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lamont
06-26-2008, 04:37 PM
I'm seriously considering building a mech, as that type of combat robotics appeals to me a lot more than watching some 320 lb machine destroy my pride and joy. But I worry about the wireless video solutions we're talking about. Specifically, I worry that any fixed-frequency gear will be rendered useless at just the wrong moment, or that we'll have a collision between two semi-standard NTSC rebroadcasters.

I'm going to buy this used linksys 802.11g camera:
http://www.unityelectronics.com/product-product_id/4602
for $60 to see if I can cut it down by taking it out of the case and whatnot. The wired ethernet interface is a waste of space and weight, but this was the cheapest and smallest 802.11g I could find.

I'd imagine that a single 802.11g network could be shared by many of these cameras without danger of interference. And if the venue didn't want to spring for a single shared router, I can do a point-to-point network with my laptop.

I'm just tossing ideas out there. I can use this camera even if I don't manage to put it in a mech. But I wanted to start this thread as a place to discuss the video situation.

DresnerRobotics
06-26-2008, 04:53 PM
That is a very nice find! If you could post pictures and rough size/weight estimates once you butcher it I would be very appreciative.

Don't worry about networking equipment, I plan on bringing PCs down with me to use for the event so I'll be sure to include a wireless router.

Adrenalynn
06-26-2008, 05:28 PM
It might be possible to fab a lens adapter and put decent glass on it too. Very small and reasonable. Nice find!

JonHylands
06-26-2008, 05:37 PM
I ordered a slightly newer version of that one from a Canadian source - I'll post here once I get it and start playing with it. The newer ones can go up to 640x480.

lamont
06-28-2008, 02:59 AM
I didn't realize their warehouses were just 60 miles south of me, and was pleasantly surprised that the camera arrived late today. It is much larger than I thought, even without the casing. But it runs on 5v and is quite light.

The wireless card seems to be miniPCI or similar, attached via a locking socket to the back of the board. The camera itself is a tiny pinhole module, and the plastic lens is attached to the easily removed front case.

I took some pictures, but I'll wait to take better ones tomorrow in the light before I post them.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 02:26 AM
If there's enough interest, I'm considering designing, and having manufactured through my contacts, a small 802.11g camera. I'm shooting for <$200, but in the onsie-twosie quantity we're talking about I couldn't get it much south of that. It's a fairly BOM-intensive product...

My goal would be a 420 line camera with real glass lens capable of leveraging all applicable advanced noise reduction inherent in .11g/pre-n. I'd like to use an imager that handles low-lux and impaired view well. Prehaps even integrated IR for night use, use in smoke-filled environments, and darkened battlefields.

DresnerRobotics
06-29-2008, 08:04 AM
If there's enough interest, I'm considering designing, and having manufactured through my contacts, a small 802.11g camera. I'm shooting for <$200, but in the onsie-twosie quantity we're talking about I couldn't get it much south of that. It's a fairly BOM-intensive product...

My goal would be a 420 line camera with real glass lens capable of leveraging all applicable advanced noise reduction inherent in .11g/pre-n. I'd like to use an imager that handles low-lux and impaired view well. Prehaps even integrated IR for night use, use in smoke-filled environments, and darkened battlefields.

Is there anything tech related you can't do? I'm fairly certain your avatar is accurate.

Count me in on this for sure. What would be the minimum amount we would need produced? If we have a couple people interested but are still a few short I'll simply just buy the remaining quantity needed.

Wingzero01w
06-29-2008, 11:10 AM
Id be interested. $200 sounds like a fair price.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 11:11 AM
Thanks - I think. ;)

Volume = size and dollars. As long as we acknowledge that we can't get it down as small as it *could* be, and we won't get it as cheap as it *could* be, we'll be ok. In effect they're just prototypes with no hope of living to see volume production...

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 11:14 AM
Id be interested. $200 sounds like a fair price.

It needs to be noted that's just an off-the-cuff target for what I visualize the BOM to be in my head. I won't be looking to profit from these - just my contribution to the burgeoning new "sport". I wouldn't be surprised if I miss the target by even as much as $50 by the time we're done with prototyping fees (spread over the order), and FOB (shipping, import, etc)... Just a target number to guage interest.

DresnerRobotics
06-29-2008, 11:16 AM
I'd say something within 3-4 cubic inches would be fine (as far as the enclosure goes), do you think thats doable?

JonHylands
06-29-2008, 11:23 AM
The thing that would really help me as far as an imager goes is to have the camera split into two parts - one part being the actual camera, as small and light as possible, and the other part being the wireless part, and whatever else doesn't have to be on the camera.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 11:25 AM
It'd be tough to find a camera module that small.

I'm picturing something in the 2.75" x 1.5" x 1.25" kinda range, which would be in the 5.25cu-in range... I'm thinking onboard h.264 encoding, and since audio will only add a few pennies to the BOM, probably stereo audio which would provide more immersion and the abilty to locate your enemies with 3D sound...

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 11:28 AM
I agree, Jon. My thinking was something of a hybrid of that suggestion. Camera and encoder in one module, wireless, microcontroller, and power in another module.

DresnerRobotics
06-29-2008, 11:29 AM
The thing that would really help me as far as an imager goes is to have the camera split into two parts - one part being the actual camera, as small and light as possible, and the other part being the wireless part, and whatever else doesn't have to be on the camera.

This would probably help a lot of us, gives it some flexibility.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 11:31 AM
Another thing to consider as we're specing our desires out here is resolution. I was talking about something in the 420 line, but HD resolutions aren't *that* much more expensive. We could do 1024 lines and still get down to the point that we could have four or five cameras on a router (with h.264), but add ~$50 to the BOM. The plus side is that it's a much higher quality view with a camera that can be used "elsewhere"...

4mem8
06-29-2008, 01:16 PM
I like these idea's people, It's starting to take shape, nice suggestions.

JonHylands
06-29-2008, 01:42 PM
Another thing to consider as we're specing our desires out here is resolution. I was talking about something in the 420 line, but HD resolutions aren't *that* much more expensive. We could do 1024 lines and still get down to the point that we could have four or five cameras on a router (with h.264), but add ~$50 to the BOM. The plus side is that it's a much higher quality view with a camera that can be used "elsewhere"...

Personally, I think this is overkill. My goal is to get to an autonomous robot, and having that high a resolution of a camera would be a waste without a huge amount of side-processing power available to extract information from it.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 01:54 PM
That's a good point. For autonomy it's not required. For immersion it's cool. I guess it depends a lot on what people are shooting for (versus shooting *at* :))

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 02:18 PM
Looks like I won't have to do the work. I just talked to a friend in Shenzhen and I think we may already have the perfect solution. I'll see if I can get him to drag some samples back with him when he's next here in a couple weeks. We may end-up needing to buy 10, but at the prices I'm hearing, that shouldn't be a challenge...

lamont
06-29-2008, 03:24 PM
The wireless card seems to be miniPCI or similar, attached via a locking socket to the back of the board. The camera itself is a tiny pinhole module, and the plastic lens is attached to the easily removed front case.

I took some pictures, but I'll wait to take better ones tomorrow in the light before I post them.

So I got the linksys WVC54GC camera working yesterday and I can say that I do not think it will work for my purposes. There was an almost 2 second delay through the camera to my screen, which would make for a really frustrating (and nauseating) operator experience.

The medium quality settings at 320x200 resulted in a tiny data stream of about 60 kB/s, and the image was pretty decent, even at low light. Also annoying was that the data stream was a poorly supported microsoft ASF format that my mac couldn't play via the web browser interface. But the open source VLC player could happily play it.

I'll find some other use for this camera, but will look into smaller $10 cmos cameras like the one I got from SparkFun for the purposes of remote viewing.

Wingzero01w
06-29-2008, 04:40 PM
Hey Adrenalynn,

If you could get the HD camera systems with 11.802n, ill be up to buy one (once i save some money up). My mech is going to double as a combat robot and an "interactive humanoid" with a mode switch. Ill just build my mech to have swappable parts.

DresnerRobotics
06-29-2008, 04:47 PM
I'd also opt in for the higher definition cameras for 'immersion' reasons. That said- if you end up getting a quick and easy solution from your connections- lets just go that route instead

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 05:13 PM
For a first-go-round, for expense and time, I think this camera may just fit the bill.

I'll have a couple in less than two weeks, then a 15 day lead on 1-n# of them. Pricing will be waaay under what I first listed, probably 60&#37; of that number or so. 400 lines, audio, infrared illumination, color, 802.11g. Weight less than a D-Cell battery, and size in the neighborhood of what I proposed, but I need to get it in hand first before I'll know for sure.

DresnerRobotics
06-29-2008, 05:32 PM
For a first-go-round, for expense and time, I think this camera may just fit the bill.

I'll have a couple in less than two weeks, then a 15 day lead on 1-n# of them. Pricing will be waaay under what I first listed, probably 60% of that number or so. 400 lines, audio, infrared illumination, color, 802.11g. Weight less than a D-Cell battery, and size in the neighborhood of what I proposed, but I need to get it in hand first before I'll know for sure.

Those sound awesome! Sign me up! Would these be a one time only deal or could we order more in the future? If these are going to be difficult to get a hold of, I might order a handful of them extra to keep around for future participants.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 05:40 PM
I'm working on that, but it shouldn't be a problem to keep a 15 day lead on them. It's going to depend to some extent on whether or not I can maintain credibility. I might look at ebaying them if I don't find a reseller for 'em to keep some volume going. I don't know why I bother to think about designing anything. If you hand screwdrivers to several billion people, eventually everything that can be built will be built. ;)

Sienna
06-29-2008, 05:56 PM
Are these pre-done cameras H.264?

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 06:05 PM
Yup! And I'll get an API for them, as well as the source for the onboard web server. Don't know what the license will look like yet...

I've got a line on the 1024 line cameras now as well... More expensive - under $300, but worth it for immersion, I'd think.

4mem8
06-29-2008, 07:21 PM
I'de also be in for one if you do not mind sending to NZ, Or better still to Tyberius and I can pay him, seeing he might get a few of them from the above post. Thanks.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 07:35 PM
Are you more interested in the 1024 line or the 400 line camera?

JonHylands
06-29-2008, 09:11 PM
I'd probably buy one of each, if they're already done and ready, but if I had to choose, I'd stick with the 400-line version, for reasons mentioned before.

Adrenalynn
06-29-2008, 09:19 PM
nodnod! Had you down with that 400 line vote, Jon. :) Just trying to figure out how many of each I want to try to get in the second round.

DresnerRobotics
06-29-2008, 09:39 PM
Are you more interested in the 1024 line or the 400 line camera?

For me it depends on the size of either one, and if we need to decide on one or the other I'd just as soon go with the 400 for the benefit of others that dont want to pay extra for the high res. If given a choice of either one though Id prefer to pay more for the high res one.

4mem8
06-30-2008, 12:30 AM
400 for me at this stage would be fine, Maybe down the track with the 1024 see how it all goes first.

ScuD
07-10-2008, 08:59 AM
Lil question, are there limits on the amount of cameras/ lenses/... ?

Eg. if you'd want a fish-eye lens, would it be allowed?

JonHylands
07-10-2008, 09:03 AM
I don't see any trouble with whatever kind of lens you want to use. There are practical limits on the number of cameras, just because they all have to share the same wireless space.

ScuD
07-10-2008, 09:23 AM
Unless you'd have say 4 camera's on your bot and use a switch/mux so you only transmit one image at a time. theoretically speaking..

Not that i see any particular use or anything, just wondering really :happy:

Adrenalynn
07-10-2008, 11:00 AM
Sure, you could mux them. In fact, you could use a quad splitter and send a single image split into four quadrants each with their own video.

