Let's Make Robots!

Cheap mini wireless cameras

I was playing around with some code for machine vision (object/facial/color/motion-detection) a long time ago, and I'm thinking to put a camera on a robot sooner or later and see where that'll take me.

So I was looking for cheap wireless cameras and I was astonished to find these:

900MHz Mini Wireless Color Camera w/Built-in Microphone - $25.50

2.4GHz Mini Wireless Color Camera w/Built-in Microphone - $34.50

2.4GHz Wireless Survellience Camera Kit w/4-Channel Wireless Receiver & Infrared Color Video Camera - $39.99

Holy crap they're cheap :/ So I was thinking what is the catch???

I'm aware that I would need an analog to digital converter of some kind in order to hook the receiver up to my PC, but I believe I've seen those for around 15 bucks some time ago. 

And if there is no catch then howcome everybody doesn't have one or two on all their robots allready :D

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Allthough I'm not convinced. In one case "it worked a bit and then nothing" and in the other case it MELTED :S

So I'm not sure it's worth the trouble buying it :/

Still I'm curious..how did you hook it up to a PC, Gareth?

I am using a  Bt848 Capture Card - this is a generic name and there are many out there....

The Chip set  Bt848 is the most popular and there is a lot of software (freeware) out there to help manipulate the video.

Though it can be a pain to find the right drivers.

Once the video capture is set up you can even use "Processing" to  access the video stream - i never got to try this as it died before i had a chance.

I used the PC link here on Mr.Flex ....last video - (picture in picture video)- so you can see the quality for your self.


NB:- there are also some small neat USB capture cards out now - but i am not sure about the speed of them!!

On the other hand, you can't expect much from a $25 wireless camera! I think that for the price, it's pretty cool and you don't risk that much... now it's sure that if you can afford a better camera, go for it! :)

 (and for the it worked then nothing, it comes from my computer because when i try it directly on my tv, it still works... if i have time i'll try to take some pictures (i can't record a video since i don't manage to make it work on my computer))

it's not just $25. The last time I made an order the local customs charged me 100% (!!!) on top of everything. Plus I paid $20 in shipping. I could perhaps use a cheaper shipping service but it's kinda risky where I live, so...

Besides cheap or not..well..I can live with low resolution and bad colors BUT if they MELT or simply don't work I prefer to spend the money on something else. I have a long and growing tools/parts wishlist....

Oh ok, i ordered it from dealextreme so no shipping, and fortunatly here i don't have any problem with custom taxes. Plus, for now i didn't have any heating problem (and i let it turned on for few hours), i just read that some people did and put a heatsink to solve the problem.

So good luck, and let us know if you finally find a solution!

I used a simular one here TB-007, the receiver module looks exactly the same.

If you are lucky the lens can be tweaked for real good Macro work.

It is low res, however good acceptable quality (colour a bit washee)- i wired the composite video out to both PC capture card and a small standalone video monitor - so no problems  getting the info out of the cam. 

....... However mine died ....... my model ran hot - its case_ing is metal - i can only assume it overheated .. maybe my bad luck.

.... though for those prices well worth it.

I heard about the heating problem, so i think i'll try to put a heatsink or two on the camera.

I received one 3 weeks ago from dealextreme, there is no real catch except it's not HD... quality is not great, but still not bad, i wanted to do some color tracking with it but although it's not black and white, colors are not flashy at all so i don't know...

I didn't have the time yet to test it with roborealm (also because i didn't manage to get the viedo on my computer with my vivo videocard, it worked a bit and then nothing).

But it's a cool toy, i plan to put it on my next robot, for image processing or to control it from internet :)

Hi Yamada,

I'm wondering if you can provide more details about the quality of these? 

Have you been able to interface it with your computer? 

are the colors dull? low contrast? poor behavior in bright-to-dark? slow?


I've always wanted to put together a first-person video system, by mounting two of these on a car, or plane and piping the display to a head-mounted mini-tvs.  I know these systems are commercially available, but they cost a bomb.