kind of sound insulation in the mount is one work around I've seen to cure the problem.
You could take the mic off and wire up an external mic jack connector on the camcorder and then mount the mic apart from the camcorder or on it with some sound isolation.
08-28-2001, 07:35 AM
I gave up on the solenoids moving the nightshot. ###They work in the shop but after the ride out to the woods the position of the camera has to be just right before the solenoids have enough power to move the nighshot button.
I have completed the servo circuits and they work great. ###The servo has enough strength to move the entire camera so I feel like this will work this time. ###I have designed the circuit to draw current only when activated. ###The circuit will move the nightshot to the on position when filming in dark and then back turn it back off after filming. ###The circuit draws about 30 or so mA when activated for about a second or so and then goes idle again. ###With the servo you have all kinds of adjustments. ###You can change the length of the arm or the position of the movement. ###This way you do not have to be so precise on position. ###I use swivel joints so this also helps.
I beleive Arch had wanted a copy of these circuits. ###If so let me know and I will draw them up and send them to you or post them some how. ###I am still having trouble resizing my pictures to fit on the board.
Also, ###I used a glass lens to filter out the Q-beams light to infrared. ###Don't do this because the Q-beam gets to hot at night and the glass will bust. ###The temperature differential from the cool nights to the heat generated by the Q-beam was too much. ###I am speaking from experience. ###I am looking into a plastic alternative.
09-01-2001, 08:07 AM
Sure! I'd like to see your schematics and any other info you have. ###When you're finished send 'em along.
< email@example.com >
Just a question...Why do you turn the night shot on only when filming? ###Seems that it would be simple to just have it move the switch at a given light level and leave it there.
09-04-2001, 06:33 AM
I will send it once I get it together. ###I may have Gizz post some of it for me.
To answer you question on moving the nightshot. ###I already had the design of the board working with moving the solenoids in this manner so I just incorporate the same with the servo. ###The light level was interconnected inside the pre-etched board with the solenoids. ###So to answer your question it would be better to move the nightshot with the light level as you mentioned. ###I just didn't think of it. ###I had already started one way and until now had not thought of doing it another. ###Thanks because once I put together my next one I will change the design to work in this manner. ###It would be simpler with less movement over time and less power. ###Thanks for the idea.
10-01-2001, 11:37 AM
I did not see this in the above posts but I was wondering where do you connect the lite, I would assume it would be in the 3rd stage of the timing circuit. Thanks in advance and I love this site. I have my OLD OLD camera wired up and now just have to get a box and all the RS parts and start soldering away. ###I cant wait. THANKS AGAIN.
and how do yo post pics here?
Hi xiimpulse. Not sure which one your building as we have a few different brews in the mix here. The type I built is the older VHS-C model. If you look on page 4 about half way down you'll see where I posted a pic of the finished board and some schematics. Yes the light is being controlled from a seperate relay(12V) off of stage 3. Make sure the relay you use is rated high enough in amperage to handle what your light draws or you'll burn up that little ole relay. I know this cause I did it. So I went out and bought the highest amperage 12V relay I could for the light control.
What are your plans?
10-03-2001, 08:56 AM
Gizz, I have an old Panasonic camera that I will be hooking up to. Where in the circuit would you wire the lite. Also the RS part numbers you listed is that the correct one for the relay? Thanks and I appreciate your patients.
ximpulse, check your email...
10-04-2001, 09:17 AM
THANKS GIZZ, no hurry, I am just getting things ready piece by piece, I too have a couple good hunts coming up and wont be able to spend much time with this. But it is good to do research ###when there is down time at work. Thanks again and good luck.
10-07-2001, 08:30 PM
Just wanted to let you know that I am following your trial and error saga. I am planning on this being my next "Big" adventure. I too have an old Panasonic that is collecting dust in a closet that will be used to makeup my first "Video Game Camera". I look forward to chatting with you guys about this real soon. Thanks for being so gracious with your thoughts and ideas. I really enjoy reading your words.
11-19-2001, 06:37 PM
I haven't posted in quite a while, but I finally built my video trail camera with help from several of the guys on this site. I have been using it for months, and it has worked great, except when the wind would blow the mesquite tree and cause it to false trigger. Anyway, ###a few weeks ago I sat it out at a feeder and left it until the next Saturday. When I went back to get it, it was gone! This feeder is at least 1/2 mile from the nearest road that can be driven with a vehicle you don't want scratched and to have several flats. There are lots of mesquite trees you would have to drive over, along with cactus. There were no vehicle tracks to be found. Whoever got it walk in and out. I was using a Sony camcorder with the night-shot feature. The way I was using it, the night-shot infrared light was always on. I had Sonyís extra night-shot light on the camera and it really ran the batteries down, so I had added a 12Volt, 7.2AH battery and a 12-volt Sony adaptor that was designed to run the camera off a cigarette adaptor in your car. I could get a little over 3 hours of tape before the battery would get too weak to run the camera. I lost the camera, battery, and cigarette adaptor, extra night-shot light and of course the GI ammo can with the circuit board, motion detector and adjustable timers. I just wanted to remind everyone to lock his or her camera to a tree, or it may come up missing like mine!
11-20-2001, 09:23 AM
My face flushes every time I read a post about THIEVES......I almost hope I never catch one stealing because I don't know what I'd do, might be him or me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11-22-2001, 12:15 AM
keep your fingers crossed. It's a small world and you never know who might happen to see their buddies new toy and blab about it.
Just curious, you anywhere near the border. I know we have a ton of illegals here and they might think it was a monitoring device for them and chuck it over a cliff. Someone may have observed you or your tracks and backtracked your trail and found it.
11-22-2001, 09:51 AM
We weren't any where near the border, actually we were about 80 miles from the Red River and Oklahoma. I doubt those "illegals" would be worried about being caught on tape. :smile-blue ###This was our first year of hunting the place and it has been leased for quail hunting for about 30 years. No deer hunting was supposed to be allowed. After we spent some time on the lease during the summer, we discovered about 6 corn feeders. I think they have been deer hunting for years and we moved in on their territory. The camera was stolen during the 5 days between archery season and general (rifle) season, when there was no deer season open. Quail season was open, though. I think the quail hunters were there and came across it. We only had the lease through November 16th, then they get it again.
