Small Video Recorder device for motorcycle use?

By Per Hansson
Nov 30, 2003
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  1. Hi everyone, been a while.

    Next year starts the new 250 Motorcycle Road-Racing season, and I'll be attending the full Swedish and European Championship...

    I'm working as a mechanic for a friend... Now just today he came asking me if it would be difficult to have a few "onboard" cameras that record his driving...

    Umm, yes, it probably will be was my answer ;-)

    After a while of looking on google for "mini cams" and instead ending up at very different sites I got a really crazy idea:

    Build a mini computer instead...

    The mainboard of choice would of course be one of VIA's ITX mainboards

    And since he can't have a 220v power chord around the track it felt reasonable to find a good DC-DC powersupply, and I found one that would be marvelous for this project right here.

    Next I'll need cameras, and on this German site I found some real small ones...

    They are connected via USB to the computer and need no extra power, thus they are ideal....

    I'll need 12v batteries also, and while I do have a 12v 7ah Sealed Lead Acid Battery here at home doing nothing it weights 2,6kg... Simply too much, so what I want is a 12v battery which would be able to drive that computer for around 30minutes during recording (I'm assuming around 15w power consumption)

    Ideally it would be a battery which is flat, and not extends more than 17cm, i.e. the same shape as the mainboard... Most important is that it is light though...

    Last but not least the computer will need some kind of storage solution, and this is proably the part I have no clue on...

    On the one side I will need a fast storage solution that can record all the data from the multiple USB cameras at once, but it will also need to consume little power and also be extremley shock resistant, I'm talking 13.000 RPM's and perhaps one and another crash...

    Therefore I don't think 2,5" notebook harddrives would do the trick, I might be wrong though and I would be glad if you proved me so...

    Another choice would be to use Compact Flash, though I have no experience in that but I would assume it would become a very expensive solution due to the storage and speed requirements I have...

    http://www.mini-box.com/cfadapter.htm

    I would build the case myslef so it fits the motorcycle and is as shock-resistant as it possibly can be...

    In the end what I want is a device that can record around 30 minutes of movie from a motorcycle, i.e. something that is light, durable and shock-resitant... I want neither an unfocused movie nor a dead recorder device....
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff Newcomer, in training Posts: 8,165

    For power-supply, you could use the motorbike's onboard electricity (either 6V or 12V)
    For storage, an MP3-player/recorder comes to mind (Creative, with 20GB HD, or similar). Check websites where bungie-jumpers record their drops. Also you could try and contact formula One people, they have solid cameras on their racecars (but they will surely cost more than an arm and a leg).
    Sound like a nice project, best of luck.
  3. DLx/P

    DLx/P Newcomer, in training Posts: 103

    At one time we used wireless cameras at work. They were supposed to transmit up to 2miles. Actually more like a half mile. But the camera, transmitter and receiver were less than $1500 US if I remember right.
    These cameras were really small. About the size of a marble. And the transmitter was about the size of 2 credit cards stacked on top of each other.

    But I suspect a mini PC may cost less than that. ?!?
  4. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,917   +119 Staff Member

    It's a racing motorcycle (Yamaha TZ 250 Racer) it does not have self-charging batteries, only a very small battery that drives the fuel-pump...

    Would this be fast enough though for my recording?

    The ones that Eurosport uses for broadcasting cost 5000$ just for the rent!!!

    Thanks!
  5. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,917   +119 Staff Member

    That sounds very intresting! Where can I get hold of one of these?

    Yes, but it would also weight much more... This needs to be light... We will of course not use it during the race, only during the practices... But I'd still say 2kg max including everything...

    After all the Yamaha TZ 250R weights less than 100kg... You don't want any additional unneccesary weight added...
  6. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff Newcomer, in training Posts: 8,165

  7. DLx/P

    DLx/P Newcomer, in training Posts: 103

    That was 5 years ago. I can't remember the name of the company. Think they were in upstate NY. But as RBS said. I did a search on google for "wireless video surveillence cameras" or something like that. Clicked on the first site that came up.
  8. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff Newcomer, in training Posts: 8,165

    Per, I think the MP3 option is vast enough for your purposes.