You just have to carry those four cameras, muxer, and power for said.

milw
07-10-2008, 01:07 PM
I'd be interested in one of each also (400 and 1024). Sounds great, I'm tired of the Vex video feed going wobbly and breaking up!

LoDebar
07-11-2008, 01:08 AM
I am interested.

So what is the limit on the number of transmitters operating at the same time?

With they interfear with a 2.4GHz Bluetooth R/C unit?

Pete

DresnerRobotics
07-11-2008, 01:11 AM
I am interested.

So what is the limit on the number of transmitters operating at the same time?

With they interfear with a 2.4GHz Bluetooth R/C unit?

Pete

They're running on Wifi, so really its limited to the number of wifi connections our router can handle (which will be more than we need, by far).

Shouldn't interfere with bluetooth or R/C as long as we keep the channel set manually on the router.

Adrenalynn
07-11-2008, 01:36 AM
My guy is back with a couple for eval, I need to pick them up next week.
The limit would be practically only the bandwidth. Figure realistic throughput on 802.11g at something around 15mbit/sec (yes, I know they spec 54mbit or even higher for .11g. It's not real.).

If you kept the frame-size down at 640x480 with 20fps or less, you should be able to move the video at an average 1mbit/sec. So a good 12 cameras is reasonable.

Interference with bluetooth - well, you want to get as much separation as possible physically between your antennas. Bonus points for putting up some kind of barrier between them. If you can prevent them from intermodding each other, the bluetooth should hop to an unused channel. If you can pick your bluetooth channel with your hardware and fix it, then you could pick the furthest distant channels.

Really it comes down to experimentation.

JonHylands
07-11-2008, 01:59 AM
So, Adren, given that you are the goddess of the radio spectrum, what do you recommend for control of the bots? Assuming we're going to have one of your wifi cameras onboard, would we be better using wifi to control the bot, or bluetooth?

If bluetooth is okay, I can use my BlueSMiRF with the Hammer. If wifi would be better, then I'll switch to a gumstix with wifi (unless I can get something with wifi working with my Hammer)...

Adrenalynn
07-11-2008, 02:36 AM
Oof. I don't know if I'm all that. Or that I've thought enough about control. I'm personally leaning towards Zigbee for control and 802.11 for camera, with wireless serial for telemetry and sensor processing. Let me try these cameras sitting on top of a bluetooth dongle and see what happens. Unboxing them will be weekend-after-this-one's task.

gdubb2
07-29-2008, 02:00 PM
Hi Everyone,
Does anyone know if the same signal delays exist in :

1: IP camera setup to a laptop via Wifi.
2: RC minicam type setup ,with signal into the laptop via the camera receiver feeding a USB video capture card.

This video thing is new to me, and I'm puzzled to say the least.

Thanks
Gary

Adrenalynn
07-29-2008, 02:57 PM
An NTSC camera into a capture card will have less delay IN THEORY.

Of course, the cameras are giving you best-case 29.974 frames/sec. Call it 30 frames/sec just for giggles.

30/100 = a frame every ~3ms. The local network latency should be in the millisecond range.

So then we need to look at what's faster, the network stack or the USB stack. Network is hardware assisted, USB is dependant upon the processor, but both are OS limited.

Let's just cut to the chase: Doesn't matter. Not in practice. If you used a non-USB (PCI or PCMCIA) video capture card, you may get one or two frames out of every hundred a few milliseconds faster. I can't imagine when it'd matter.

The bigger concern for using a wireless NTSC cam vs an IP cam is number of channels and how choppy the signal is. In that instance a wireless IP cam wins any day.

Welcome to the TRC, btw!

JonHylands
07-29-2008, 03:14 PM
Of course, the cameras are giving you best-case 29.974 frames/sec. Call it 30 frames/sec just for giggles.

30/100 = a frame every ~3ms. The local network latency should be in the millisecond range.


Uh oh, someone forgot to take her math pill...

ScuD
07-29-2008, 03:29 PM
That's gonna leave a mark.. :p

Adrenalynn
07-29-2008, 04:30 PM
Ouch. That's embarassing. What's a factor amongst friends?

gdubb2
07-29-2008, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the reply Adrenalynn, I have never messed with video. It did look as though the wifi directly to the laptop was going to be the easiest as well.

I guess I'll have to do an intro so folks will know who I am...but thats another thread..

DresnerRobotics
07-29-2008, 04:52 PM
Hi gdubb, welcome to the TRC!

We're looking into ordering a decent sized chunk of wifi cameras specifically for the Mech Wars competition. They're decent resolution, pretty small and operate on 802.11g.

More info on them soon!

Adrenalynn
07-29-2008, 05:01 PM
Incidentally, there's 1000 milliseconds in a second, not 100. Mea Maxima Culpa. That's what Jon and ScuD were getting at. Still no practical difference, but I screwed that one up. Close to nap time. ;)

Yes, welcome to the TRC! Please do introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself Thread (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1394)!

Sienna
08-08-2008, 09:35 PM
Adrenalynn,

Any news on these? Have you had a chance to test it out yet?

I am about to give up looking for other video solutions. It seems to get anything wireless is hundreds of dollars.

LinuxGuy
08-09-2008, 12:59 AM
Adrenalynn,

Any news on these? Have you had a chance to test it out yet?
Where have you been hiding? You're absence has been noted many times. Welcome back! :veryhappy: :veryhappy: :veryhappy: :veryhappy: :veryhappy:

8-Dale

4mem8
08-09-2008, 03:44 AM
If and when you get hold of some can you put one by for me Adrenalynn. Thanks.

jes1510
09-08-2008, 01:05 PM
I have been looking for a good wireless cam for cheap so I am shamelessly bumping this thread.

JonHylands
09-22-2008, 07:36 PM
Found this today:

http://surveyor-corporation.stores.yahoo.net/srblcawi.html

A little on the expensive side, but small, light, and can do a lot of local vision processing right on the camera...

- Jon

milw
09-25-2008, 07:06 PM
so... any consensus yet on the cams?

DresnerRobotics
09-25-2008, 08:52 PM
No word from the source unfortunately. I've found another source for the same cameras however, but they're more expensive. I'm on the hunt currently, I'll report back soon.

DresnerRobotics
10-06-2008, 10:40 PM
http://www.rightwholesale.com/p699/802.11b/g_Wireless_LAN_connection,Built-in_LEDs_for_night_vision/product_info.html

I'm going to look around for the next few days, but this is the one I'm probably going to be ordering. Looks about $160, and should be fairly small once I strip off the housing. Expect pictures and info soon.

Xan
10-07-2008, 04:35 AM
Sounds interesting Tyberius! Iím looking forward to see some pictures of the cam without the casing. I hope it isnít to big ;)

I was looking at this one (http://www.rctoys.com/rc-toys-and-parts/DF-Eyecam/RC-PARTS-WIRELESS-VIDEO-KITS.html). But it is much more expensive...

Xan

ScuD
10-07-2008, 04:56 AM
Not the cheapest, but probably the coolest (http://www.htpcshop.be/index.php/vmchk/Nikko-Meccano/Nicco-Meccano-StarWars-R2D2-Wireless-WebCam/Detailed-product-flyer.html) wireless cam ever..

DresnerRobotics
10-07-2008, 09:21 AM
Sounds interesting Tyberius! I’m looking forward to see some pictures of the cam without the casing. I hope it isn’t to big ;)

I was looking at this one (http://www.rctoys.com/rc-toys-and-parts/DF-Eyecam/RC-PARTS-WIRELESS-VIDEO-KITS.html). But it is much more expensive...

Xan

It's standard 2.4ghz though, which is god awful on any moving device. Heavily prone to interference, it's why we're looking at 2.4ghz 802.11 wifi cameras instead.

Xan
10-07-2008, 10:27 AM
It's standard 2.4ghz though, which is god awful on any moving device. Heavily prone to interference, it's why we're looking at 2.4ghz 802.11 wifi cameras instead.

Lets start with saying that I donít know anything about cameraís so donít mind me asking stupid questions. But if 2.4GHz is so bad on moving devices, why do they put it on a heli? Isnít that a problem because it is in the ďfreeĒ air? Or does it have the same problems?

I watched the videos on there site and it looks like good quality (for the size of the cam). I was more worried about the minimum amount of lux that it would need.

Iím looking for a small cam to mount on one of my hexapods so it needs to be small. But I donít know exactly what specs are imported beside lux and size ;) so I can use all the info I can find ;)

Xan

DresnerRobotics
10-07-2008, 11:11 AM
Well, if you notice their video of the cam doesn't ever show more than a few seconds continuously. That's probably them editing out the breakup.

For your use that camera might very well work fine, but for Mech Wars use (which is what we were originally discussing in this thread) it most likely would not work well at all. Reason being is the environment in which Robogames takes place is very noisy as far as interference goes.

Probably would work fine for personal use though ;)

ScuD
10-07-2008, 11:31 AM
How about a scratch-built UHF transmitter?

I found a local supplier where I can get a cheap Wifi cam, about 70Ä (that's uhm.. 100$ or so?) but it only has 320x240 so I'm guessing it won't do..


Then again, I'll prolly only do combat with, say, Xan, so I can make my own rules! Nah! :p

DresnerRobotics
10-07-2008, 11:37 AM
Any links to that camera? I'm curious how big it is, weight, etc.

4mem8
10-07-2008, 12:01 PM
Can't wait to see what camera evolves for these Mechs.

ScuD
10-07-2008, 12:42 PM
Any links to that camera? I'm curious how big it is, weight, etc.

Here ya go (http://www.pixmania.be/be/nl/1436332/art/linksys/internet-home-monitoring.html)

Adrenalynn
10-07-2008, 12:48 PM
That's kinda where we started. Too big (after gutting) and too heavy.

ScuD
10-07-2008, 12:53 PM
That's kinda where we started. Too big (after gutting) and too heavy.


Ah, sorry bout that...
I have bad memory. I was just looking around for myself since I'd most likely need to source a cam locally, but didn't check at what you guys had found yet.

Adrenalynn
10-07-2008, 01:10 PM
No worries! I think it was JonHylands that originally sourced that one.

Xan
10-08-2008, 05:13 AM
Well, if you notice their video of the cam doesn't ever show more than a few seconds continuously. That's probably them editing out the breakup. Ah that clarifies a lot! I bet you canít miss a thing when you are in a fight ;) Iíll just wait until youíve tried the Wifi cam which is cheaper and better then. Thanks


Then again, I'll prolly only do combat with, say, Xan, so I can make my own rules! Hehe, sounds like fun! :veryhappy:

Xan

billyzelsnack
10-09-2008, 03:12 PM
I was looking into this to today and ran across these..

Network Video Server
http://cgi.ebay.com/IP-Network-USB-Webcam-IP-Video-Server-Kit-Motion-Detect_W0QQitemZ320301855721QQcmdZViewItem?hash=it em320301855721&_trkparms=72:1205|39:1|66:2|65:12|240:1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

If I understand correctly and I cross my fingers.. You might be able to throw out the crap camera that ships with this and use other USB cameras. Of course you need to get from RJ-45 to some sort of wireless plan, but it's reasonable these days to get a RJ-45 module for a uC. The downside of course is the potential for added weight, but maybe it's not too bad after you take off the case.

Adrenalynn
10-09-2008, 03:28 PM
So now you need to put a web-cam, this server, and a wifi switch/router all on a humanoid? I'm concerned this isn't very practical...

billyzelsnack
10-09-2008, 03:31 PM
The extra bit is the server, but it could potentially be a weight/size savings since you have more configuration options.

I looked for the VIMICRO ZC0301 it says it supports, but not much luck finding other cameras that use it. I think I might have that exact camera laying around from a prior project. Maybe I should find it and actually look at the quality again for this specific application.

