Oct 10, 2006

Wireless Cam Sensor not available


Maybe I did TOO good of a job on it, because I've been overwhelmed with email requests to purchase the wireless camera seen here.

The Wireless Camera you see here is homebrew. This means I made it myself. There is no KellyEngineeringGroup company (Kelly is my surname and this was meant as a joke). It is not an official LEGO product - it is not available for sale - you cannot buy it from HiTechnic or other vendor. I took a spare (extra) Light sensor and took it apart to obtain the shell needed for the camera. There was no wiring or soldering or any special skills needed other than the abilities to squeeze out superglue and drill a small hole for the antennae.

What I can provide you is a link to buy the camera and receiver here. Thank you ALL for your emails, and I'm sorry that I can't make one for you. But it's not hard. $30US (plus shipping fees) will get you your own camera... consider supergluing a small 3L beam to the bottom of the camera if you don't want to sacrifice a sensor.

I won't be able to respond to any more emails about the camera... sorry.

23 comments:

Brian Davis said...

Hehe... I'm glad I got mine before you, as I suspect Geek etc may have to order new stock fairly soon. This is the model I've been using for NXTcam and trainCam projets of my own, and it's rather nice (touchy tuning, but reasonable picture for $30)

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

I should've contacted geek.com for a commission setup... :)

I do like the image quality... the color is nice, but you have to keep it about 20 feet away from the receiver or the color gets funny. I don't have any trouble with the tuner... once I find the proper setting, I don't touch it and it never seems to waver...

Jim

Guy Ziv said...

Brian: does your camera project requires a PC in-the-loop? I'll be happy to see any $30 camera that can work directly with the NXT...

Guy Ziv said...

Jim: how much current does the camera needs? Since it works with 9V, you can connect it to the 9V output on the NXT cable.

Jim Kelly said...

The end of the camera has a special adapter - you can connect to a 9V power supply or an AC adapter, but I don't think the NXT adapter is compatible.

Brian Davis said...

This is *not* a $30 camera that can be "watched" by the NXT - it's just a cheap commercial spy-cam, that runs off a 9V battery, and wirelessly transfers color video and sound to a receiver unit (wall-powered) that has two output RCA jacks: standard video and single channel audio. Again, it does not interface to the NXT, either to send the image to the NXT or even powered from it (although the second should very well be possible, I suppose). The camera is essentially a ride-along accessory, transmitting the image back to a TV. Still a lot of fun, however.

--
Brian Davis

Maniac said...

My compliments on the homebrew Jim. It looks great. Although I can't buy it directly, from what you described, maybe I could manage to make one without flubbing it. Do you think it could work with the RCX (through the PC and IR tower)?

Jim Kelly said...

It will work fine with an RCX because it doesn't provide any feedback to the brick itself... this is just a camera that my robot "holds" and moves around with... there is no NXT-G code or any other programming related to the camera. A small 9V battery goes along for the ride and sends the signal to a receiver.

jim

Maniac...no more 0's said...

What kind of connection is used between the camera and the 9v? Would it be possible to hombrew a connector so that you could hook it up to an NXT motor output?

Maniac... said...

Yay, I ordered mine today!

How odd, I'm already getting NXT accesories and I don't even have the NXT:-) Oh well, I can set it up with the RCX until that blessed day when I get the NXT.

I'm still curiouse about the piece of cable that attaches to the 9v, I want to make an adaptor so that it can be attached directly to the NXT (or RCX) but I don't know what kind of cable to get...You mentioned that the NXT addaptor probably isn't compatable, so what kind is? I guess I can wait until it comes in the mail...

Jim Kelly said...

Maniac,

It's hard to explain, so I guess what I'll do is take a picture for you... I'll try to get that done in the next few days for you.

Obviously, with the right electronics skills, someone could come up with a way to wire the camera's power in... but I'm just guessing. I really don't know what the power requirements of the camera in terms of amperage...

I like the 9V battery solution because it's so portable. I can take the camera and use it elsewhere if I so choose without worrying that I've messed with the cable or power supply.

