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Messages - Nixie

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Riding Gear, Clothing, and Apparel / Re: Custom helmet camera.
« on: July 10, 2020, 07:40:30 AM »
Well, yesterday while finding someone with a SLA printer, willing to do the pieces for me at a reasonable price (wich I found, btw) I printed the lateral cover, more for kicks than anything, and wow...

Sideplate closeup with it's miniature screws:

It also helped to confirm the contact and sizing of the heatsinking protrusion:

As for the battery/capacitor, after much deliberation, I decided to go LiPo (200/400mAh, good for about 5/10 minutes at least (maybe more but I prefer to remain conservative about estimations) and an external supply using a normal USB power bank. As a whole it will be less efficient (a few conversions of voltage around) BUT it is much more simplified, and it has less special gear to carry around than other options I was considering.

Riding Gear, Clothing, and Apparel / Custom helmet camera.
« on: July 09, 2020, 01:49:58 PM »
A few days after poking around with my F9 camera and finding out there are no new or old firmwares avaliable, nor adjustments for the camera (or anything, for that matter) I just decided to start again an old project of mine: Building a helmet cam from "scratch" (not from literal scratch, as drone cameras are so advanced that it's futile trying to develop the electronics too, there's plenty of options now (and they where when I first thought about this)).


You see, I'm a fashion victim, I admit it. Every time I see a GoPro in a helmet, I get sick.

When I see this:

I think of this:

I know, I know, It's not like there are lots of options out there. It's either GoPro or clone, F9 or the expensive Sena Tube, and not much else. (GoPro's Session, once you add the waterproof case, it's also bulky. And all the mounts are also large, not helping in any case.
And the thing is, our helmets are curved, but none of the avaliable cameras use that to it's advantage to make them more streamlined, and I'm thinking, why noone makes a wedge shaped camera so it has a lower profile?...
Well, if noone is going to manufacture that, f**k it, I'm gonna build it myself!

First I took out the camera module I had bought some time ago: a CADDX Turtle V2, real 1080p / 60fps (much better than the F9 camera) and just looked at it while thinking.
One of the main thoughts I had was:
"If I was ready to carry a powerbank and a cable for the F9 camera, why not remove the whole battery thing altogheter from the camera? (not totally true, but more on that later).
So, I got to work. First I made a simple suport to put all the parts near the helmet so I could visualize what I was dealing with. Be afraid NOT!(yet) this has nothing to do with how I wanted it to look.

With everything on sight, the first thing I understood is that I wanted the camera to be gimballed, so I could fine tune the angle it pointed out so even if the body was not perfectly aligned, the POV would be adjustable.

With that I started to see what kind of shape I wanted it to have. A limiting factor is the control board that measures 29x29mm (the camera body is 19x19mm) so the body itself MUST at least be a bit taller than 30mm. What I definitely didn't want was the GoPro attachment, so that's the first thing I removed:

In the helmet:

And against the F9:

Altough I had definitely gone overboard with the similification and volume reduction, and the pcb barely fit. After thinking about it, and some modifications later, I got this:

Much better. So, with that shape in mind, I started from scratch and built around the idea:

After refining some details:

And adding the micro-SD acces port:

That was looking great, altough the camera had started to get bulky at 37x37mm frontal size, and I got worried that the thing was NOT going to be an improvement, BUT I decided to print a body and front cover to test anyways.
When you see the first impression, is indeed a bit bulky, altought compared with the F9, it does poke less from the helmet side:

But ah!
When you see it from the side, everything changes! Now the F9 looks humongous against the Nixie-Cam ("official" name, XD):

And leaving it alone, also looks much better:

Once I had printed the gim-ball and tested it:

Gimbal working:

But, what about road exposure? No worries! The ball and lateral cover have o-rings, plus the silicone seal on the micro-SD card.

At the very least, the camera should be IP55 rated (dust and water splash resistance) but I bet it will be good up to IP68 (impervious to dust and very heavy rain, BUT NOT underwater-waterproof)

Meanwhile I make a few revisions of the camera, I'm yet undecided about taping the camera directly to the helmet, or making some kind of low profile attachment. I only have one helmet, so It's not like I'll need to change it to another one, but I might see the practicality of removing the camera later.

As for fabrication:

The body, front and camera ball will be 3D printed in SLA-resin, much more temperature resistant than filament (PLA/ABS) and inherently more resistant to UV radiation. I will have to find someone capable of printing that at a reasonable price, but not Shapeways, as they charge excesively for shipping to spain. The lateral panel will be machined in Aluminium, but I can do that at home no problem.

As for the internal (or not) battery I mentioned before. I can see the camera being more useful if it can record at least 1 minute after being disconnected from main power, so in case of crash, you can record what happened. I might try using a supercapacitor, so I don't have to deal with charging/protection circuitry for a li-po battery, but that can wait until I have finalised the mechanical design.

And that's all for now, see ya!


Soldering both magnetic and EC-6E connectors:


Final gluing of the connectors and cables (the EC-6E socket was filled with hot glue and the connector pressed in while it was connected, the anti-rotation pins making the alignment perfect so no stresses will come to it in operation (screw/unscrew).

Final assembly:

I'll probably build the extended version to store a second SD card later, when I get spare parts for it.