Adrenalynn
10-09-2008, 03:38 PM
Two extra bits. A router [unless you're planning on running a long wire] and that video server. About 3 extra pounds + the battery power required. So figure, oh, about 3 pounds more than a biped can carry. ;)

billyzelsnack
10-09-2008, 03:53 PM
I'm not sure if its the exact same camera sensor, but the camera does look like the pics.

http://freedomhobby.com/mechwars/

Saved at a quality high enough so it looks close enough like the original camera data.

I was looking to have the wifi router anyway as it's also my processor board. So it is just one extra bit for me.

Better info at this link.

http://cgi.ebay.com/IP-VIDEO-SURVEILLANCE-SERVER-PC-CAMERA-CCTV-USA-IP008_W0QQitemZ360092775557QQcmdZViewItem?hash=ite m360092775557&_trkparms=72:1205|39:1|66:2|65:12|240:1308&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

Now if I could only find a place to buy it without the camera.

Another option might be something like this..

http://cgi.ebay.com/IP-Video-9100A-Plus-4-Network-Camera-Server-Wireless-OK_W0QQitemZ250297961317QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item25 0297961317&_trkparms=72:1205|39:1|66:2|65:12|240:1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

Same thing but composite input. That'll allows for quite a few camera possibilities.

Sienna
10-10-2008, 02:32 PM
For those planning the 2.4GHz composite route....
I saw this on ebay while I was perusing for other things
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-4GHz-2W-Wireless-Audio-Video-Transmitter-Receiver_W0QQitemZ250303756313QQihZ015QQcategoryZ4 8636QQcmdZViewItem
Althought, at 2W, you will need to be a HAM to actually use it legally.

DresnerRobotics
10-10-2008, 02:47 PM
Those look heavy ;x

milw
10-11-2008, 08:53 AM
*only* 24.6 oz! Imagine the battery drain...

DresnerRobotics
10-11-2008, 11:22 AM
Here's a great example of the difference between a wifi camera, and a standard 2.4ghz.

Wifi Camera on the 2nd floor, operator on the 1st:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oep_CXgS0c


2.4ghz wireless camera no more than 20 feet away, same floor (skip a bit ahead for the video feed from the camera):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpgAt06Im_4

Adrenalynn
10-11-2008, 11:52 AM
Two comments on the second video:

1) That's not a terribly noisy environment
2) That's one of the better moving 2.4 links I've seen
3) It doesn't look like it ever really lost LOS (Line Of Sight)

Conclusion: See everything I've written about 2.4G cameras. ;)

DresnerRobotics
10-14-2008, 12:45 AM
Found one of these in Fry's Electronics for only $90: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RGGR0Y/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=

Wanted to check it out a bit online before picking it up... but it was pretty light. I'd guess about 100g with the casing. Only thing is, has sort of an odd shape. It's about 5-6" long, 3" wide and about 2" thick, but I'm guessing with the casing stripped off it would be even smaller.

Sienna
10-14-2008, 06:27 AM
Because I am still the advocate for a composite solution, I noticed that SparkFun have both a 200mW and a 50mW wireless camera set (1.2GHz) for $50.
200mW: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=616
50mW: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=156
They are not the best cameras, but it might be possible to use them if you are looking for wireless on the cheap.

The only real problem with them is that they don't appear to have 'channels', so we wouldn't be able to have two bots with the same set in the arena at once.

If nothing else, they might provide a useful backup camera.

(Again, at 200mW, you might need to be a HAM to operate it legally.)

DresnerRobotics
10-14-2008, 08:23 AM
Isn't 1.2ghz an illegal band for normal use in the US? I thought law enforcement used that.

If so, very weird that Sparkfun would sell that.

jes1510
10-14-2008, 08:47 AM
Because I am still the advocate for a composite solution, I noticed that SparkFun have both a 200mW and a 50mW wireless camera set (1.2GHz) for $50.
200mW: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=616
50mW: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=156
They are not the best cameras, but it might be possible to use them if you are looking for wireless on the cheap.

The only real problem with them is that they don't appear to have 'channels', so we wouldn't be able to have two bots with the same set in the arena at once.

If nothing else, they might provide a useful backup camera.

(Again, at 200mW, you might need to be a HAM to operate it legally.)

I have that exact camera (the 200mW one). The range is ok indoors but walls definitely cut it down and you start to get some interference. I did current measurements last night and it draws around 80mA at 9v. It works down to little below 7v but range suffers badly and the colors look like crap. There is no way to select transmit channels.

The camera has a cable that comes out of the back of it that y's off into white, yellow, and a dc power in. There is a molded in "bump" in the cable that contains a 5v regulator. Inside the camera is a main board that the camera is mounted to and a small amplifier board. The amplifier gets 9v from the main source and the camera board is fed 5v from the regulator in the "bump". Interestingly enough the return wires from the white and yellow dongles were not wired into the camera. They may have been attached to the power supply ground inside the dongle but I didn't test that since I'm not using them anyway.

The lens screws into the main housing that is metal and fairly heavy. If you ditch the housing then you will have to fab up a way for the lens to mount. The camera is defintely pretty small. I'd guess it's 1"x1"x1/2" but that is a guess.

The receiver is a silver box that has a video and audio out. It comes with the cable required to connect it. The receiver runs off a wall wart that has a 7812 linear reg inside so it runs pretty warm. The workmanship is pretty crappy on the wall wart. I unplugged it from a power strip and it came apart at the seam. It was easily fixed with some super glue but you never want a power adapter to come apart in the first place.

I would be glad to perform some additional testing on it if you can think of anything you want tested or if it would be helpful then I might can capture some video from it.

Sienna
10-14-2008, 08:55 AM
1240MHz to 1300MHz is allowed to HAMs, however it does not appear to be an unlicensed band.
(See: http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/Hambands_color.pdf )

So, in order to be legal, you should be a Technician class or higher HAM operator to use it.

(And really, why would not want to be a HAM? I am going to get a Technician class license myself. The test is free after all, and then you can operate, legally, these high power video senders for one thing. I know Adrenalynn hates 2.4GHz video, but if you have a 500mW 2.4GHz transmitter on your bot, I doubt anything at the competition will stop it.)

jes1510
10-14-2008, 10:30 AM
I have a couple more notes on the camera I forgot to mention. There are 6 IR led's on the front of the camera that don't seem to do anything. They come directly off of the main board but it looks like they never turn on. There is also a microphone inside the housing behind a small hole but when I disassembled mine the microphone was not centered on the hole. It had moved off to the side making the microphone useless. I drilled another hole in the corner of the casing in the corner where the microphone wouldn't move out of place.

DresnerRobotics
10-14-2008, 11:24 AM
Those are most likely IR LEDs to help with seeing at night.

jes1510
10-14-2008, 11:25 AM
Those are most likely IR LEDs to help with seeing at night.

Yeah I agree but they don't do anything as in they are emitting no Ir. I tested it with a night vision scope.

Adrenalynn
10-14-2008, 11:51 AM
Yes, 1.2Ghz is a licensed band, and does pretty well in free air, which is why law enforcement camps on it.

Have you considered the power and weight requirements for a half-watt amp? Have you also considered the "big-mouth-little-ears" syndrome? Have you considered knocking other stuff like XBee off the air and being booted from the competition for it?

Once you study for your license you'll find that stomping on a band for your own enjoyment isn't ethically or legally typical. Save that for the CBers.

73's de K6JLR ;)

Sienna
10-14-2008, 01:56 PM
Yes, actually I have considered the weight and power requirements of a half watt transmitter. In fact, I have one that I bought for the 900MHz band. Its tiny, weighs not much at all, and can draw something like 300mA at full power. Its power is controlled by controlling the voltage, which I also have considered and plan to implement, because, yes, I don't want to knock out other things intentionally, only use enough power to get a good signal.

And speaking of knocking other things off the air, funny you should mention that because I recall something about starting an ENTIRE THREAD to discuss how we are going to avoid that! And yet, in that thread, all I recall is people saying "Oh, well, we control the 75MHz band, and none of the 2.4GHz bots crashed". So please, just because I don't have my HAM license yet, don't think I am a complete and total moron and haven't put some thought into this.

I know you are biased towards your WiFi cameras. Well, I am sorry, but I will not use a digital solution. I worked on UAV systems for two years, as the government mandated a switch from their current analog systems to digital streams. And it was entirely not pretty! The analog video was extremely low latency, and decent quality. The digital video was latency prone (on the order of seconds, and no I am not talking about a satelite relay), and degraded horribly. And these weren't your cheap $250 webcams, but thousands of dollars encoder and decoder boxes. So yes, I will continue to push where I can for these 'archaic' composite video solutions, which require more thought in the spectrum department then the 'easy' WiFi cameras.

Adrenalynn
10-14-2008, 02:10 PM
Shrug. Ok. I understand that the government doesn't fly anything that wasn't built in the late 50's or early 60's - they're terrified of anything built in the last century or two. I understand that we're parting out used junk on eBay to run our space-craft. That's their perogative. And yours. As long as it doesn't interfere with modern equipment that plays by modern standards. If we're playing by the "slamming the band is fine" rule, I'll just whip-out a 1500wt linear and run my stuff down in HF packet with slow-scan. Don't plan on using *anything* else in the building though. I'll just be playing with myself. ;)

Sienna
10-14-2008, 04:59 PM
*sighs* Just how in the hell was that post helpful, at all? I honestly expect more from a "Super Moderator".

And just to correct you, when I left a few months ago, UAV systems where using technology built in the 90s. At least get your decade right ;P. That being said however, the digital video stuff was brand spanking new. As in, parts were being taken straight out of the broadcast industry and being hardened for flight. However, the biggest difference between those two industries (broadcast vs military) is the amount of latency that they can tolerate. When you are watching 'the big game' on TV, you won't notice or care that its five seconds behind the real game happening somewhere else. But when you are in a control station, and are trying to actively shoot a moving target from a moving target, anything over 1/2 second round trip starts becoming intolerable. Its that latency that I feel will hurt you in this competition. The only way to reduce latency on a digital video stream is to reduce the size of the GOP. And unless you happen to have SDK level access to your web camera, it is more then likely you will be stuck with a GOP size of 15. Which means, at a minimum, the smallest latency you can achieve (assuming instant compression and decompression) is one second. More realistically, factoring in delays to both compress and decompress the video, you are looking at 1.5 to 2 seconds or worse between the time a photon enters the camera and the time that "same" photon is represented on your operator's console. That is the tradeoff to be made by going to a digital system.

>>> As long as it doesn't interfere with modern equipment that plays by modern standards.
What does that mean? We can *only* use items that are FCC part 15? Does it mean we can *only* use items that use some form of frequency hopping? What does it mean? It is completely unrealistic to say that the only devices in Mechwarrior will be frequency hopping. As you and others have pointed out, we don't control that entire space, and there will be rouge devices. If you say it means that devices have to be part 15, does that mean you are arbritrarily saying that certain types of devices be banned? Are you the one to make that rule? Or does "modern" simply mean your coveted 2.4GHz band for WiFi and Zigbee?

This entire discussion is why that frequency thread I started is important! And yet all I got there was derision when I asked about anything but the 75MHz band.

Adrenalynn
10-14-2008, 05:22 PM
>> The only way to reduce latency on a digital video stream is to reduce the size of the GOP.

Actually, that's not entirely correct. FEC and level of motion prediction play equally into latency. Or at least that's what I claimed in my patents and demonstrated at Bell Labs/LDVG and Sarnoff Labs.

