Instructables

Installing a CVS/ RiteAid camcorder in a Zagi 400

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I have had a hacked CVS/RiteAid disposable camcorder laying around for a while now but have not really found much of a use for it as of yet, until now. I was poking around on YouTube about a month ago looking for RC airplane videos and came across a video of a GWS SlowStick with a CVS camcorder attached to it, all the sudden I know what to do with my camera.

Another video with the forward facing mirror installed.

 
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Step 1: Materials

Materials:
- As the name implies you well need a Zagi 400, should work with other RC flying wings as well.
- You well also need a hacked CVS or RiteAid disposable camcorder. Haking a CVS / RiteAid camcorder Here is a link on hacking the camera. $30
1 - two AAA battery holder from Radio Ripoff. $1
- A long bladed hobby knife or sharp pocket knife to modify the Zagi.
- Velcro to hold the camera in place $1
- USB extension cable for down loading the video.
- Tape to reinstall the battery tray, either strapping tape or electrical tape. I use electrical tape because it is easier to get off and I have a bunch of it. If you use electrical tape make sure to wrap it around the leading and trailing edge a bit so it well not try to peel off all the time.

Additional Materials to make the camera forward viewing:
1 - 1" round mirror, these are available at craft stores. $2
- some styrofoam to make a support for the mirror.
- Video editing software to mirror the video as it well be inverted because of the mirror.

This conversion only cost me $34 to do, which is about the cheapest I have seen for an onboard video camera.
wenpherd5 years ago
with a little movie magic you cauld make it look like you are in a fighter plane
emdarcher5 years ago
that looks awesome but I don't know if I could build it.
IX Smith XI5 years ago
That what im thinking about going to my glider but real time video.
I've seen a "hack" on You Tube on how to turn that CVS single use camcorder into a multi downloadable one.
finnster6 years ago
how much does it cost???
Ohm (author)  finnster6 years ago
How much does what cost, the camera or the plane? The camera is $30, the plane is long out production but you could do it with a newer one which I think are going for around $200 for the complete kit. Also Rite-Aid and CVS have caught onto the fact that people are not returning their cameras and have made it harder to crack the protection on the camera it can be done though, you just have to search around the web for the programs to do it.
aceLED6 years ago
could u do this with a usb cam and like add some sort of way to store memory on it if so plzz some one get back to me
GreenAce926 years ago
Quick question too can you hear sound if you remove that speaker and how did the camera turn out?
the camera still has a mic the speaker was there so you could hear the sound when you play your video back on the camera
GreenAce926 years ago
you can buy a FlyCamone designed specifically for Rc planes you can buy 1 or greater gb memory cards for it and get more than an hour's worth of recording. It weighs almost 1oz and its only 1cm tall. Its really nice it has a forward facing mirror. Although its 80bucks but its reusable and you dont need to hack.
Mr. Rig It7 years ago
SWEET! A true hack and modification! Great idea and great job.
xboxteen017 years ago
just an FYI. walmart sells a $100 2.4 ghz wifi NV camera. it is a wicked good investment and i use it on an RC car(i have no plane). it transmits wirelessly to a receiver and into your computer/ tv / w/e. its live and its pretty clear with a 300 ft line of sight transmission range( im looking into a way to extend this, any help or advice is much appreciated.) but anyways that is a really sweet video as i stated earlier
Ohm (author)  xboxteen017 years ago
Cool I well have to check that out, 300 feet would probably be more than enough since the thing starts to turn into an undistinguishable speck at that other end of the football field that I fly at. Could probably just get an amplified Wifi antenna to extend the range, or make a cantenna and just have someone to track with it.
Toulouse7 years ago
great video ! i love it
dboyfly7 years ago
Nathan, you rock! I love the forward facing video best. I think this would be a great camera outfit for a motor-glider, something with a very low wing loading. One fellow made a good comment that greater eleveation could improve picture quality too. All in all, I think you put together a great project. Help me do one!
xboxteen017 years ago
how much was the flying wing, this is an amazing instructable. i think a small camera like that on an RC helicopter would be awesome though to. 10 out of 10
Ohm (author) 7 years ago
Actually it was pretty cheap, the camera only costs $30 from RiteAid and the rest is mainly just time, and even that was not much, only about an hour and a half.
zach9117 years ago
this shit is expensive but still cool. GOOD JOB. BEST INSTRUCTABLE I"VE SEEN.
Ohm (author) 7 years ago
Thanks for all the feedback. I think I need to do another short instructable on replacing the motor though because I think the LiPo battery is burning up the old motor, 10 - 12 mins. of constant full power flying and the can is scorching hot.
LasVegas7 years ago
Great job! Both videos are incredible! The installation looks professional.
dchall87 years ago
Nice job. I think the video shows pretty well why, at lower altitudes, a flying wing with the camera looking straight down is not all that cool. If you can fly at a thousand feet or more, then you've got something. At low altitudes a stable fuselaged plane, with the camera looking to the side, can give you some very nice pictures. Also for about $75-80, you can go to Ritz Camera and get a reusable video camera that loads the video onto a standard 1 gig SD chip. Picture quality is about the same as you're getting with this. The advantage is you don't have to hack the camera and you can replace the chips in the field when they full up.
crapflinger7 years ago
NICE! i used to have a Team Associated RC10GT (best $500 i ever spent)...and we put a disposable camera (long before the disposable video or digital ones) inside the body so it would look out the windshield as if you were the driver...put in a 6 channel reciever and a 6 channel remote and added two servos...one to move the camera left and right and one to press the shutter button....it was nifty...not exactly a spy cam being a nitro engine...but you could get some crazy pics of people scared shitless by a car driving up next to them while they were sleeping in the park or something like that i like the mirror idea! deffinitelyl less puke inducing to be able to see the actual POV of the flight
rc jedi7 years ago
The zagi can do aerobatics with the camera on, and is tougher than the slow stick platform. but the stick is slower and allows cam mounting options like on top of wing or sideways view. It's a brave thing to risk a camera and anyone who actually recovers video gets a Homer Simpson"Whoo Hoo!" aerobatic video..hmmm........
rc jedi7 years ago
I fly a slowstick with a vcam on the left wing looking forward. The cameras are cheap and light enough. slowstick vcam
Ohm (author) 7 years ago
Actually there is a guy with videos on YouTube, I think, that has a live camera positioned in a forward facing manner and it is mounted on a set of servos that pan it left and right and up and down based on how he points his head with his helmet! As I mentioned I am working on positioning a mirror behind the lens at an angle so that it gets a more forward view, that well hopefully be less dizzing to watch.
ongissim7 years ago
Now you should try to get live video streaming to get a cockpit point-of-view!
Dorkfish927 years ago
Wow, i've been meening to do the same thing to a Zagi 400! My dad has a like six kits and I decided that i'd put a cam on one. Hurray ZAGI!
Ohm (author) 7 years ago
I normally fly a bit smoother, with more loops and rolls :D, but the wind was up a bit and it was getting thrown around.
The video makes me want to hurl ;-) But awesome project...
Ohm (author) 7 years ago
I got the video uploaded, still working on the forward view mirror still so this is just from it pointing strait down. I well update with the mirror instructions once I get that all nailed down.
Ohm (author) 7 years ago
I am uploading a video to YouTube right now and yes it still flies :D I am flying it with a 2100 mAh LiPo which is light enough to offset the added weight of the camera and still gives me 12min. plus flights.
MerleCorey7 years ago
does it still fly?{{{

}}}
ewilhelm7 years ago
Video! I have now twice tied my ATC Helmet cam to my kitesurfing kite and both times managed not to capture any video. I'll investigate the CVS camera; thanks.