Let's Make Robots!

super cheap video recorder

 

Anyone tried one of these (or similar):

http://cgi.ebay.com/Car-Key-Micro-Camera-Hidden-DVR-Video-Recorder-720-480-/260702766817

I am tempted to get one. Around $8 to the US. I would just about double my investment putting a micro SD card in it. I would really like to find it as a component that cheap, but I haven't seen one. I guess I could rig a servo to press the power button and then the record button.

EDIT - After getting the feedback from pips and the link provided, I went ahead and bought one...

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Just some very basline testing so far. It does a better job sitting in one spot recording things that are moving than it does recording while it is being moved, but sound and video quality is decent enough to be useful. I hope to do a recording with it on the AGV while doing GPS homing this weekend.

i also thought the same thing. but i will be building an rc plane and controlling it manually. still it is excellent for first person video. it has very rich color and a good framerate.

It will probably take some decent in flight video but if your is like mine, take off and landing are likely to be blurry. I wonder how well it would work with a well positioned LCD in the corner of the frame to output GPS location and bearing.

 

Thanks for the link. This picture:

is somewhat encouraging, though I think it is bigger than actual size. I should be able to solder to those and the VIN on the other side.. Amazing at the circuitry they can sell so cheap. I will probably start by just figuring out a holder and starting video before I start the robot. 

I don't need a spy camera so much as something I am not too worried about placing at risk and that can be mounted high without affecting center of gravity much.

Controlling it with a micro controller should be easy as long as one contact of each switch is ground. If that's the case then a transistor can be put in parallel with the button. The transistor also provides voltage level conversion so that you don't need to worry about driving 3V devices from a 5V processor.

I hacked a camera with my robot Pictomatix MkII in this manner. Check this link for photos and a schematic.

http://letsmakerobots.com/node/5027

If I do connect to the power, I am tempted to just connect to the 5v on the USB and leave the battery in place. The only issue that occurs to me is that I will have to be sure I am in sync with the power state and don't toggle the power off when it is already on. Any reason not to connect to the charging circuit instead of trying to power the board directly?

For the initial uses I have in mind, it is going to be unnecessary anyway. If I have it fully charged with a 4G card in it, I will just secure it, turn it on and leave it running until I am done with whatever I am doing. Then I can just edit out the parts where nothing is happening. But further down the road, I can think of a lot of interesting things to do with a camera under control.

I thought about going with an internal memory camera; they have a $10 one at Walgreen's that is small, light and takes short videos  and pictures but it has the same power and capacity issues you mention in your description. I like that little spinning robot.

i bought one in the past. it works well, and the quality is fair. i would recommend this camera if you need a small spy camera.

this guy did a very detailed review, and continuously accumulates things about this type of camera: http://www.chucklohr.com/808/

you could avoid the servo and hack the contacts on the camera, by opening it up and soldering a relay or an optoisolator to the two button's terminals to trigger it with a microcontroller