Wireless NTSC/PAL/SECAM/etal transmitters also introduce latency on a signal. Depending upon the encoding/decoding methods chosen for one or the other you can see more latency from some transmitters than you'd see on a simple-profile mpeg4 stream. It all has to be digitized either way. There's almost no such thing as a wireless analog transmitter these days. There's not enough channel spectrum in 2.4 to transmit an analog signal - it's all digitized.

Sienna
10-14-2008, 06:40 PM
Ok.... So, I got a camera today. Hooked it up to the wireless transmitter. Learned a couple things:

1) Remote operated vehicles are COOL!!!
2) A cheap 1/24th scale tank pressed into service complains a lot carrying all the equipment
3) Panties left on the floor do a great job of jamming treads....

Oh wait... serious stuff...

Even at 900MHz and 500mW*, a video signal will break up occasionally, even just across the apartment. However, going out of line of sight didn't really do anything negative to my video signal (other then those occasional break ups).

*Right now I was just using 8 AA batteries, for the full power. Because I don't have my adjustable power supply design figured out yet, I only operate the transmitter rarely and briefly.

A note about cameras: A ~90 degree field of view is drivable, however leaves a bit too be desired. If you can, I would recommend looking for a wider lens.

DresnerRobotics
10-14-2008, 07:06 PM
Yeah I had a blast with the Micro Spy Car I rigged here in the office, only problem for me was really bad breakup about 15' out.

Just wait until its on a Mech, with guns :D

Adrenalynn
10-14-2008, 07:29 PM
900Mhz plays much nicer with moving things - as I think I noted about umpteen pages ago - I think yours was 2.4Ghz, right Mech_Warmonger?

billyzelsnack
10-14-2008, 09:15 PM
Sienna. Is this what you just got in the mail..

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showpost.php?p=21675&postcount=79

How big ( size/weight ) is the transmitter once it's been stripped?

Sienna
10-15-2008, 07:41 AM
Sienna. Is this what you just got in the mail..

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showpost.php?p=21675&postcount=79

How big ( size/weight ) is the transmitter once it's been stripped?
No, thats not what I am using.... thats a 2.4GHz model. (which will prompt Adrenalynn to bring in her RF Jammer for hijinks...)

I am using a 900MHz model, typically its put on R/C airplanes. So, its very small and light.

As to the "rules" regarding wireless video, maybe it should be made official that all bots will have at least "two" possible channels or frequencies that they operate on for video? Certain cameras (like a WiFi camera) will satisfy this natively, other video senders can satisfy this if they have two frequency selections inside the permitted ranges, and other people like me who bought a limited* wireless system will simply have to buy another system on a different frequency, and toggle between the two.

But with a rule like that in place, we could at least know that we will be able to deconflict wireless frequencies at the competition.

For instance, say my bot has both a 910MHz and 1280Mhz video sender. If I am facing a bot that uses 2.4GHz WiFi cameras, then I can use both my links as a redundant video path, and they can use their cameras without interference. If I am facing a bot that has a 904MHz/918MHZ selectable video sender, then I can turn off my 910MHz sender completely, and operate only at 1280. If I am facing a both with a 1280MHz and a 2.4GHz video system, then it could be arranged that I get the 900MHz band, they get the 1.2GHz band, and the 2.4GHz is reserved for control. If two bots come in with 904MHz/918MHz selectable video senders, then one can get 904MHz and the other 918MHz. (permutate ad infinitum...)

*My wireless sender actually does have four channels... the problem is that three of those channels are outside the allowable frequency range in the US

billyzelsnack
10-16-2008, 10:13 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/Mini-Wireless-Audio-Video-CCTV-Cam-Receiver-Transmitter_W0QQitemZ280274942083QQcmdZViewItem?ha sh=item280274942083&_trkparms=72:1240|39:1|66:2|65:12|240:1318&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14

I contacted the selling and asked what freq and channels. His response..

------------
The frequency of this device is 1.2G. There is only one channel for it. If you need, I can order another special transmitter for you. Please let me know your special instruction of your need.
------------

Is 1.2G legal in the US?

Adrenalynn
10-16-2008, 11:07 PM
If you're licensed, yes. No if you're not.

A Technician Class No Code license is trivially easy to study for.

Well, you can own the radio. It's just not legal to turn it on and key it up. . .

And actually, whether or not it's legal to key it up even with a license is dependant upon where in the 1.2g it is.

FryGuy
10-17-2008, 08:41 PM
I don't know if it was already discussed, but since it's low power, would it be ok to use something that broadcasted on UHF since the event is after the analog shutoff?

Adrenalynn
10-18-2008, 09:36 AM
There are legal UHF transmitters. Just a couple channels in the whole spectrum. Outside of that, no.

milw
10-18-2008, 10:07 PM
how about these guys at NewEgg? Listing at $149, not sure the weight nor power consumption...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16881224002

billyzelsnack
10-24-2008, 12:02 AM
UHF transmitter for about $20 shipped.

http://cgi.ebay.com/UHF-RF-modulator-amplifier-video-sender-tv-transmitter_W0QQitemZ330279531673QQcmdZViewItem?ha sh=item330279531673&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72:1205|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318

Smaller than the other ones I've seen. At the bottom it says it is 180 grams packaged so stripped it should be pretty light.

I also sent this guy..

http://cgi.ebay.com/Wireless-UHF-Audio-Video-Transmitter-Sender-4-Cable-TV_W0QQitemZ180301397638QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item18 0301397638&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72:1205|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1308

A mail asking how small this one can be stripped down. This one would not require a separate UHF modulator.

Adrenalynn
10-24-2008, 08:03 AM
Great - if only one person in the whole competition is using it.

billyzelsnack
10-24-2008, 08:46 PM
Why is that? Couldn't each person just choose a different UHF channel?

Oh well. I just bought it. Found a place with free shipping and after live.com cashback it was only $20 shipped. At the very least I'll have something to experiment with.

Adrenalynn
10-24-2008, 10:41 PM
Limited number of unlicensed UHF channels.

billyzelsnack
11-01-2008, 08:42 PM
I bought this

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&item=360098675996

and it arrived today. The quality is just ok, but the latency is very low as expected ( none detectable ). I need to do more tests on the range, but I'm sure it'll be overkill.

The circuit board inside is 118mm x 82mm x 30ish and weighs 77g ( add 5g for antenna ). Stripping off all the connectors and switches would cut the weight in half.

The box plugs into the wall and there is an off circuit board transformer that brings the voltage down to 22V AC. I was hoping it'd just be DC internally, but no.. so I'm either go to need to probe around and luck out that the thing doesn't actually need AC ( a very quick looks says no ) or convert from DC to AC which is something I have no idea how to do.

billyzelsnack
11-01-2008, 09:25 PM
Looks like maybe I can give it DC to operate. Probing after the rectifier + cap + transistor I get 10V DC.

Adrenalynn.. Do you know where I can find info on the unlicensed channels in the US? Seems like most of the stuff I find is for the UK.

Bullit
11-01-2008, 09:28 PM
Just thought I'd add a source for high quality analog video.
http://www.blackwidowav.com/products24ghz.html

billyzelsnack
11-01-2008, 09:36 PM
For some reason I thought those were a lot more expensive than $150. Do you think these would do well in a crazy noisy environment?

4mem8
11-01-2008, 09:41 PM
Nice find Bullit.

Adrenalynn
11-01-2008, 10:10 PM
The only space in there that might be accesible would be the six channels between 470 and 512Mhz. I know 698-806 was auctioned off a few months ago (channels 52-69) for use after DTV starts, and I know 512-698 was up on the auction block because the radio astronomy crowd was pretty upset (they're around Channel 37). 450-470 is licensed UHF, GMRS, FRS, and public safety. You'd probably want to look at an updated bandplan, but my suspicion with the channels being auctioned off left and right is that there's going to be no whitespace at all in UHF. I'm a little concerned that we hams may be picked away at in that band again...

I'm looking forward to laughing at anyone in 2.4 with fault-intolerant devices - including the simple transmitters that Bullit linked. ;)

billyzelsnack
11-01-2008, 10:31 PM
Adrenalynn. Not sure if this was mentioned before.. But what about 900mhz? It used to be crowded for sure, but is it still? Seems like everything is 2.4ghz or 5ghz these days.

Adrenalynn
11-01-2008, 10:39 PM
900Mhz can be a good choice, but very limited channel selection. I have a couple channels of high-power 900Mhz here, pro-grade stuff, smaller than a 9v transistor radio battery, and will run from a 9v battery... Seems a lot more tolerant of movement. It's not just the crowding that concerns me in 2.4. Microwave is not tolerant to being moved around...

jes1510
11-03-2008, 12:28 AM
I came across this wifi cam today.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826216001

It looks pretty small but the resolution isn't that great. What do you expect for $87 though...

4mem8
11-03-2008, 12:35 AM
I believe this one has been shown before here before somewhere and commented on.

jes1510
11-03-2008, 07:58 AM
Yeah I was thinking that I had seen it in here but I couldn't find it after scanning through the thread. It turns out it is in the first freaking post! Sigh. I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread already in progress.

billyzelsnack
11-06-2008, 02:17 PM
I got the 900mhz video sender today..

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&item=230300905350

Quality is OK.
Low latency.
Internal board is 110mm x 110mm x 20mm @ 100 grams
Signal is kinda sketchy, but it might be my TV trying to be too smart.
2 channels
18V DC input

After having some experience with these senders now I think they might end up being the weakest link in the chain for the competition. The arena should be designed with the fact in mind that these things suck.

I'd keep the pilot location as close as possible to the arena. I'd go so far as to have multiple options for the receivers to be mounted inside the arena. There also should be a plan for WHEN peoples links don't work. Maybe even allow tethers for this first year. Probably even a competition variant allowing people to compete in 3rd person.

Also.. Are there going to be displays available at the show to hook up to? Hauling a display across the country is more of a hassle than the robot+laptop. Maybe I'll just plan on using a HMD. ( which would be cooler anyway! )

DresnerRobotics
11-06-2008, 02:20 PM
After having some experience with these senders now I think they might end up being the weakest link in the chain for the competition. The arena should be designed with the fact in mind that these things suck.

Also.. Are there going to be displays available at the show to hook up to? Hauling a display across the country is more of a hassle than the robot+laptop. Maybe I'll just plan on using a HMD. ( which would be cooler anyway! )

Your experience thus far with standard wireless video senders, yes. This is exactly why we have been stressing that people look into WiFi cameras, so that problems like this aren't an issue. If you think its bad now, wait until the noisy environment at Robogames. The only way around this is to use a Wifi camera. I've found them for as cheap as $90, they are out there.

I will make sure we get two LCD monitors there for use, but I would suggest bringing your laptop for viewing your Mech's camera.

Adrenalynn
11-06-2008, 02:26 PM
I think I'd design my wireless video system to be robust rather than trying to require the event to force thousands of spectators to comply with a bandplan... Likely far less disappointing.

I do suppose that they could put the event in a Faraday cage with the pilots inside the same cage. Of course that does cut down on the spectator appeal a bit. That soild copper mesh is kinda unexciting from the outside. ;)

jes1510
11-06-2008, 03:02 PM
I think I'd design my wireless video system to be robust rather than trying to require the event to force thousands of spectators to comply with a bandplan... Likely far less disappointing.

I do suppose that they could put the event in a Faraday cage with the pilots inside the same cage. Of course that does cut down on the spectator appeal a bit. That soild copper mesh is kinda unexciting from the outside. ;)

yeah but it does give it a "Thunderdome" kinda feel!

Sienna
11-06-2008, 05:29 PM
I got the 900mhz video sender today..

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&item=230300905350 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&item=230300905350)
Honestly, I would say you got what you paid for. A $20 video sender in any frequency isn't going to be the best out there.

Also, keep in mind all of the 'traditional' video senders are going to have signal problems occasionally. Little blips and blops on the screen are normal.

