G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Guys - brand new member here so pardon any misused etiquette or wrong area for my questions. I'm working on an indoor project and need guidance onthe following:
- Wireless cameras to be installed on G scale train, to be displayed on in-house monitors
- Power for cameras - do cameras have to be battery powered or can they get power from train/track,etc?
- Suspended layout (from ceiling and possibly walls)
- Installer for above layout
- Recommendations on durable equipment to be run all day (if possible) or with interval rest stops

Once again please excuse my ignorance. This is why I need help!
Thanks much,
Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
760 Posts
Hi Guys - brand new member here so pardon any misused etiquette or wrong area for my questions. I'm working on an indoor project and need guidance onthe following:
- Wireless cameras to be installed on G scale train, to be displayed on in-house monitors
- Power for cameras - do cameras have to be battery powered or can they get power from train/track,etc?
- Suspended layout (from ceiling and possibly walls)
- Installer for above layout
- Recommendations on durable equipment to be run all day (if possible) or with interval rest stops

Once again please excuse my ignorance. This is why I need help!
Thanks much,
Dave
Wow. Those are a lot of questions :)

Before we answer completely, you might need to give us some more info. What types of trains are you going to be running? Euro or American outline? Passenger or freight? Modern diesel and electrics, or old-fashioned steam? Do you want sound? Wireless control? What radius will your curves be?

As a guess, any small wireless camera that will fit will work. Lots of videos are posted from peoples' iPhones sent around in a freight car or GoPros rubber banded to the front of a loco.

The issue I see with battery power is that if you have an elevated layout, changing them might be inconvenient. There are many ways to pick up power from the track, but one thing to keep in mind is that if the layout is DC, as the train slows at some point the power will drop below what the camera requires. I think sorting this out might be the tricky part. Going all the way to DCC might be overkill... it's hard to say. I'm sure someone will be along with more thoughts soon.

I've had good luck with LGB equipment, most of mine is used and all of it is of the older, West German manufacture. It seems to be very robust and replacement parts are readily available. Be aware that 24/7 running will eventually wear down the rail at the curves and that the locomotives will need regular service. You almost certainly need to have a "spare" loco ready to run if you're serious about having one going all the time.

Welcome to the board!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks riderdan for your time and expertise. I should've been more clear on the camera situation. We want to have the cameras live in real time - not recordings) so "closed circuit" if you will. Do you know if this has been done in G-scale with color HD cameras and in real time as mentioned? Regarding battery based cameras, we could have the train pull into a station house nightly where we can pull and recharge a battery(s), but ideally not having to do that would be much more convenient. Regards to EQ - I've been told LGB, Marklin are reliable, but I'm open minded.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
I tried it once with an X-10 type camera that ran on 3 AA batteries. This was a long time ago and trying to run it outdoors. It didn't work too well.

The batteries didn't last very long (less than an hour) and the camera's antenna and the Receiver's antenna had to be oriented with the flat sides parallel to each other... so naturally when the train went around in a circle the reception dropped off twice in the loop when the camera's antenna was not oriented properly (it did work okay when the batteries were fresh and the loco was closest to the Receiver).

Also, if the train was at the far end of the track and I walked between them, my body was enough resistance to the signal that it was lost, but I was trying to transmit over 100 ft to the receiver. I have seen some HO scale equipment that runs from track power and works fine indoors on a small HO scale layout. And newer technology surely has overcome the distance and obstruction problems I encountered. MicroMark used to sell an HO scale camera (that would fit in an HO scale loco) and receiver, I don't know if they still do. You might check out their site (www dot micromark dot com).

Also do a web search for "surveillance" systems...

Running the camera from track power or batteries is not a problem, but powering a radio transmitter that will transmit any good distance through walls and such takes more power than batteries alone can provide for a long time. Maybe the today's newer battery technologies might improve the run time but I think track power would be better.

