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mikep

Sony DSC-U20 Project

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Well today I decided to tackle soldering the wires to my U20.

I haven't built the project yet, so I can't say if it's working or not, but I have the camera back together again and at least it is still working.

I have just one comment about the instructions.

It says to fold the back like you would a clam. If you do this, there is a small tab that holds the cover in place in one corner and you are folding that small metal tab as well.

When I went to fold it back down, it did not take the stress and broke off.

So it would seem like the correct way to seperate the 2 halves would be to slide the shell instead of folding it back.

Not a big deal, but now the two halves do not stay tight together in that corner.

I thought I would mention it for the next guy.

I will let you know how it all works out when I complete the project.

Thanks,

Mike

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As a precaution, I will add some text about that. I do not at all recall it being an issue, but better safe than sorry. Thanks for the feedback.

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Mr. RC-CAM

I don't happend to have a 12C508 but do have lots of other 8-Pin internal OSC PICs in my junk box. I just placed an order at DigiKey this week and probably won't for a little while.

So I think I will simply write some quick and dirty code for a 12F part.

I was wondering if you would be willing to share some "Deep Secrets" of getting it to take a snap.

If I understand your notes correctly the shutter and exposure need to remain high. When you go to take a shot you bring the shutter and then the exposure low for a few hundred milliseconds and then bring them back high again.

What's the secret to keeping it awake?

Thanks if you can share these details with me.

Mike

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To keep it awake you just have the MCU "press" one of the camera's button every couple of minutes. If it sees any sort of activity, it will remain alive. Play around with the camera and you will see what I mean.

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I put it on the scope and played with the camera and it was very easy to see what was happening thanks to you for finding the right places to tap in.

The only thing I have a problem with now is if the camera does shut itself off. I have no way of turning it back on besides hitting the power button.

Have you found a way around that? I suppose I can tap into the power button if I need to. Does your project deal with this?

As well, have you looked into taping into the video to be able to transmit it back to the ground?

Thanks,

Mike

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I found that there was no reason to worry about remotely turning the camera on if it shuts off. The CamMan-Sony makes it stay on as long as the R/C signal is present; if you turn off the R/C signal the camera is allowed to shut down after several minutes.

But, if you want your PIC to do this, then add another MCU "button pushing" control line to the power switch.

If you want to avoid having to re-invent the wheel, then PM me and we can work something out. I've got a spare 12C508 that I could burn.

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Thanks for the offer, I appreciate it. I've already coded it though for the 12F675 and it's working fine. The longer part of this project was making the cables and opening the camera. The coding was quite easy.

I was going to ask you to re-compile it for a 12F675 thinking there are problably no major differences in the 2 PICs but I didn't really want to bother you with it.

I might also add a status LED just to let me know when the camera is "Armed". It would also show me when the camera goes off since I would still use the 2.8 V supply which is only on when the camera is on.

Thanks again for posting your projects!

I really appreciate it. This is very cool. Way better than using a servo! ;-)

Cheers,

Mike

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I was going to ask you to re-compile it for a 12F675 thinking there are problably no major differences in the 2 PICs but I didn't really want to bother you with it.

I wouldn't have minded doing that, except that the instruction cycle timing is different on the Flash part. A direct compile wouldn't work out at all.

The Sony camera works nicely for aerial R/C. You will enjoy using it.

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Really... now you have me asking questions. I don't understand why they would be. I guess I have to read the datasheet of the 12C parts. I never use them except for your projects. ;-)

Timing wise I'm using TMR1 interrupts to increment a counter. When it reaches 2:30 I call a keepAlive sub routine.

For the rest I'm simply using pauses. 250ms for the exposure and another 250ms for the shutter between going low and back high when taking a photo. 100ms for the keepalive sub routine.

I would like to reduce the time for taking a photo, but I will have to play with it to see how fast I can go. I'm thinking that if it's not enough time to get a good focus it will simply not take the photo. But that's purely speculation since I have not tried it yet.

I wrote this one in PICBasic Pro with an ASM interrupt handler. I want to start moving more projects over to C but it's simply too convenient to copy and paste from stuff I already did. It's why it took a relatively short time to put the code together.

My version doesn't have any of the fancy sequences etc.

