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Homegrown aerial photog

  1. Dec 30, 2005 #1

    DaveC426913

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    I want to explore taking pictures from a kite or balloon. (I saw some guys doing this at a hobby show a few years back.)

    I need to consider the following:
    - a camera
    - a shutter-pressing mechanism that will take pictures over an interval, such as every minute or every hour. That might be a built-in time-lapse feature, or it might be some mechanical shutter-pressing device.
    - storage format - digital would be great, but emulsion will do if that's the only way I can meet my other criteria
    - it has to store the pics onboard until I can retrieve them, since it will be out of range.
    - obviously onboard power
    - all in a device that's cheap enough that I can afford to lose/break it

    I'm looking for in- or out-of-the-box ideas on how to overcome the technicalities of such a thing.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2005 #2

    Pengwuino

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    You might want to consider a stabilizer as well.
     
  4. Dec 30, 2005 #3

    dduardo

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  5. Dec 30, 2005 #4

    Danger

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    It shouldn't be too hard to cobble together a cheapo gyroscope and gimbal-mount it with the camera (or just hang it from a wire). I have a nice little flywheel out of a cassette deck or VCR or something (I forget now) that would probably have enough rotating mass to be useful. It wouldn't be NASA quality by any means, but maybe enough to offset the fluttering of a kite or the rotation of a balloon. Even a toy car tire with weights around the circumference might do (and have the advantage of a pre-assembled drivetrain).
    If you're using a kite or a tethered balloon, you could simply run a wire up the string (or use that wire as a string) and trigger your camera from the ground. For a free balloon, a simple clockwork mechanism could trip the shutter for you.
    I've seen in my area little key-chain digital cameras that sell for less than $50. They're very light and cheap, so might be ideal for experimenting with.
    That's it for now. I'll get back to you if I think of anything else.
     
  6. Dec 30, 2005 #5

    DaveC426913

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    Yes, but writ small - maybe 1/10 in all relevant project dimensions.
    No onboard 'puter. No GPS. Camera retrieved manually.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2005
  7. Dec 30, 2005 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Stability is something to consider, but lower on my list for now.
    Assume free-floating as optimistic case - no wire.
    Hoping for multiple exposures. I'm thinking some sort of clockwork if the shutter is manual (though I have to worry about winding if not a digital camera). Clockwork could be pretty tricky.
    Yes. Great idea.
     
  8. Dec 30, 2005 #7

    Pengwuino

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    I think theres a reason those cameras sell for less then $50 :P
     
  9. Dec 30, 2005 #8

    Danger

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    I can't vouch for the picture quality, but I think it's at least 1.5 mp. Part of the reason that they don't cost more is that they have no viewscreen, which is irrelevant here, and don't come with software or cables.
     
  10. Dec 30, 2005 #9

    Pengwuino

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    Better hope it has stabilizing software at least.
     
  11. Dec 30, 2005 #10

    Danger

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    I have no idea what that is. :confused:
     
  12. Dec 30, 2005 #11

    Danger

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    I'm lousy at electronics, so I sure wouldn't try this myself, but you should be able to yard the cover off of a digital camera and run a jumper setup around the shutter switch to an outside timer. That would eliminate all of the weight and complexity of a mechanical timer.
     
  13. Dec 30, 2005 #12

    DaveC426913

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    1] Yep. That's what I'm thinkin'.
    2] 'Yard'? Slang or typo?
     
  14. Dec 31, 2005 #13
    whats wrong with a wireless RF camera?
     
  15. Dec 31, 2005 #14

    DaveC426913

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    I've never seen one, but I'd like to explore it.

    Aside from that, I likely won't be within range much of the time (I assume it is short range, <1km), so that might not work.
     
  16. Dec 31, 2005 #15

    dduardo

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    This is what I would do, atleast for the first run:

    1) Buy a cheap disposable camera
    2) Pry off the button you use to take pictures
    3) Build a Oneshot 555 Relay Timer Circuit
    4) Connect the relay where the button used to be
    5) Connect an astable 555 timer with binary counter to the input of the 555 Relay timer circuit

    The circuit as a whole works likes this:

    1) The astable 555 timer generates a pulse at a desired frequency.
    2) The counter counts the number of pulses
    3) Once the counter reaches the desired number, it would reset and hold the counter. It would also tell the oneshot 555 to close the relay for some amount of time
    4) When the oneshot finishes the relay will open.
    5) Unhold counter
    5) Repeat

    What you would need to design is the values of the resistors and capacitors such that your holding the button down for a specific amount of time and your only taking pictures at an interval.

    There are plenty of resources on the internet about these type of circuits. Look them up. If you need any help on some specific details or whatever come back and ask them here or in the electrical engineering forum.
     
  17. Dec 31, 2005 #16

    Danger

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    Slang. As in 'reef', 'yank', 'shell', etc.. :biggrin: I guess some of them must be regional.
     
  18. Dec 31, 2005 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Hm, I wonder how much one of my electronic hobbyist friends would charge to make this circuit for me. I've taken basic electronics, but it might be a little beyond me.
     
  19. Dec 31, 2005 #18

    Danger

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    Should be worth about a 6-pack, plus parts.
     
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