I put my videocam out the other night and thought about you Elk Bowhunter. Makes me real nervous about leaving this thing too far from home. I really hope yours turns up somehow but I suppose the chances are slim.
11-28-2001, 08:41 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss. ###This was one of ther reasons I made the radio control for mine so I could get it off the ground level and up a tree where it would be difficult to steal.
12-05-2001, 08:30 AM
Thank you for all the expert advice on making a game cam. ###I did one over the weekend and it works great...of my dogs anyway. ###Have to finish up the box and can't wait to get it out in the woods. ###Even though I have no electronics experience it was pretty easy with the instructions. ###I used the radio shack pir and Can owl pf camera. ###The worst part was soldering the camera. ###That made me pretty nervous and everytime I tried to put the camera back together after I had it soldered on, the wire on the #4 pin came off. ###Finally got it on and hot glued the hell out of it to hold it in place. That did the trick. ###
12-07-2001, 06:53 AM
I have a sony with night shot, and have been wanting to do a trail cam with it for about a year and a half, just didnt have the resources or know how.
What problems come with leaving the night shot on all the time rather than incorporating a servo? ###You can separate the camera's infared light and wire that portion to a photo resistor to eliminate using it during daylight hours and draining the battery, now the only downside is the somewhat off green hue that you get with the IR lense. ###Just curious on everyone elses thoughts.
Also, Brian mentioned using a Q beam, Is this much light neccessary? ###That seems a huge price to pay in amperage when something far less would offer adequate illumination.
Also, has anyone messed around with PLC's for this? ###When I was into this really deep awhile back I did some research and a 4 channel IO PLC can be had for around 50 bucks. ###If Im not mistaken, and I dont know a lot about PLC's but they are extremely flexible in programming time delays and things like that, might be a good fit for these projects.
Just wanted to throw that out there. This is great stuff!!
12-07-2001, 08:18 AM
Yeah the Q-beam puts out too much light. ###It will wash out anything close to it but if it is about 30 yards away it helps alot if you have a higher resolution camera than mine. ###I have a good one that I film with and a cheap one that I use to film deer with. ###The good one works alot better as far as night shot goes. ###I am looking at trying to build an infrared emitter that will work. ###The Q-beam Idea also melts the infrared filter. ###I broke a glass one and melted the plastic one. ###Back to the drawing board.
I think PLC's draw a lot of current for remote battery operation. ###Most of the ones I use at work are not power efficient. ###I am using PIC micros right now to do the job. ###You can put them to sleep until triggered by the infrared remote sensor and they only draw a few microamps. ###As far as the green hue ###I haven't the foggest. ###I was just happy to get an video at night.
12-07-2001, 08:37 AM
I dont know what a PIC Micro is, is it programmable?
Im curious as well. If I put an IR filter over my flash and one over my camera lense, would I get any visible pics? [simple cam tracker, not video]
Im really trying to develop systems that are minimally intrusive so that deer are absolutely not affected.
Passive units [IR] as opposed to active [normal spectrum light]
I dont want to mess with the IR film simply for expense and hassle.
Thanks for the reply Brian
12-08-2001, 08:51 PM
I don't know if this has been addressed yet, but I found this e-bay user that has gov. siezed equipment for sale. It is the state of Oragon.
Hope this helps some of the new guys with a camcorder.
12-11-2001, 08:52 AM
Yes the PIC is programmable. ###It has a lot of features I can use with just about anything.
I haven't used filters for flash and lens before. ###I am not sure if they would work or not. ###I would think that they would if they were matchup up correctly. ###I know that filters block most of the visible light and the heat generated is enormous. ###I found this out with the Q-beam idea. ###I would think the flash filter would be fine since it is just a burst of light. ###The problem might be that it is white light and not infrared generated so the light might not be as intense once filtered with a lens. ###I know the Q-beam is not even close. ###This means you might have to beaf up your flash. ###It might be worth the effort to build a strong infrared emitter for this instead. ###That is what I am looking into now.
12-11-2001, 11:44 AM
Im sure that a flash emits light in the IR spectrum, the question is how much, that's very interesting info on the Q beam. ###What was the picture quality with the fliter over the lense?
Can you give me more info on the PIC? ###how much do they cost? Where do you get them? how do you program them? ###What kind of poewsource and draw?
12-11-2001, 12:03 PM
The video was good except right in front of the Q-beam. ###Too much light and washed out the picture plus it melted the center of the plastic infrared filter and that distorted the picture as well.
The PIC's are small micro controllers with RISC processors. ###Reduced Instruction Set Controllers.
You can program them with assembly and make them do different things with I/O pins. ###There is a multitude of different ones for different applications.
The PIC's are priced acccording to their features which ranges from $4.00 to $12.00 in the range that I use. ###You can get them from Jameco or Digi-key. Part #16F84A. This is a general processor
You use a software package to right your code and compile it to a .hex file and then you will need a programmer to download the code to the chip. ###You can go to the http://microchip.com for info on this. ###The chips run of a range of 2 to 5 volts regulated DC power with a power drain dependant of the code and I/O pins used. ###The spec sheets give more info on this and you can get them from Microchip for free. ###Mine draws 9uA when idle.
12-11-2001, 12:10 PM
What's the programmer cost?
Do you use a PIC in your Trail cameras or only in your video camera?
Sounds like a pretty good option, are they a pain to program??
12-11-2001, 12:45 PM
Programmers vary from hundreds to just a few dollars depending on which chips you use. ###I bought a universal programmer called the EPIC Plus Programmer for about 59.95.
I have a prototype camera using a PIC now.
Yes they are a pain to program unless you know assembly and the internal structure of the chips very well.
You can look at Microchips website and download a copy of one of the microchips and see some of the software commands needed for programming the chip. ###The 16F84a is a general processor you can look at to get an idea.
12-11-2001, 01:21 PM
thanks brian, Ill take a look at the site.
12-19-2001, 01:47 PM
Whew! I have just read this entire thread and I can say I've learned alot but I still don't think I'm ready to start my homebrew video trail camera yet.