Hope you get your NXT kit fast... can't wait to see some of your designs.

Jim

Tony Naggs said...

I'm very impressed with the camera price, I think something similar in the UK would be £100 (US $180).

Maniac - be careful with the RCX, the voltage can reverse and I am not sure whether, even at full power, the power is continuous. Certainly at lower speeds the power will switch on and off rapidly.

From Jim's earlier pictures there is certainly a 9v battery clip.

If you know what you are doing you need to treat the RCX output as the AC input to a full bridge rectifier. You will need at least a couple of capascitors (an electrolytic, maybe 100 uF and a ceramic 0.1 uF) on the DC output. If you do not fully understand this stuff it is much better to not risk both your mini camera and RCX!


Best wishes,
Tony

Maniac... said...

I'll have to check the max imput of the camera before I try to make a convertor cable, but if it is powered directly by a 9v it shouldn't get fried by one RCX output. I don't know if the RCX is a constant supply, how about the NXT?

Christopher R. Smith (Littlehorn) said...

If you're all about feedback (as in eBay feedback)... Geeks is also selling the cameras on eBay at the same price with same shipping. They accept PayPal at both places.

Jim, do you think you can post a screen shot or 2 to detail the camera's resolution? I have a similar camera I haven't used in a long while. I might want grab one of these newer models.

Christopher

Jim Kelly said...

The camera I've seen on eBay appears to be an older model. It'll probably still work, but I think it requires an antennae hookup rather than the white/yellow Sony adapters (is that the right terminology?)...

As for resolution, I'll see what I can do... I don't have video output from my tv to post, but I'll try and figure something out.

Jim

David said...

I just bought this camera from Geeks.com and along with it they suggested the PTV-370 - ADSTech Notebook CardBus TV Tuner Card w/Video Capture. I went ahead and bought this too, it is on sale for $39.95. The PTV-370 is a cardbus card for a laptop. It allows you to plug the camera's receiver into your laptop and watch the video from the camera on your laptop instead of the TV. If you don't have a laptop, they have internal cards and USB products to do this image grabbing for a PC. Once the video is coming into the PC, then you can even grab images and save them as .bmp images.

I am hoping to get this working so that the images can be fed from the video camera on the NXT into my laptop and fed from the image digitizer on the laptop to ImageJ running on the laptop. ImageJ is a free image processing tool that I can use to 'look' at the images that the NXT is seeing. With ImageJ you can locate objects in the image to tell the NXT to move to, do face recognition, etc. If it works, then we'll have a closed loop from the camera to the PC and then processing the images from the camera and sending commands back to the NXT via Bluetooth to command the NXT to respond to what it is seeing in the images.

Jim Kelly said...

Cooooooooool!

Jim

Maniac... said...

I've been haveing some trouble getting anything to show. I tinkered for about a half hour but there was nothing but static, except for a few seconds right in the begining.

I've tried it on only one TV monitor, used both wall power and a 9v battery to power the camera. I've tested it at varying distances from the reciever, starting with touching the reciever, and moveing as far away as 20' with a wall in between.

Nothing.

I checked out geeks.com but the product support didn't help much, I have yet to send them an email though. Maybe if I can't get it working tomorrow.

If anybody knows how to fix it, that would be great.

Jim Kelly said...

Well, I know I had to dial in the reception very carefully... but you might just have a defective camera... it does happen. Sorry it happened to you, though.

Jim

Maniac said...

It may be the TV I'm working with, it's pretty old. I'll try it on a computer monitor and if it doesn't work there I can return the camera...it has a warranty.

Rawan said...

hiiii can we put a web cam to nxt robots by interfacing it in the usb port , and how can we do it ? thanks

Martin said...

Good Job! :)

Robomon said...

I used the same camera as a ride along camera on my 6-wheel Mars explorer RCX robot. I added two tiny clip-on LED lights available at the hardware store in the flashlight section (I guess you normally would clip them on a hat.) Anyway, the lights are super bright and also look pretty cool. Oh, and I used a portable DVD player as my 'monitor' instead of a television.

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