HomeBrew Capibilities

BULL MOOSE

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Tndeer's resident biologist asked these questions about homebrews.

"Very interesting stats. I guess I like my non-typicals so much because I have the older versions which do everything (and have a camera that accepts [and recognizes] 800 speed film).

Question: A couple of features I'm wondering about on "home brew" cameras that are very important to me (and exist on the original non-typicals). Can you get the exact times events were recorded (from a display on the unit)? Can you tell which of those events pictures were taken on? Can you set different delay times for the events and picture taking? Are these settings infinitely variable (any delay, from seconds to minutes to hours)? Can you set different "active" and "non-active" times of the day - so the unit records events 24 hours, but only takes pictures during daylight? "

I was bragging that the homebrews were better than any unit on the market. I may have gone too far out on a limb.

Does anyone know if these options are possible.
 

Hill Hopper

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I think he's yanking your chain. I guess you could do one with a budget of abt 5-10 grand. I don't think any older cam had the technology.
 

shrtcirkt

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Bull,
I am going to go out  on a limb here and say.........
Yes. But, there would be some restrictions. I believe that either JoeD or Brian have the capability to program a chip to acomplish most of this but it would be beyond the capability of the chips most of us are using at this point. You would definately have to go toa chip that can handle larger programs and more I/O.
Then you would have to couple that with external devices such as day/night selectors and probably dip switches to select features, not to mention a LCD to display the information you wanted, or even a hand held programmer of some sort.
I for one, tend to want things very simple, I have found that I use only about 10% of the bells and whistles on most gear that I own.
I am not sure what such a package would cost, or how large the package would have to be.
I am sure that Arch, Brian, Joe, and Tinhorn and others can add a lot more to this and it is going to be very interesting to see the all the responses.

I do agree with Hill, though I dont think any early units had this technology, not to mention the cost of development.



(Edited by shrtcirkt at 6:33 pm on May 30, 2002)
 

Archilochus

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Hi Bull Moose,
I just started out about a month or so ago learning to program the micro-controllers that are needed to do all that stuff.  With the exception of the time/date recording & display, I've already got a basic program up and running that does all that and more.  I've got an LCD display, real-time clock, temp/humidity sensors, and a few larger micros on order - the real fun will start with that stuff :))

I'm sure Brian could whip up a program that would make the Non-typicals look like a pinhole camera with a string trigger! ;-)

So - can home-brews do all that??  YES!!  And the cost ain't all that bad when compared to a commercial unit.

Archilochus



(Edited by Archilochus at 4:44 pm on May 31, 2002)
 

Jaggermax

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The very first camera I built had these features on it and took me 6 months to complete the board design and programming.  I used an 8515 AVR microcontroller to control the thing and it took quite a bit of program space to do it, 8K.  It used a 2 x 20 LCD readout and I had a built in 500 event datalogger that stored the time, temp and date seperately from the camera using the Dallas I2C DS1629 RTC chip.  I attempted to have the temperature sensor control the sensitivity setting of the PIR, but soon gave up after finding out how hard it is to develop an equation to figure out the proper settings.  I actually think it was Tinhorn or ARC that persuaded me to think otherwise and they were right.  

It also had a digitally controlled PIR sensitivity adjustment and a setable day mode (day/night/both).  The thing worked great, but I soon realized that it was overkill for what I needed it for.  The event logger was really helpful in that I did not have to wait to develop film to see if their was activity on the trail.  But I still relied on the camera to determine if I should hunt over that area.  I am sure there are biologist types out there that want somthing of this caliber camera, but I am back to the basics.  Plus, all of those features added about $30 to the price of the controller board.  

Arc, just to give you a heads up on the LCD displays.  If you live in colder climates, beware of the LCD freezing.  Most of the ones I found would only handle down to 35 degrees F before they started to freeze.  Once they freeze, they are useless.  They make some extended range LCDs but they only go down to about 25 degrees.  You may want to consider makeing the LCD removeable from the camera so you can take it with you.  
 

Tinhorn

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Brian (don't worry about transposing letters, it comes out Brain, same guy) was programming an 18 pin IC that can have some features set by the user with the use of a serial cable and a computer, and/or  jumbers

I think the 8 pin PIC kind of took over all his time but the Multi-Function IC is functioning just fine as far as I know.  He'll elaborate on this but some of the features are as follows:

1.  Refresh Pulse ("on" time & interval time computer configured)
2.  Delay between Pix's (delay time set by computer -cannot be changed in field)
3.  Can take multiple pix's with one motion trigger (set by computer)
4.  Over temperature shutdown (set by computer, won't take any pix's if
          over X degrees)
5.  Day Only, Night Only, or 24/7 Pix's (selected by jumpers)
6.  Event Counter, keeps on counting when motion detected (no date/time tho)

Tinhorn
 

Brian

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To answer the overall question.  Yes we have all that and more but it is just too much for most people.

I am not going to go into all the details.  There are several posts on some of this stuff under multi function timer but if you can dream it up the microcontroller can do it.  The only limits are the program memory and time to tackle it.  Oh yeah and don't forget money.

Seems simple and cost effective win every time.
 

Firemn

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I guess for my 2 cents, I have been monitoring this site for some time.  Did not sign up to it right away, but the technology for us "home brewewrs" has come a long ways.  With the brains on this site, who knows where we will end up.  Some other aspects of the home brew community versus the store bought, I bet we have the best customer support which also extends from trail cameras to anything imaginable to build.  It is pretty well much a guarantee people listen to you here.  Just look at the responses to the post!  I am starting to learn about Brians circuitry, simply amazing what people can create to help others.  Don't think that you went to far out on a limb, for a bunch of rednecks, we are doing very well.  After all, the advanced technology is not what it is all about, it's aobut having fun.  And fun I am having!
 

TNDEERHUNTER

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All I can say is the people on this site amaze me. I can't wait to log on and see what new idea someone has come up with. Plus we all get to learn as we watch the group figure it out. They say two heads are better than one, well what about 2000.
 

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