I do have one question; I realize that most of ya'll enjoy the satisfaction of building your own units, but why is it that no company has developed an affordable video trail camera yet? I have seen one system that retails over $1,000 but nothing more affordable. I would just assume that with all the still camera units on the market now, that a few companies would be coming out with video units or even digital units. Just a question for ya! Thanks for all the great tips.
01-12-2002, 06:07 PM
i rigged up a hitachi 7500la video camera, it works great, i did not use the sleep function on the camera, i believe this is a simpler way to do the video camera, have not found any downside to this operation so far, this system has been working two weeks without any problems or failures
i used an ms20 sensor in the auto position
i wired a welby one shot timer onto the camera "on" button, there were 4 post on the slide switch, i shorted two at a time until i found the two which put the camera on, i replaced the r1/c1 with 300k resistors, 470k pot and a 100uf cap, this gives a variable record time from 30 secs to about 1 min 15 secs
i wired a delayed pulse i got from bowdens circuits web site http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/B...tm#555delay.gif (http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Bill_Bowden/page9.htm#555delay.gif)
to the record button,
it works like this, when motion is tripped the welby one shot turns on the camera by closing the video on switch
the bowden circuit gives a 3 or 4 sec delay the closes the record switch for 1 second, this gives the camera time to power up
when the welby timer times out the video camera is powered down,
the ms20 will not retrip for at least 1.5 mins so you do not have any sequencing problems
i also added a second relay to welbys timer, this powers the nite relay circuit (someone else posted this circuit for nite operation) which will trip another relay to turn on the light at nite depending on the photocell, the nite light is powered from a second battery
(Edited by wfontjr at 6:09 pm on Jan. 12, 2002)
Sounds cool wfontjr. I wanted to hack into the on/off button on my camcorder but just couldn't seem to get it apart. Sound like you found a much simpiler solution than the 4 stage timer I'm using. Are you able to post up some video? Maybe a pic or 2 of your unit?
01-12-2002, 08:42 PM
im not sure of the how to on posting videos, i have read some of the past threads on this but never paid much attention, so far i have no interesting clips yet, ###just stuff around the yard, my wife singing when she thought no one was around
i will try to get some picts of the setup posted soon
thanks for the help earlier and everyone else's, most of this was just a copy and paste of old ideas
(Edited by wfontjr at 8:44 pm on Jan. 12, 2002)
(Edited by wfontjr at 8:47 pm on Jan. 12, 2002)
01-17-2002, 12:36 PM
Will be working on a PIC controller to do it all. ###Day/Dark determination,nighshot,recordtimes,and everything else I can think off.
I use the Sony video cameras right now and I have noticed that it might be possible to use two servos and not wire into the camera. ###I can use one for the night shot like I am now and the other for the on off switch. ###The rest of the control can come from the infrared input at the front of the camera. ### I have tested this and you can turn the record on and off from the IR port in the front. ###you can zoom too although i don't see that you would want to. ###I have a few pet projects to finish up first but I expect the PIC to take the place of my entire circuit board that I used before. ###The PIC can even take the input from the Receiver module direct if need be. ###Man at the goodies to develop this year.
I am trying to get a good source for Infrared LEDs right now to build my own IR source.
Later and congrats on your video system.
01-18-2002, 08:44 PM
i not sure the proper terminolgy, however which chip or programming do you recommend for a beginner, i read a little on basic stamp, etc., which is the preferred at this time, easiest or any other data i can use to make a decision to try
01-19-2002, 04:05 AM
I've been reading this string of posts for over a hour now and my eyes are tired. ###Anyway, my son works for NASA in Houston, TX - he is some kind of hoop-de-do electronics expert who designs systems to monitor automated actuators (what ever that means). ###He and his family were here for Christmas and he explained that there are several designs of 24/7 video monitors that are about the size of a typical 35mm camera and that they contain an integral computer chip that is programable to provide single shot photos at any desired intervals. ###These units have built-in IR capabilities. ###The exciting part of this is that he says they will take up to 1,000 stills without any external storage media and the battery lasts for 10,000 stills.
Sounds very expensive doesn't it? ###Especially if NASA has enything to do with it. ###He says he can build a home-brew one for $100 - $150. ###It uses a simple computer internet camera, about 2"x2" motherboard, and smart media cards. ###The most costly part he says is the battery. ###He also says low light conditions are not a problem and he could provide a jack for and external winklight if necessary.
He's going to be in Russia for the next few months (off and on) and will work on details when he has time. ###I'll forward info. as I get it.
Man, this is the longest post I've ever done. ###Whew!
I'm adding this part because I think everyone would be interested - he says that this system does away with the need for motion sensors and timing circuits completely. ###You just take one photo every two, three, four, etc. minutes and dump the ones you don't want. ###Of course all this high-tech mumbo-jumbo requires a computer at home.
(Edited by Bald Eagle at 1:11 am on Jan. 19, 2002)
Man Bald Eagle I sure would like to see this.
01-24-2002, 12:33 PM
I use the PIC micro controllers. ###The stamps are two expensive but they are easier to deal with. ###The PIC's use assembly so I would think they are quite a bit harder to work with.
There are compilers and examples of using the PIC with C and other languages but you better know your stuff before dealing with most of them.
For ease of use I would recommend the Stamp but get ready to pay out the ying yang.
