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Cameras - MK1 Balloon

A project log for High Altitude Weather Balloon

Design and build hardware and software required to launch a fully functional weather balloon

Jonathan BuchananJonathan Buchanan 07/22/2016 at 01:030 Comments

As this was a project on a tight budget, I'm sure you'll laugh at my webcam selection. One was a iSight camera I pulled out of an ancient g5 iMac and soldered a usb port onto. The other was a 720p Microsoft lifecam I ordered from amazon for $20.

Regrettably, I don't have a great picture of either one, but here is a decent one, highlighted for your convenience.

In retrospect, two usb camera's likely wasn't good for my power consumption, as it uses power doubly as a usb device and because webcams are poorly optimized for the pi (compared to the picamera).

Drivers for the iSight camera were actually a bit of a struggle. There is a tool for Debian that can extract the .fw file from the corresponding OS X kext. The only hitch is that that kext comes from Leopard. Six operating systems out of date. Needless to say that proprietary file is scarce on the internet. After hours of broken links, I did eventually find it though. The Microsoft camera worked without any issues.

For both usb cameras I used fswebcam, a versatile yet lightweight command line program for using usb webcams.

Due to the naming issue brought up in the GPS post, I gave fswebcam the

/dev/v4l/by-id/
entry of the cameras to ensure consistancy.

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