I can operate my 900MHz unit around my entire apartment (beyond line of sight) and through doors, without a problem. I think the arena design is fine as it is.

billyzelsnack
11-06-2008, 06:42 PM
Your experience thus far with standard wireless video senders, yes. This is exactly why we have been stressing that people look into WiFi cameras, so that problems like this aren't an issue. If you think its bad now, wait until the noisy environment at Robogames. The only way around this is to use a Wifi camera. I've found them for as cheap as $90, they are out there.

I will make sure we get two LCD monitors there for use, but I would suggest bringing your laptop for viewing your Mech's camera.

From my understanding the options are..

UHF : Can handle noise, but limited legal channels. Cheap.
Analog 2.4ghz : Can't handle noise. Cheap.
Digital 2.4ghz : Can handle noise, but have higher latency due to slow onboard network stacks. Latency increases as noise increases. ? Expensive.
Analog 900mhz : Can't handle noise, but 900mhz is not used much anymore. Cheap.
Digital 900mhz : Does this exist?

billyzelsnack
11-06-2008, 06:44 PM
I think I'd design my wireless video system to be robust rather than trying to require the event to force thousands of spectators to comply with a bandplan... Likely far less disappointing.

I'm not proposing anything so extreme. Anyway.. How disappointed are the spectators going to be if nobody's cameras work?

billyzelsnack
11-06-2008, 06:49 PM
Honestly, I would say you got what you paid for. A $20 video sender in any frequency isn't going to be the best out there.

Also, keep in mind all of the 'traditional' video senders are going to have signal problems occasionally. Little blips and blops on the screen are normal.

I can operate my 900MHz unit around my entire apartment (beyond line of sight) and through doors, without a problem. I think the arena design is fine as it is.

It used to cost $120! They were designed to work between floors. I think my signal issue is that my TV is less than 6 months off the assembly line and it is trying to be too smart. Oh... Gosh.. That signal is not good enough for one frame.. Let's blank the screen and try again in 4 seconds!

What 900Mhz unit do you have? Can you plug in any composite source or is the camera integrated into the transmitter?

DresnerRobotics
11-06-2008, 07:08 PM
Digital 2.4 (ie: Wifi) might not have nearly as much latency as you would expect. Depends upon the camera, signal quality, and network load. It is a bit spendy though. That said- I recently found some $90 units (made by Trendnet) that look to have potential. I'm spending entirely way too much on v2 of Hagetaka though, so I'll have to wait a bit to pick one up for testing, probably after the holidays.

I'll be bringing our own personal WAP specifically for the wifi cameras, and it'll have more than enough bandwidth for us to all use.

billyzelsnack
11-06-2008, 07:23 PM
The only wifi stuff I have seen are the rovio youtube vids and IMO it does not look that great. Maybe they are using a very low cost solution and the Trendnet cams will behave much better.

DresnerRobotics
11-06-2008, 09:19 PM
Yeah the Rovio camera isn't very high quality, exactly as you said, to keep cost down.

Adrenalynn
11-06-2008, 09:44 PM
If you have the cash, the Axis high res is "near-HD". A little larger chip and it would be.

2.4Ghz "digital" (what you guys are calling "analog" which it is most assuredly not), non-WiFi can certainly be MUCH more expensive than WiFi - especially something that sorta works. The $1800/ea units I have here for NTSC can work pretty well - unless there's a WiFi network within a few hundred feet. ;)

billyzelsnack
11-06-2008, 10:07 PM
Where is a wifi network not within 100 feet?

By digital I am saying the frame is digitized. This requires a decent amount of onboard horsepower. If the transmission protocol is reliable ( like TCPIP ) it adds additional latecy.

By analog I am saying the frame is not digitized.

jes1510
11-06-2008, 10:28 PM
Has anyone found a sub $100 wifi camera that works without tons of latency?

Adrenalynn
11-06-2008, 10:41 PM
Show me a commercial 2.4Ghz sender that doesn't digitize the frame is my point. They all bring it in with a [ahh, I just brain-f'ted on that ubiquitous phillips chip. Darn it, it's not like I haven't designed around them ten thousand times. Shoot. Getting old sucks...] SA7115! That's it! Yeah, that's the digitizer I was trying to think of.

Anywho - what you're referring to is NOT digitizing, it's encoding. Big difference.

2.4Ghz doesn't have the bandwidth in the unlicensed spectrum to do even a full channel of analog. It's all a digital representation of the video stream. Encoding, done poorly (or done to-spec, for example, multipass), can add latency, as can packetizing for TCP. Done well, we're talking 10-30ms. My security camera system is delivering 16 channels of video over a T1 for several thousand miles in less than 40ms, end to end, for one client. On a local area network you should be introducing something like 10-15ms in your encoding and <1ms in your packet handling. <20ms is faster than a servo can respond without smoking... (25-35ms is a typical servo delay between steps)

Sienna
11-07-2008, 07:27 AM
It used to cost $120! They were designed to work between floors. I think my signal issue is that my TV is less than 6 months off the assembly line and it is trying to be too smart. Oh... Gosh.. That signal is not good enough for one frame.. Let's blank the screen and try again in 4 seconds!

What 900Mhz unit do you have? Can you plug in any composite source or is the camera integrated into the transmitter?
Well, I never trust what ebay sellers claim things "used" to cost. But thats me.

You could be right about your TV. Honestly, I went on ebay and got a cheap Sony PVM studio monitor (right now I have an 8" which should be easy to ship) specifically to view robot video. It could be that because its a studio monitor and not a consumer monitor it was designed to not "overthink" the video, because otherwise a tech wouldn't be able to do their job. I think it cost me around $50 or so after shipping.

My 900MHz transmitter is generic. As in I can plug any composite source into it. However, I am really not wanting to divulge which model it is or where to get it, as it only has one legal channel inside the US.

DresnerRobotics
11-15-2008, 02:20 PM
I picked up an 802.11g wifi camera for $105. It's an Airlink 101 SkyIPCam250w #AIC250W (http://www.airlink101.com/products/aic250w.php).

Here it is online for $95 http://www.pctekonline.com/aiaiskwi80ne.html

I think for those on a budget, this thing will be perfect.

Image quality is mediocre, but good enough to view things at a max of 8-10 feet. Framerate is 30+ and response time is in the 50ms range running the camera at 320x240.

Best of all, its small and light. I stripped the casing and I'd guesstimate its about 10cm long and 5-6cm wide, weighs about 100 grams I'd guess. The camera element itself plugs into a header as well, camera board is maybe 2.5cm x 5cm, so you could in theory connect it via cable and mount the mainboard elsewhere.

I'll have pictures and exact measurements soon.

DresnerRobotics
11-16-2008, 03:33 PM
My estimates were just about right on as far as size and weight goes.

Main board is 10cm x 5.5cm. Camera board is 5.5cm x 3cm and attaches to the main board at a right angle. It appears to be a 1mm spaced header pin port, so it could easily be extended for custom mounting solutions. Entire camera unit stripped down and including antenna weighs 91 grams. The antenna is a u.FL connection, so this could be replaced with a custom solution if needed.

Overall a solid little camera for the price. If you're on a budget, this is about as good as it gets. Keep in mind for 'competition' performance, you'll need to run it at 320x240, but that can be stretched. Image quality is enough to pilot and aim I would say, but I wouldnt expect to read text with it. Definitely usable for Mech Wars within 10-15 feet though. Oh and IP web interface uses Java or Active X, so you could pull the control from it and add it into a custom form easily.

Here are some pics:
http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/1/4/9/2/mechcam.jpg


And this is with the camera board removed:
http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/1/4/9/2/mechcam2.jpg
(http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/1/4/9/2/mechcam2.jpg)

billyzelsnack
11-16-2008, 10:46 PM
Sounds good. Just bought one. I'm going to set things up so I can swap between 900mhz/2.4ghz just in case.

Adrenalynn
11-16-2008, 11:55 PM
Marf?

There's no 802.11 on 900Mhz, at least not legally - channels are too narrow.

Tyb's camera is a working sol.. -errr - 802.11 solution.

billyzelsnack
11-17-2008, 12:27 AM
no no. I meant that I have two separate and independent solutions I can quickly swap between. A 900mhz one and a 2.4ghz one.

billyzelsnack
11-19-2008, 08:32 PM
Ok. The Wifi cam showed up today. Here's some vids showing the latency.

http://www.z425.com/videos/MVI_2447.AVI
http://www.z425.com/videos/MVI_2448.AVI

These are with maximum compression which seemed to give the lowest latency. The small one is 160? the bigger one is 320.

Tyb.. Is this about what you're seeing on your network?

DresnerRobotics
11-20-2008, 12:05 AM
Ok. The Wifi cam showed up today. Here's some vids showing the latency.

http://www.z425.com/videos/MVI_2447.AVI
http://www.z425.com/videos/MVI_2448.AVI

These are with maximum compression which seemed to give the lowest latency. The small one is 160? the bigger one is 320.

Tyb.. Is this about what you're seeing on your network?


No, I'm getting MUCH quicker response time with no visible lag.

I'll double check what settings I'm using, but I remember having to tweak a few things to get it right. Firefox is faster than IE as well, furthermore I'll test things out on a custom page I'm writing for this.

billyzelsnack
11-20-2008, 12:34 AM
Good to hear. I guess it could just be my network. Maybe I need to adjust some QOS settings on my router. When I was testing things out the camera and my laptop were upstairs and my router is downstairs. Maybe I'm getting crazy packet loss or maybe..

What encryption were you running? Maybe the WPA I'm using is too much extra work for the camera.

DresnerRobotics
11-20-2008, 12:56 AM
64 bit WEP. Yeah its gotta be something with your network or maybe a setting on the camera, because I was getting perfect response times.

kankatee
11-21-2008, 08:41 AM
Just wanted to chime in and share...

I was looking for a wireless video solution myself and after crawling the web for ideas, here's what I landed on:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Winplus-Vehicle-Wireless-Backup-Camera-from-Costco_W0QQitemZ190268175794QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_ DefaultDomain_0?hash=item190268175794&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A13 18 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Winplus-Vehicle-Wireless-Backup-Camera-from-Costco_W0QQitemZ190268175794QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_ DefaultDomain_0?hash=item190268175794&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318)

A 2.4Ghz wireless camera with a 3.5" lcd. The lcd will be mounted on my joystick control panel. Once it's complete, if anyone is interested, let me know I can post some videos or pics.

Adrenalynn
11-21-2008, 12:14 PM
I used to sell these on the site. After every single one of them was returned, I set them on fire and inactivated the catalog item.

Good luck with this one! I would plan more on using it as kindling than anything you put on a robot if I were you! :)

LinuxGuy
11-24-2008, 01:30 AM
I don't see any trouble with whatever kind of lens you want to use. There are practical limits on the number of cameras, just because they all have to share the same wireless space.
If you use multiple routers/access points, you won't load down a single router more than it can handle. You just have to figure out what a reasonable number of units per router would be and associate with them accordingly.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
11-24-2008, 02:06 AM
That depends. Your max bandwidth is still limited by the network floor. If your backbone is n-megabits, you will never throughput more than n-megabits, even with an infinite number of APs.

LinuxGuy
11-24-2008, 06:58 AM
That depends. Your max bandwidth is still limited by the network floor. If your backbone is n-megabits, you will never throughput more than n-megabits, even with an infinite number of APs.
Yes,of course. That's why you should tie those routers together on a gigabit lan, which will give 20 (rounding down to 50 Mbit/router) possible routers full bandwidth to the hub. Of course, you would probably be wise to not tie more than 19 WiFi-G routers to the backbone. :)

8-Dale

Sienna
11-24-2008, 10:34 AM
You can only have maybe three wifi networks in the same area before the frequencies assigned to the channels start overlapping each other if I recall correctly.