02-02-2002, 08:39 PM
Wfont, If you are just a beginner and want to learn about microcontrollers, I would strongly recommend getting a BASIC stamp kit first and a good book. ###There are TONS of support on the web for it and anyone that has tried BASIC programming before should have no problem. ###I only recommend the BASIC stamp as a learning platform though due to it's cost like Brian mentioned (about $100 bucks for a good starter kit). ###
After you are comfortable with the BASIC step, move up to a PIC or Atmel AVR controller. ###They both are very similar and are supported well on the net. ###I myself use the AVR simply because there is a full featured demo version BASIC compiler for it ###called BASCOM-AVR which will let you fully program up to 2K bytes worth of memory. ###For $69 you can get the full blown version which will program all AVR chips. The PIC also has BASIC compilers but they cost a bit more. ###Brian I believe uses assembly language to program the PIC which is fairly difficult for the beginner to learn. ###However, it is much more efficient with code space. ###Also, the PIC chips cost about 20% less than the AVRs and are more readily available. ###(you can get 2K memory PIC and AVR chips off ebay for under $3 each). ###Give it a try, and if you need help, give me a yell. ###
Also, for both of these chips, you will need to buy or make a programmer to load your program onto the chip. ###However, they are quite inexpensive, and you can even make one for under $20. ###
P.S. ###Just to give you an idea of how the BASCOM program looks, here is the full program to turn a relay on for 2 seconds, turn it off for 30 seconds, and then light an led. ###
Relay Alias Pinc.6 ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###'rename port pin to more memorable names
Led Alias Portb.4
Config Pinc.6 = Output ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###'set pin for relay as output
Config Pinb.4 = Output ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###'set pin for led as output
Relay = 1 ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### 'turn relay on
Wait 2 ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###'wait 2 seconds
Relay = 0 ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### 'turn relay off 30 secs
Led = 0 ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###'turn led on for sink
Wait 1 ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###'wait 1 second
Led = 1 ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### 'turn led off
(Edited by Jaggermax at 10:49 pm on Feb. 2, 2002)
02-03-2002, 07:02 AM
thanks for the advice, i have been reading yours and brians post on these microcontrollers, i am a complete novice in this area, i did a lot of basic/fortran in college, i do quite a bit on a honeywell tdc system, i like to program quite a bit, so the whole idea intrigues me, i will probably go with the basic stamp based on everybodies advice, i have completely enjoyed building the 555 timer circuits, but seem the chips give you a bunch more flexiablity.
is the high cost just the initial setup on the basic stamp or do the chips cost more also
02-03-2002, 08:41 AM
wfont, the BASIC stamp development kit which is what you need to start out costs around $109. ###Check out the following link.
Once you have the starter kit which includes the programmer, development board, etc... ###all you will later need is another basic stamp module which are pricey. ###The bottom of the barrell BASIC stamp module which is what you will need for each project you build, runs around $35. ###Just for a comparison, if you ever feel like jumping into the PIC or the AVR, the comparable microcontroller runs aour $3-$5 bucks and is a lot faster and has more code space. ###You will go broke quickly trying to put a basic stamp in a deer cam. ###
Your right about the flexability of the controller. ###I'ts so easy to change the timing period of say a timer to control the camera shutter with the micro. ###You just plug in a differnt number, no wires to desolder, resistors to change out, etc... ###
02-03-2002, 04:35 PM
35 a pop, you are right, i think i will try the avr, can you recommend a chip and programmer to puchase to start with, i looked through a few catalogs and its a bit confusing
(Edited by wfontjr at 4:57 pm on Feb. 3, 2002)
02-03-2002, 08:00 PM
There is an excellent starter kit out on the market for the AVR called the STK500. ###Its a steal at $89. ###It includes a very good development board with leds, swtiches, etc., the programming software. ###and the programing dongle which connects to your computers serial port. ###You can also use an STK200 which will work fine to but it cannot program the very large AVR chips. ###The STK500 will program all avr chips from the very small 8 pin version all the way up to the large 60 pin MegaAVRs. ###Here is a link for the board.
The development board works by basically allowing you to write code to the chip and test it without haveing to build your own board. ###You can hook up you PIR input to the board, additional leds, an lcd etc.... ###Next you design your own board with the parts you want on it. The AVR is ISP programmagble which means you can program it on your board without haveing to remove the chip. ###This is done by putting a 10 pin connector on your board which is tied directly to some pins on the chip. ###The programming dongle from the STK500 kit is then connected directly to the board and you can download your program directly to your board. ###It really saves time. ###
As far as an AVR chip, it all depends on what you want to do. ###For beginners, I would recommend the AT90S2313 which is a 20 pin controller or the AT90S2343 which is a small 8 pin controller. ###The 8 pin device is much easier to hook up since it has a built in crystal on it. ###It also has 5 i/o lines. ###All you have to do is run 5 volts to the chip, ground, and then hook up your buttons, led, pir, to the I/O ports. ### Both chips will hold 2K of memory code which is more than enough for a basic deer cam board. ###Check out EBAY for the chips, they have them cheap. ###I just bought 5 AT90S2313 chips for $10!
Here are a few other good avr sites which taught me a lot as well as a very good book. ###The MCS site is where you can download the free version of the BASIC compiler which will fully program both of the chips listed above. ###The demo verion will only program up to 2K of code. ###If you decide to use the PIC, give Brian a shout, and he can probably get you some good info. ###
02-04-2002, 05:48 PM
some bad news on my part, got the ebay camcorder in, hooked a 12v battery to input, sparks flew, the power light blinks rapidly, does not eject for tape, opened up where leads went in, do not see any fuses anywhere or icp, i sure thought the battery i looked up for that model was 12v's, plan b i guess
02-07-2002, 06:19 AM
Sorry to hear about that. ###I hate it when I let the smoke out of an electronic device. ###They say it will not work without the smoke still in it. ###Lord knows I have let it out of a lot of stuff.
Maybe you can find the problem.
02-08-2002, 02:26 AM
I've been follwing these posts with interest and they're greaat! ###I don't understand most of it but it's still very interesting.
You guys should seriously consider focusing on a marketable product(s). ###Many times I have picked up my Sony DV camera and wished there were provisions for external controls to simplify what you guys are doing. ###It seems that the new digital still cams and the 35mm cams could be brought to the market with provisions for external controls as well.
There is no doubt in my mind that there are tens of thousands of hunters and outdoor enthousiasts who would purchase a camera with built-in motion detecter and timing controls. ###With all of the IR features and the great low-light capabilities of todays cams I would think the need for flash or any supplimental light would go away. ###This would make trail cams less obvious to the thieves out there.
There is a tremendous mark-up in consumer electronics and, who knows, you guys cound be millionairs soon.
Keep up the good work - I'm sure there are hundreds of lurkers enjoying this too.
02-24-2002, 10:12 AM
Hello! ###I am 16 years old and am very interested in making a video trail camera. ###I have read the whole thread now! ###Wow! ###A lot to take in. ###And am wondering what video cam models did you find the easiest to wire? ###And if anybody would be willing to wire one up for me if i sent $$. ###Thanks in advance!
