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Old 03-17-2006, 06:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Wireless Target Camera?

i hope i'm posting this in the right place it is a computer related question.

ok here's the situation... a few friends and i get together on the weekends and shoot long range (600 - 900 yards). well at that range its hard to see your bullet holes so you can adjust your aiming. what we'd like to have is a wireless target camera that would show the target on my laptop. i found one but its over $700 and its just on a 3.5" lcd screen.LINK (scroll toward the bottom). i'm thinking i could build one that was cheaper and would meet my needs better... well i'm thinking can anyway.

anybody got any ideas on how to go about trying to build one of these? i'm thinking i just need a battery powered camera and couple transmitters..?? i'd appreciate any help.

Last edited by gump; 03-17-2006 at 06:45 AM..
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm thinking that a spotting scope is going to be a much less expensive option.
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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well we have a spotting scope but in the summer there is so much mirage you cant see the target real well.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just about any 2.4GHz wireless camera could work at that range with an oversize antenna (cantenna) at each end. The units I've used are low amperage 8-12VDC for camera and transmitter. Expect $50-100 on ebay. Antenna parts would be $5-10 ea for parts, or $50 each if commercial. You'd have to figure out a battery arrangement but it shouldn't be difficult.

Careful on the camera/receiver pair. Make sure it isn't 1.2GHz import junk. Also, it's much easier if they use standard antenna mounts at both ends. The mounts aren't horribly difficult to add yourself but you can hurt distance/quality until you have the technique figured out.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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thanks for the reply. im going to start digging see what i can find.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I should have mentioned, I usually use plain NTSC stuff. You'd either need a video in port on your laptop or a video capture add-on. One of the USB capture solutions might be the best method. If you go with an Ethernet or WiFi networked camera your choices go down and prices up.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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yea i thought about that already. my laptop has a video in but i also thought about buying just a cheap portable monitor.
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Old 03-18-2006, 01:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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little update on my project i'm wanting to do.

talked with supercircuits.com today some girl named wendy, who was very knowledgeable on everything, and she set me up. i'm going to go with this transmitter and this receiver. which should get me past 1000 yards to right at a mile line of sight. for a battery supply and camera i got a buddy in the security system business thats going to hook me up. so im going to have around $350 or so in parts and supplies then i should be good to go. i'll post some pics when everything gets to working.
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Old 03-18-2006, 01:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's a nice combination, but the planar antenna wouldn't be my choice. They're expensive and aren't as efficient for directional use. You would get better range with a parabolic or simple Yagi (like a PVC cantenna). Less chance of someone targeting it, too. Check ebay. Something like:
<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/24-dbi-grid-antenna-2-4Ghz-Wi-Fi-wifi-Used_W0QQitemZ5881734354QQcategoryZ86719QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem">this</a>
or
<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Super-Cantenna-wifi-Antenna_W0QQitemZ5879717144QQcategoryZ61816QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem">this</a>

This one's almost perfect. Includes 2' cable with RPSMA connector and RPTNC adapter and tripod.
<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Original-Super-Cantenna-WiFi-Booster-Antenna-12dbi-NR_W0QQitemZ5880160752QQcategoryZ61816QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem"></a>
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Old 03-18-2006, 02:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The combination of a cantenna with a 1.5W amplifier setup like this:
<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/12Ch-2-4GHz-1-5Watt-Wireless-Video-Camera-Transmitter_W0QQitemZ9700186957QQcategoryZ48629QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem"></a>

would provide far better range than the combo they posted. A parabolic would absolutely destroy them. I think you'd be fine with a cheap 100mW transceiver pair and a parabolic. Spend the extra $100 for the big amplifier if you get tired of aiming or if you encounter interference.

BTW, use a regulated power supply, at least for the camera. Image quality drops off quickly with voltage. Same applies for the transmitter if you're at the range limit.
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Old 03-18-2006, 07:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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thanks for the info cyrnel i appreciate it. i've asked several people about using a transmitter like you have pictured and everyone keeps telling me they overheat very quickly. any thoughts on that?

so you think id be better to go with a cantenna setup instead on the planar antenna? what are the pros and cons of each?
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The planar/panel provides a wider beam - good for multiple connections. Maybe 15 to 100 degrees at the extremes depending on design. Two designs can look identical from the outside but be very different. They're relatively expensive.

A cantenna isn't nearly as flexible for beam width but is great for directional use. It's simple and extremely cheap. They can be made with a chunk of PVC, allthread, and some washers. You may get away with a stock transmit/receiver pair and one of these at each end.

A parabolic can be very directional, say ~10 degrees or less, and they're bulkier, but the gain is hard to beat. They're expensive new but used versions are plentiful and cheap.

As for transceiver heat, the cheap high wattage versions will run warm, especially if you let the voltage drop. Use a regulated supply. If it might sit in the sun during your sessions I'd consider a shield, maybe adding a larger heatsink or a small fan. Anyway, there's a good chance you won't need more than a basic transceiver pair with the right antenna at each end. You're sort of at the edge so environment is important. Trees, weeds, utilities, height of antennas, and how much time you want to spend aiming.
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