In this case, it doesn't really matter what "backbone" you connect the access points with, it matters that the RF spectrum is limited.

Adrenalynn
11-24-2008, 10:43 AM
agreed, Sienna. There's only so many channels of so much width - and nearby channels can birdie.

LinuxGuy
11-24-2008, 11:16 AM
Hi Sienna!


You can only have maybe three wifi networks in the same area before the frequencies assigned to the channels start overlapping each other if I recall correctly.
You only need one WiFi network, just multiple routers/access points linked together. You can associate to a given node to a specific router by address. Each router has an address it is known to others by, besides the WEP/WPA key and SSID. All the routers would be on the same channel and use the same WEP/WPA key and SSID.

8-Dale

Sienna
11-24-2008, 01:37 PM
I don't see how putting multiple access points on the same channels / SSID / WEP helps with bandwidth? That might be a way to expand coverage across a campus, but I don't think coverage is the issue here. Maybe you can explain?

Adrenalynn
11-24-2008, 05:27 PM
Wowsa - two posts in a row Sienna and I are in agreement. What happened to the universe whilst I wasn't looking? :tongue: :D

Zacohk
11-30-2008, 07:39 AM
There is a software names WIGO that allow you to use a camera phone as a wireless Bluetooth webcam.
See: http://wwigo.com/about-wwigo.php
With a cheap (second hand) and small camera/Bluetooth phone stripped from the case, battery and all non necessary components (speaker, antenna, backlight,Ö) and I think we can make a working wireless digital camera for less than 20 usd and weight less than 50 grams.
The main issue would be the range (10 m) but can be improved by adding an aerial antenna on both sides.
The phone board could be use, at the same time, as a wireless controller for the robot:
http://www.embisys.com/?page_id=10

I am also working on a project with ICAMVIEWPRO:
http://www.icamview.com/iCVPRO.htm#Spec
I bougt one with a pan/tilt camera and wifi dongle for 90 usd on ebay.
This is a great device, wifi, you can connect and control2 pan/tilt camera at the same time on it
Stripped down the Icamviewpro is pretty small and light, it works on 5 V.
We can plug almost any webcam on it, I am using one very small (5g) and one pan and tilt (60 g,).
I am trying to find a way to hijack the pan and tilt commands to control some I/O outputs.

jes1510
12-12-2008, 12:14 PM
Has anyone tried this camera?
Amazon.com: TRENDnet Wireless Internet Camera Server (TV-IP110W): Electronics

Adrenalynn
12-12-2008, 01:08 PM
Doesn't look bad. Here's the specs: http://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail.asp?prod=145_TV-IP110W

Points of immediate interest:

Dimension
70 x 100 x 57mm (2.67 x 3.94 x 2.95 in.)

Weight
Camera: 125g (4.4oz.)
Power
5VDC, 2.5A External Power Adapter
Power Consumption
6 Watts (Max)
Standard
IEEE802.11b/g
Security
64/128bit WEP (HEX/ASCII),WPA-PSK(TKIP/AES), WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES)
Antenna
2dBi detachable Reverse SMA Connector

jes1510
12-12-2008, 01:30 PM
Doesn't look bad. Here's the specs: http://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail.asp?prod=145_TV-IP110W

Points of immediate interest:

Dimension
70 x 100 x 57mm (2.67 x 3.94 x 2.95 in.)

Weight
Camera: 125g (4.4oz.)
Power
5VDC, 2.5A External Power Adapter
Power Consumption
6 Watts (Max)
Standard
IEEE802.11b/g
Security
64/128bit WEP (HEX/ASCII),WPA-PSK(TKIP/AES), WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES)
Antenna
2dBi detachable Reverse SMA Connector



I just bought it. Once it arrives I'll do a teardown and evaluation.

Adrenalynn
12-12-2008, 02:31 PM
And I'll +Rep that. :) Thanks for taking the flyer on it!

I'm surprised it has a gain antenna. Most of them are at unity out of the box. It's also nice that it has a standard RPSMA - lots of room for more gain there! Not to mention running a pigtail to move the antenna somewhere else.

[edit] This is my go-to source for pigtails which are a PITA to build, and they also make a great broad range of antennas that work really well: http://www.hyperlinktech.com

gdubb2
12-14-2008, 12:48 PM
Tyberius, I received my Airlink camera yesterday. Today is play day, I'll post what I discover. Trying to decide whether to run it through my router or go Ad Hoc mode. Perhaps I'll try both.

gdubb2
12-14-2008, 08:00 PM
Airlink AIC250W...connected it to my network and got it all configured. It had a LOT of latency (several seconds) and I was beginning to become a little bothered....And it was the same whether I was looking with my desktop which is on the wired part of the network, or the laptop, which is WIFI. Then, just because I could, I removed the ethernet cable between the router and camera which was used for configuration....It's magic I tell ya.. the latency went away.. now it's in the msec range..I guess the wired and wireless parts were fighting over something.

Smiles in Idaho.. after a snow storm and some power outage. But I digress. Image quality is adequate, but not great. OK for a $95.00 camera. So far, it looks to be usable. Now to tear it apart and mount it to Bheka. I'm going to try to mount the main board to the bots frame and the camera section to the servo.

Need to get it into Roborealm.. Thats another puzzle.

jes1510
12-14-2008, 09:58 PM
Need to get it into Roborealm.. Thats another puzzle.

Yeah I have to do the exact same thing. If you get it figured out let me know. If I get to it first then I will do the same :)

gdubb2
12-14-2008, 10:12 PM
jes, In Roborealm, under Loading/Saving, use the Read_HTTP module, and just put in the IP addy for the camera and username and password..be sure to leave the /VIDEO.CGI part there.

jes1510
12-14-2008, 10:34 PM
Awesome! I'll make that the first thing to try once I receive my camera.

gdubb2
12-16-2008, 07:39 PM
Wowsa...Took the Airlink apart today to see what I need to do for a mount. Well, It's exactly how Tyberius' photos show. But I got a whole new education on small. The header pins and socket that connect the lens board to the main board are TINY..double row, 13 pins per row on .050 centers.

This is going to take some figuring on how to make a cable that would allow remote mounting of the lens board. Looking through my Mouser catalog today and found precious few headers or connectors in that size range.

I guess if worse came to worse, I could just mount the entire camera to the servo, but that wouldn't be as much fun or tidy.

Pooh...:confused:
Gary

DresnerRobotics
12-16-2008, 08:30 PM
You could always just solder + heatshrink tube everything as well.

I thought they were a metric spacing personally, but never measured em.

gdubb2
12-16-2008, 09:19 PM
I'm not sure my soldering abilitys are up to that. I'd hate to mess it up to bad.

1.25 mm = .0492 in. Could go either way...

Adrenalynn
12-17-2008, 12:01 AM
Yeah, I believe you'll find them listed as 1.25mm (0.049") regularly. I think if you do a search at digikey.com for:

conn header 1.25mm

that you'll probably find literally hundreds. You just have to know the right way to tickle digikey's catalog. ;)

Check out putting solder-types on the board side and using "press-fits" on the cable side.

DresnerRobotics
12-18-2008, 08:02 PM
If you end up finding an easy solution let me know, haven't gone looking myself yet so I'll gladly be lazy and ride on others' coattails :P

gdubb2
12-18-2008, 08:59 PM
Right now, I'm thinking about lowering my controller board, then just mounting the entire camera on a servo in front. Rotate it and the guns in sync with each other. That's one advantage of a quad I guess. I remounted the antenna out the side of the camera so I can let it sit parallel to the camera body. Hopefully they aren't too directional.

I looked at a lot of connectors at Digikey, but they are just so small to be soldering to. As I get older, I get a little shakier, and after about 5 cups of coffee, I just forget about small stuff.

Gary

Adrenalynn
12-18-2008, 09:02 PM
Have you done much SMT? It's easier than it looks, especially with a hot-air gun.

gdubb2
12-18-2008, 09:28 PM
SMT.. nope, I never had a need to get into it...YET..But that may be changing..

Adrenalynn
12-18-2008, 10:07 PM
You might check out the tutorials over at Sparkfun, they should help demystify it a bit. I remember when SMD/SMT started to become a reality in the 80's, it frightened me away. I eventually dug in and muddled through in the mid 80's. Now we have *much* better tools and techniques for most SMD. (SMD = Surface Mount Device(s), SMT = Surface Mount Technology) BGA (Ball Grid Array) parts still suck rocks through a straw, though. If I have to deal with a really dense BGA, I still send it out and have it stuffed by someone with the right equipment for the job.

jes1510
12-19-2008, 11:31 PM
I received the camera and have mixed results. The image is great and latency low. It is easily usable at 640 x 480. The downside is that it uses ActiveX for the video and it is not non-trivial to interface it to roborealm. I'm still looking and will update with results.

Edit: I forgot to than Adrenalynn and Connor for their help last night. Both of them went way out of their way to see if they could help. Thanks guys!

jes1510
12-21-2008, 01:05 PM
I found the GPL source code for the camera here:
http://trendnet.com/downloads/list_subcategory.asp?SUBTYPE_ID=1172&SUBMIT=Go

I'm going to dig through it while hoping someone at Roborealm finds a solution.

DresnerRobotics
12-21-2008, 01:38 PM
Cant you interface directly via IP address in roborealm?

Adrenalynn
12-21-2008, 03:29 PM
Sorta - but the ActiveX control is difficult generally to get data out of. Since there's source-code though, a DLL hook get get in there. If it weren't getting "so close" to SciOly - I'd have a look at it.

jes1510
12-26-2008, 01:19 PM
How is this for awesome? Last Saturday I emailed the support address for roborealm and explained my problem. Steven replied with a request to access the camera and I set him up with an account and made the camera viewable from the outside world. I just got am email from him that they have updated roborealm with support for my camera. I downloaded the latest version and now my cam is listed in the trendnet module. I selected it and set it to use port 80 and the guest account. It works perfectly. Yay!

Adrenalynn
12-26-2008, 01:26 PM
That's awesome, Jes! I met him and spent a _long_ period chatting with him at MakerFaire. A super-bright fun guy, imho. Really knows his image processing, and the space in general. It's crazy how much support he gives a free product like Roborealm.

jes1510
12-26-2008, 01:31 PM
Yeah I had pretty much given up hope but man they really came through. I'm back on track again. I'll try to take some tear down shots and video from the camera this weekend.

gdubb2
12-26-2008, 02:04 PM
Glad that worked out so good. RR is fun to mess with. I'm trying to get it to read a variable back from my bot for a battery life indication. So far no luck. It seems to read variables different than it writes them.

I did find that using the joystick module cuts my camera FPS in half. Using the button interface I get a good 30+ FPS, if I enable the joystick it drops to 16. I use the VBScript program with both. Kinda wierd..must be lots of overhead connected to the joystick module.

Adrenalynn
01-21-2009, 05:48 PM
I just pulled the trigger on your IP-110W camera, Jes. Mine will get here on Friday. Lowest price + shipping that I could find was the Amazon link you provided. Since you already took the flyer and got it working and all. :)

Reading through the specs, I see why the lag is so low - it's motion jpeg codec. Not as modern and clean as mpeg4, but a darned bit faster in the encoder, and cheaper on the license. ;)

DresnerRobotics
01-21-2009, 06:07 PM
I'm going to pull the trigger on a 207w from Axis (http://www.axis.com/products/cam_207w/index.htm) pretty soon here to check it out, I figure even if it doesn't fit well in my main mech, I can make it fit in another project. I'm hoping for a socketed camera though!

jes1510
01-21-2009, 06:19 PM
I just pulled the trigger on your IP-110W camera, Jes. Mine will get here on Friday. Lowest price + shipping that I could find was the Amazon link you provided. Since you already took the flyer and got it working and all. :)

Reading through the specs, I see why the lag is so low - it's motion jpeg codec. Not as modern and clean as mpeg4, but a darned bit faster in the encoder, and cheaper on the license. ;)


Very cool. Once you get it I'd like to hear your opinion. You have a great deal more experience with video than I do and It'd be nice to see what someone who knows this kind of thing thinks.