02-24-2002, 07:11 PM
I too am interested in video camera unit. ###I could provide the camera of some you guys could wire me some timers up? ###For a price of course. ###I have a digital sony trv310 It will wake up by pressing record but will not with a remote. ###Have any of you all had any luck with a solanoide to turn ###it on then off. ###
02-24-2002, 09:12 PM
Mike and Dekalb, I and I think others have tried the solenoid with no great luck. ###Solenoids are very picky when it comes to their positioning and are easily thrown out or wack. ###
Instead, I switched to using only Futaba servo motors like the ones you get at the hobby store. ###The problem with them is that they require a fair amount of electronics knowledge to get to work properly. ###The benifet of them is that you do not have to break into your camera to wire it. ###I am using a Sony CCD-TRV43 and I just leave it in standby mode and turn the servo on to push the record button on and off. ###It works great. ###
I am just now finishing up the design of a video controller board to control a single or dual servo system. ###The Sony has a nightshot on it, and I am trying to get the second servo to turn the night shot on , but it's tricky. ###Anyway, If I ever get the bugs out of the controller board I have been working on, I may decide to sell a few to recoup some of my development costs. ###I think Brian is working on a board as well and may finish it before I do. ###He may want to sell a few. ###
Cost of mine will depend mainly on what you want to board to do. ###My current board has a light sensor, mode switch, dual servo outputs, dual relay outputs to control a spotlight and or any other 12 volt load, test leds, and other small things. ###Cost would probably be around $75 bucks for the "everything" version and $50 for just a basic board to control the basic funtions of the Sony Camcorder. ###Keep in touch and I will let you know how it is coming along. ###
02-25-2002, 04:47 PM
i got my programmer board soldered up yesterday, i did not get lucky on first pass, power led did not light up, working with jerry prado who sold me the componets to troubleshoot it, any suggestions as to what to look for
02-25-2002, 05:56 PM
You got the power LED poloarity correct? ###Maybe you have it turned around backwards. ###I imagine one leg of the LED, the Anode, is attached to the output of a voltage regulator? ###If so, just check to make sure you are getting 5 volts on that end of the LED. ###If it is there and then LED does not light, you got it backwards. ###Do you have a schematic you can send me? ###
02-25-2002, 06:09 PM
i used the schematic on dontronics dt006 board, i could not get the cd supplied with the board to work for me, i found the problem on the power led, one leg of resistor in wrong hole, jerry is walkin me thru the voltage checks, upto regulator so far so good
03-23-2002, 07:04 AM
WOW ! this is a great site only because of all you! ###Iíve read all the way through this post and would like to try it out on my Sony CCD TRV15. ###The how to pic in the pervious post seem to be missing, can anyone help me with getting the parts that I will need a some instruction on setting this thing up. ###I plan on buying the MS PIR, and will probable have to go with the servo as my sony will not wake up by the remote. ###My wife canít quit LOL at me I am like a kid waiting on Christmas.
Thanks so much I know this will be a learning experience
07-12-2002, 10:57 AM
Just a little update on where I am with some of the Video Camera stuff.
I have one working now on the old system I used a while back but it had its
little quirks like the servo movement seemed to changed with the angle that
the camera was at. ###Just a little movement made a big difference in placement.
My video would be good as long as the movement of the servo was ok.
AEH is helping me out with the design of the servo mounting so this will not be an issue in the future.
I have wired into the Sony TRV818. ###It took three wires to do this. ###One for common, one for on/off and one for record. ###The optos will work with this so that is the route I have been approaching. ###My website stuff is on the blink but I do have pictures of the Sony TRV-818 apart and a picture of the connector I wired into. ###The soldering to this camera is a major pain. ###The wire I used was 30 guage wire wrap wire and very hard to solder to the connectors. ###The connector is small and plastic so you can melt it with a soldering iron very easily.
I had trouble before with the 30 guage wire coming loose due to its size. ###Just so happens there is a board located right next to where I solder to the connector that is not used for anything so i removed it and etched another board similar so I could solder the smaller guage wire to this board and then solder larger wire to the board so it can go out of the camera. ###There is a removeable panel at this location too that allows the bigger wire or specialized connector to exit the camera with ease.
Once this is done you have control of the camera. ###The only other thing is the servo for the nightshot. ###AEH is helping with the design of a way to work this without the position being so critical. ###I have seen his design and it looks good. ###I didn't understand it at first when he explained it but after printing it out and looking at it I could see how it worked.(I am a EE remember). ###This combined with a micro controller should allow me to do anything and everything needed for a video system.
I have several features for this worked out already.
1. Timing for the record times. ###Multiple options like the delay for the camera chip but this will be the record times.
2. Delays between records just like the camera chip.
3. Day/Night sensing for knowing when to use the nighshot and infrared source automatically.
4. The servo movements needed for the action. ###Micro handles this with ease with AEH's design.
5. PIR which is the same as my old design.
No radio control yet with the PIC. ###I wanted to get the basics done first.
I have some pictures of the camera taken apart and what the connector looks like if any one wants to see them. ###My website is not up to speed right now so I will have to email them if some one wants to see them. ###Just email me and let me know. ###Keep in mind that the connectors are extremely difficult to solder to since they are so small. ###It almost takes to people to do it. ###One holding a light and one soldering. ###A magnifiying glass is a plus too.
I still have not worked out a good infrared source yet but I am working on that too.
