Four-Camera HD Video Mount for 4" Rocket

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OverTheTop
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Four-Camera HD Video Mount for 4" Rocket

Postby OverTheTop » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:22 pm

Four-Camera HD Video Mount for 4" Rocket

I want a camera assembly that I can throw onto a rocket when I need some video for whatever reason. My main application will be for showing the operation of the fins on the Vertical Trajectory System during flight for diagnostic purposes. My last rushed attempt was a bit agricultural but it held together (hotmelt glue and electrical tape :shock: )
FYI, link for VTS here: viewtopic.php?f=56&t=5324&start=45

I found the R3 WiFi cameras are quite neat and reasonably cheap. The are a bit better in quality and more reliable than the keychain cameras (three out of four died on my last flight due to battery issues).
Search for “R3 wifi camera” on the www to find them. They are around $34 currently.

Some of the R3 cameras were modified so they looked axially rather than sideways
Gently pry the rear away from the black band and front cover. If you push on the protruding LEDs the camera comes away easily from the front cover.
Open1.JPG


Now that the camera flex cable and camera are unsupported you need to be gentle from here on in so you don’t damage the assembly.
Hold the IR PCB in one hand and gently push the camera part of the device back through the PCB (not on the lens!) until they are separated. It is only gently held in place by a piece of foam tape.
I then cut the red and black wires that feed the IR LEDs, since we won’t be using them anymore. Remember this camera assembly is battery powered and possibly live, so cut the two wires, but one at a time so you don’t risk shorting them together. Cutting them different lengths is also a good idea to mitigate this possibility.
IRCut.JPG

FlexExposed.JPG


You can then insulate the ends of the wires somehow and tuck them somewhere safe. I put a small drop of CA adhesive on the tip of each wire, and tape the pair when the glue is cured.

Next up we need to cut the black central band to allow the flex to exit where we want. This band is actually made of a diecast metal. I tried a few ways to do this (file, hacksaw) and, in the end, gently holding the band in a vice and using a Dremel with a cutoff wheel was simple and effective. A needle file removed any remaining burrs or dags. It is getting a bit thin in spots so handle with care.
MetalCutResize.jpg

Now you can gently guide the flex out the cutout and clip the case back together.
BackTogetherResize.jpg

Next you need to set the angle you want the camera to look at now. You can use the app on your phone to see what the camera sees, and tack it very lightly in position with hot-melt glue, hold until the glue hardens.
Finally, the sides of the camera assembly and flex are glued in place with a little hot-melt.
GluedResize.jpg

There you have one R3 camera ready for axial viewing.

I want three cameras for axial view:
Two facing forward, looking at a pair of fins each, and probably capturing deployment as well.
One facing rearwards, for a view of the ground.
So, in my case it is step and repeat twice more
ThreeResize.jpg


3D Printed Mount
To hold these on my 4” Velociraptor I was looking for something more elegant and refined than a short piece of airframe and hot-melt glue. Nice and neat. A cylinder was sketched up and four enclosures to hold the cameras were added using SolidWorks. I was originally going to have four cameras side-by side around the ring, but then a better idea struck me, that of putting one behind the other in pairs. That reduces drag, improves symmetry and also eliminates an interference with the launch rail.
Cameras mount in from behind, the inserted rocket then holding them captive. Each camera location can look either along the rocket or sideways, depending on whether a standard or modified camera is fitted. There are access holes for push buttons, LEDs and the USB connector. No access for the SD card was crafted in so as to prevent the cards popping out and being lost after any opportune jolts.
Ring1.png

Ring2.png


Lastly it was put on the 3D printer and here is the result, in lovely black ABS (color balance in the pic is waaay off!).
TogetherResize.jpg


Stay tuned for completion and mounting on the rocket
TRA #13430
L3
"Everybody's simulation model is guilty until proven innocent" (Thomas H. Lawrence 1994)

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SpaceManMat
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Re: Four-Camera HD Video Mount for 4" Rocket

Postby SpaceManMat » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:45 pm

Nice result. The only thing I’d be worried about is the pods making turbulence that interferes with the fins.
QRS: 124
AMRS: 32 L2 RSO
Highest Altitude: 13,647 feet
Fastest Flight: Mach 1.55
Largest Motor: CTI 1115J530 IM
Current Project: X Wing

joeman
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Re: Four-Camera HD Video Mount for 4" Rocket

Postby joeman » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:02 pm

Hi OTT.
Very nice. Love the idea. Great explanation. Yes, would be extra drag, but hard to avoid.

You can't put a leading/trailing transition cover on because it will cover a significant portion of the FOV?


RE: Cameras
I was also looking for a camera for my most recent build - used a SQ12 camera ….just fits inside 38mm coupler tube with probably about 1 or 2 mm to spare!! These cameras have 155 degree FOV, but wasn't willing to drill the large hole needed to allow complete viewing. Just have to accept a smaller video. That is fine with me though.

Steer clear of SQ16 "dice" cameras. The one I got was dodgy. Many reports from others with similar issues.

Cheers

Joe
L1 - Callisto (H133) - 11-Jan-2016
L2 - March Fly (1633K940) - 18-Mar-2018 - RSO

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OverTheTop
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Mount Finished

Postby OverTheTop » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:40 am

Mount Finished
Managed to get some sanding done on the ID to get it to fit the rocket. Not a trivial job on the ABS. Again my aiming for too little clearance has bitten me. I guess I will get out of the habit one day.

A quick spray of Plastic Primer, followed by a nice gloss white should keep the heat absorption down a little and keep the cameras happier. That's also the reason I went for the red cameras rather than the black variety.

One other oopsie was noted. If I mount the two upper cameras facing up to view the VTS fins, the outward facing camera will be upside down :? Oh well, I will fix the cutout with a Dremel. Alternatively, if the video editing software can invert the video it will not matter.

Some Pics:
VR1resize.jpg
VR2.jpg
VR3.jpg
TRA #13430
L3
"Everybody's simulation model is guilty until proven innocent" (Thomas H. Lawrence 1994)


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