HackHD: FPV Source + 1080p recording

My interests tend towards high-altitude balloons, but I find that there's more than enough overlap in the technology here to keep me coming back (in case you haven't noticed, there's some darn cool stuff that happens here).  So far, I haven't had a reason to actually post to the blog, but this might be relevant enough to justify consuming your time: a camera that is designed to output composite video while recording 1080p high-def.  Check out the video above (if you can, watch in 1080p), then read on....

A week prior to this flight, Sparkfun announced the camera that we used to capture this video, the HackHD (Manufacturer Page) (Sparkfun Product Page).  You can find all kinds of information that we captured on our review of the camera, but what I thought might get the attention of this community was that it also offers a live NTSC video output during recording. 


(Image from www.sparkfun.com)

Pins 5 and 6 of the module are ground and video out respectively (Pin 1 is near the uSD slot), and, sure enough, they output live video while the camera is recording (the lens flare in the video is my camera flash; note that the rest of the video is still pretty clear):


Bottom line is that this camera is smaller and lighter than a gopro, will run for a very long time on the 6000 mAh pack from Sparkfun, has awesome dynamic range, and is extremely easy to set up... it's going to be a permanent fixture on our balloon flights going forward, and it might be of interest to you as well.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • There's a thread about this camera in RCG --> http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1698916

    The main concern seems to be the fact that it uses cheap optics. And another thing - if you are only using the camera for recording video then you don't need so many megapixels. Higher pixel density means more noise and more image processing all of which degrade the video quality.

    An HD camera only needs about 2 megapixels --> http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/in-camcorder-megapix...

  • @Monroe... sorry for the delayed response; on this flight we didn't have a temp sensor directly on the HackHD, but we did have a CHDK-hacked Canon PowerShot A480 in the same enclosure.  The temperatures recorded aren't quite ambient, but they get the point across.  Our writeup can be found here (includes source code for using CHDK for data logging): CHDK Camera for EDGE2, and here's the graph from that page for reference (units are degrees C):


    Edge Research Lab - CHDK Camera
  • I not really against having some type of display during video out that indicates its recording. With an OSD overlay it kind of gets in the way. I am going to try and move the OSD characters around to make it so there not on top of each other. But otherwise a great camera.

  • and I guess theres no point in removing it from the bottom of the video out feed since when the camera is recording it will tell you the record time and status so it needs to be there anyways

  • These are awesome cameras, i put 3 of them permanently in my car (rear bumper, dash, and front bumper) all connected to the car battery with their 12v to 3.7v converter. got the led's wired up to my flog light switch which i never use so i know the status and can turn it on and off etc. By the way, the firmware version and HackHD name that you see in the picture are only for the video out, it does not actually record either of those to the sd card

  • This is what I'm looking for in a camera. My ideal camera would be a chip with a lens mount and some removable flash memory.  

    Thanks for the info.

  • That looks like an excellent little camera! The bareboneness of it while still being able to record 1080P is appealing. The comparisons to GoPro are pretty biased though, the hackhdcamera YouTube account comparison to GoPro uses a HD HERO (circa 2010) instead of the HD HERO2 which is a far better camera than the HD HERO.

  • The video out works fine. Just need to figuire out how to remove the firmware and timer text from the bottom of the screen.  Ant Ideas?

  • I noticed that after I posted.  They have one less in stock now :)  A bit more than Sparkfun but I needed the LED, and SD card anyway.

  • If you're in a hurry to get it, it looks like they're still available direct from the manufacturer: http://www.hackhd.com/buy.html

This reply was deleted.