Please don't ask me about other cameras because I will not know anything about how to take them apart or wire into them. ###Thanks
(Edited by Brian at 12:58 pm on July 12, 2002)
07-27-2002, 09:36 PM
Well, after almost a straight week of trying to hack the LANC protocol, tonight I was on the verge of thowing everything in my lab out the window. ###I literally spent 6 hours a day, each of the past 7 days trying to figure out how the damn protocol works, and guess what?.......I FIGURED THE $#$%&# THING OUT!. ###I was literally seconds from calling it quits for good when I figured out what the problem was. ###All data sent to the serial line must be inverted. ###All the info on the net says the commands the camera sends are inverted, but say nothing about having to invert the data you want to write back. ###Also, all of the sample LANC codes ###on the net are all non inverted commands! ###
I was able to make the camera record, power off, power on, zoom, rewind, and FF all through one of my modified controller boards. ###I am basically taking all of the commands I found on the net and trying each one, one at a time. ###Some work, some dont. ###The commands that will most likely be the most useful are power off, power on, record, and maybe zoom. ###
If all goes well, I should have a video camera board for a game cam built by the end of the week. ###Right now, I am controlling a Sony CCD-TRV43 camera, however, the same code should be able to run any camcorder that has a LANC port. ###Hopefully, once I get the kinks out of the software, I will be building some video controller boards with the PIR built it, a LANC interface port, and an output relay to fire one of the "Bigger IR" infrared arrays (www.dalewheat.com). ###If any of you know of any other features I should look at, give me a shout. ###
07-29-2002, 08:13 AM
Thats great Jaggermax.
I got the LANC stuff working too. Of course, I had already wired into the camera but the LANC stuff is a lot better. ###The older model cameras seem to have an LANC port on them but the newer ones don't.
I am working on the IR source now and reducing the power consumption of my chip. I finished all the programming the other night. ###Now the IR source. ###I looked at Mr. Wheat's design and it looks like it would work. ###I plan on trying to build my own first and then if I can't I will use a premade one.
08-08-2002, 09:44 AM
Will you sell one of the LANC controller boards? ###I have an older 8mm camcorder with a lanc input. ###
08-08-2002, 04:01 PM
Sure, but I am still in the testing phase. ###Give me about three more weeks, and I will have everything working. ###Right now, I am using my Sony with night shot and I am leaving the camera in the non nightshot mode and I have a spotlight which comes on after dark if motion is detected. ###Does your camera have night shot? ###
I can also leave the camera in nightshot and only turn the camera on a night (I use a light sensor on the board). ###Get with me to let me know what all you want your camera to do. ###(day and night with spotlight no nightshot, day only with no night shot, or night only with night shot). ###If you want a basic board that you can set the record time, delay time, and day/night mode will cost around $50. ###I use boards etched by a board house, so I have to pay a little more for the boards. ###
p.s. ###I have two board designs i am testing right now, one in which all of the settings are controlled by rotary switches and one which has a small four button keypad and lcd display to program the board settings. ###However, you cannot use the LCD board if you live in very cold weather (freezes the display). ###Let me know which one you may want to use (rotatary switch version is more simple and easy to use). ###
(Edited by Jaggermax at 6:16 pm on Aug. 8, 2002)
08-09-2002, 09:12 AM
Thanks for the reply. ###Here is what I think I need.
1) ###The camera does not have night shot so I would use an external light source.
2) When the sensor is tripped, I would want the camera to wake up and start recording
3) ###If it is dark, I would want the external light to come on
4) As you stated, I simply want want a basic board that you can set the record time, delay time, and the ability to turn on an external light when it is dark
5) I think the rotary switch version of the board would be just fine
1) My camcorder will not wake up from sleep mode when I press the record button but I'm hoping that the LANC controls will wake it up. ###Any idea whether it will?
2) What will I need to get to complete the project? ###Motion sensor and its board? ###If so, will you let me know how to connect them together. ###I have built one of the home brew trail cameras but I am a real novice.
Thanks a ton for your help!
08-09-2002, 06:32 PM
I believe that most of the lanc commands will be the same camera to camera. ###I should be able to turn it on, record, and turn it off again with the same software I already wrote. ###When I get the board to you, if it does not work for some reason just return it and I will get you money back. ###The one question I have is can I wake up your camera through the LANC port? ###Normally, on a Sony, all you have to do to wake up the camera in standby is to short the lanc line to ground. If you want to try this first, let me know and I will show you how to test this. ###No worry, you will not fry your camera with this test. ###
Does your camera have a standby switch? ###If so, I know it will wake up. ###Also, do you want the camera to record day and night, or do you prefer to be able to set it either/or? ###My current board lets you set it day only, night only, or both. ###At night, it turns on a 12 volt spotlight which you will need to get, preferably a 35 watt or less. ###Also, the MS20 board will work fine and I have already tested it with the board. ###I don't know about other sensors. ###It only requires you to run three wires to the board. ###I will start working on the board this weekend. ###I actually already have some raw boards for the basic model, but I just need to build them up. ### The board runs off a 12 volt battery source. ###
Here is what I need to know which will affect how soon I can get the board done
Do you need the day/night mode setting?
Do you want adjustable record time? ###If so, what range?
Do you want a setable delay between recording? ###If so, what range? ###
The board will come with solder connections for a test led, on off switch, test/live switch, 12 volt battery input, and relay output for a spotlight. ###I will solder the LANC cable on the board for you. ###I will get you a list of parts you will need that you can get from Radio Shak. ###Or I can supply them if you want. ###
08-10-2002, 06:42 PM
Sounds great. ###
It does have a standby switch. ###I want it to be able to record in both day and night but having the option to shut one off might be nice. ###I used the MS20 board on my still camera so I will use that here as well.
To answer your questions:
The day/night mode is optional. ###If it is to much trouble just make it where it will record in both day/night.
I would like adjustable record range. ###As for the range I don't know, do you have any suggestions. ###Maybe 15 sec to 1 min???
On the delay time same issue, I welcome your suggestions. ###Maybe 30 secs to 5 min???
A list of the RS parts I would need would be great.
I'm really getting fired up, thanks for your help!!
By the way the camcorder I have is a Canon ES750.
If you would like, send me your email address and we can get all of the details worked out.
08-10-2002, 09:18 PM
Lawdog, check to see if you got my message. ###One last thing I need to know, is your camera PAL or NTSC? ###I will look on the net to see if I can find out. ###The Sony I have is NTSC and the board will not control a PAL camera. ###I saw a few Canon camcorders on EBAY and they were all PAL. ###I could make it work for a PAL camera, but I would have to find one first and test it since it requires a different signal timing. ###I dont think the wife will let me buy one right now to try since we have another kid on the way. ###
08-11-2002, 08:20 AM
I got your message - I didn't know the board had that feature. ###The cam is NTSC so no problem. ###Thanks!