Adrenalynn
01-21-2009, 07:31 PM
Sure - I'll certainly chime-in with my two-cents worth, even if you only pay a penny for my thoughts. :) Thanks for taking the gamble!

milw
01-21-2009, 10:52 PM
Think the $95 price at Amazon will last long? I had to go back several pages to find the link, so here it is again "]Amazon.com: TRENDnet Wireless Internet Camera Server (TV-IP110W): Electronics

jes1510
01-21-2009, 11:00 PM
Think the $95 price at Amazon will last long? I had to go back several pages to find the link, so here it is again "]Amazon.com: TRENDnet Wireless Internet Camera Server (TV-IP110W): Electronics (http://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-Wireless-Internet-Camera-TV-IP110W/dp/B00125KR1E/%5BURL=%22http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00125KR1E/ref=dp_olp_2)


Dunno. When I bought mine it was $69 :D

DresnerRobotics
01-21-2009, 11:18 PM
Damn you Jes!

That camera definitely seems to be the camera of choice if youre on a budget... and I thought I had found a decent one! Jes had to rain on my parade...

Adrenalynn
01-22-2009, 01:16 AM
Dang, $69? Ouch.

One thing I will give Amazon. I ordered it second day, which was only an extra $11 over the 7-9 day free, or $2 more than 5 day. I ordered it around 3pm, and it will be delivered tomorrow. That's overnight for $11. Gotta hand it to 'em on the passthrough for quantity ship discount... (My Prime membership is expired...)

Still - that's a big ouchie price difference, wish I hadn't read that! ;)

gdubb2
01-22-2009, 11:09 AM
Hey Tyb.. Come on now.. Be tough.. suck it up.. stick with the Airlink. Or will I be the only one with one??:veryhappy::veryhappy:
Gary

Adrenalynn
01-22-2009, 09:50 PM
Fry's had the IR version of the Trendnet camera on sale for $99. If I'd known that before I ordered the non-IR, I'd have jumped on it for sure.

Regardless - mine showed up today from Amazon. I just got home so haven't even opened the box yet

jes1510
01-22-2009, 10:18 PM
Get to work then!

Zenta
01-23-2009, 01:22 AM
Hi,

I'm just finished reading this interesting thread...
I've been testing a small 2,4 GHz spy camera solution but as Adrenalynn pointed out several times in this thread there was to much interference. Good picture quality (when not in interference) and very small though.



Yeah I had pretty much given up hope but man they really came through. I'm back on track again. I'll try to take some tear down shots and video from the camera this weekend.

Great find Jes! It looks interesting. Did you do a tear down? Any pictures? And what's the minimum weight after tear-down?

-Zenta

Adrenalynn
01-23-2009, 01:34 AM
I'll photo-document a tear-down and current consumption as well as run JND picture quality, frame rate, and latency tests against honest-to-goodness streaming video test gear this weekend...

Any other weights-and-measures or tests anyone wants, think about 'em before Saturday. ;)

Sienna
01-23-2009, 06:16 AM
So, can I dare hope then I will be the only one with an analog (non-2.4GHz) solution! :D

jes1510
01-23-2009, 07:21 AM
Hi,

I'm just finished reading this interesting thread...
I've been testing a small 2,4 GHz spy camera solution but as Adrenalynn pointed out several times in this thread there was to much interference. Good picture quality (when not in interference) and very small though.




Great find Jes! It looks interesting. Did you do a tear down? Any pictures? And what's the minimum weight after tear-down?

-Zenta

Yeah I did a teardown and weights measurement. It's in this thread:
http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=2745

Adrenalynn
01-23-2009, 09:00 AM
Wow. Sorry - I remember that now! I was going to go back and thumbnail your photos for you. Whew. Totally slipped my mind. :blush:

Given that, I'll focus on the network and video side.

Sienna - at least at the moment, it looks like you should plan on being the only one plagued by interference, yes. :tongue:

Zenta
01-23-2009, 01:20 PM
Yeah I did a teardown and weights measurement. It's in this thread:
http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=2745

Excellent, thanks Jes!

-Zenta

Adrenalynn
01-24-2009, 12:55 AM
Hey Jes, have you upgraded to v80 of the firmware yet? Definitely recommended. A lot of new feature set. schedule triggers, picture-push, a ton more networking options (inc. more ddns), ... Definitely worthwhile.

jes1510
01-24-2009, 05:39 PM
Hey Jes, have you upgraded to v80 of the firmware yet? Definitely recommended. A lot of new feature set. schedule triggers, picture-push, a ton more networking options (inc. more ddns), ... Definitely worthwhile.

Oh no I haven't. I'll give it a go!

gdubb2
02-01-2009, 07:34 PM
Has anyone played with the Trendnet camera on batteries?? Current load, stuff like that??

I've been trying my Airlink AIC250W on batteries today, and it's not doing all that well.

On the wall wart that came with it, I am pulling about 700 mA. with the voltage being pulled down to 4.3-4.6 VDC from an unloaded 5.3. If the voltage drops below 4.0 the camera stops transmitting. :eek:

For the battery connection, I'm using a 6 volt 1000 mAh pack through a 7805 regulator. I don't know if the reg is needed, since Airlink tech support won't give me a good answer on whether or not the camera will operate at 6 volts without damage. The regulator is running very hot, and if the batteries are fresh off the charger, I can get about 10 min runtime before the battery voltage is in the 6.5 volt range, and the camera voltage is down to 4.1 or so. I could get a 3 A reg, but shouldn't really need to with the 700 mA load. I have a heat sink on the reg as well.

Perhaps I need a different camera??? Anyone got any ideas??:confused:

Thanks
Gary

DresnerRobotics
02-01-2009, 07:57 PM
It works fine on 6v just fine from what I've seen so far. You can see a voltage reg right behind the power plug onboard.

These definitely are going to pull some decent current though, wifi video broadcasting isn't exactly a light task.

gdubb2
02-01-2009, 08:08 PM
Thanks Tyb. Guess I'll kick it up a notch and see what rolls out. I planned on using 2 battery packs for just the camera. Didn't like the regulator in there anyway. Messed with the "I'm Meaner than You" look.

Gary

milw
02-02-2009, 01:37 PM
Think the $95 price at Amazon will last long? I had to go back several pages to find the link, so here it is again "]Amazon.com: TRENDnet Wireless Internet Camera Server (TV-IP110W): Electronics (http://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-Wireless-Internet-Camera-TV-IP110W/dp/B00125KR1E/%5BURL=%22http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00125KR1E/ref=dp_olp_2)
So now TV-IP110W is up to $112! But there is this TV-IP110 that is listing at $65 at the moment; not sure if it's the same basic camera or cheezier?
Doh! 'W' for wireless; cheep = NOT wireless :sad: going back to bed :genmad:

DresnerRobotics
02-02-2009, 01:39 PM
Not wireless most likely.

jes1510
02-02-2009, 01:39 PM
I'm pretty sure the TV-IP110 is the wired ethernet version. The TV-IP110W supports both ethernet and wireless.

milw
02-02-2009, 01:43 PM
thx- Jes did you or Adrenalynn report on the current consumption of the Trendnet?

gdubb2
02-03-2009, 11:55 AM
For anyone using the Airlink AIC250W camera, I did some testing last night using battery power.

Battery pack was a home made pack of Tenergy AAA 1000 mAh cells. 6 volt/5 cells. Freshly charged with a Hitec CG 330 charger at 1 amp. No load voltage 6.86 Vdc.

I connected the camera to the unregulated battery pack. The camera took the higher voltage very nicely. With a Fluke 8060A multimeter measuring the battery voltage, and timing with a stopwatch, I watched the video on my laptop while BS'ing on the chat group on the desktop..:happy:

The voltage dropped fairly rapidly down to about 6.2 or so, which I expected. Then things were quite stable for the next 45 minutes. The voltage slowly dropped to about 5.5 or so when the batteries broke over and started to discharge much faster.

I didn't keep real accurate track of the voltage, but from start to finish I got 55 minutes of good usable video from 1 battery pack. The current runs about 700-725 Ma. when transmitting. This was a totally undocumented test and I might have forgotten some things that I mentioned on the chat during the test. (like exact voltages):rolleyes:

Gary

jes1510
02-03-2009, 12:18 PM
... This was a totally undocumented test and I might have forgotten some things that I mentioned on the chat during the test. (like exact voltages):rolleyes:

Gary


Actually I would say it was a fairly well documented test. Nice work and great info man!

gdubb2
02-08-2009, 03:47 PM
Adren, Here's a picture of the camera that Tyberious took of his.

According to Airlink, they have a 6mm focal length. How would that equate to the interchangable micro lenses on the "un-named" website you directed me to?? Am I correct in my thinking that I need to go down in focal length? If so, would the 4mm or 2.1mm be best??

Thanks
Gary




http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/1/4/9/2/mechcam.jpg

Adrenalynn
02-08-2009, 04:12 PM
That is the standard micro-lens, you're set there. Nice deep offset with plenty of focus.

If we assume a 1/4" imager, then a 6mm lens will give about a 30deg horizontal FOV.

f = h * D/H where h=3.6mm for a 1/4" sensor.

As a general rule of thumb, in order to see an object in the camera view it should occupy about 10&#37; of the height of the FOV. In order to recognize an object, it should be 30% of the frame or better.

If we figured that you were looking across the playing field at 7ft

H=D*h/f = 7ft * 3.6 / 6mm lens = 4.2ft of FOV
H=D*h/f = 7ft * 3.6 / 4mm lens = 6.3ft of FOV
H=D*h/f = 7ft * 3.6 / 2.1mm lens = 12ft of FOV

Half way across the field:

4ft * 3.6 / 6mm lens = 2.4ft of FOV
4ft * 3.6 / 4mm lens = 3.6ft of FOV
4ft * 3.6 / 2.1mm lens ~= 6.9ft of FOV

So even at 4ft, the 2.1mm lens should basically see the entire width of the field. But targeting at 7ft might be more challenging.

Always a tradeoff. I'll likely be using either a 1.8 or a 2.1mm lens on mine just 'cause I'd rather see more with less detail. Situational awareness and all. ;)

lnxfergy
02-08-2009, 04:17 PM
A - I would +rep you, but you've had just too many good posts in the last few days...

Thanks for all that info..

-Fergs

Adrenalynn
02-08-2009, 04:39 PM
Thanks Fergs. I know you +rep'd be recently in the other thread, so I know you're needing to "spread it around" - no worries. :)

gdubb2
02-08-2009, 04:39 PM
Got it.. Thanks. Thats excellent info to have.

Did some rough measurements, and you are spot on with the FOV at 4 ft.:veryhappy:

Gary

Adrenalynn
02-08-2009, 04:48 PM
:D The only thing that feels better than solving theoretical optical physics problems is applied optical physics agreeing with your answer. ;)

Firestorm65
02-08-2009, 04:57 PM
Could you re-post the link for the micro lenses, I couldn't find it...

Also, has there already been discussion of using the same kind of cameras found in cell phones?

gdubb2
02-08-2009, 05:03 PM
Firestorm.. Think signature..there's a link in front.

