Live to Ride
Now the machine is ready to capture our rides!    (Viewed 9815 times) (c) 2003
Read how it works, what to buy, what you have to pay...

                                                   

This is the story of the helmet cam project which began in summer 2006. [Bullet Cam, Lipstick Cam, Helmet Cam]

I read an article at www.erstespur.de about catching a movie with a camcorder on the helmet. But why i need such a crap thing?
We use it for picturing snowboard, mountainbike and downhill movies in the backcountry...

So i become curious and searched for several postings in forums and websites to collect more information about that project. After a few articles and weeks i decided to construct my machine with a bullet cam from qvcvideo.com and the DVR from archos.com.

The Archos AV500 has a nice wide-screen LCD with great viewing angles yet is compact enough to fit in a pocket. It supports PlaysForSure audio and video and has superb audio quality, and with it, you can record audio and video from external sources, including TV at scheduled times or external AV. The AV500 also has excellent battery life and a good printed manual, and with the included plug-in, it will work within iTunes. The bad: The Archos AV500 is one pricey beast, i payed about 400 €, and the controls can take a little getting used to. We don't like the fact that you can't multitask and that it lacks a kickstand or carrying case.


Image Device: SONY 1/3 Zoll SUPER HAD CCD
Eff. Pixels: PAL / 752(H) x 582(V) 440K
Horizontal Resolution: 520 TV Lines
S/N Ratio: More than 50dB
Low Lux Sensitivity: .1 Lux / F2.0(@30 IRE)
White Balance: Auto
Gain Control: Auto
Back Light Compensation: Auto
Electronic Shutter:: NTSC 1/60-1/50,000sec Auto, PAL 1/50-1/50,000sec Auto
Power Supply: DC 12V (±10%)
Storage Temperature: -20°C ~ +60°C
Operating Temperature: -10°C ~ +50°C
Diameter: 23mm
CD Board Lens: f3.6mm

Now ist time to save a bullet camera from a life of boredom doing security by bringing it for a ride!

I am using 1/3 Zoll Sony CCDs that have 520 lines of resolution and are mounted in a tough, metal cylinder by some Korean outfit that measures 23 x 75mm. This is the identical bullet camera that comes with all the higher-end helmet-cam kits. I paid 260.00 € for mine from QVCVIDEO.com.

What you need, what to spend:
  • Bulletcam 480 or more lines, mostly included is a mono mic for sound (about 200.00 €)
  • digital Videorecorder (DVR) e.g. Archos AV500 (about 400.00 €)
  • shockproof case, big enough for DVR and batteries e.g. pelicase(about 30.00 €)
  • battery box or accu box probably 12 V DC (about 6.00 €)
  • foam material (about 10.00 €)
  • power switch (about 1.00 €)
  • a power plug which could be locked (about 10.00 €)
  • Archos Travel Kit - Adapter and Cable for AV500 (about 25.00 €)
  • optional lenses e.g. wide-angle
So you have to throw away about 682.00 €

How to make a Helmet cam?

Your first step is to buy those things i´ve listed up there. Think about the space and the place of the DVR and the batteryholder and specify the power switch, the archos AV signalinput cable outlet and the power-connector plug outlet on your case. Here is a picture show you the interiorlive of the machine (Click to enlarge).
Next you have to drill or cut out the opening for the switch, the power-outlet-connector and the AV input connector. Place the power switch in the hole and fix it with a little bit of power-glue. Afterwards screw-in the power connector to the casebody. Fit the foam material to the box and cut out the spaces for the Archos, the batteryholder, the powerswitch, the power-connector and the Video-In connector.

Now its time to connect the wires with the power-connector, the switch and the battery. Solder the negative (mostly black) wire from the batterypack to a pin on the power-connector. The positive wire (mostly red) is solded from the positive batterypack to the power-connector and then on to the other power-connector pin. S So on you can switch off the power to the bullet cam and save battery power!
The next thing is to solder the male power connector to the powercable from the bulletcam. Plug the Archos Travel Kit Cable with the (yellow) connector from the cam, the mic-wire with the red connector from the Travel Kit Cable. Tape the wires for the mono microphone together with the Archos Travel Kit Cable. Try to plug in the power connector and the Archos Travel Kit Cable with the Archos AV input. Now you should have a power supplied bullet cam which is getting worm if switched on and a video and audio input signal for the Archos.

Charge the batteries, i bought 8 AA rechargeable 2700 mAh, it will take in my case about 1 day and also charge the Archos AV500. Turn on the DVR and start CAMCORDER menue, now its time to switch on the bullet cam. The archos will now search and hopefully find an analog video signal - a picture !! Check a few menue setups like bitrate, scanning rate and so on and record your first movie.

I bought 2 additional lenses and cutted out space for them. Also i glued some foam material on the upper side of the case to fit the deviced inside perfectly. It is very important to prevent the Archos Av500 with its Harddisk from hard shocks! Remember: Your Archos could get damaged from hard shocks!