Plain DC variable voltage power on the track would be a problem, but something like DCC, where the power is constant and the speed of the loco is controlled via pulses on the track via a speed controller in the loco itself (can easily be filtered out so they don't interfere the camera and transmitter) would work fine.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
newer technology surely has overcome the distance and obstruction problems
Absolutely. They use WiFi now, and your suggestion to search for 'surveillance' is the right one. Many security system cameras broadcast to a fixed monitor or over the internet to your browser. My pal has a webcam in the window of his FL condo so he can see what is going on outside with his boat.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
Dave - a few thoughts - if you have a reasonably new but retired cell phone you may be able to use it to stream video over WiFi with little more than an app on the phone - I am currently looking into doing just that for an upcoming Maker Faire where I would like to display real time video in HD.

I have also been experimenting with an inexpensive (< $100) GoPro knock off that has WiFi built in. There is an app that I have installed on a tablet that shows the video direct from the camera.

I'll see if I can put together a short video to show how that works.

As to power you certainly can power any of these devices from track power, be it DCC or straight DC. You would need to clean it up with some capacitors, provide for reverse polarity and voltage regulation but it surely can be done.

dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
WiFi Streaming to Tablet

Dave - I just uploaded a short video to YouTube that shows how the SJ4000 camera can be used to send real-time video to a tablet --- I used an Android tablet but I believe it also will work with iPads.

The range is not stellar but certainly OK for many uses - I got about 60 feet line-of-sight in the driveway and was solid anywhere in my basement (about 35 x 40).

The video is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYXpxScxLcM&feature=youtu.be

The video quality is very good and can be recorded as well.

dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
DB vid is the bees knees

Dave B - THANKS! SO now we know (I know) it can be done. So next step I think for me is to find out how to, if at all possible, increase the range where we can utilizes the wireless camera(s) on an XXL layout. Also, find a way to get it powered where we don't have to use batteries if possible. Unless the batteries could last a long time which I think would be difficult. Additionally I'm assuming if it worked with your android tablet it should work with a smart TV (since we want to show the live stream from the train to a larger audience, thus using a 42" or larger monitor). Great vid DB!
Thanks,
Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
Dave, are you running that from batteries or track power. It's very cool.
That video was made with the camera and tablet all running from batteries.

The camera can be connected to a microusb plug for charging and will run while being charged. That allows one to build up a 5 volt charging circuit that is fed by track power and to run the camera for hours & hours.

As it is the battery will operate the camera for an hour or so.

FYI, the camera is this one from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/ANART®-SPC-01...F8&qid=1442008962&sr=1-6&keywords=sj4000+wifi

Be careful of SJ4000 clones (yes, there are clones of the clone of the GoPro) as some are of really low quality.

dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
Dave B - THANKS! SO now we know (I know) it can be done. So next step I think for me is to find out how to, if at all possible, increase the range where we can utilizes the wireless camera(s) on an XXL layout. Also, find a way to get it powered where we don't have to use batteries if possible. Unless the batteries could last a long time which I think would be difficult. Additionally I'm assuming if it worked with your android tablet it should work with a smart TV (since we want to show the live stream from the train to a larger audience, thus using a 42" or larger monitor). Great vid DB!
Thanks,
Dave
Increasing the range with the camera I used might be tricky. In theory you could add a WiFi repeater but there is no guarantee that it would do what you need.

Your smart TV would have to accept Android apps as the video from this camera is only available from an app. You could, of course, use an Android phone or tablet that had HDMI out and connect that to your TV.

dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
if at all possible, increase the range
I have a wireless range extender in my home to propagate the signal sideways. It's just a box plugged in the wall outlet. Presumably it will work with your rig.

A more desirable solution, if the TV and layout are far apart, would be to use a wired connection. A WiFi extender at one end and then plug the cable in your TV. Or something like that!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
500 Posts
Q: for Dave Bodnar -- Dave, what Android app are you using? I just browsed the App store for my IPad and got a ton of confusing choices, some of which say they need to work in conjunction with another one, or using a Mac as a master controller. (Or sometimes they're just assuming you want to get a stream from your Mac to your IPad -- maybe they'll work if you can drag the stream from another wifi-enabled device -- it's not clear.