I'm sure everyone has heard about this little camera that could (during daylight).
INFO: btw, the connector this camera uses is called EC-6E, and it's a specific Fujifilm camera connector...because proprietarieness :P

However, battery life is shorter than the max 32Gb SD card size, and apart from carrying multiple cameras, there is no reliable way of charging while riding...or is there?
Of course, anyone can engineer his or her way into that, it just requires determination, and a lack of practical sense.
So, this my approach:

First I was tempted to modify the back cap of the camera, but then I remembered I had spare parts from another camera, and as it happens, the front glass holder is also thread compatible with the back, so I just used that instead. The rear cap could be easily modified with a lathe to do the same with little trouble.
Then I tested that the camera would actually record while powered up from a power bank, wich it did.

After that, I dissected a spare cable for the connector (found no way to get it online):

After rumagging my old connector bin, I was about to use a simple power jack, BUT luckily, I remembered I had a magnetic charging port I could surely modify to suit my needs:

To prevent damage to the connector, I thought on using the holes for the charging status and reset to locate two anti-rotation pins:

After much measuring, and meanwhile the printed spat out the first test piece, I started modifying the micro-USB magnetic connector, just removing the metal shield so I could have access to the pins and solder a pair of cables where required:

After a few iterations (4), I managed to exactly locate the pin positions:

And the connector position relative to them:

As for the mag connector:

After some more tweaks for heights and such, I am right now printing a full body test piece:

Since the camera can't accept more than 32Gb, I also designed a version that can hold a SD card inside, just for convenience. It's just 5mm taller:

It is now printing, but it will take a while still, I'll tell about it later.

Before anyone asks, no, this is not practical or sane to do. It's cheaper to buy a second camera ready to switch, or buy a better camera for a bit more money. I just happen to have more time than money right now and little self control about "why not?" challenges. XD
ALSO, this is unique and makes me feel special, I'll do it anyways.

But the linked one is ugly:001: :001: :001:

Half-kidding apart, yes, I agree that even the cheap ones, used in a sensible way, will work fine and not suppose a danger. This is more of an engineering exercse than anything else, I'm just reinventing the wheel for myself, not the whole world (as a product or sellable thing). And since I'm at it, I want it to look good, as I'm a bit of a fashion victim myself.

Thought about them, but I could still not lift my hand from the throttle, just open the fingers.

BUT, it's a simpler and cheaper solution than mine, I just have too much free time right now, and I'm using the whole thing as an excuse to practice machining and whatnot (AND I just ordered stainless and titanium bar stock yesterday XD!)
In any way I pretend to say this is the next best thing and/or revolutionary and disruptive tech, just a machinist having engineering fun.  :001:


@yuletine: NOOOOOO, it's not a secondary throttle! (but I totally understand why you might think that).
@Jamie Z: Leet me try to explain. (sometimes my spanish gets the best out of me and my english explanations suck, sorry!).

So, in general, we can say I can't rest the right hand while riding, even freewheeling the motorbike will decelerate faster than the time I need for un-numb my fingers (I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome as far as I know, but the throttle hand sometimes goes numb starting with the rightmost fingers inwards, especially when wearing winter gloves.

So, I decided I could use a throttle LOCK (keep in mind the "lock" part) to be able to rest my right hand. However, after thinking about it with all the corona free time thing, I don't think a throttle lock like anything commercially avaliable is safe, as I don't want something that can permanently block the throttle (even if easily overpowerable to adjust) as, in worst case scenario, I could fall and the motorbike keep running and hurt someone or damage itself.
So...I kept thinking about it, and came to the conclusion that what I want is something that can HOLD the throttle with a constant input (in this case, using my left hand on a control on the left part of the handlebar) but as soon as I let go, it will let go of the throttle, no matter what.

So, the device works as follows: When my throttle fingers start to go numb, I can move my left hand outwards, grab the left counterweight and rotate it slightly, that will activate braking pads inside the throttle handle, that will keep it in the exact place it is. Then I can let go fo the RIGHT hand, rest it, wave it, whatever. When the right hand is ok again, I can grab the throttle with my right hand, and just let go of the LEFT counterweight, wich will release the throttle.

SAFETY 1: The throttle is always in free movement setting, there is no fully locked position were I can let go of both hands. The brake is spring loaded for release, so in case of bowden failure, it will rest in the free movement setting.

SAFETY 2: The brake for the throttle handle is totally overpowerable with little effort. There is no situation where the handle can't be moved from wherever to zero.

Hope this helps understanding the device, if not, let me know and I'll try explaining it differently.

*Originally Posted by ewryly [+]
I'm not poking fun at the project. I use a crampbuster when I go on long rides.  I was just enjoying an unintended, I presume, treat in the syntax of your first line.

OMG, I hadn't realized the pun. XDDDDD

Well done /gives medal of punor/.

@timur: Yeah. but so much other stuff needs to be homologated as well (so much people with chinese brake/clutch levers that still pass ITV no problem, that given the invisibility of the mod, it's not like anyone is going to think it anything but an aesthetic mod. In any case, I have zero intention of making this a product or selling it, (even if some on other forums have asked).

@motorboy: Yes, hence this doesn't lock the throttle indefinitely, only does it as long as you hold twisted the left counterweight for the exact reason you say, being in control.

@ewryly: Glad to know you don't have wrist trouble! With summer gloves I'm kinda fine most of the time, but winter gloves make my throttle fingers go numb sometimes (the gloves are well tailored), hence why developing this silly thing. XD

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