09-02-2002, 06:32 AM
If any of you guy's get this thing worked out I would be very interested in purchasing one of these unit's ! e-mail me with what you have.
I would also be interested in plans on how to build one of these if available.
01-12-2003, 02:55 PM
Has any one did any more work lately. Haven't seen any recent postings? Is any one aware of any units on the market?
01-13-2003, 05:51 PM
Hey folk. I am still working on the Lanc board, but the holidays and the arrival of my new little girl last week have really dampened my development time. My real job also has suddenly decided that I need to travel which does not help much either. I have 10 boards built but the code is only about 70% complete. For those of you still wanting them, please bear with me. I still have to finish the code and do some field tests. All of the features of the board are working fine, it's just that I got a few bugs in it that I have to work out. Sorry for the delay.
01-14-2003, 07:02 AM
http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-faces-toast-beers.gif Congrats on the new little girl http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-faces-toast-beers.gif
01-14-2003, 09:07 PM
And I thought the game cameras was addictive.....My wife thought I was nuts when I bought a perfectly good Canon camera and took it apart........I can't wait to hear her when she finds out what I'm gonna do to her Sony Camcorder..............
Anyways, a couple of questions:
1. My wife has a Sony trv330 with the "Night Shot" and "Super Night Shot" feature. It works really well in the Super Night Shot (I have video of hogs under a corn feeder at about 85 yards) but the regular night shot feature is pretty limited (less than 10 feet I would guess). My question is, can you use a IR light source other than the one on the camcorder? Or do you have to turn on the Night shot feature for the camera to record IR images (I do realize that by flipping the night shot button I am turning on a IR light - but does it also put the camera in some special IR mode?)
2. Is there such a thing as an affordable IR light that can illuminate out to 50 feet?
3. Would some of the chips that I have read about in the other posts activate the Super Night Shot?
I guess where I am going with this is that I need to go cheap in building this thing and was considering using a WM2 PIR and a solenoid to activate the record button on the camera. I have drawn up on paper a simple (i.e. cheap) timer schematic that would turn the recorder on and then turn it off after a set period of time. Although I have only played with it for the past couple of hours, the camera seems to come back on and record if I push the record button after the camera has gone to sleep. The problem is that to turn the super night shot on, you have to turn on the regular night shot and then push a button for the super night shot. It would be a whole lot easier if I had an external IR light source that was turned on by a relay via the WM2 PIR.
As usual, great forum, great information and great people posting.
01-15-2003, 02:05 PM
Has anyone tried using a flashlight with an IR lenscover? I saw some on the web last night and they run about $30. I thought about using a relay to turn the flashlight on.
Also, Sony sells an IR unit called the HVL-IRC. It runs off of its own battery supply (2 AA batteries) and claims to provide light out to 100 feet. Price is about $45. Has anyone tried this unit?
Finally, if you are using an external IR illuminator with the sony cams that have the night shot feature, does the night shot feature have to be "on" for the cam to record properly?
01-30-2003, 06:32 PM
hunt4it44, I have an IR extender from Sony. I dont know if it is the same # as that, But it is powered off AA's. It is 6 or 7 years old, and I have only messed with it a couple times, but I think it worked pretty good. I will have to dig it up and play a little.
02-01-2003, 07:19 PM
Dug out my IR illuminator and it is a HVL-IRC. Now for some tests.
02-18-2003, 11:56 AM
I have tried the Sony HVL-IRH2 - the one with optional white light. Worked great in IR mode. The IR only turns on when in Nightshot mode and pulls power from the camera.
I have 8 hour batteries and put it out for a week. The temp never got above 20 degrees the whole time and down to 0. The camera and light both worked fine. (the light or probably the battery power - seemed a little weak at the coldest part of the nights) Battery was still better than 1/2 strength and the video was full.
I am going to try the dalewheat.com floodlight version to see if any better. (Sony's version like a flashlight/spotlight)
(hooked camera to the pixcontroller board)
--Of course the bucks I got on 35mm film already shed out so I missed them on camera!!! now I have to wait 6 months for scrape videos!
02-20-2003, 08:30 PM
I just put in another order to get some more of my Sony Video LANC boards made and will be getting them in next week. Just send me an email if you want one. I will also be selling these in a kit form for $70 which includes everything but the soldering. Whole boards are $85.
03-15-2003, 10:54 AM
As some of you will remember, I built a video trail camera in 2001 with lots of help from Gizz, Jesse, Tinhorn, and Archilochus. I then had the camera stolen in early November, 2001, while in the woods at the deer lease I had at the time. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-chainsaw-left.gif http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-shootin-green.gif
Anyway, I exchanged some e-mails with Brian after I found he was helping a friend work out some problems with his 35mm set up. It wasnít long before I told him about Jesseís site and he became a regular here. Several months later I met Brian at his house to work on the video camera project. I had found 2 Sony TR-818 video cameras on clearance at Wal-Mart for $200.00 each. They donít have the LANC port on them, but at the time I donít think anyone on this site had figured out how to make the video cameras run off the LANC port. I took the 2 video cameras with me to Brianís house where he took them apart and soldered into the cameras. He had to use some #30 wire to solder into the camera on some tiny contacts. This is definitely not something I would suggest to anyone except the experts like Brian! Those wires and contacts were hare to see, let alone solder to. He wired into the power on, power off and record circuits. The controller he has turns the camera on when motion is detected, them starts the record for whatever length of time you program it for. The after that time has elapsed, it powers off the camera. There is no need for a stop record because power off does the same thing when the power is turned off. After chasing down parts and wiring into the 2 video cameras, and talking hunting and trail cams for hours, we ran out of time to complete the cameras set ups. But I did finally get to meet Brian in person and we got quite a bit accomplished.
Before we could both find time to get back together to complete the video camera system, it was hunting season. Now fast forward to Feb on 2003. Brian had had his video trail cam working and ďtestingĒ it in the field at his lease for several months. We finally got back together to finish the electronics portion of my video cameras. I carried the cases, cameras, and everything else I had back to Brianís electronic work shop. Before long Brian had the electronics working on one of my cameras. He hadnít had time to build the board for the other camera yet, though. Between work, his beautiful wife, and the members of Jesseís, he doesnít have much free time. We did have a couple of problems that included a couple of faulty parts which took quite a while to track down. While Brian worked on the electronics stuff, I worked on mounting the servos, and the layout of everything in the case. By the end of the day, we didnít get as much finished as we had hoped, but we were well on the way to a completed video trail cam.
