Monday, February 7, 2011

More Messing with the Spy Camera

We've been playing with those cheap video cameras again.

Several of the cameras died... water overdose. So, we removed parts from one and brought the other back from the dead... and it works.

While we were building this Franken-cam, we also added wires to control our creation before turning it loose on humanity.

Yes, we've learned lessons from history. And lessons from fiction!

Here is Franken-cam with his skin on. The top blue-wire is the picture/video button. The top red wires are for turning the camera on/off.

The bottom blue is ground, and the bottom red is power.

Now, we can power a small ucontroller (a PIC12F683) off the camera's battery, and have it turn on the camera, take a photo, take a few minutes of video, and then everything goes back to sleep.

But wait - there's more! The PIC is quite powerful and there is alot of room for more code... so we have the PIC control 2 servo motors (very small ones, too).

Now, when the camera is woken up and after a picture or two, it takes video, and the PIC runs the servo motors to pan and tilt the camera - offering complete access to the entire Pacific NW around it.

The metal brackets on the servos are bent spring steel. Light and strong.

Here is the working camera and its PIC controller. The LED used to tell us it is alive takes more power than the PIC itself.

Now... we have to provide a stronger power supply to run it all - for the servos and so the camera will last for hours.

We have a PIR detector from an old alarm, and soon will have remote animal detection and video (with pan and tilt) at 1-mega pixel for about $20 in parts.

The kids just like to see the thing move with blinky lights. Email us for PIC code or details.