In-Car Cameras


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We carry the Action Sports cam system at PCI and have had good luck so far. They are a great way to show off what you do without going to the expense of a digital system. I would also suggest the remote option and they make a bitchin billet bracket. The newer Sony cameras with an LANC port and the VCR option seem to work the best. We have had some problems with the cannon cameras. We are working on a way to hook audio into the intercom system like we do for the Black Box system should be finished after the Baja 500 race winds down. The Action Cam does have a built in speaker to pick up engine noise. Good luck!


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Scott -
What problems have you had with Canons? The reason I was looking at the Action Sports cam in the first place is I recently got a second camera...a Canon ZR40 miniDV. It has the LANC port, VCR option, and analog to digital convertor. Have you had enough problems to make me want to sell it and look for a Sony?
Thanks for the advice!


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The ZR40 I once used worked well. My buddy uses an older (& smaller) ZR20 in a fanny pack on his dirt bike without problems. They were both a bit of a pain to get adapted to our RCA jack-equipped cameras. I now use a Sony TRV315 camera and have good luck with it as well. It's a lot bigger than the other two and the batteries die quick, so we're trying to figure out how to hard wire it into the truck's 12v system. It has RCA jack inputs so I just plug in the audio connectors that Scott added to our intercom into the L & R channels (Thanks Scott, we love it!!), and plug the video input from the camera directly into it without adapters. The 3 RCA jacks are a lot sturdier than the 1 long, skinny 1/8" plug used on the Canon. The intercom hookup is cool because it's stereo, and the engine noise is picked up easily through the helmets. (You can always add the rap or punk music later) Our camera has a mic on it, but it's WAY too loud and all you get over 5 mph is wind noise anyways.

Patty and Curt Hayos found a camera at Fry's for like $50 and plug it into an older analog camera. Haven't seen the video yet, but they said it works well also. I'm sure if you PM them they'd give you some more info.

Of course, if you're smart and don't want to waste a lot of time, you should go with a pro system like Scott offers. I'm too cheap!

Side note: Anyone have any bright ideas how we can superimpose GPS speed (or sensor readings from a data logger) into the camera???



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The el cheapo Frys color spy camera ($39 SWANN) works fine for us we can even read the tach if the sun is out, its the old Sony camcorder thats a drag, it keeps shutting off without hitting any of the buttons. Since our data logger/GPS info would already be in the computer, superimposing shouldn't be that hard, I just need to spend some time looing at different software programs to make it happen. I was thinking of using a 12v VCR so I could hardwire it in the truck and get like 6 hours of the desert, but I can't find an inexpensive (+/-$100) small one that I wouldn't mind trashing, also if I put it in plastic bags to keep the dust out, I'm worried about heat generation and then a potential fire.

I've seen VCR's and camcorders shut off by themselves before and always thought it had something to do with the tape tension or dirty heads, if anyone knows what it might be, I wouldn;t mind spending some time on the old Sony since its paid for and I don't care if I trash it...Thx, Curt

PS, Scott where might I be able to obtain one of your magic Intercom to RCA sound adapters? How much?...



another issue with a portable vcr is the vibration. Most people use 8mm or dv decks. Sony makes some and you are looking at $500-$800(?) or so/ An alternative would be a camcorder with AV inputs.

No matter what you do make sure its cushioned, otherwise you end up with drop outs everytime you jump or take a hit with the vehicle.


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It could be a crappy battery, but it is probably an automatic sleep feature. I had a really old JVC that would shut off after 5 mins I think. As long as you were fiddling with the zoom though, it would record until the batteries/tape ran out.

Say, as an example, you wanted to make naughty films. You'd either have to jump up and run the zoom in and out every 4 minutes, or you'd have to have a cameraman in the room with you running the camera so that it would stay on past 5 minutes. Maybe the engineers just didn't think anyone would possibly need more than 5 minutes... I was worried about the SONY I borrowed doing the same thing, but it's fine.



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Is that example for experience? Maybe they thought 5 min was more than you normally need.