    Quote:
    Recording speed. Even though the MD Walkman's USB interface is incredibly fast compared to real-time recording to MiniDisc, copying files to the MuVo is even faster. It took me about a minute to save a four-minute song to MD in LP4 mode, whereas copying a four-minute song (encoded at 64kbps) to the MuVo took just a few seconds.
    Unquote

    for the full article, see:

    http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/reviews/20031104/comparing_mp3_players.html?page=3
  9. kevin heath

    kevin heath Newcomer, in training

    Did it work

    Hi
    I read your post from a while back on the computer video recorder. I would like to build on to use on a big off road race. I have a 12 volt battery that is charging on board. Any help appreciated.
  10. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,917   +119 Staff Member

    We are not 100% decided yet but it looks like we will be buying from a Swedish firm...

    I do not have their address right here though...
  11. se99paj

    se99paj Newcomer, in training

    Per, i was wondering if you had any luck with your video camera. I am currently in a similar position. Except its not going to be used on a motor bike so the power supply isn't a problem.

    But these are a bit of a problem I will be using 4-5 cameras, a frame rate of 25-30 fps, I would also like enough storage for 48 hours (this kinda depends on the capacity required for the video footage) another option is to make a wireless connection so the recording equipment could be somewhere else.
     
  12. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,917   +119 Staff Member

    We have still not bought any cameras so I can't tell...
  13. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff Newcomer, in training Posts: 8,165

    Have a look at this little camera (with sound).
    http://www.cybermarket.co.uk/ishop/923/shopscr1261.html

    A friend of mine uses this in his shop, and the picture- and sound-quality are simply stunning.
    From the screen-picture (14" colour TV) it looks like it is a wide-angle lens in the camera.

    That Cybermarket has a wide selection of other cameras and gear as well.
  14. r1_forever

    r1_forever Newcomer, in training Posts: 30

    I have used a Sony Digital Handycam several times fitted with a "pen-lens" running to a backpack where the Camera sits. There is a guy locally here who rents it out to people for track days or justy for fun. There is no need to build a mini Pc as the quality from this setup is absolutely 100% and I ride an R1 and my mates are on YZF1000's, ZX9's etc.. and there is no motion blur or shaking. Not sure how he has the sound setup but it works great with no wind noise. He has the camera setup on an adjustable tripod with suction cups on its feet and seeing as our last use of it was at Willowbank Raceway and doing in excess of 240kmh i think I can vouch that they won't let go..lol. http://www.bikecam.com.au/ this will explain it with yummy pics as well. Hope you get some good footage.

    Andrew
  15. smtkr

    smtkr Newcomer, in training Posts: 138

    You want to put a hard drive on a vibrating machine?
  16. Micky750

    Micky750 Newcomer, in training

    Hi Per Hansson
    have a look for Motrax stuff on the net, they make a bracket like r1_forever said about for a handycam
  17. videobruce

    videobruce Newcomer, in training Posts: 129

    The camera part isn't the problem, recording is!
    If you use tape, you will have a major problem with time base error. Mechicanical vibrations will wreck havock with the transport, any tape format. Unless it is stored in a super shock resistant case!
    Some small HDD device might do the trick if ther is one available.
  18. r1_forever

    r1_forever Newcomer, in training Posts: 30

    Regarding Videobruce's comment on using Tape to record I can guarantee that the setup I have used has no jumps, bumps, errors, even pixelation doesn't occur. The camera is in a padded hard case and I have used this on several racetracks and the picture and sound has been perfect everytime. You may not have seen the link I put up to the owners website. This is a daily used business he runs with this setup and you HAVE to book ahead to get this camera for the day. I don't know how or what you intend to do with your setup but this baby has done over 290kph hundreds of times on bikes and cars and it works. The total cost of his setup was less than $1500 au.

    Andrew.
     
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