Portable LabCam

Portable LabCam

Ok, sure, I could’ve bought something like this, but I had some extra parts from a project that involved shooting a camera out of a 40mm grenade launcher. Yes, that’s what I said. Why do you people keep making me repeat myself?

Anyway, I had a bunch of parts around, so this was my quick and dirty weekend project. The goal: a wireless camera that I could carry into the machine shop or just move around the lab for my ustream broadcasts. I had some 1.2AH 6V sealed lead acid batteries for my Big Trak update, so I decided to use those. The cameras and transmitter I got for the M203 cam project run around 4V, so I just went with an LM317 linear regulator to condition the 6V battery. Yes, old school, not efficient, but also easy to throw together on some old perfboard in the lab. What else are you going to do with all this old stuff?

It was probably overkill to use the milling machine to cut the slot for the battery, but then it also allows for tight precision and straight lines, something I’m not so good at with a Dremel. Hey, I’m an engineer not a sculptor. I had concerns about how to insure a good epoxy connection between the upright PVC tube and the base, which is some nifty material I was given, great for prototype bases etc, but I don’t know what it is. Yes, I know, there are ways to identified plastics with flame tests and so forth, I just haven’t taken to the time to do it. Anyway, I put (qty) four #4 screws through the base such that they bite in to the PVC tube and provide nice hold for the epoxy.

Since I may need the electrical parts transferred back to their originally intended use, everything is connected with headers or other connectors. The camera, transmitter, and voltage regulator can be quickly removed and repurposed. There is a main power switch, and a switch to turn off the transmitter as well as RCA jacks for audio and video. That way I can use it as a wired cam too. Just a quick little project for the weekend. I try to do something like this on the weekends so I don’t spend all my time working.

Here’s some project porn for your viewing pleasure.

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