Picture of R/C Duck Decoy-Camera Hack
This is a fun project that combines inexpensive components to create an instructable that can provide exciting upclose video and sound on any body of water. This is a simple Mallard duck decoy that has radio controlled propulsion, and a wireless video and sound system mounted inside. Video is transmitted to a receiver on shore that is either connected to a camcorder or DC television. Color video and sound can be transmitted over several hundred feet away! The decoy and camera is powered by rechargable nicads and provides 6 to 8 hours video, allowing wildlife obsevation never before possible. By watching thru your video monitor the duck can go into areas you can't see from shore. It's been great fun driving along the shore and watching and listening to people who don't realize it's radio controlled! Then when they notice it's a toy duck, they still don't know it has a video camera and a microphone! And they can't see me, I'm in my house watching on my big screen TV and recording on VHS tape! You can't buy this in any store, and for under $100.00 and a few hours easy work you can have one too! The instructable community love to build and create, and this is so easy that I hope you build one for yourself.
JayGeeBSE2 years ago
The sealant is silicone. Silicon is a hard element.
Ruminator3 years ago
My face is hurting from laughing at the result of my angling friends who keep whinging about ducks interferring with their 'sport', Im gonna have a go at making this and pimp it up with a recorded fish warning. Smart.
tslibertan7 years ago
Oh blow, my glory has been stolen. I made a duck-cam last winter. I had to build the duck entirely from scratch in order to hold my entire camcorder. Had a nice prop-shaft made with oilite bearings, and a rudder. Even had reverse. The hull was a radioshack project box. The duck body made of wire mesh, covered in fabric. The head was carved out of polystyrene

A brief glimpse of an early version can be seen at the very, very end of


but it's now for naught, I have been undone.

LTMS (laughing to my self) I like "I've been undone." You sound like a lot of peple here ... very fun.
I may as well add that the drive on my duck has seized because of moisture corrosion, and the speed controller burned out. I may try this instructable as Mark II, since using a pre-made drive machanism is probably the best approach. The use of a small camera really makes everything much simpler, believe me. There's also a commercial RC duck called vac-u-duck, I believe. I wonder if a female decoy would be more conducive to attracting other ducks, especially males, for good photography.
And great instructable, by the way.
FaqMan6 years ago
This is great it adds stealthy ,technology, and nature into one thing good job.
theRIAA8 years ago
this is the coolest idea in the world. it allows you to make multiple decoy spots! just watch out, usually motorized decoys of any kind = no so legal
Myself theRIAA8 years ago
Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I'd check my state's wiretapping statutes before operating something like this. The audio transmitter is what makes me worry. If it also contravenes wildlife regs by being built into a movable decoy, so much the better!

The instructable itself is great, very well explained and documented. Anyone who enjoyed reading this might also get a kick out of some amateur television projects too. Just slap that ol' NOT LIABLE tag on before someone gets in trouble!
static Myself8 years ago
Not an attorney myself, but.... It would be your audio channel, unless you use it to eaves drop in on private conversations, I see no problem. Only a decay if use to attract ducks to shoot with a gun instead of a camera. Why anyone would bootleg operate in an bands licensed to another service while an unlicensed option is available is beyond me.
acer73 static7 years ago
Its only illegal to record human conversations with out permision, so unless you putting this in peoples living rooms your good.
Roadstar (author)  theRIAA8 years ago
I live on a lake surrounded by homes, children and pets. I don't use this in any way that would harm an animal and don't hunt. It is a toy, swims with the kids, and drives up to boaters for their reaction. The ducks and geese swim right up to it without care. I really wanted to demonstrate that these cameras work well on batteries, are easy to make portable, and placing it in the decoy allows it to get nearer to wildlife than viewing from shore with binoculars. I can park it in the reeds and watch the video, or set it in the garden and watch the bird feeder. My grandchildren enjoy the heck out of it.
courtney7 years ago
have you got any video footage from the duck?
I just built a RCduck this weekend, I guess i was wrong when I though my idea was pretty original, mine' s not nearly as impressive either, and doesn't have a camera, but you can see it here in action trying to hang out with some other ducks. I'll make an instructable for it when I get a chance. I basically just strapped mine to a radioshack RC sub.

finnster7 years ago
i hav an rc plane and i'm going to mount a camera on it for live video footage. it will probably have a range of 600 ft
madman57 years ago
Way cool man but what you should try to do is extend the range because i live near a lake but like i dont live on the shore and wouldent the beak get in the way of the camera?
DrSimons7 years ago
I am SO going to do this...too bad there aren't any nearby rivers, but I've been wanting to get a wireless video cam anyway...this is great!
kik asss
ive seen r/c decoys before, but never with the camera, thanks alot!
treize78 years ago
where would i find this type of cheap rc water toy or car for cheap?
static8 years ago
Pretty clever hack. Anyone who would happen to discover your eaves dropping would be justified in drowning the thing. Ever give any thought of how law enforcement would react if anyone ever noticed that the decoy, as a decoy and, acting in a manner that decoys normally don't? A bird watcher with a pair of binoculars will be able to tell it's a decoy.
SHIFT!8 years ago
Wow, this is so cool! The park near my house has a small pond with many ducks, so this was a big hit for me.
I might have to rig something similar to keep an eye on my students :0
Truly an awesome instructable! Thanks for taking the time to put it together!
FreakCitySF8 years ago
Any surveillance shots? Any beefy ducks think this mallard was hot stuff?

I wanna make this using a croc head.
Roadstar (author)  FreakCitySF8 years ago
Unfortunatly I don't have a digital recorder so don't have a video to post. I record on VHS tape. The color, sound and resolution are very good. The camera was built to transmit through walls inside a home, and when outdoors transmitts about 500 feet or more. The antenna direction can weaken the signal, but usually just changing the camera position gets a clear image. I like the crock head idea, The expressions and comments you would capture would be pricless. A large foam head, carved and painted like a crock, swimming up to my dock would sure get a reaction out of me!
HamO8 years ago
Excellent instructable, well done. Great pix, thanks for sharing.
rocketbat8 years ago
LOL! very good! definately a +
Austinbwood8 years ago
Wow. This is so cool. Although i doubt i'll put a camera in it while i try out mine when i get around to make this, The remote control duck is priceless. Thank you for this wonderful project