Hey gang thought I'd share a bit of holiday hardware hacking I embarked on. I have a go pro 2 and wanted another camera to mess with instead of pulling apart my $250 go pro. The Hobbyking HD Wing II was a good candidate since it it largely uncased and the cheapest full 1080p camera I could find that also takes 12 mp or better pictures.

Once I got the camera from HK I tested to make sure it works and also tested the video out with my 5.8g tx setup and box stock it worked fine (with a quickie RCA adapter I made). After using the monitor to set up my parameters for format and picture size it was time to start surgery.

First order of business was cutting away the shrink wrap partially to expose the three control buttons.

I suspected that the buttons were likely closing simple pull down circuits to send signals to a microprocessor. This was easily confirmed by seeing the battery's voltage (~3v) across the switch contacts.

There are three buttons two of which are useful to be able to toggle or trigger in flight. Button 1 if held on turns the camera on and off. It also toggles through a series of modes (viewable on screen) if pushed momentarily. Button 2 acts like the shutter control and select button. For instance if you wanted to turn on the camera, start recording video, stop recording switch modes to camera, and then snap a picture, these buttons would do it all (long press 1 short press 2 short press 2, short press 1, short press 2).


So now I just need a way to trigger these electronically and come up with a gimbal to put this camera on.

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Next, I came up with a circuit similar to others I've used for other rc projects. I had some boards made up a while back at pcb123.com for a lighting control circuit I made up for a 1/5th buggy and repurposed one of those for this project.

The control circuit takes two inputs from two separate channels on a receiver (ch 8 and 9 in my case) and uses common 2n2907 npn transistors to trigger pull up circuits based on the signal coming from the pwm output from channels 8/9. The pull up circuits operate an nte3220 dual opto isolator which in turn sends the optically isolated pwm signal into a 12f683 PIC for processing. Since I needed to just close a circuit based on an input coming from the PIC, and knowing from experience that the 12f683 has just enough current to drive a single low power LED reliably, using another nte3220 on the output side and some pinpoint soldering of wires to use the opto isolator to do the task.
The triggering circuit
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Camera dissection and wired for control
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Quick video of the camera temporarily hooked up for testing
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The PIC was programmed using the Melabs.com picbasic suite and uses basic logic to allow the PIC detect the default pwm signal instead of requiring reversing or end point adjustments and also has allowances for small unintended fluctuations in the pwm signal. The circuit triggers on variations above and below thresholds so setup on the tx was a snap.

Now onto the gimbal....
After a bit of measuring, I drew up a set of parts in Autocad and fed them to my Cam software and CNN cut the G10 parts to make this gimbal. Here it is mounted and ready to fly/shoot. It's stabilized via the arducopter gimbal controls on tilt and roll.
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Second gimbal pic
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Well done. Would you be interested in cutting another enclosure for sale? Thx.

Possibly though I've changed that design significantly since then.  email me direct if you wish: pbarsamian@eaglesviewaerial.com

 

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