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Need inexpensive setup...

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Old 01-29-2004, 08:55 AM
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MMallory
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Default Need inexpensive setup...

Does anyone know of a very inexpensive setup which would be good enough to use as a lost plane locating system? Our field is next to a swamp and there are a bunch of planes lost in the reeds. I would like to fly over the area with on-board camera to attempt to locate the planes. I am not looking to spend a lot though. I would be happy with someones older system.

Mark M.
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Old 01-29-2004, 11:58 AM
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Rj-TailSpin
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

I was wondering why you would want to rescue planes after they have been lost for months? I found a couple lost planes. After a few months, the planes absorb moisture and weigh about 3 times as much as before they crashed. Some electronics might be reusable.

There really isn't any cheap viable system out there. Buy cheap and you'll buy twice or even three times. Nonetheless, getting a system fully functional is sometimes difficult which costs more money. Hundred dollars here and there, before you know it... you'll have over a grand in your plane. My Vidfly cost about a grand considering all the upgrades, changes, mounts, connections, batteries schemes, isolation issues etc... The list goes on. It's one thing to purchase a turnkey video solution, but to make it work in a plane is another. I don't want to discourage you, but you should know it will cost more than a couple of hundred dollars, then add some luck implementing the hardware and hope you don't destroy the equipment on hard landings. The most expensive thing will be your experience and time to work out the buggs. These items must be figured in.

A another thing to consider. Each time I fly without the video... no problem, it's easy for me. But, when I fly with video being captured... it's a hold different world. I get nervous and find the flights are not nearly as smooth as without video. Unless you have a truly multipathing brain ofcourse-grin. Good ground preparations and flight plans will help take out some of the uncertainty.

Good luck with your project.
Rob
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Old 01-29-2004, 03:30 PM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

Thanks Rob. I will take your advice to heart. The flying won't be an issue for me. The camera will be mounted in a very large Midwest Aerostar 80" span and pointed straight down. I will have a ground crew taking care of the capture.

At this field I recovered a ducted fan jet, I put in due to an untimely tuned pipe disconnect, 10 months later and the engine, retracts, servos, receiver and wheel were all still good. The plane would have been good if ants hadn't moved into the foam. While recovering useful items is nice, the search is just plain fun. Nobody likes to walk away without ever recovering their plane.

Mark
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Old 01-29-2004, 04:31 PM
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Hi Mark
I spent 55 bucks on ebay and couldn't be more satisfied. The picture is good. Not excellent, but good. You can see yourself waving real clear. This is a 1500mW system. It ate 9v batteries in about 5 minutes. Fixed that problem w/a couple of old Rx batteries tied together. Old futaba charger happened to be the right output. Now you get 1/2 hour of video and you can recharge. If you are professional cobbler like myself, you can get by REAL cheap. This system has plane old rca jacks from the Vid Rx hooked into the camcorder. No brain stuff. I keep thinking of upgrading but for the cost to better the picture only by a little bit, isn't worth it. IMHO

Spanky
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Old 01-29-2004, 06:00 PM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

One of the best plane-search setups I've seen was based on a $49 still digital camera called the Aiptek. The guy flew over the suspected areas and snapped digital still pics of the suspected areas, then reviewed the photos later.

The good part about using the still camera is that the resolution of even the cheapest camera (like the Aiptek) is going to better than the resolution of a video image. The downside is that if you don't have a laptop you have to go home to review and print the pictures, and make a second trip out to the field for the recovery.

Regards,
Bill
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Old 01-30-2004, 07:45 AM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

Bill,

With the still pictures, did he have an issues with the lag between when you hit the shutter and when it snaps? My digital is a little slow.
Good idea though.

Spanky,

Do you remember which brand? Was it from China?

Mark
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Old 01-30-2004, 04:55 PM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

From what I remember, he flew a search pattern over the area and pushed the shutter about once a second. Even if he pushed the shutter before the camera was ready, there was no harm done. The FOV was wide enough that he got plenty of overlap on the images. I can't remember how high he was flying.

Regards,
Bill
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Old 01-30-2004, 05:13 PM
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Hi Mark.
The box says "ZTV Electron". I'm sure the guy that I bought it from was an acting distributor and bought a bunch at a cheap price and put them all on ebay. ALL of the research I've done points to Electron being the manufacturer of all the camera's talked about. It's a matter of marketing and markup on who you purchase it from. (IMHO)

If you go to http://www.sznewway.com/ they have all the goods and probably the cheapest for a direct purchase. The little 200mW are 30 bucks direct purchase. The company is real good on returning emails. A friend of mine has purchased from them with no regrets. I was about to buy the 1500mW from them but I saw one come up on ebay. The 1500mW is good if you are like me and technically illiterate in the video area. It WILL put out the signal, and YOU WILL recieve it, no matter what.

Hope this helps
Spanky
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Old 02-01-2004, 01:46 AM
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jjjones
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

Just tried that link (WWW.sznewway.com), page comes up "Account suspended"...
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:56 AM
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Wow! That just happened. Oh well. http://ztv.en.alibaba.com/ is another one. I'm not sure of pricing here. A little creativity in the search engine w/ZTV Electron should work.

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Old 02-01-2004, 11:50 AM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

Here's a few to get you started:

Many of the Chinese companies will produce transmitters and receivers on any frequency/voltage you want if you order in quantity. The pricing is also very good. The only problem is determining the companies that supply the best equipment at the best price. It may look the same on the outside but it can be different on the inside, even if it comes from the same manufacture. Some of this stuff may last a day, a week, a month, a year or more.

http://www.sznewway.com/

http://www.ztv.cc/english/index.asp

http://www.lawmate.com.tw/products_en.html

http://www.anposi.com/

http://www.tvthk.com/index.cfm?fusea...1613&pageid=73

http://www.allthings.com.au/Catalogu...der%20menu.htm

http://www.k9.derbycounty.co.uk/html...ansmitter.html

http://www.thespystore.com/videotransmitter.htm

http://www.blackwidowav.com/

http://www.hamtv.com/

http://www.cocom.com/

http://www.transmitvideo.com/index.html

http://www.tinywireless.com/

http://www.microcameras.com:/index.htm
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Old 02-01-2004, 12:23 PM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

Video modules are the way to go. You can't strip down a finished transmitter easily to save weight.

I think the lightest set up with the least possible r/c interference to receive at long distances is a 5v 600mw or 12v 1000mw transmitter module, a circular patch receiver antenna and a low noise receiver amp.

Transmitter and receiver $200.00
Low noise or ultra low noise preamp $70.00-140.00 from Down East Microwave. You must have a ham license to purchase here.
Patch antenna $40.00-50.00
Camera $85.00-275.00 depending on what you want and think you need.

The best ham legal, readily available equipment at this time is still from Bill at Blackwidow.com.

Spanky1, I know you are happy with your system and I respect your choice of equipment.
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Old 02-01-2004, 04:35 PM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

Worked for me as of 2/1/04 1:33PM PST.

ORIGINAL: jjjones

Just tried that link (WWW.sznewway.com), page comes up "Account suspended"...
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Old 02-01-2004, 04:58 PM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

ORIGINAL: Spanky1

Hi Mark
I spent 55 bucks on ebay and couldn't be more satisfied.
Spanky
which system did you get?
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:40 AM
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Default RE: Need inexpensive setup...

Wow! Thanks! A lot of great information.

This is a lot to sift through. If any of you have an old system you are not using, I am willing to go that route as well.

Thanks again,

Mark
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