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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have just finished making my special video equiped wagon. I made the mistake of making it very short so the battery has to stand on end which makes it very top heavy and prone to derailing and falling over. Anyway, its worked pretty well.

The camera is on a sliding post so it can swing round to face either side (passengers eye view) and you can adjust the height. In this video I had one shot at the front of the train with the camera at a drivers eye view and one shot with the camera at the end of the train and high enough so it looks above the coach roof.

The camera transmits the video back to a receiver which gives out an Av signal which is taken into an AV rectifier which then goes down a USB cable into my old windaaz laptop where it is captured and saved as a video file by a prog called Super Video Cap.

I was quite pleased with the result


Click for video

If you would like pics or more info on the video wagon, let me know and I will take some pictures....
 

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I think that's brilliant!


David
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi

I have since increased the top speed of the WagonCam by hacking out the back wall so the battery can lie flat. This allows for a lower center of gravity so corners can be taken faster without falling over.

Here are some pics.

This is the capture equipment.
The whiteish box with the aerial receives the AV signal. It is then connected via a RCA phono cable to the AV rectifier box, which is the black one with the silver thing on the front. This is then plugged into the USB port on my old laptop. The fuzzy stuff on the screen is just static that the receiver is picking up, as the camera is not turned on. The program on the laptop receives the signal, displays it in real time and records it to AVI format.

This is the actual WagonCam.

This is the wagon cam profile. You can see the 8mm aluminium post which the camera can slide up and down on. The camera is epoxied to an aluminium block with a hole that the post slides in to. There is a 4mm tapped hole that clamps the block onto the post. You can see the screw in the picture. The curved sides are so the camera can swing round and look to the left or right for a passengers eye view. The battery is lying along the bottom of the wagon. To lower the camera lower to get a close view on the track, the battery is slid back to accomodate the block.

This is another view of the camera

This shows the camera at drivers eye height...

This is the camera at a roof height

This is my favorite height. You put the camera at the end of the train with the camera at that height. This gets a great view looking down the length of the train.

Let me know what you think :)
 

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Fantastic. You feel just like Tom Cruise on top of the Eurostar train in Mission Impossible.

Those of you who get Model Rail magazine will have seen the story of O gauge modeller Dave Lowery who has a very large layout and operates it from an actual cab control unit complete with driver seat of Class 56 diesel loco 56005 which he purchased when the loco was scrapped and which was installed as the controller for his layout.

He has fitted a camera to the front of his Virgin Class 47 and plans to control it with the Class 56 loco full size control unit! There is a picture of the unit on page 90 of Model Rail. Now one or two of you do have splendid studies/library rooms with leather topped desks and sofa style chairs. Forget that!


You need to scrap the lot and start again with a full size Class 56 loco cab controller unit.

This surely has to be the ultimate control system and hoarp001 is now halfway there!

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmm, yes I dont think my attic can accomodate the front half of any train...

I worked out what was wrong with the other line - one of the pesky points was diverting all the power up the hill so once i fixed that I had the scotsman flying around in the other direction. It looked great to have the trains passing by each other :-D
 

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So now that we know what the kit looks like, where do you get it?

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
it wasnt a kit, it was a scratch build...

Hmm, im goig to realise my stupidity now and assume that by kit you ment all the bits and bobs.

well.

the camera and receiver come in a matched pair set. Ebay is the best place. You can buy those cameras from maplin but they cost 90 quidish. I got that camera for twelve quid (mega deal
) Most of them are shipped in from china or hongkong but if you look hard enough you can find one being sold from the UK. most of them come with transformers and adaptors now.

The box of tricks that converts the analogue AV signal into a digital system for the PC is a standard exteral TV card. You can buy the pinicle studio things but they cost a lot and to find one with an AV input (which obviously is essential) is quite rare. I was lucky to find this cheap chinese type thing on ebay for about 15 quid. It works really well, just whatever you do dont use the bundled software - its awful. Get Super Video Cap instead, its much cleaner and easier to use and donst slow the machine up.

The wagon was just an old hornby freight car i had lying about. I cut the nice curves on the sides with a flap wheel in a large drill. I just pushed the wagon into it until it had cut it back as much as I needed. I then drilled an 8mm hole in the base of the wagon body and put a short peice of 8mm aluminium rod into the hole. The rod was about 10mm higher than one of the coaches, to allow the camera to see over the top. This was stuck in with copious ammounts of araldite.

The camera is mounted on a small 14mm square x 8mm plate. I drilled a 9mm hole in it for the post to slide in to. I also drilled a 3.3mm hole into the side of the aluminium block and tapped the hole for the grub screw. This assemblyw as then araldited onto the back of the camera, right at the bottom to allow the camera to see over the coaches.

The back of the wagon was cut away as it obstructed the battery. The battery now slides in and sits right on the bottom of the wagon to keep a low centre of graviy. I need to sort an inline switch into the body somewhere and the barrel connector thing is driving me nuts, im considering lopping it off and hard wiring the battery snap straight to the camera.

Once i had all the bits, it was a half hour job to put it all together, and after the epoxy had cured, I was running around with drivers eye vision in no time :)

Total cost of the project was 12 quid for the camera, as I already had the AV box from another mini camera project.

great fun - and if you have a computer installed near your layout, you can even just get an internal TV capture card (with AV of course) and cut out having that box that I have.....

Let me know if any of you decide to make one, id love to see the results :)

PS: you can also get cameras that transmit audio, but I found that all you get is rumbling sounds (i have an audio equipped camera which I used for a bit before I got a deicated train one)
 

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Thanks for the information. For video capture I was thinking of taking the video feed into my Sony digicam. As far as I can remember, it has an analog input - it certainly cost enough.

For the wagon mount, I was thinking of buying a long wheelbase Parkside kit - probably a CCT or Utility van. The LNER long CCT is _very_ long even though it only has four wheels.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah, the longer the better, mine is crammed into such a small space it falls over very easily. Before I hard wire it all in I might see if I can get a wagon that is a bit longiner, something 150mm long or something would do nicely, with moving bogies... I would also like to incorporate a lighter camera support because although very elegant and robustt, the aluminium adds a fair bit of weight high up which causes quite a high centre of gravity and a tipping risk.... I would love to burn it round the track at full pelt with the camera, but Il just have to wait until I can sort the centre of gravity out
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
First of all, the power from the track is 12v DC not the 9c required. Also that would mean at when the train is sitting still the camera would not work, and when the train was only dong half speed, it would only have half the image quality and reception.

When i move over to DCC i could probably run it off a lighting channel or something...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hello again,

I had another experimentation with the camera wagon. This time I turned it round so the camera was facing the front of the train. Since neither of my steamers can handle the tight curves on the inside line, and the outside line has some obstacles that the camera hits, i had to use the DMU again.

Looks cool though, probably my favorite camera shot.....

Video
 

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Good stuff, hoarp. I especially like the sound in the latest video.
I have experimented with video by balancing - yes, balancing - my wife's mobile phone on a flat wagon and pushing it around, but will hopefully get a decent mini-cam one day if funds permit. The phone struggles with the varying lighting and the resolution isn't great.
Thanks for sharing.
Mike
 
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