Firestorm65
02-08-2009, 07:03 PM
That's the camera, not the lenses... if you know what page it's on that would help too, I just couldn't seem to find it.

gdubb2
02-08-2009, 07:29 PM
http://emonitoringsolutions.com/shopping/index.php?cPath=65

Adrenalynn
02-08-2009, 07:55 PM
Disclosure: I run the site in question. There are other sites that sell the same stuff. They may have better or worse pricing. The site is emonitoringsolutions.com I do indirectly (and somewhat directly) benefit from sales generated from this site. I will advise to the best of my ability regardless of where you purchase product. I favor Trossen here in my recommendations for obvious reasons, but do not favor my own site other than being very familiar with the products.

[edit: Thanks, Gary!]

metaform3d
02-16-2009, 07:22 PM
Don't want to crash your thread since I'm not building a mech, but I've been lurking because do have need of a wireless webcam. I'm looking for at least 640x480 at 30fps, so the AIC250W is not suitable at only 10fps at that resolution. The TV-IP110W looks quite plausible, but I would need to replace the lens to get closer to a 70-80 degree FOV. Is the lens on this unit easily replacable? Are there other reasonable choices?

Adrenalynn
02-16-2009, 07:46 PM
Yup the 110W does use a standard threaded micro lens. The travel (length of the threaded barrel) is pretty short. I'm not sure yet just how wide a lens one could use before you either couldn't pull focus or start getting viginetting. In the next week or so I'm going to try tossing a 1.2mm lens on it. There are also short-barrel lenses out there, but they're harder to come by. I'm looking for an inexpensive source for 'em that are still real glass instead of plastic.

CogswellCogs
02-16-2009, 09:15 PM
I built an ROV paintball tank and used cameras from here:
http://www.unibrain.com/Products/VisionImg/Fire_i_BC.htm

The low end cameras are reasonably priced, 640x480, and 30fps. A variety of lenses is available including an 80 degree fish-eye. The output is IEEE-1394 (FireWire). That wasn't an issue for me because I use an on-board PC and WiFi control. It may not work for you, however.

gdubb2
02-18-2009, 07:10 PM
For the folks wondering about the interchangable lenses, heres some pictures from my Airlink AIC250W. The quality is poor, but that is the camera. The original did a better job with colors than the aftermarket ones did. The lenses are 6MM, 4MM, and 2.1MM. The Kenny Doll in the green square is about 10 in. tall and is located 6 ft. from the camera.

Gary

(edit) Also, I had to cut about 1/8 in. off of the lens mount to allow the 2.1MM to focus. It didn't seem to hurt anything.

Adrenalynn
02-18-2009, 07:39 PM
Hi Gary,

I'm suprised those affected your color balance so much - that said, I think you could get a lot of it back. I suspect what you're seeing is BLC - Back Light Compensation - ie. the camera has none. By widening the aperture you're capturing more photons. I suspect if you lowered the field of view (FOV) [notice how the lights are largely cropped-out in the first image?] or put the doll on the floor under the table and shot it down there, you'd see more color.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Those lenses are "faster" than your original 6mm, so you're getting more light at the same shutter speed [notice your framerate?]. A good camera with have multi-zone BLC and blanking to deal with this. The plus side is that you'll see more in lower light conditions which is frequently faced in the real world. The downside is in the realworld, the sun may move across your FOV and then you're hosed.

Given that you're designing for Mech Wars where color is a waste, that 2.1 is probably going to be a devastating weapon. (I'm sourcing some 1.2mm myself right now) At 6' away you're seeing nearly the entire playing field, from your 'bots feet to the roof, and the entire width just a few feet in front of you. You're not going to need to rotate the camera (or worse, the bot) to acquire your target, and IMHO, that's the real name of this game. The longer a fleeing target stays in your FOV, or the faster you acquire the target from his fringe, the longer you can pound him with impunity.

What's your take - similar?

gdubb2
02-18-2009, 07:54 PM
Hi Adren,
I agree on the targeting thing. I put the green square on the thing as a handy referance to where my laser may be pointing. I'll remove all of the up/down movement, but may leave in the panning since the camera rotates in sync with my guns, and I don't want to have to hunt around for the laser dot. I'm going to play with both new lenses and see what I like the best walking around under the pool table. It's a handy way of simulating the arena.

The frame rate is not really representative of the lenses though. Even with the 6MM lens I ususlly had a FR of 30 or so. What really messes with it is adding too much overhead to RoboRealm. When I was using the gamepad interface, the FR dropped to 15.

Gary

gdubb2
02-18-2009, 08:04 PM
WOW.. the 2.1MM lens really gathers light. I shut off the room lights, and held the camera down under my computer table looking at some books. It's darker than the inside of a cow down there, and I couldn't read the titles of the books. But with the camera, I could read the titles on the screen.

G

Adrenalynn
02-18-2009, 08:40 PM
Nod. As expected. You're bringing in a much wider sample of photons and focusing them on the CCD (or CMOS, which your camera looks like it probably is). CMOS handles washout very poorly generally (Canon and new Sony/Nikon excepted), but also handles low-light situations rather poorly in the sensitivity per density department.

metaform3d
02-19-2009, 02:30 AM
Do none of these cameras have adjustable aperture or shutter time?

Adrenalynn
02-19-2009, 12:49 PM
Meta, naw, these cameras are pretty simplistic. None of them have BLC, they're auto-shutter, and they're all fixed at generally f/1.4 (or have a "virtual iris" which just ignores some pixels). Nothing compared to the security cameras I'm used to...

metaform3d
02-20-2009, 02:48 AM
Too bad. Exposure control is a big issue with my indoor/outdoor day/night application. Can't do any reasonable image processing if it's washed out or too dark to start with. Any way to make/buy an aperture for these el-cheapo cameras?

A_Clawson
03-01-2009, 06:51 PM
I was looking at the SRV-1 Blackfin Controller and Camera Module (compatable with the Matchport WiFi Module), and I think that it would be a great choice if you wanted to use a color-based tracking system.

Adrenalynn
03-01-2009, 09:01 PM
Missed your post last time, Meta:

You could put a dc-iris lens in front of the imager. Or construct a manual iris (tougher)

I'd use a standard CS-type lens accepting security camera that supports a DC-Iris.

mannyr7
03-02-2009, 11:21 PM
Was at Radio Shack yesterday and found a Swann Microcam 3.3 wireless security cam and 4 channel reciever for $119.00. I don't know how this would affect it, but I have wireless G network, network server, 4 laptops, xbox360, 2 wiis and some bluetooth and two other nets in the vicinity, obviously not always running simultaniously.
It transmits on 2.4 GHz, has a threaded lens for attaching fisheye maybe? Focus is adjusted by use of a litttle spanner with two pins which engage on either side of the lens to turn. I pleased with the quality. And sound pickup is excellent! It actually sounds like CLYDE weighs 60 tons every time a foot hits the ground!!!
I'd say about 25-30% of the artifacts/degradation in this video were introduced in the DVD to mp4 conversion. I streamed it from the garage, running off 9v alkaline power, to my bedroom ~30 feet away, through several walls. Have yet to test it for battery life, as I intend to use it for 15 minutes max per fresh cell. It's durable too, because butterfingers here has dropped the teeny thing to the concrete floor a couple times. Oh, and the mount is removeable/adjustable/flippable as well.
YouTube - Onboard video

Three close-up pics.
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/GDNcN4yCTPn_-tGcy5kziQ?authkey=Gv1sRgCN7I0NT2_43dMA&feat=directlink
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/85V-QuoA0C0PTFCZNszCxg?authkey=Gv1sRgCN7I0NT2_43dMA&feat=directlink
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4ObtXVNmjmZb3ctvUE8UEA?authkey=Gv1sRgCN7I0NT2_43dM A&feat=directlink

DresnerRobotics
03-03-2009, 12:37 AM
Problem with those type of cameras is going to be at Robogames though. We've discussed it to death on the forums, bottom line is while you may pull acceptable performance in the comfort of your home... at an event with dozens and dozens of wireless devices, housed in a massive steel building, you might not have the same results. This is why most of us are going the wifi camera route.

gdubb2
03-03-2009, 10:33 AM
Manny..Thats just disgusting !!! BAREFOOT in the winter...:happy: Up here in Idaho I would have frozen to the garage floor and suffered lower-limb hypothermia:eek:

Gary

Adrenalynn
03-03-2009, 01:29 PM
Exactly as expected. Those aren't DCT artifacts - those are 2.4ghz link breakup artifacts...

mannyr7
03-03-2009, 04:30 PM
Problem with those type of cameras is going to be at Robogames though. We've discussed it to death on the forums, bottom line is while you may pull acceptable performance in the comfort of your home... at an event with dozens and dozens of wireless devices, housed in a massive steel building, you might not have the same results. This is why most of us are going the wifi camera route.

It has been discussed to death, but there still doesn't seem to be any consensus on what a reliable brand/model would be. The trendnet IP cam was the most recently mentioned and seems like it might be worth looking into, but I haven't seen any reliable reviews or actual footage from anyone in the robotics community. So, now everybody knows what 2.4 GHz looks like under best conditions and my sister gets a new nanny cam. Win/Win!!!

Oh and gdubb2, I live in Arizona, dude. It's 85 degeees!!! :veryhappy:

DresnerRobotics
03-03-2009, 04:42 PM
Actually there was video footage of the trendnet cam posted somewhere... I think Jes posted it. Hands down, best camera for the price. Video quality is superb for a $100 cam, and its pretty compact.

jes1510
03-03-2009, 04:48 PM
Here is the test video I did for checking latency with the Trendnet cam:
YouTube - 20081228194723

The lighting looks worse than it is. My office is pretty dark and the camera doesn't like the CFL bulb.

Adrenalynn
03-03-2009, 06:24 PM
Depends what part of Arizona. I don't think Flagstaff or Williams would find barefoot weather so amusing at the moment... ;) [NAU was my first college - I lived in Williams at the time...]

The Trendnet IP Cam does an excellent job. I think several of us have adopted it now.

Zacattack
03-15-2009, 12:19 PM
hmmm, two things, would it be a mistake if i just got everything else working, then added on a video system? and is there anything else that would work almost as well as a wifi camera???

lnxfergy
03-15-2009, 01:11 PM
hmmm, two things, would it be a mistake if i just got everything else working, then added on a video system? and is there anything else that would work almost as well as a wifi camera???

The camera is gonna be a signifigant portion of the payload... adding it later might show that your bot is incapable of walking with said payload, at the minimum, it will likely change your COG and thus your walking will have to be edited...

-Fergs

Zacattack
03-15-2009, 04:21 PM
hmm good point :/ where could i look for info on wifi cams ? i dont know what they are or how to use them really :( ehh i must sound like i dont know anything on these forums :/ mabey when i have time ill post my Boe Bot and the code i wrote for it just to show i can actually do something:)

thanks fergs, i didnt think about added weight http://www.dynaspy.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=134 this one wouldnt work right? its not a wifi cam but i saw like 5 being used at the same time on another site.

Adrenalynn
03-15-2009, 04:55 PM
its not a wifi cam but i saw like 5 being used at the same time on another site.

Not in this universe. An alternate maybe...

There are four channels in 2.4ghz.

It would work for lots of things. Things that aren't moving. Things that don't generate noise. Things that aren't being used in an RF-heavy environment.

Many have tried. All that I'm aware of have signed and moved on to WiFi.

Zacattack
03-15-2009, 05:20 PM
*sigh
id never heard of wifi cams befor this, i have no clue what to do about that :(

Adrenalynn
03-15-2009, 05:28 PM
Buy this: http://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail.asp?prod=145_TV-IP110W

Buy exactly that.

Problem solved. :)

Zacattack
03-15-2009, 05:36 PM
WOW thanks! and by the way, i should take it out of the case to make it as lite as possible right?