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IA-Flyer

Help, I need a video camera switch!

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I need to select between two cameras (wide & zoom lens) for a flight coming up shortly.

Unfortunately the RC-CAM switch circuit boards were gone by the time I heard about the project.

What would be the easiest way to accomplish the task with out harming the video system?

I have some lever switches that could select between the composite signals from the cameras using a servo, but I don’t want to hurt anything so I haven’t tried it yet.

Also, would it be possible to connect the video composite and ground wires from the two cameras to the transmitter and just power on the camera I want to use?

Any help on noise or power spike filtering would be greatly appreciated!

TIA

Jim

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Also, would it be possible to connect the video composite and ground wires from the two cameras to the transmitter and just power on the camera I want to use?

I have heard of folks trying that, but it is not a good method to use (even if you get it to work).

As you suggest, you could use a servo to flip a toggle switch. But, how about doing it electronically? You could remove the circuit board from the servo and have the motor output drive a tiny 5V SPDT relay. This requires replacing the pot with a couple of resistors and adding a diode in series with the relay coil.

Or, you could use one of the many RC-CAM PIC projects that have aux control outputs for driving things like lights and relays. The PanCam, Landtastic, and Nav-Lights projects are good examples of PIC decoders that have on/off outputs (as well as other features that would not be needed for this app).

Too bad you missed the Video Switcher deal. That would have solved your problem and then some. ;)

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Thanks,

Sounds like it would be best to leave both cameras hot and switch the signal for now.

The servo board / relay sounds good, I’ll probably go that way in the end to save some space and weight.

Yes, I was bummed that I missed out on that one! I was hoping someday you would have the partial-kit available again.

Regards,

Jim

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Just for fun I tried connecting the ground and video signals together and just switching the power between cameras.

It works but the FM receiver with the TX off is detecting some interference when I switch the power.

What would be the best way to control the noise generated from the switch? It would probably never be a problem with the transmitter on but I would like to eliminate it as much as possible.

Should I put a cap between each camera power post on the switch to the common ground?

Thanks!

Jim

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I highly recommend that you switch power AND the video sig. All it takes is a DPDT relay or switch. Or leave the power on (eliminate camera "warm up" time) and just switch the video with a SPDT part).

You may still get a bit of switching noise doing this. But, at least you will not affect video bandwidth and will prevent possible camera damage. Eliminating switching noise will require a fast (less than a video frame) timing, something that is hard to do with a mechanical solution.

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I get about a 1-second delay while the camera warms up, it’s annoying but I’ll probably have to live with it for now.

I was just trying to minimize the small servo twitch I get when the power cycles. It’s pretty much the same as when you first turn the radio receiver on with the transmitter off.

I guess I could rig up a rotary switch like I saw in one of your project pictures, and let it select camera and power.

I hate to leave power on constantly because I’m using 3 separate cameras. Normal wide front view, and side view 50 and 17-degree lens cameras, I’m worried the power drain would be an problem.

I guess the hot setup will be to work something out electronic when I get time.

It’s been years since I’ve played around with circuit projects, but I wonder if using electronic relays driven by a servo board and delaying the power off and composite signal relays with caps would work?

I hate getting involved in an electronic project again, I get addicted to that stuff so fast!

I did a 10-step program to come down from programming and electronics the last time… :D

As always thanks again for the great advise Mr RC-CAM,

Regards,

Jim

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