Cheap PIC controlled Helmet Camera using Sony LANC (Good for Extreme Sports)
This Instructable will show you how to make a cheap Helmet Camera which can be controlled via a remote so your main camera can stay safely in your ruck sack.
The controller can be attatched to one of the shoulder straps of you ruck sack, and will allow you to Record and Stop the camera as well as being able to switch the ‘bullet’ camera on and off also.
This is perfect for people who want to film extreme sports such as bmxing, snowboarding, skateboarding etc. from a first person perspective.
The picture below shows the bullet camera and remote controller along with the main camera adn battery pack.
How it works.
It is fairly simple to connect a small ‘bullet’ style camera to your camcorder and get the camcorder to film what the mini camera is ‘seeing’, but I wanted to be able to control the record and stop fuctions of the camcorder without taking out of my bag everytime.
After a little investigation, I found that Sony camera have a LANC connection on them which can be used to control the camera and also give information about the what the camera is doing. This is great, becasue when you remotely press the Record button, you can read the data from the LANC cable to find out if the camera is actually started recording, and have a record LED illuminate on your controller.
The mini camera cost only 15 pounds from ebay
The 2.5mm stero jack was about 1 pound
and the other bits and pieces were less than 5 pounds
So for about 20 pounds, you can have a a fully working, remote control helmet cam.
My controller is very simple. It has a Record button, a Stop button, a power switch for the mini cam and 3 LEDs. (Minicam power, Main camera power and a record indicator). This is all I needed for my project, but the source code I have supplied is pretty straight forward and can be adapted to allow you to control anything on the camera.
I have added another step, Step 4, it is an update that gives an indication of low battery and end of tape)
Picture 1 – The prototype (with 8 LEDs to help debug my program)
Picture 2 – A close up of the ‘bullet’ camera and controller
The circuit diagram
The circuit is very basic.
– The PIC is powered directly from the LANC cable.
– The Minicam is powered from a 12 volt battery pack via a switch
– There are 2 push buttons for Record and Stop
– 3 LEDs are used to show you the status of the camera
RA0 – LANC from the camera
RB7 – Record LED
RB4 – Record button
RB5 – Stop button
(Please note, Step 4 is an update to this circuit, the power LED is connected to RA5 and there is a different source code)
For more detail: Cheap PIC controlled Helmet Camera using Sony LANC (Good for Extreme Sports) using PIC16F690