Miniature camera and transmitter
October 29, 2011 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Electronics project filter: I would like to learn more about building a miniature camera and short-range video transmitter module. Please point me towards useful tutorials, vendors, and/or part numbers.

I'd like to build a short-range (100 feet or less), low-fidelity, very lightweight (sub-gram) camera/transmitter (for example, something similar to the one found on the Delfly Micro -- check out the video at the bottom of the page). I am hoping to buy or sample the camera module itself and marry it to a custom transmitter (preferably one I could build around an IC with minimal discrete components). The receiver would be off-the-shelf and would have no size, weight, or power restrictions.

In addition to references and tutorials, I am very interested in hearing about specific products, vendors, manufacturers, and/or part numbers related to either miniature cameras or transmitters.

I have a background in electronics (i.e. feel free to get technical) and access to substantial PCB fabrication and assembly resources (i.e. I can probably make whatever it is you are describing). However, my knowledge of RF communication and the use of RF for video transmission is quite limited.
posted by Behemoth to Technology (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You might want to compromise on your desire do DIY.

The video waveform has sync, luminance, and chrominance info in it. The basic NTSC video waveform from the camera is going to have multi-megaHertz bandwidth and a 3.58 MHz color subcarrier, phase modulated. Go take a look at it here.

This has to be transmitted over your range. Perhaps there's a single IC that will do it all, but I would buy/hack the smallest video transmitted I could buy for this. One of the spy shops would be a good place to start. Expect to spend some money. Smaller = more expensive, and usually, smaller = lower power/range.

Destructive multi-path interference is a problem on non-line-of-sight paths and this manifests as positional dropout with the transmitter in motion. You can overcome it with a diversity receiver, sort of, but the best thing I have found is COFDM radios, which are EXTREMELY expensive, and the transmitters aren't small. (Coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) COFDM radios are really, really good at getting rid of multi-path problems, but they introduce image latency that is problematic if you are using the video in a man-in-the-loop control scheme. Diversity systems are better for that.

You've got a wide range of frequencies you can choose. I'd look for transmitters and receivers with synthesizers, since tunable ones drift and introduce video errors.

Not sure what your application is, but if you want to elaborate, I may have some sources/resources to share. (I did video / radio work on remotely operated vehicles for land mine/explosive ordnance removal and dealt with a number of these issues for 5 years or so.)
posted by FauxScot at 5:01 AM on October 30, 2011

« Older Terry Gilliam I love you, but you're not what I...   |   Can I smoke on the stairs across from my apartment... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.