808 Car Keys Micro Camera, Micro Video Recorder, Review
The 808 is a small color video camera with audio that also takes photos. I received and reviewed my first 808 car keys micro camera (version #1) in September 2009. I received email from many other 808 owners, thank you, who described how the electronics and functions of their 808 were different than mine. I started enumerating and documenting the many versions and this website grew. Each version has it's own page: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #16, #18.
A timelapse camera in a Tic Tac box.
Among my more questionable life choices is my regular participation (as part of The B-Team) in the 24 Hours of LeMons endurance racing series. We take old cars (many of which weren’t good when they were new), kit them out with roll cages and such, and race them all weekend. Good times are had by all. A friend of mine is half of the LeMons Supreme Court, and their job is to assign penalties to drivers/teams who do stupid things during the race. This generally involves public humiliation, and is pretty darn entertaining for everyone else. Anyway, one of the other things this chap does is attach timelapse cameras to competitors’ cars. He gets some pretty exciting on-track shots this way. He asked me to make something more disposable to help with this. The fact is, in a race this long and with this many cars (over one hundred is common), some swapping of paint is inevitable. Sooner or later, the camera will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why not try making something really cheap that, if crushed under the paws of a V8 e30, is no big loss?
He suggested the infamous “808″ camera as a starting point, and after a little research, I was inclined to agree. The 808 is a keychain camera that is cranked out by the
fu shipload in China, and they are ridiculously cheap. They can be found on eBay, and other places as well. The quality on them is awful (as you might imagine for that price) but they are quite hackable, and a subculture has developed around them. In actual fact, “the 808″ is a series of around twenty cameras that are all quite different internally, and you don’t really know what you’re going to get when you order one. Each variation has its own quirks, but they all have fun “features” like unprotected battery charging and high lead content in the plastic. Good times.
Around the same time as this idea came about, the fine folks at Newark sent over some some signal relays for me to test. I love these things, because they make it really easy (and cheap) to hack a microcontroller on to any existing device in order to automate it. This would turn out to be very serendipitous timing, as we’ll see.
My thought was to take one of these 808 cameras, hack an ATtiny microcontroller on to it to make it into a timelapse, and shove the whole thing in a magnetic box that can be slapped on the side of a race car. Here’s how I went about doing precisely that.
A Comment with good info and links...
Garry Seman says:
Here is a couple of links about switching regulators. all the icky things that made people stay away from them such as winding inductors, are no longer problems.
http://www.siongboon.com/projects/2005-08-07_lm2576_dc-dc_converter/ Mr Boon’s work makes for a great tutorial on using switching regulators, but remember ready made inductors are readily available these days
and last but not least.
Thanks for sharing your projects! Its great to relive the days when 6502′s ruled the world!
Read More (Along with the Comments on the page)...
Archive for the ‘Time Lapse Video Throwie’ Category
I’ve modified the code so that the timing is now driven off of the internal counter/timer instead of using a delay loop. This means that the variable image processing time is at least partially resolved, at least while the image processing time
is smaller than the image capture interval. For instance if I have a 15 second capture interval then while the image processing takes less than about 12 seconds, it’s fine. After that the image capture interval grows.
I’ve also modified the code to have the chip wait for a button press on the power switch before it starts working. This means that you can charge the unit and not have it capture images until you are ready. It also tests the power button in between image captures so you can turn it off anytime. I’m not going to bother putting the chip to sleep between intervals since it only draws about 0.5ma when busy.
I think that’s about it for the features I wanted to put in. The next step is to put the Atmel into the case and put the camera unit back together. I have some units coming from Hong Kong so hopefully they’ll arrive soon.
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- 808 Car Keys Micro Camera, Micro Video Recorder, Review
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