I guess it would be better if I let Brian describe exactly how his board actually works. Basically, when motion is detected, the camera turns on and records then powers off after the amount of time that you select had elapsed. It has a photo sensor to detect the amount daylight. When it is dark enough, it activates the servo and switches to Night Shot and the external light is powered on. In my case, I am using a 104 IR LED I purchased off eBay. When daylight returns, the servo turns the Night Shot off and the external light isnít used again until it gets dark again.
The entire unit that Brian designed works perfectly. I have been disappointed in the range of the IR LED light. I gather that all IR light are relatively weak and the light from them dies out quickly. Though Iíve only put it out at the lease once so far, Iíd say that 10 steps are about the limit of really good light. Though you can see a deer at 15 steps, itís getting too far to tell exactly what it is and how big a buck is.
Iíd like to publicly thank Brian for all his work on this video camera project. Heís a great guy and I really appreciate everything he has done. The board he has for the video cam is great, and works like a charm. As far as that goes, all the electronic geniuses we have on this site are fantastic. Iíd like to thank them all for what they have done. Without their designs, and trouble shooting help, we would have to buy lesser trail cameras at twice the price we are building them for ourselves! Three cheers to Brian and the other electronic geniuses on this site! http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-faces-toast-beers.gif http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-faces-toast-beers.gif http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-faces-toast-beers.gif
Iíll post some photos of the camera layout as soon as I can get them edited and downloaded to my personal web space.
04-09-2003, 10:31 AM
Just wanted to show you the new LANC PixController board for those of you wanting to make a video trail camera system. These systems are much easier to make than most people realize, and they won't cost you any more to make than a D-380 digital trail camera system too.
Here is what the new board looks like:
It's a nice and small compact board (1.5" X 4.6"), and its an all-in-one board, which means you don't need something like the MS20 or X-10 sensor too.
This board controls the video camcorder through what's called a LANC port (pronounced LANCE). Almost all of the older Sony video camcorders, and all of the newer higher end camcorders have this port on them. So do the Canon video camcorders. If you look on my web page listed below I have a list of some of the compatible cameras. What makes the LANC port great is you don't need to modify the camcorder in any way to use it as a video trail camera. As you've read here it can be kind of difficult to hardwire a camcorder.
Here are the features of the board:
* Built-in PIR sensor with a user sensitivity adjustment POT.
* Super bright LED's for walk-test mode of the PIR area.
* Day/Night Sensor.
* New External Light Port - Add either a Flood Light or IR Light for enhanced Sony NightShot night time videos.
* LANC Port.
* Easy to use User DIP switch interface for setting board options, which include:
- 8 PIR Delays ranging from No Delay to a 60 minute delay between PIR events.
- 4 Recording Time settings from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
- Day Only, Night Only, 24 Hour recording modes.
- Walk/Test Mode.
The board comes with about everything you'll need including all cables (LANC cable, External Light Cable, and Battery Supply Cable), and PIR Lens. All you need to supply is the case, and external switch, a batter holder, and glass.
These LANC boards are very easy to setup too. All you do is plug the LANC cable into your camcorder. This is just a 2.5mm stereo plug. Then just turn on your camcorder and power up the PixController board. The PixController board will then power down your camcorder and wait for a PIR motion event. Once this happens the PixController board will send a command to the camcorder through the LANC port to power the camcorder up, start recording for the amount of time you set on the User switch settings, then power the camcorder down once this time period is over.
I have been able to find Sony Hi8 LANC camcorders with Sony's NightShot feature on eBay for around $100 - $120. Just do a search for "Sony LANC" and you'll turn up a bunch of them.
What will it cost to make a video trail camera? I figure about $225, which is what it will cost you to make a decent digital trail camera system.
* LANC PixController board $85.00
* Sony LANC Camcorder ~$100.00
* Pelican 1300 Case $35.00
* External Switch, Battery Holder, Glass ~$5.00
05-26-2003, 06:18 PM
I figured out how to fix the 1st part of this thread by merging the broke part of I into part II. Let me know if this thread acts up again.
07-30-2003, 10:08 AM
does anyone have any updates on the digital game camera. this page seems a bit old. what cameras work the best?
galiuro mountain man
01-18-2004, 08:16 PM
well, made a trail cam a couple of months ago, and it works great, but I had to do one modification. I was missing game too far away for my sensor. I used a digital camera that can auto focus, and I can get great long distance pics, but I couldnt afford another one. Instead, I set up another sensor, timer, and used a tv remote from an old tv, and put another circuit in my origional box with the remote pick up in it wired past my first timer. Took a while to hook it up and get it working, but it is awsome! I get 2 different pics with the same camera, one is long distance and one is about 10 yards! Also I get a ton of pics with a digital cam. After feb. I will get it out of the woods and post how to do it. It should work with any autofocus cam. Another thing I am going to work on is, setting up a solar charger. I found a solar panel that is small enough to fit in my box, and should put out enough power to keep everything charged, right now I go out every 2 to 3 weeks with another rechargeable drill battery so I can keep taking pics, hopefully this summer I can leave it for longer lengths of time. I live in AZ and hunt in the high desert areas of SE AZ, so it is very hot by7 am, and the less trips I make to the area the better. It is all foot acess and I climb from 3000 ft to 6000 ft in 2 miles, it isnt fun at 100+ degrees!
Anyways, thank you for the info on the trail cams, now I hope the info I will be posting in the future will be as helpfull as what is on here already.
01-24-2004, 06:18 PM
Will someone build me 2 homebrews 35 mm game trails for under $90? each
09-16-2004, 07:57 AM
can someone post or email the schematics for the 4 stage timer that was posted at the beginning of this thread. It seems to be missing.
04-08-2005, 02:13 PM
have you guys checked out pixcontroller.com it seems they have everything you would need. I am looking into getting one of the video kits for my sony its just plug and go,of course you have to mount everything in the box,which you can order from cases4less.com
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