Author Topic: Adding Video to Homebrew NV Rig  (Read 491 times)

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Offline IceBlerk

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Adding Video to Homebrew NV Rig
« on: April 27, 2018, 01:28:27 PM »
[rant]

I had 75% of this written up, accidentally closed the damn window and lost the whole post!!!!!!

Damn you, Red Cross in the Top Right-hand Corner! Damn you!!!!

[/rant]

Moving on .......................

Hello, folks!

I built a Homebrew NV Rig but the initial build did not provide the ability to record what the camera saw.

So I added an AV recording unit.

Now, I must point out that, although the unit has the ability to record audio I have not been able to get it to work. I cannot rule out a fault with the unit BUT I also cannot rule out my lack of skills, lack of knowledge and general incompetence. If anyone decides to add AV recording to their NV rig and gets audio recording to work I'd love to hear from them.

I tried a couple of these ProDVR units but they they exhibited faults when I tried to fire them up (ironically one of them fired up and emitted smoke!!!).

Eventually I settled on a larger unit but it had the advantage that it ran on 12V power which matched everything else in my build. It was one of these DVR devices.

The "business end" of the unit looks like this:



I'll talk about those controls and whatnot at the end.

The connections end of the unit looks like this:



This is the important end when it comes to adding this to the NV rig. Three ports; power (12V), V/A in and V/A out.

To get power to the unit I had two choices:
  • To use a Cable Splitter which would have been the most simple way forward
  • To do a bit of soldering.

I decided against a cable splitter because I wanted to keep the amount of cables rammed inside my NV rig box to a minimum and because I had a soldering iron I had never used!

So I went with option (2).

I got a bit of circuit board (cut to slot into my NV rig project box) and soldered the output from the 12V battery to it.

From those powered "rails" on the board I soldered "output" power feeds for my camera, screen and DVR.

It looks like this:



Ignore the small resistor and thin, red wires at the top of the pic. They are part of my failed attempt to get audio recording working.

The underside looks like this (and shows my poor quality soldering):



If you don't fancy soldering just use a cable splitter or two.

So, at this point we have power (Mu ha ha haaaa!).

Now I turn to this supplied connector cable:



I took the output from the camera out of the feed to the screen, plugged it into the yellow end of this cable and plugged the black end into the V/A In socket on the DVR unit.

Next is the other supplied connector cable:



(I've cut the redundant end off the end of one of the connections (audio) to save space.)

I plugged the red connector into the (now free) input feed to the screen.

It looks a bit like this:



The final piece of kit I needed was a memory card to store the recordings. I got one of these (they're readily available from high street stores or via fleaBay or wherever):



It goes into the slot marked "TF" at the business end of the unit (see previous pic of the business end).

At this point you should be bale to power up your screen, camera and DVR unit and (if everything is working) you'll get a picture on the screen of what the camera is pointing at and the red diode/light on the business end of the DVR unit should be flashing (this indicates that the unit is recording). If the red light is illuminated but not flashing it means that the unit is powered up but not recording (did you remember to put the memory card in the slot?).

Let's look at the settings on the DVR.

Press the "Function" button once and you should get some text appearing on the screen:



Press (yes, PRESS) the rocker wheel marked "SW" and the menu should appear:



Rock the rocker back and forth and the menu cursor will move down/up the menu options.

To select a menu option press the rocker.

Here's what it looks like when you select the first menu option for languages.



Press the rocker to select "English" (if that is your preferred language).

Here's what it looks like when you select the "Time" option.



Press the rocker to confirm a value, rock it to move to the next.

My resolution is set to "VGA", record mode to "Continue", sensibilty (?) to "Quick".

All good?

Great!

If you've managed to get power to the unit and the red light flashed you've recorded a video and it will be stored on the memory card.

You probably got one of these memory card adapters with the card:



Pop the memory card into the adapter and the adapter into the SD card slot of your PC/laptop.

Using Windows Explorer (or whatever your file manager of choice is) navigate to the memory card files.

It should look something like this:



Navigate into the "DCIM" folder:



There's your videos!!!!! They should play if you double click them. (I'll cover uploading these little gems to the web in another post.)

All good? Excellent!

There is no right way to pack your kit into the project box but here's how I did it.

I worked out where I was going to put the DVR unit and cut a slot in the side of the project box so I could access the business end without unscrewing stuff.



I used a couple of screws to fix the DVR unit to the back of the box (you can only see one in the pic):



I slotted my "power board" into the opposite end of the box and stuffed the cables between the DVR and the board:



Finally I placed the battery in the space over the DVR:



Having the battery in this position means I can easily get to the cables if I need to fiddle with them and the battery is held securely in place between the project box cover and the DVR unit.

We're nearly done! (Isn't it exciting?)

I screwed the project box cover back into place and mounted the screen (oo-er, missus!).

The end product looks like this:



I think there's more I could do to tidy things up but (for now) this works for me.

Any questions, comments or feedback are very, VERY welcome.

Thanks for your time.
..........so I packed up and went to the pub.

Offline IceBlerk

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Re: Adding Video to Homebrew NV Rig
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2018, 01:57:16 PM »
Oh! I forgot to say; the unit splits videos into 5 minute clips.

And if you power the unit off, pause and then power it back on you cause a new clip to be started.

So, when I've recorded something I want to find easily I power it off and back on again and I know the thing I'll be looking for will be towards the end of a file that is shorter/smaller than other files which will be uneventful five minute long jobs.

With my set up 5 minutes equates to about 250->260 Mb in size.
..........so I packed up and went to the pub.

Offline Gambo

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Re: Adding Video to Homebrew NV Rig
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2018, 06:29:04 PM »
Many Thanks for your time and effort in making this thread Blerky. ;)

Many Applauds issued. ;)

Offline Baggawind

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Re: Adding Video to Homebrew NV Rig
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2018, 01:29:47 PM »
Thanks for that Blerky. I think I could do the fitting part of the build but i,ll probably need the help of my mate with regard to the uploading onto the laptop bit. I,m a complete bozo when it comes to computers. Horses for coursers I guess.

Offline IceBlerk

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Re: Adding Video to Homebrew NV Rig
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 08:08:33 AM »
Many Applauds issued. ;)

Thanks!

Thanks for that Blerky. I think I could do the fitting part of the build but i,ll probably need the help of my mate with regard to the uploading onto the laptop bit. I,m a complete bozo when it comes to computers. Horses for coursers I guess.

I'm sure that a man of your intelligence will be bale to take on the necessary skills. Like many things in life, once you've done it a few times it becomes easy.
..........so I packed up and went to the pub.