Maybe in version 2. ;-)

I've been working on getting my TeleMaster finally in the air. It's just about done. I'm anxious to put the cam in it. I'll post a few pics of Montreal from our field when I do.

I also am anxious to start trying it with the ground station software. Too many toys, too little time!

:-)

P.S. I still need to trim the board and cover it, but here's what it looks like. Gotta love any project that only uses 3 components!

post-7-1082691712_thumb.jpg

Edited by mikep

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I opened the camera back up today trying to see if I could tap into the video to be able to TX it back to the ground.

There are a phenomenal amount of connections going to the display.

One thing that looked promising were to solder joints. When I measured it with a voltmeter I got a reading of 6.5V

I was not able to put it on the scope easily so I don't really have any details of the form.

I did try to simply display it on a monitor using component video but no image showed up.

I'm wondering if this is even possible?

I'm guessing the little LCD display will have a different scan rate then NTSC video right. Would it be a big deal to try and convert it to be usable. Or should I just abandoned the idea and simply use a video camera pointing in the same direction, or possibly later on getting another camera that has NTSC out on it.

But then will here be a Mr. RC-CAM project for the shutter release????

Any insight would be appreciated.

Regards,

Mike

P.S. I just want to add that I have a lot of admiration for the people that design these cameras. Just getting all the different components to fit in such a small case must be quite a challenge!

post-7-1082724485_thumb.jpg

Edited by mikep

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I'm guessing the little LCD display will have a different scan rate then NTSC video right. Would it be a big deal to try and convert it to be usable.

The LCD's video format is usually multiplexed and messy. I'm guessing that an FPGA and a lot of effort would create a scan convertor. This would be a serious project.

The 6.5V on the two pads is probably the backlight power. Does it change when backlighting is turned off?

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Well the camera is back together again, AND STILL WORKING, so I don't think I will open it up to see if it's for the backlight.

After thinking about it for a while, I kind of figured that it would be a major task to use the cameras video. After reading your message, I think I will simply abandoned that idea and simply shoot a lot of frames in the right direction for now.

I'll move on to building a nice bracket for it instead.

On the bright side of things... If I ever need a 6.5V source I know where to find one!

Cheers,

Mike

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So I got to test out the camera today.

I did one quick flight and took about 15 shots. It was a very grey and cold day here. Only 5 degrees celcius. Not the best for shooting aerials but I was anxious to see some pics.

This is the field where I ususally fly from (lower center).

Our club has 2 fields. One on the island of Montreal (very north west tip) and another off the island.

post-7-1082925255_thumb.jpg

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Mr. RC-CAM

I picked up one of the Sony cameras and plan on doing your shutter mod. I too would like to create my own code for the PIC chip. Mostly for fun and some more PIC experience. I use PicBasic Pro compiler for my work. I was wondering what compiler you use and if you would be willing to share your code so I could take a peek - to get some ideas. It's okay if you would rather not, I just thought it wouldn't hurt to ask :)

Maybe instead you could give me some pointers. I caught the keep alive method in this thread already. Anything else I should know?

Thanks - George

Edited by live2flyrc

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The CamMan-Sony code is written in C and Assy. The source text is not available for public release. Maybe Mike's is available?

The best pointer I can give is to be careful around the High Voltage Flash board. It is one that you will probably be poking around while you develop your project. I still have flashbacks [;)] from the high voltage death rays I received when my fingers went where they should not have.

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That's funny... I also zapped myself pretty nicely on the flash!

Well I don't mind giving you my code if you want it. It's in PicBasic Pro.

Or if you simply want the basic steps I can give you that as well.

Leave me your e-mail in a private message.

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The CamMan-Sony code is written in C and Assy. The source text is not available for public release. Maybe Mike's is available?

The best pointer I can give is to be careful around the High Voltage Flash board. It is one that you will probably be poking around while you develop your project. I still have flashbacks [;)] from the high voltage death rays I received when my fingers went where they should not have.

Do you have any pointers on programing?

Thanks

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That's funny... I also zapped myself pretty nicely on the flash!

Well I don't mind giving you my code if you want it. It's in PicBasic Pro.

Or if you simply want the basic steps I can give you that as well.

Leave me your e-mail in a private message.

Thanks, I appreciate it! I have sent you a PM with my email address.

- George

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