Forte Rocket Camera

Forte Camera Rocket Project
part 2


Construction of LOC Forte rocket
555 Timer Circuit
Video of first camera lanuch
Pictures from first launch
Pictures from second launch, CTRA 9/8/01
Pictures from third launch, METRA 8/31/02

1. aim the rocket on the pad so it aiming at the crowd because it won't spin on take-off and catch them later!
2. use higher speed film to maximize getting clear pictures
3. modify the timer to take pictures every 1.5 seconds instead of 4 so half the roll won't be taken on the ground
4. put tape over the auto-focus window so the camera shoots at infinity or find how to disable
5. also very important, TURN OFF THE FLASH! Otherwise it will take 2 - 4 seconds for the flash to charge up and you won't be able to shoot every 1-2 seconds. Also with the flash on, a slower shutter speed is used making pictures blurry.

Next, the camera part

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This WAS the camera I was going to use but after taking it apart, I don't believe it will work as needed.

The problem with this camera is the shutter isn't just a switch but a lever that goes deep inside the camera and "does things".

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The payload section. Cost about $10 and includes everything you see. Once calculated, the tube will be cut to size.

A balsa bulkhead made of two 1/8" sheets of balsa glued together with the grains 90 degrees apart. Pretty strong.

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THIS is the camera I will use, an Olympus Epic. Purchased off Ebay, it has a electronic shutter.

Taking the camera apart to solder wires to the trip the shutter electronicly.

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The red line is pointing to the silver contact which must be remove. Underneath are circuit pads which the wires are solder to.

Fortunately, while I am building this project, the July/August issue of Extreme Rocketry has an article on rocket cameras using this same camera.

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Right angle bracket attached to plywood bulkhead and inserted into coupler.

Camera attached with 1/4" bolt.

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Three wooden dowels hold up balsa bulkhead which will hold electronics board.

Camera resting safely inside, back dowel supports back of camera. Camera can be removed from one side.

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The camera is triggered by this very simple timer circuit using a CMOS 555 and 5 volt relay. There is only one capacitor, a diode and 2 resistors needed.The 22k ohm resistor (on right) is on standoffs so other resistors could be placed in parallel to fine tune the times. The values chosen yield a 4 second period (which I later found is too long, 1.5 seconds should work better).

The finished timer circuit wired into the camera. A 9v battery powers it. Not wired yet in this photo are the power switches.

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Right angle brackets secure the timer board to the bulkhead. A tie wrap holds the battery down.

Almost finished rocket cam. Just need to wire switches and mount in body tube.

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Here is the slightly modified micro switch which will be used to trigger the camera. I am using the normally CLOSED contacts.

A neat way to cut tubing straight is to use a automobile hose clamp as a guide (3" in this case).

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The tube cut to 14" long, a cutout for the camera and switch, and a coat of paint.

Bottom of camera coupler tube showing eye screw and shock cord. The payload section has its own shock cord and chute. On the right you can see the wire going to the switches.

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You can see the master on/off switch here. The body tube slides over the coupler and will be screwed together.

A close up of the two launch lugs and microswitch. When the rocket is on the launch pad with the launch rod between the the lugs, the switch is closed breaking the circuit. The master switch is then flipped on. Now as the rocket leaves the rod, the microswitch opens causing the timer circuit to start.

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The body tube in place over the coupler.

My wife made this home made 3' chute from rip-stop nylon from a fabric store. Much, much cheaper than buying one!!!

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Picture on the left shows how launch rod goes all the way to the top and keeps the microswitch closed. Picture on the right shows back side of rocket. Silver foil near nosecone is for looks only and to aid in tracking.

First pictures from rocket camera

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