Anyway, I thought I'd read the name of the app you're using, or caught it on your video? But I can't find it now..

I'm rambling here... some days are like that...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,078 Posts
If you want high quality video with better range than WiFi can provide take a look at the stuff used in Quadcopters and similar video platforms.

The Hero cameras work good together with small FPV AV 5.8gHz equipment. This stuff will do all you want and then some. Prices start at $40.00 or so on eBay, also available at Amazon and many other online sites.

I'm training with my newly assembled DJI F450, Hero 3+ Black HD camera w/3d gimbal together with AV 5.8gHz system, exceptional video quality IMO... Video link here from like equipped machine at train station in Michigan.


Battery power is required, I'd suggest an AV car (boxcar/gondola or similar) with battery bank and video gear for best results.

Michael
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
Q: for Dave Bodnar -- Dave, what Android app are you using? I just browsed the App store for my IPad and got a ton of confusing choices, some of which say they need to work in conjunction with another one, or using a Mac as a master controller. (Or sometimes they're just assuming you want to get a stream from your Mac to your IPad -- maybe they'll work if you can drag the stream from another wifi-enabled device -- it's not clear.

Anyway, I thought I'd read the name of the app you're using, or caught it on your video? But I can't find it now..

I'm rambling here... some days are like that...
Gary - the app is specific to the camera I am using - the camera is an SJ4000 that I got on Amazon - the app is called iSmart DV

I doubt that it will work with any other camera.

dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
If you want high quality video with better range than WiFi can provide take a look at the stuff used in Quadcopters and similar video platforms.

The Hero cameras work good together with small FPV AV 5.8gHz equipment. This stuff will do all you want and then some. Prices start at $40.00 or so on eBay, also available at Amazon and many other online sites.

I'm training with my newly assembled DJI F450, Hero 3+ Black HD camera w/3d gimbal together with AV 5.8gHz system, exceptional video quality IMO... Video link here from like equipped machine at train station in Michigan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KFfY71jMpw

Battery power is required, I'd suggest an AV car (boxcar/gondola or similar) with battery bank and video gear for best results.

Michael
Michael - how do you connect the Hero 3+ to the transmitter? The 5.8 gig transmitter / receiver pairs I found on Amazon take composite video and that is not good for high quality video.

I would like to give this a try and would appreciate some links to specific products. Perhaps one that takes HDMI video?

thanks!

dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
365 Posts
I have used a small surveillance kit from Fry's for under $100. The camera is about 1 inch square and runs from a 9 volt battery. I use an external wi-fi antenna on the receiver and get good coverage at 100+ feet. I use a small Velcro tab to mount it on top of the cupola and the battery hangs down inside the caboose. The receiver is small and has a composite output that hooks to any modern TV. The camera shoots over the train and gives a good point of view. At shows, it is a big hit as people try to figure out where the camera is. Kids like to get in line with the track and see themselves on the monitor. I typically get most of a day with one battery.

Michael
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,078 Posts
Dave

The inexpensive stuff is all composite video or RCA between the display and receiver. The camera is connected via micro-USB adapter cable to the transmitter AV input. There is HDMI stuff available; its much pricier and utilizes WIFI.

The video quality is very good IMO, I have the Hero 3+ Black Edition camera set-up for 1080-30fps output.

I'll put some links up for the equipment I have.

Michael
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
Dave

The inexpensive stuff is all composite video or RCA between the display and receiver. The camera is connected via micro-USB adapter cable to the transmitter AV input. There is HDMI stuff available; its much pricier and utilizes WIFI.

The video quality is very good IMO, I have the Hero 3+ Black Edition camera set-up for 1080-30fps output.

I'll put some links up for the equipment I have.

Michael
Michael - thanks for the info - I ordered a transmitter / receiver pair (5.8 GHz) and a small camera from Amazon - should have them tomorrow.
I'll give a report once they come in.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GWFUTSK?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I0O79J8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00


dave
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Top